Anna Watt
Anna Watt
Aug 4, 2018 · 4 min read
Source: Shine Text

I am currently in New York City for my second Write/Speak/Code (WSC) conference. This time last year I was nervous about attending a conference for coders and wasn’t quite sure if I would fit in. I liked to write, I wanted to get more into public speaking, but coding was entirely out of my comfort zone. I had recently switched from a creative project manager position onto a technical team working directly with software developers and was experiencing some major imposter syndrome. It only took one hour into the conference and I knew I had found a community that was welcoming and eager to help me learn. I left the WSC conference in 2017 empowered and motivated to change my outlook on my career. I was in charge of owning my expertise and damn it felt good. I made an action plan for goals I wanted to accomplish after the conference. One year later, here’s how far I’ve come:

📝 I published three blog posts!

How to run a mission statement workshop with a product development team
At the time of writing this, the article has 2.2k+ views!

How I learned to own my biggest career mistake
I had a version of this story in my head for so long. I was scared to write it. But actually writing it out and publishing it was a very cathartic experience and a part of my healing process. I needed to let go of this “mistake” (which I now know was a win for my career path) that used to haunt me.

Tips for establishing a successful remote working culture for collaborative teams
This one has inspired a series I am excited to continue writing about!

🎤 I gave my first lightning talk and co-led a session about Distributed & Remote teams at Stanford’s IT Unconference

This talk was in front of 500 IT professionals at Stanford and my boss’s boss’s boss attended my session! (Totally not nerve-wracking at all!*)

👩🏻‍💻 I improved the developer workflow and documentation of our release notes at work.

After an Intro to Git & GitHub workshop by the patient and incredible Courteney Ervin, I had a lightbulb moment about software versioning, branches, and forks. This workshop improved my understanding of the developer workflow so that I could have technical conversations with my dev team about our versioning, pull requests and code review process, and write better release notes documentation. I was able to align our GitHub versions to our Jira version tracking so our documentation is less redundant. While my GitHub is still empty, I have the visibility and exposure to our organization’s repositories now which makes me more confident when collaborating with developers and ultimately better at my job.

💪 I became a manager for the first time.

While it’s a temporary role until my former manager’s position is filled, I am managing a direct report for the first time. It feels good to flex my leadership skills and work with a direct report to plan their yearly goals which has been a really rewarding experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself through the process and about my own career goals for being a people manager.

🐱 I published my bio I wrote at the 2017 WSC conference on a personal portfolio site I built using the Medium publication feature.

I needed a quick way to feature my portfolio, work experience, and start a blog. I wanted a low maintenance site that allowed me to feed my Medium articles into my personal site. I got the idea from this article. Unfortunately Medium deprecated the custom domain feature but the site still turned out pretty cool AND I came up with an awesome blog name: For Watt It’s Worth!

🙌 I started a Women in IT @ Stanford Slack workspace

With the help of a few other thought partners at work, we launched a new Slack workspace by mirroring the WSC Slack workspace model and code of conduct. The goal was to create a supportive community for women & NBs in IT across campus to have a safe place to start conversations about diversity and inclusion and empower each other.

💻 I co-founded a Distributed & Remote Workers Community of Practice at Stanford

We meet remotely 1x/month via Zoom to discuss best practices, tips & tricks, and the challenges and rewards of working remotely and with distributed teams.

🌟 I co-founded the WSC Seattle chapter and joined the WSC Community Council

We kicked off our Seattle chapter in April 2018 with the Own Your Expertise event with over 100 attendees at the Microsoft Reactor space in downtown Seattle.

We’ve hosted two monthly meetups so far for a recruiters and hiring managers panel and a writing workshop. We have future meetups planned for speaking and coding in the upcoming months.

I also recently joined a leadership team with WSC to lead future Own Your Expertise events and help start new chapters.


✨I would never have dreamed of accomplishing any of the above goals, much less in a single year, without Write/Speak/Code and its community. With Write/Speak/Code, I’ve found a community where I feel a sense of place and purpose. Empowering other women & NBs to own their expertise is teaching me the power of owning it too, in addition to the importance of using my own privilege to support and uplift other marginalized communities. I see you. I see me. Let’s continue on this journey together. ✨

Anna Lynn Watt

Anna is a design and technology project manager turned community builder, freelance writer, and public speaker.

Anna Watt

Written by

Anna Watt

Building communities of purpose

Anna Lynn Watt

Anna is a design and technology project manager turned community builder, freelance writer, and public speaker.

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