Today, I turn 30.

30 can be a heavy number. It’s one of the BIG ONES. As we are about to enter a second year with COVID19, my gratitude to circle the sun one more time deepens.

Like many, I always choose a word for the new year. Last year’s word was “rooted.” …

Image: A silhouette of a person with “Hello my name is” tags plastered around their head with labels reading: panic, expression, shame, stress, post-traumatic stress, grief, anxiety, and phobia.

We are about to start the sixth week of working from home. For the majority of it, I have kept in good spirits. I feel motivated to work, I have a supportive People Manager and fantastic co-workers. Some days feel almost normal enough to convince me that I’m just working from home during a regular day-at-the-office kind of day.

As someone who lives with anxiety and depression, when the lows hit, they hit hard.

I’ve broken into episodes of gasping sobs four times now. One of the biggest indicators of my mental health state is the length of time since…

The Winter2020 co-op squad!

In my role, a small part of my time is dedicated to human resources-related duties. I have the absolute pleasure of being responsible for a team of amazing co-op students (see photo above), from recruitment to future job planning after their work placement with us ends. And while personnel support remains only a part of my role, it has been an eye opener to see behind the curtain as my organization reacts to COVID19, and the hard work that is going on behind the scenes.

Organizational responses to COVID19 will continue to adapt as more information becomes public. As your…

For many of us in technology and digital communications roles, accessibility is often thought in terms of a checklist or quality assurance. Does this design comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act? Did I follow the WCAG 2.0 guidelines?

When we think of accessibility as only a checklist, we are designing and building products that frame people as an afterthought, a barrier to overcome in the design.

But what happens when we think about accessibility in terms of belonging? What happens when we prioritize creating a sense of belonging with each and every user, instead of mandatory components?

Two adults and a child pose in front of Cinderella’s castle in Disney World
Two adults and a child pose in front of Cinderella’s castle in Disney World
(Aren’t we cute? Too bad our selfie skills were so bad that we couldn’t get the whole castle in the background.)

Look at this cutie — I get to be their mother! Credit: Sam Welbourn Photography

(This piece was originally published in the Summer 2019 edition of Holistic Parent)

It’s 8:43 pm on a Monday night. On Saturday, we have a dinner to attend for Justin’s work, and I haven’t found a sitter because of a lack of details. Our child has refused to nap all day and tensions are high. It is clear that Justin feels terrible; I go through my emergency list of sitters and family members and find someone. I am angry but attempt to reassure my partner it is okay. …

This isn’t an article on the horrors of being a soon-to-be mother in the technology field. There are enough of those out there you can Google. No, this is an article on why employing, retaining, and actively recruiting females in technology who are mothers is one of the most innovative human resourcing strategies that you and your company can do.

Toronto-based women in STEM advocacy organization, Move the Dial, bluntly states the key issue in their 2017 Benchmark Report: “It’s vital that more women join the tech industry — and it’s vital that they keep their jobs. Attrition of female…

(I had the pleasure of writing and performing a found poem on all of the #Fluxible2018 talks. You can read my poem below.)

How you design information

Reflects not just how you present

But how you listen

Other perspectives

Bring the whole person

And their culture.

With this, there is friction

Unless we learn who we are.

So put on your own oxygen mask first.

Invest in your own transformation.

Move past your fears,

Remove your battle armour,

Bring the real you, your best self.

Be ruthlessly optimistic.

You can see the difference in a well-oiled team and one with…

Ask a dog owner about their dog and it’s clear within two seconds that they believe that their dog is the best dog in the entire world and all other dogs don’t hold a candle to their pup. They can to tell you fifteen obscure facts about the difference between the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. When your life revolves around something you know so intimately and love dearly, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has a Portuguese Water Dog in their life, and, more importantly, that other dogs exist in the world.

Samantha Marie Estoesta Williams

She/her. Community builder. Diversity, Inclusion & Equity advocate in #ONTed & #STEM. #WomenInTech. Spoken Word Artist. Design Thinker. #KWAwesome.

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