Saying no in a nice way

Role models and where to find them.

I’ve been a sea scout since six years old, and now as a sea captain I take a group out occasionally. As I walked to the boat one evening, the cub scout girl group that was waiting for me looked bewildered. They quickly asked, “Are you our captain?” And when I grunted something like yes, please get on board, they started jumping and screaming up and down for at least three whole minutes. “It’s a girl! It’s a girl!” They giggled, screamed and couldn’t stop. This nearly melted my heart, and I still tear up every time I think of it. Obviously, this role model thing may have something to it.

I’m humbled by the amount of requests I receive. It is a wonderful paradox: you want to feature a woman in tech, yet every small piece usually requires hours of work for it, keeping me away from my real job, the reason why you wanted to interview me in the first place.

I love my family, and spend about a tenth of the time that I should with them. I’m often away. I have a quite encompassing job, where every second that I have free I should be devouring more information.

In order to be that role model that you’d like me to be, I need to say no a lot.

In most cases, I’m not the best fit for your event or request. The best gemsare the people and projects that have not yet gotten publicity. How many scientists have you read about recently? Have you ever read of a tech project transforming government? What about the crucial people in startups who are not the CEO?

FOR INTERVIEWS: CHECKLIST

  • Am I the right expert you are looking for? I am not an expert on future cities, blockchain, gender equality, gaming, AI, and a million other topics.
  • I don’t do interviews about my personal life.
  • Have you listed 3 other candidates already? There are so many incredible professionals, academics and experts out there.
  • Don’t think of “tech” and anything to do with technology in one category. Technology is a subject touching a lot of different fields! Who would really give a multidisciplinary twist to your series of interviews?
  • Everything to do with technology education and mehackit: please contact the absolutely stellar team who is working incredibly hard to bring creative technology education to everyone.
  • I don’t do interviews about being a woman, or where the focus is on my gender.

SPEAKING: It’s embarrassing and frustrating for the speaker and the audience, when everyone thought the topic is something else.

  • Consider what kind of a professional is the right fit for your event. I am a startup CEO, not a social data scientist, futurologist or a motivational speaker.
  • Sometimes, a CEO might not be the best one to advise startups on a specific topic. Have you considered other roles and their responsibilities?
  • Am I the right expert you are looking for? I am not an expert on future cities, blockchain, gender equality, gaming, AI, and a million other topics. There are experts out there, waiting to be found.

Thank you ❤