Melinda Campbell, Super: Woman In Tech

Super: Women In Tech presented by Diversa and Back Fence PDX will return for its second year on May 12. But first, check out this account from one of the storytellers from the first year, Melinda Campbell.

Last year when I was invited to tell a story at Super: Women in Tech I had two initial thoughts in this order: “Hell yes!” and then “I have nothing to say about being a woman in tech.” The first one because when given the opportunity to embarrass myself, a little self-inflicting-practical-joke-playing demon inside me immediately accepts. (Joke’s on me!) The second because I did not feel that my life was particularly challenging as a woman in tech or that I had overcome many hurdles to get here. Plus, was I really in ‘tech’? I’m in UX, not engineering. The choir of doubting voices started chanting and that little demon was having great fun!

But then I got to meet the good witches of storytelling, Mindy and Frayn! These women are amazing story coaches and can spin a compelling yarn out of a steaming heap of trash. We worked together for 3-4 sessions across multiple months and, in that time, I dug up details of my life and my ‘woman in tech’ story that I hadn’t ever thought were interesting. Suddenly in the final weeks leading up to the event I felt like I had something to tell. And not only that, I had formed a message to spread that could possibly even make a difference (maybe?).

On the day of the event I met the other woman storytellers in the green room at Revolution Hall. It’s odd to meet people when you’re all in pre-game nerve-management mode — some were singing, or jumping up and down, standing in an energizing power stance, pacing, breathing deeply and talking to themselves. I immediately felt intimidated by this line up of impressive women, but pushing aside my imposter syndrome I looked around the room and thought, this is really cool. All of us were given this opportunity to get up on stage and hopefully inspire others in some way – whether to enter tech careers, or be an ally to women in tech, or change the language we use around tech and STEM subjects – we might be able to nudge the needle forward even a tiny bit. And the high of being on stage combined with the warm and accepting audience made it all so worth it! 

Here is Melinda’s story.

Catch more funny, poignant, moving and compelling stories from folks in the tech industry at this year’s Super: Women In Tech on May 12 at The Aladdin Theater! Storytellers include:

Tiffany Longworth PUPPET
Manjiri McCoy AWS ELEMENTAL
Karen ‘Naps’ D’Apice SIMPLE
Grace Andrews NEW RELIC
Megan Bigelow JAMA

A portion of the proceeds of this show will be donated to The Black United Fund of Oregon and Portland Women In Technology.

Get your tickets here!