Women in Dungeons – Inspired by the Women of Purpose Event at VMworld

A guest post from Liselotte Foverskov:

Lauren, first of all thanks for giving me the opportunity to be featured on the Adapting IT Blog.
Yesterday I attended my first Women of Purpose event. Thank you to Kristin Heisner for arranging this for all of us busy women. Let me start by saying this was a great event, with the coolest businesswomen I’ve ever met.
The event was held at Marriott Marquis in San Francisco. I arrived a bit late, as I was attending a session about vCenter Operations. Being in a hurry I almost ran for the elevator and pressed the button for Level B2. The room I entered was packed and the keynote was about to finish. I got a bit nervous as I’m not used to networking with women. I was out of my element. I found a seat at one of the roundtables, looking around to see who I would share this experience with.
Trying to get comfortable I picked up my phone and took this picture.

I wanted to tweet to the rest of the world that all the coolest vLadies was gathered in one room. But there was no Wi-Fi. 1500 of the most specialized IT women in the world were invited to talk about how to get more women in IT and we were sitting in a basement with no Wi-Fi? How funny and sad is that? I chose to laugh about it.
The homework after the keynote was to discuss how to get more women into IT. Being an introvert I’m really slow at warming up to people. I listened carefully to every word these women said. I tried to relate to my situation being a woman in IT in Denmark.
Everything in Denmark seems to be at a smaller scale and I’m not sure we have the same obstacles as in the U.S . These women were really frustrated at being overlooked for promotions, being seen upon as a sexual object… Yeah really heavy stuff like that.
Let me introduce you to The Great Dane: We are kind of like The Hobbit. Really calm and mellow. Compared to your typical American we’re very soft spoken. But don’t be fooled – The Hobbit might be silent, but has inner strength to match a bear. We are taught to be independent thinkers and don’t really believe in authorities. The Danish People have been voted the ‘Happiest people on earth’ – Even Oprah made a show about it. Denmark has good health care and at least 5 weeks of vacation (yes, everyone… I actually have 7 weeks). You have a year of Maternity leave. Typical Danish household is ‘Leaning IN’. Our Prime Minister is a woman and we have a Queen but no King (she’s married and he’s called a prince… he’s actually sad about that part).
And back on track. So the discussion went on and they were talking about how to get into management. That you should put at least 50-55 hours a week into it. Being a hobbit I got really scared about that part. When would I have time to be with my family? Leaning In is really popular here. I’m not that great at math, but I just don’t see how to fit my family in to that schedule. I started to question if I even belonged with these very cool women who seemed to have it all.
Please tell me if I’m wrong but it seems the Formula for success in U.S. Is:
Work 55 hours per week. Make management and Lean in (which means – kick your husband and let him do his part of the chores)
The Hobbit Success Formula: Work 32 hours per week, do what you love. No Management (Besides being a VMUG Leader, pick up my son at 3:30 P.M and spend my 7 weeks of vacation enjoying my family and being happy.
Am I successful? I don’t know. I managed becoming a System Administrator at a small financial company in Denmark. I’m a VMUG Leader and 1 of 5 women vExperts in the world (580 vExperts in total). First of all I’m a Mother of ‘Binary Baby’ and very lucky to be married to the greatest guy on earth.
Success is like this:

Let me wrap this up by saying. Thank you for inviting me to Women of Purpose. I will be on time and speak more if you invite me again. I hope to meet all of you out there. Enjoy VMworld.