Yesterday I had the honor of attending the Mashable Social Good Summit. The conference is described as “a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. Held during UN Week from September 21-22, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time.”
The lineup of speakers is impressive. From Pharrell to Michael Dell to Alicia Keys to Melinda Gates the speaker list gets your attention. But there are a lot more names that you may not have heard of including Jampa from Tibet. She was the first woman in her community to go to college. Or Jensine Larsen, CEO and Founder of World Pulse, the leading network using the power of digital media to connect women worldwide and bring them a global voice. These women are making a difference in the world. During her panel discussion Jensine really opened my eyes to the fact that many women on this planet that we share want, dream, long to be connected. Even in developing nations, there are women who know that technology exists and that it can empower them to change the world. They don’t fear technology; they fear their lives if they cannot access technology. They have a deep understanding that technology can help them change the world. One of the most profound things I heard yesterday was when Jensine said “A woman with a laptop can be more powerful than a man with a gun.” Access truly is power.
This got me thinking to my own experiences and the women (and men) I encounter in the classes that I teach. All too often I meet professionals who resist learning and embracing technology. They make excuses as to why they can’t learn it. They joke that they just let their kids do it for them. They view technology as an obstacle and not the valuable tool that it can be.
My teaching style is to never make anyone feel stupid and to encourage them to take advantage of the resources that are available to them. I teach, but more so, I encourage. I want them to do better with technology, to make a difference.
To these people, I share this message in hopes that their perspective might shift. If you live in a country and have a job where you are fortunate enough to access to laptops, smartphones, tablets and reliable internet access, I ask you to consider the alternative. We are so blessed to have these tools in our lives. Tools that help us connect to clients, prospects, colleagues and friends. We are blessed to be able to learn about the latest and greatest technologies and to be able to use them. We are blessed to be able to attend events where people like myself and my peers are so very willing to teach you. To you, I ask that you let go of the fear and begin learning today.