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The Exchange

Meet Diana: Education and Training Coordinator

1. What is your role in BC GOV and what product are you currently working on at the Exchange Lab?

Hello! I’m Diana, and I’m the Education and Training Coordinator on the BCDevExchange team. My role has recently shifted from continuing the implementation of the Lab Learning Program to turning our in-person courses into online offerings! I have to say that I am excited to get the chance to develop online learning. It has always been on my mind that we need to make our learning opportunities more accessible. I just didn’t realize that it would take a global pandemic to expedite it!

I am often the facilitator for courses such as Agile Fundamentals, Discover DevOps and Digital Leadership and am involved in these aspects: content development, delivery, managing registrations, communications, analyzing feedback, and implementing next iterations. I have the opportunity to work with some pretty amazing subject matter experts across gov whose contributions are invaluable to the learning program (you know who you are!). Essentially, it wouldn’t be possible without them!

The point in having the lab learning program is to offer learning opportunities to Agile teams residing at the lab, but also to teams across government and their home organizations. After all, it’s so important for everyone to understand these new ways of working for us to be collaborative and open in our work. Digital government is here!

2. What do you like most about working at the Exchange Lab?

The community. My team consists of such a collaborative and open group of individuals who are always there for peer review, help and laughter! They also happen to bring lots of chocolate to the office… I am missing this aspect the most while working remotely.

I’ve worked at the lab since January 2018. During those 28 months, I’ve held two positions and I’ve worked with many different groups of people. I have to say, I feel lucky to have coincidentally found a job at the lab (I didn’t even know what it was at the time I applied). Everyone is brilliant, open, enthusiastic, and community-oriented — it’s like a colourful galaxy swirling with talent. Another coincidence: I now get to work with an amazing leadership team from my very first government office in 2017. They say things work out for a reason!

3. Do you have a favourite failure or apparent failure that has set you up for later success?

It is not abnormal for me to have to jump into something head-first, without fair warning. This is likely due to my experience working at the lab where I can’t even keep track of how many projects I’ve done since the beginning. It’s been an ever-expanding job description and I love it!

We had a fairly small team back in the day, so I just had to just “go for it” even if I knew it wasn’t perfect! I feel lucky that I have been empowered by my leadership to try new things, and that’s why I thought of sharing the quote by Amy Hood that you’ll read later in this blog.

I want to talk a bit about feedback and feeling ok about receiving feedback. Often, we see feedback as a simple thing. You ask someone for feedback, and they share. But what we don’t think about is the aftermath. What I mean is — how much negative feedback can someone take? How do you appeal to everyone’s preferences? Well the answer is — you can’t.

For example, one failure I can think of is adjusting a training session according to negative feedback from some participants. After we made the change, other people were suddenly unhappy.

During the session I didn’t feel that much was amiss, given that I had plenty of experience of “jumping head first” into something new, and I had used an incremental approach. My realization of “crap, that actually missed the mark” happened by the end of the day and was cemented once we received survey results. We assumed that the “fix” to make the initial group “happy” was the cause, so we changed it back. From that point on we made improvements to that section little by little rather than completely changing it.

We can’t make everyone happy. And even though we make the vast majority of our clients happy, the negative feedback stings. We are human beings. Even if we have lots of experience, we all deal with feedback differently.

To those who are afraid of being more “agile” because it means you actually have to get feedback on your work, here are a few tricks that have helped me:

- It’s not easy, so don’t review it alone to start. Spend time to go over feedback together with a colleague you trust. That way you can address any negative feelings immediately and not dwell on it.

- Limit the time you spend on this feedback. Don’t dwell on it too long. Take note, make a decision, share it with the team if needed, then move on.

- Embrace the learning and your opportunity to do great things next time.

4. What is an absurd thing you love?

A painting inspired by a shirt, and a scrunchie I made from leftover fabric from a shirt I had hemmed

I’m not sure this is absurd but…I love repurposing materials to make new crafty things. For example, making scrunchies out of old sweaters and shirts. Or, using the fabric from curtains we no longer use to reupholster furniture or make pillow cases. You might wonder why I keep all of my old greeting cards… Well, it’s not so much to reminisce (well, that also happens at the same time!), but it’s so that I have some fun paper to cut up and make into a brand new customized card for your birthday — duh!!

All of this usually happens when I see something and think to myself, “I could just make that — why buy it?” So that’s just what I do. I jump right in 😉.

5. What is a quote that resonates with you?

“I continually took jobs I really wasn’t qualified for. Every job I took, I was deeply uncomfortable in terms of feeling unqualified. Every step, every risk I took built confidence.”

Amy Hood, CFO, Microsoft

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The Exchange

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