Show Notes

In this episode, Michelle talks to Carole Olinger and Birgit Olzem about disabilities: how we navigate in the WordPress world, and how others interact and accommodate us (or not). Ultimately, we talk about self-advocation and self care.

AI Generated Transcript

[00:00:03] Speaker A: Welcome to the underrepresented in tech podcast. Underrepresented in Tech is a free database built with the goal of helping people find new opportunities in WordPress and tech overall.

[00:00:17] Speaker B: Welcome to the next episode of underrepresented in tech, the podcast. We do have the website, too, which a lot of people use to help people find jobs and gigs and all those things. So if you’re not familiar with that, by all means go over to and either join the database, search the database. It’s there to be helpful both to those people who are looking to get really good people for their projects and their work, but also to help people be found who are underrepresented in technology. But today I have guests with me on the underrepresented in tech podcast to talk about both physical health and mental health well being as people, especially. And all three of us are women working in the tech sector. So welcome Bergood Olsem and Carol Olinger. How are you both today?

[00:01:06] Speaker C: Things nice? Thank you.

[00:01:09] Speaker B: Yeah, we’re recording in January, and we were talking before that. It’s cold and snowy for Bergit and me, but Carol, you’re in Portugal, so it’s a little bit warmer for you today. How are you?

[00:01:21] Speaker D: I’m very good. Thanks for having me here. It’s so good to be in this round of amazing women. And yes, I’m having good weather. I’m not complaining, especially knowing that in my other life, Birgit and I, we are literally like 20 minutes apart from each other. So that’s where our home bases are. And hearing her sharing that there’s, like a lot of snow doesn’t make me regret that I’m in Portugal right now.

[00:01:54] Speaker B: For sure. And when we talk about physical well being and physical disabilities, and we talk about some of those kinds of things, weather can really, I don’t know about you, beergit, and you, Carol, but weather can affect both your mental outlook and how you physically operate. I know that it’s been really cold. It was three degrees this morning. Fahrenheit. I don’t know. That’s sub zero celsius. I can’t do that conversion in my head. All those people who live in Europe can usually go, oh, that’s about such and such. But I don’t know.

I’m an American. We never had to learn that. But anyway, it really has an effect on my joints and how my body feels and just all of that, it’s so dry with the heat and all. Not the heat, but the heater. Going all the time, but also with shorter days and less green outside with the snow and things like that, it can also have an effect on your mental well being. So I just kind of want to open the topic up and hear what you have to say about either one of those things and if and how it might apply to your roles in tech. I know, Bergit, you work from home. I work from home for the most part. Carol, you’re kind of a nomad lately, so maybe you have a different take on things as.

[00:03:09] Speaker D: Yeah, that’s the main reason why I’m currently in Portugal. So I made the experience struggling myself with depression that I’m having. The older I got, the more I had troubles, like dealing with months and months of the gray, cold ish weather, and it had tremendous effects on my mental health. So at some point, being privileged enough to work in an industry where I can work from everywhere in the world, we started wintering in warmer places, I think, since right before the pandemic. So I’ve been spending my past winters in Portugal, in Mexico, in Thailand, and it has such a positive effect on my mental health, and it keeps me.

[00:04:00] Speaker E: Productive and efficient and oh, I can imagine.

[00:04:05] Speaker B: I know that just to take a vacation for a week, for me to break from the cold and things that we get here in western New York can sometimes really just kind of bring me back and feel rejuvenated or whatever the right word is for that, too. What are your thoughts?

[00:04:19] Speaker E: Spirget?

[00:04:19] Speaker C: Yeah, I envy it a bit to be there. Same in warmer hemisphere. But for me, it is really crucial to keep a good mood routine during the dark days and winter, especially in the northern hemisphere, where winter is really dark and cold for me. But it’s also good that I can work from home in one place. But on the other hand, it’s very depressing not to leave the home.

[00:05:00] Speaker B: But.

[00:05:01] Speaker C: Also I need to take a lot of care about walking, especially when it’s icy and snowy outside because I have two hip replacements. And when I’m falling down, it’s really difficult and dangerous. So there’s also a lot of fear in me to move out of the house or go out of the house, because I need to be such careful. And that fear takes also a toll on the mental health. So it’s really important to take at least one or two moments a day, open the window and take a deep breath, even if it’s cold. In Germany, we have a culture called Luften, so on regular basis, we open our windows to get fresh air into the house.

But also taking vitamins to keep the vitamin D deficiency, to regulate that a bit.

But winter is not my favorite season of the year.

[00:06:22] Speaker B: I know some people who are like skiers and skaters, and this is their jam. Or around here we have a lot of people who use snowmobile snow machines.

Yeah, none of that applies to me.

[00:06:35] Speaker C: I used to love to make my walking, or nordic walking during the snow several years ago, but nowadays it takes a lot of effort for me and pre planning to leave the house on such conditions.

As I said, the fear inside is really bad, and I’m also getting older, so it’s not the same as ten years ago.

[00:07:05] Speaker B: Right. I understand that as well, from a personal perspective, for sure.

[00:07:12] Speaker E: I’m sorry.

[00:07:13] Speaker B: Please go.

[00:07:14] Speaker D: Carol, you mentioned the charm that winter can have in terms of skiing and snowboarding and stuff for the people who are actually able or love doing that type of physical activity. But when I’m thinking of that, where I would do that, or where I wanted to do that when I was younger, that would be like a completely different setup. That would be usually in mountainous, beautiful areas where you would have snow combined with sunshine, and it wouldn’t be just the icy and snowy conditions with the gray, dark weather. So, yeah, probably if I would live somewhere in Switzerland, I would enjoy the winter. But yeah. So the conditions that I think the three of us are experiencing, not a favorite scenario for any of us. But I also have to say, I was talking about privilege earlier, working in a remote environment where I can travel.

[00:08:18] Speaker E: But also I have a lot of.

[00:08:21] Speaker D: Privilege in terms of I don’t share any responsibility for other human beings. So for me, it’s easy to do that because I can just grab my husband, who works for the same company, and my dog who can come and travel me wherever I go and just decide that my home base is going to be somewhere else starting from tomorrow. And it is the life that we designed for ourselves. So it’s definitely intentional. But I’m also aware that it’s not something that would apply to anyone else listening to this podcast. They’re just like, oh, now I am going to move to Portugal tomorrow. So that’s not the case for everyone.

[00:09:02] Speaker E: That’s true.

[00:09:02] Speaker B: I think that there is digital nomadic life that some people are able to do, and even people with families. So I’ve talked to people who pack their whole family into an rv or tiny home, and they’re able to travel and bring their family on the road. But for a lot of people, that’s not necessarily the case. That’s true.

[00:09:23] Speaker C: On the other hand, I love the flexibility of being working in tag especially and have the opportunity to work remote.

I can plan my day around my family even if my kids, my five kids are almost grown ups now. My youngest was turning 17 several months ago. She’s turning 18 this year. It’s so crazy, but also having the time to spend with my grandchildren when it’s necessary.

So that is also the beauty. But it takes a lot of planning, especially when I’m the privilege that my kids are almost grown ups now. But I started working with WordPress 20 years ago, and when my kids were little, I didn’t have any other hobbies besides my kids. And I spent the time in the evening learning myself and teaching myself how to program websites and how to deal with WordPress.

But it’s also difficult when you are such isolated in your home office.

The human connection is missing. And this is also taking a toll on the mental health. When you are not aware of it, then there are people who are, by design, more introverted, so they may feel more isolated than other people who are kind interested into making connections.

Yeah, I think it’s important to be self aware where I am standing. What are my core beliefs, but also core needs?

Are they met? And then expand on that and try to find a way to accommodate the best situations you can get for this moment or this phase of life.

[00:11:32] Speaker E: Phase of life.

[00:11:33] Speaker B: That’s a good way to put it, for sure.

So I work from home as well, and I’m a single person with disabilities, so going out is difficult for me because when I get to an end destination, I have to have help. I either have to have somebody help me with my scooter or get a riding cart or something like that. And because I live alone, making those things happen isn’t too easy. So working from home, living here, and not being able to go out, I’m not a shut in. I don’t want to make it sound so dire because obviously I do go to events and things like that. But I’m here in my home a lot, alone. And so for me, sometimes it’s not.

[00:12:12] Speaker E: Just about how I feel physically, how.

[00:12:16] Speaker B: Do I feel mentally? But just like the isolation can start to get to you too. And when you do have any mental health issues and I have anxiety and depression like a lot of people I think do, it becomes even more important to try to find some of those outlets. And Zoom is great. I love that I can talk to you, both of you, in different countries at the same time, but it also isn’t the same as just getting together for dinner with friends and things like that. So it can definitely have its challenges. But one of the other challenges I found, and you can tell me how you deal with this, is with the flexibility of working from home sometimes comes, for me, the challenge of, I don’t want to say discipline, because I get all of my work done, but finding the balance of when do I take a break? And sometimes I find I’m at my desk too long because I’ve not looked at the clock, and I’m like, oh, I’ve been sitting here for 6 hours and I haven’t even gotten up to go to the bathroom. Things like that, that aren’t healthy either. So how do you find, do you have any tricks or tips or anything for keeping yourself focused, keeping yourself disciplined, but also making sure that you’re paying attention to your mental health when you do have such flexibility?

[00:13:28] Speaker E: Oh, I wish I had.

[00:13:32] Speaker B: Like, dead silence. Okay, now we’re done.

[00:13:37] Speaker D: I’m struggling with at the moment myself, so I think it really depends on what moment in time you would ask me that question. So now I have been onboarding a new role within Yoast, which is the company that I’m working for since a few weeks. So also, there has been end of the year holidays in between. And that is where my inner perfectionist and also the impostor syndrome kicks in, because I feel like I have to prove my value and show that I can have an impact as soon as possible.

[00:14:15] Speaker E: And while there is no other person.

[00:14:19] Speaker D: Like, putting any pressure on myself, I am doing that to myself all the time. While I’m very good at giving advice to others not to do that, I think we’re all very good at that. So I’m seeing myself struggling with that situation at the moment every day, working too many hours, not having long enough breaks, not doing what would be necessary for my mental health to be able to perform in three or four weeks from here. And I’m aware. So that’s good. That’s the first step. I always say, like, awareness is key. And so this is also good to have this conversation right now, because it helps me, like, okay, you know that you’re aware, so what to do next, right? Yeah.

What I’m doing, what is really important to me is that it’s very important for me to stay connected to nature, which is one of the reasons why I’m in Portugal, so I can be outside more. I have this cute little doggie, which is also my psychiatric service dog, and I think that is the most important tool, if I can say that about.

[00:15:32] Speaker E: My pet and my best friend, to.

[00:15:34] Speaker D: Keep me going outside, having walks at the beach. She loves to be at the beach, so it’s like, okay, if I’m not capable to do that for myself and my own mental health. The dog loves to be at the beach and she needs her walking. So that is helping me. And that is why I’m tremendously grateful of having the chance to have Buffy in my life and reminding me of what is good for myself when I cannot do it for myself.

[00:16:05] Speaker E: Yeah, for sure.

[00:16:06] Speaker B: That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So if I forget to feed my cats, they will tell me that I have to get up and feed them. Right. But dogs are a lot higher maintenance in that there’s not a litter box in the corner for your dog. You have to take your dog out. So that makes sense.

[00:16:23] Speaker E: Yeah. Yes.

[00:16:25] Speaker C: And I’m really grateful that I live in an environment. My partner here, and he takes care of me when I’m sitting two long hours at my desk. So my day is pretty structured currently, so I have some kind of anchor points throughout the days where say, okay, this is now time for me to take a rest. This is time for me to eat something.

I have some strategics for low energy days, for medium energy days and high energy days.

I try to find solutions for every kind of day and energy level. So I have, for instance, low energy breakfast, which doesn’t takes a lot of effort, but I have to feed myself. So that is, I find important to think about that in advance. Especially when you have a higher level energy day, to sit down and make yourself some plans and be aware of your different. Also, we are as people, as humans.

[00:17:48] Speaker E: Getting a period or never getting a.

[00:17:51] Speaker C: Period, but we have a monthly cycle, so we need also to be aware of our monthly hormonal cycle and to be self aware of that as well, is a form of self care.

But sometimes it also helps just to time box the day.

And sitting down in the morning or in the evening, when it best suits.

[00:18:17] Speaker E: You to put at least one or.

[00:18:22] Speaker C: Two important items into your calendar, you.

[00:18:25] Speaker E: Want to achieve that day and everything.

[00:18:27] Speaker C: Else, it’s a bonus. But the two things needs to be done that day. So for me, it’s to achieve this or that. And that also fuels the dopamine and every happy hormones gets you through the day, but it’s not always working.

Well, that’s good.

[00:18:50] Speaker B: What do you think about WordPress events, whether they’re online or in person, what do you think that we can do better? For ourselves and our community around our mental health and our physical health when.

[00:19:04] Speaker E: We are looking at events like that.

[00:19:07] Speaker C: I think the first part is that the organizing. The most working organizers I met so far are really aware about the physical health issues and try to accommodate as good as possible.

I think we can improve in the environment about the invisible health conditions, such as being overwhelmed, too much noise echoing, for instance, and also keep the pathways short or place some kind of seating position or benches or chairs for such people who are not capable of walking 10 meters without catching breath, for instance.

But on the venue itself and also keeping an eye on it. How can attendees or organizers or volunteers get to the venue by public transportation?

How is the accommodation situation? Because when I remember when I was going to woodcamp Europe in Athens last year, it was pretty difficult for me to find a good place to stay in a good walking distance to the venue, but it was slippery and cobbled stones and difficult to walk with your scooter. More issues than me.

But that is also we need to keep in mind that everyone else, from the organizing part, from the attendee perspective, when to take self care. Important is you don’t have to attend every party or every session. You are allowed to take a rest, take a nap, leave the room when it’s getting too loud or overwhelming for you. And you are also allowed to leave a conversation when you don’t feel comfortable. So that is really important.

[00:21:28] Speaker B: That’s really good advice. I have this huge fear of missing out on things, but somebody I know in this talk talks about the joy of missing out on things. I’m hoping that’s why you had your finger up, Carol, because you gave a talk that I heard in Asia last year about it’s okay to not attend everything and not go to everything. And even though some part of you is like, oh, I really wish I was there, it’s okay. So talk a little bit about your joy of missing out, because I loved.

[00:21:59] Speaker D: Yeah, you’re right. I introduced that Jomo Slide and Jomo fever during Wordcamp Asia. And I think I also started quite successful thread on Twitter during Wordcamp us last year when I wasn’t there. And actually, I was very proud of myself because I could have been there, but there was just too much going on and it didn’t feel great for me. And I just would probably have stretched myself further than I should have for my own health if I would have gone.

And I was just completely comfortable with the situation until two or three days before the event. So my husband was there. I was sitting at home. And then I had this feeling of fomo, the fear of missing out that you already described, Michelle, and that you already described as, well, the feeling of, I have to be everywhere, and I have to be there because otherwise I miss all the important opportunities and conversations.

So I was aware about how I was feeling, and I was reminding myself of what I shared on the wordcamp Asia stage six months before the joy of missing out. And I was giving an example of me being at Wordcamp Seattle few years back. And everyone who has met me in person knows that I, at least, seem to be quite the extrovert. And I would always be the last one to leave a party. And I would be chatting all the time and be very loud and not stop.

And it seems like I’m always enjoying it, but sometimes I don’t. I’m just driven by that fomo. And when the first time I was.

[00:23:49] Speaker E: Brave enough to stand up for myself.

[00:23:52] Speaker D: Because I was just tired and exhausted not to go to the evening event, and then staying at my hotel room, ordering some pizza, eat the pizza in my bed, while enjoying a brilliant Netflix series, I felt like, oh, my God, this is so good. There’s no party out there that can compete with what I’m experiencing here.

[00:24:14] Speaker E: This was only possible because I was.

[00:24:17] Speaker D: Facing my fomo and not giving into it. And the joy of missing out was something I discovered for myself.

And coming back to Wordcamp us this year, I was starting that threat where I was encouraging all the people out there who were experiencing fomo because they could not be at Wordcamp us, even though they may have wanted, or because they took the same decision as I, that it was not the best use of their time or mental health. I encouraged them to share all the good things that they were experiencing during campus while not being there, and they could only enjoy them because they were not being there. And a lot of people enjoyed that threat. And, yeah, it confirmed for me, again, that it is not only important for me that I share that with other people, but that I remind myself constantly of. Practice what you preach.

[00:25:16] Speaker E: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:25:17] Speaker B: And I remember seeing your Twitter thread and people commenting in that, and I have a recollection, and I could be wrong. It might be like, absolutely Mandela affecting myself on this, but I have a recollection of you posting a picture from the beach or from a pool or something with the sunshine. And Buffy was there, and I was like, oh, that does look nice. That looks really nice.

Especially because this past year wasn’t just a three day camp. It was also two days of community summit as well, if you were part of that. So you were five days straight of all this. And it was. By the end of it, I was like, I had no voice, I was exhausted. I was there for work, but I was also there to meet people, and I was there for the community. And so by the time I got.

[00:26:04] Speaker E: Home, I was just like, really exhausted.

[00:26:09] Speaker B: But I still had to come back to work on Monday and do all of those things. So I think you’re onto something there, Carol.

[00:26:15] Speaker E: Yeah.

[00:26:15] Speaker D: And I hope that I will be capable reminding myself about that in a few weeks from here, because I will be at Wordcamp Asia, and only one week later, there’s going to be the cloudfest hackathon, which I am organizing, which is immediately followed by Cloudfest, which is one of the biggest events out there in the cloud and hosting industry. So this is going to be like two weeks of full power with intercontinental travels in between. So I hope that I will be responsible enough to remind myself that I can definitely have a few more hours of sleep than I would do the other years, and that I don’t have to be everywhere at the same time. And that there’s definitely events and conversations I can miss.

[00:27:06] Speaker C: That’s the same. Because why I don’t go to wordcamp Asia, because I prioritize the hackathon for myself. And I totally get that. And I will remind you on the cloudfoss hackathon to take a break.

I will be your accountability partner.

And speaking of accountability partner, I also love the idea to have some kind of network or accountability partners to keep yourself reminded, or remind your peers to take a break, or did you drink enough water?

And I really remember our WP mom, Kim Parcell, who sadly passed away too early.

But I had a chance to meet her in person in 2014 at Wet Camp San Francisco in the community summit. And it is really important, especially nowadays, where we are such in isolated situations after the pandemic, during the pandemic, to take care of each others and asking someone, chiming in, or reaching out to someone you haven’t spoken for several days or weeks, for instance, and just checking in, how are you doing? How are you doing today?

So that also helpful to create some kind of a network supporting network. And we had so lovely groups around the world, and like a big orange heart and the WP women groups and underrepresented intact, there are so many great communities where you can find also a safe space to vent or just say, hey, I’m not feeling well today.

[00:29:06] Speaker E: I want just to talk to someone.

[00:29:14] Speaker B: I think that’s important. I think when I’m left out to my own devices, my own, not only just the fear of missing out, but when I’m over exhausted and I don’t make good choices for myself and having somebody.

So when I was in Europe, my daughter came with me. When I was in Asia, a friend came with me. And those people check on me and make sure that I am taking care of myself because I am notorious for not taking care of myself when I’m exhausted and not making good health choices. When I’ve been sick, I’ve often had somebody say, I’m taking you to the hospital. Now, I’m not giving you a choice in this because you will worry that you’re inconveniencing the doctors, but I see that you need the help. And so those kinds of things that I think we’re not always good at making decisions for ourself when we’re tired, when we’re hurting, when we’re dealing with mental health issues. And so having somebody who can look at you and who you’ve given permission in your life to say, I’m worried about you and you and I need to talk about what we’re going to do so that you are not exhausting yourself.

And it can’t just be anybody, right? I can’t come up to a stranger and say, you look really tired. Have you sat down today? Because that’s infringing on them. It needs to be somebody that you have that trust with, you’ve built that trust with and whom you’ve given permission to have those conversations with you and for you in those cases. But I think that kind of accountability is super important, and I’m glad you brought that up.

[00:30:46] Speaker D: I also think it’s important to kind.

[00:30:49] Speaker E: Of promote a culture of it is.

[00:30:52] Speaker D: Okay to ask questions.

I do feel like there’s a huge tendency for people, especially when they are dealing themselves with physical or mental health issues, to make assumptions. So I want to be an ally for other people that have mental health issues or that do have other disabilities or challenges. But I am also aware that sometimes I’m projecting my own reality to them because I do know. No, I don’t. Because everyone has a very unique journey.

[00:31:26] Speaker E: And also it is sometimes really hard.

[00:31:32] Speaker D: To ask questions, especially when you may come from a different culture or when you are talking into a different language. So, for example, at WordPress, events like the universal language is English. I’m not a native english speaker. And it is so easy to just by choosing the wrong wording to offend another person. But if we could promote that culture of it is okay to ask questions instead of making assumptions, and that we should believe in best intentions of the people asking the questions, I think that would make communication so much easier. It would make sharing easier, and it would make listening easier, because listening is the base of empathy, isn’t it? Yes.

[00:32:25] Speaker E: And I do feel that in tech.

[00:32:29] Speaker D: We struggle with that, because you have to be on your a game all the time, right? You have to be a good performer. No, you haven’t, of course, but that’s the consensus. That’s what we impose on ourself, and that we think that other people are imposing onto us.

So that is difficult intact. But in general, we could do better in that we could acknowledge that we do have different backgrounds, we do have different challenges, we may have language barriers, and we should start working on having a more open and more open and fruitful communication.

[00:33:13] Speaker B: I agree 100%. I think it’s great to be able to ask those questions. I think there’s a line between stepping too far into somebody’s life and being obnoxious to them, as opposed to being open to answer questions like, the way you’ve presented it, I think is perfect.

The reason I say that is I’ve been to events in the last few years where as somebody who’s using an assisted device, so I call it a wheelchair, sometimes for lack of better. And it is because I’m sitting down and it has wheels on it, it’s my scooter.

And I’ve had event coordinators say, oh, we have a place for you to eat your lunch. And then I didn’t want to say no because I felt like they’ve gone to all this trouble. But on the other hand, now I’m going and sitting off by myself because there’s a place for me to go. And now I’m not sitting with my friends or other people that I wanted to have those experiences with. And so I would caution people who are thinking about how to make accommodations for others is to make them available, but not required, because you can’t require somebody to go sit where you told them to sit for lunch and then cut them off from the people that they were supposed to sit with at lunch, or just things like that. To just be thoughtful and provide opportunity, but not expect that somebody needs or wants all of the accommodations that you’re.

[00:34:33] Speaker E: Willing to make for them.

[00:34:34] Speaker D: And if they had asked questions and then maybe they felt uncomfortable because, again, different culture or whatever, but if they had asked questions instead of making assumptions because the intentions were probably really great. Like they won’t absolutely give you the best possible space for your scooter.

[00:34:51] Speaker E: They could have asked you, and I.

[00:34:54] Speaker D: Think, correct me if I’m wrong, but I remember last year when we were at a hackathon, I think they were placing you not in the hotel that I actually asked that they placed you because I wanted you to have shorter ways and then you ended up in a different hotel. But then I was not making assumptions, I was just asking her like, hey, what is your preference? Do you want to stay there because it also came with some advantages, or shall I do my best to change accommodations so that you have shorter ways? Because I knew that Brigitte had these hip replacement surgeries, but I was also not making assumptions and telling her, oh, ok, now we’re going to change the room or just not caring because it would be easier for me not to ask her. So I think I just asked you what your preference would be and then find that solution, right?

[00:35:46] Speaker E: And it was good.

[00:35:48] Speaker C: I was really appreciating that day, even if it meant I had to repack my and go back because I was already, but I was weighing in the inconvenience, maybe for unpacking back my suitcase and walking to the other hotel or walking this every day.

I made an informed decision and I was really glad that I had the opportunity to stay in the same venue like the hackathon was happening. So my pathways were much shorter.

And that is a good example for asking questions in the first place. You are demonstrating that you are caring. On the other hand, you are not assuming, but just trying to find informed or make informed decisions.

For the lunch situations on webcams, for instance, it’s really helpful to reach out to the people who are attending. What is the best situation for you? This is the lunch situation we are planning.

What would you see is a best situation for you to get seated or placed where you also have the opportunity to get joined by your friends, for.

[00:37:20] Speaker E: Instance, and not sitting far away.

[00:37:25] Speaker B: To be clear, I was very grateful that they thought about me at any point, right? And that there was a place for me whether it was with the people I was expecting to sit with or not. I mean, I don’t mean to make it sound like I was ungrateful because I wasn’t, but if are people making those decisions going forward just to keep that in mind that you can make all of the accommodations you want, that doesn’t require somebody to use them. It’s like we need curb cuts if we are on wheels, we need elevators to get to the second floor. We don’t necessarily need to sit where you are telling us we have to.

[00:37:58] Speaker E: Sit just at that level.

[00:38:00] Speaker B: But I was absolutely 100% grateful that they took everything into account and made opportunities for me to participate in every way possible.

Just a little caveat. I didn’t want to make it sound like I was ungrateful.

[00:38:13] Speaker D: No, but that’s actually great feedback and I will keep that in mind for future events that I am going to be organizing. I haven’t been running into that situation yet because usually I ask questions when I know that there are situations where people need specific assistance or that they cannot participate into activities in the same way others might. I usually ask questions, but there’s certainly a situation in the near future where I will not ask the right question or I will just not think of the questions. And it is a really good feedback to hear that. That if I am then still making assumptions with best intentions that it doesn’t mean that it has to go exactly the way that I planned it for that person. So thanks for bringing that up and I would definitely keep that in mind.

[00:39:02] Speaker C: Of course.

[00:39:04] Speaker B: Well, we’re coming up on our time here and I want to respect your time. Do you have any last ideas?

Anything you want to share? Any tips, tricks? Anything?

As a parting thought, before we wrap this up.

[00:39:19] Speaker D: There’S maybe one thing that I do think helped me a lot.

Balancing my mental health issues and being efficient and successful intact, I discovered a lot of helpful mindfulness practices for myself, which, depending on how good or bad I am in taking care of myself, are a bigger or smaller part of my life. Obviously, I’m not lying here, but my advice would be try what’s out there. But what has worked for me doesn’t necessarily have to work for you. And be curious about those practices and you can also make it your own thing. So, for example, the classic meditation activities.

[00:40:06] Speaker E: Are not always the best fit for me.

[00:40:12] Speaker D: But what I discovered for myself, again, a person loving being connected to nature is I’m a collector. So I love being out there when I have the opportunity. Being at the beach or in the.

[00:40:26] Speaker E: Forest and look for stuff could be.

[00:40:31] Speaker D: Seashells, it could be mushrooms, it could be specific stones. And that is something that is helping me so much in shifting my focus and doing something in the now, doing something with the environment that I am currently in and connecting to nature and to myself. So that’s one example. But again, that doesn’t have to work.

[00:40:57] Speaker E: For anyone who’s listening out there.

[00:40:59] Speaker D: My advice is try be curious and do your own thing and find out.

[00:41:05] Speaker E: What works for you. I love that.

[00:41:07] Speaker B: And birget, what about you?

[00:41:11] Speaker C: I’m a person who is kind of an overachiever and a perfectionist and I tend to be perfect in everything I do.

But I also was grown in an environment where I have to perform and I learned the hard way it is okay not to be okay. And it’s also okay to take a break and focus on oneself. Especially when you are a caregiver for your children, for your parents, for whatever person you are caregiving. It is okay to embrace also yourself and your time and prioritize your time.

[00:42:08] Speaker E: And just staring at a wall, nothing.

[00:42:14] Speaker C: Else, just or looking out of the window when you can’t go out of the house or something and just listening to music for instance, without thinking everything.

[00:42:27] Speaker E: This is also definitely helpful and you.

[00:42:33] Speaker C: Are allowed to do and to be yourself and that is something I learned the hard way. So that is why I’m sharing that.

[00:42:42] Speaker E: I love that.

[00:42:43] Speaker B: Thank you so much. If people are interested in following up with you, if you’re open to that, how would they get in touch with you? Birget how can people reach you?

[00:42:52] Speaker C: You find me all over the Internet with my handle coach Birget on and yeah, I’m on slack and posted on Slack on Twitter slash X. And wherever you’re looking for me, you.

[00:43:09] Speaker B: Will find in all the places.

[00:43:10] Speaker E: Yes, perfect. And you, Carol, quite similar answer.

[00:43:16] Speaker D: You will find me on all the social media channels out there under my name, Carol Olinger.

Also on the same Slack channels like mostly active in post status and WordPress.

Yeah, and looking forward to hearing from you and to seeing you two at some events in the near future and maybe some other people in the audience at other events or online.

[00:43:45] Speaker B: Likewise.

[00:43:46] Speaker C: Absolutely.

[00:43:46] Speaker B: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to share with us today. I really truly do appreciate you and do look forward to seeing you online and in person again very soon. So thank you for being here and we’ll see everybody else on the next episode of underrepresented tech.

[00:44:04] Speaker A: If you’re interested in sponsoring an episode using our database or just want to say hi, go to under See you next week.

Michelle Frechette

Michelle Frechette


Carole Olinger

Carole Olinger


Birgit Olzem

Birgit Olzem