FileMaker Talk Episode 144: Women Innovating Together and more!

 

In this episode of FileMaker Talk, Susan discusses Women Innovating Together with Matt Navarre and Makah Encarnacao. The chat also discuss the PauseOnError Conference and FileMaker.

Please find a full transcript below: 

Matt:  Welcome to FileMaker Talk. This is Matt Navarre. It’s 2019, and we’re starting the year with two awesome guests. Susan Fennema and Makah Encarnacao. Welcome.

Susan:  Hey Matt.

Makah:  Hey. Thanks for having us.

Matt:  I’m really glad to have you guys on here. We have actually like an agenda to talk about today.

Makah:  That’s because we have a project manager expert here. Susan.

Susan:  Sorry, I can’t help it. I just have to put bullets on something.

Matt:  I think it’s great. Project management, I’ll just take a quick little aside, has been such a huge factor in the success of App Works as we’ve grown. Having someone who, that’s their job.

Susan:  Yes.

Matt:  Gain their expertise and get some training. Actually, her title is customer success manager. But very similar to project management.

Susan:  That’s a great title because really that’s what project management is. It’s setting expectations. Then also, you know, trying to meet them. But making sure that everybody’s on the same page, and that customer success is huge. That makes more difference than anything else.

Matt:  Yeah.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  I think it’s also a really good message to customers too. Because it’s like, “There’s a person whose job it is to make sure that our projects are successfully deployed and that customers are successful in using the stuff we build”. But let’s talk about our topics here. We’ll take plenty of asides. Women of FileMaker has had a big change. Tell me about the history and the change.

Susan:  Sure. We had to create a whole new name. We are now called Women Innovating Together. We wanted to form a 501C and become our own enterprise. We are all volunteers, so any money that’s donated is 100 percent given back. Maybe we might use it for some little, something at the booth at FileMaker or something like that. But it is really all given back to the whole FileMaker world. That community is what’s so important to us to serve.

Susan:  We could not have a trademarked name of FileMaker in the name of an incorporated company.

Matt:  Right. FileMaker wouldn’t allow that.

Susan:  They wouldn’t allow it, but I understand why they wouldn’t allow it.

Matt:  Right.

Susan:  I also know that what if they were to change their name? Then we’d have to go through that as well. Not that they will. Don’t anyone decide that that means that FileMaker is going to go change their name.

Matt:  Oh, I really hope they do though. Let’s just please think positive thoughts about that.

Susan:  It’s been gossip for many years. But I don’t know anything. That’s not a thing.

Matt:  Nope.

Susan:  But just in case. We went ahead and put the call for names out to the community at large. We got a lot of great suggestions. We then took our committee that’s putting together our 501C and had them research the top, I think it was, Makah, what did we pick? Did we pick each lead –

Makah:  Top 10?

Susan:  I think each lead got to pick three, and then –

Makah:  Mm-hmm, yeah.

Susan:  The 501C narrowed them down.

Makah:  They vetted them. They made sure there wasn’t any, what’s that website? What’s that website, Susan?

Susan:  I don’t remember the website. But it’s where they come up with alternative bad words –

Matt:  Oh, yeah yeah yeah.

Susan:   Or bad –

Makah:  Lingo. You know, what’s that website? You know that one, Matt?

Matt:  Yeah, like I don’t know what it is, but –

Susan:  Urban Dictionary.

Makah:  Urban Dictionary. Thank-you.

Matt:  Yeah, there you go. It’s like, “Oh yeah. This word actually is a swear word in Portuguese”, or something like that.

Makah:  Yeah. Exactly. We didn’t want any bad acronyms.

Matt:  Right. Yeah, you came up with a really witty name.

Susan:  Yeah, exactly. We actually wanted our Twitter handle to be WitFM, but there’s actually a radio station called that.

Matt:  Oh yeah, that makes sense.

Makah:  Yeah.

Susan:  So we couldn’t get that. Women Innovating Together is what came out as the pretty much hands down winner compared, as we voted. We have started a Twitter account. It’s @WomInnTogether. It’s W-O-M-I-N-N together. You can follow us there. We changed the website to womeninnovatingtogether.org. We are actively opening our own bank account and all of those other things that –

Matt:  Wow, so that’s a real non-profit.

Susan:   … own entity. It’s a real non-profit.

Matt:  That’s exciting.

Susan:  It’s very exciting.

Matt:  I mean, because for years it’s really just been a group sort of like a community focusing for lunch at FileMaker and helping each other. But having some real stuff, and actually, I really want to get into the next thing of what you’re going to do with the money now that you have a 501C3. Now that you have, people have already contributed thousands of dollars to the organization through the Go Fund Me page. What is it that you’re going to do with that money, and why should I give you some money? Which I’m going to do, by the way.

Susan:  That’s awesome, Matt. Thank you. We’ll thank you right now for that.

Matt:  Not until I’ve done it.

Susan:  We fund scholarships for women attending DevCon for the first time.

Matt:  Okay.

Susan:  There are multiple options of those scholarships. One is a free ride. You’re basically paid for the training day, and then the whole conference as well. There are, we are hoping to raise enough money to possibly even pay for a hotel or maybe some travel for the winners as well. But at the same time, we do believe that people should have some skin in the game. Make some investment in themselves as well.

Matt:  Right. I agree.

Susan:  You know, paying for that travel and that kind of thing, that’s kind of a bonus. We are not there yet to where we have so many funds that we don’t know what to do with it. We shoot for four people. We don’t want it really to be more than four people either, because we want it to be a special, earned thing. The applications we get are amazing. Some of them really tell a whole story of struggles and challenges that women have faced. We range everything from people new to the FileMaker industry completely, to people who’ve been in it for a very long time but have maybe worked as an in house. Where a company would never send them to DevCon. They didn’t think it’s important.

Matt:  Right. Yeah, but it is clearly so important in your career. Are you going to be sending people to other FileMaker conferences too? Like Pause and things like that?

Susan:  Well Pause has actually its own scholarship deal formed.

Matt:  Oh, okay.

Susan:  We could talk with our scholarship committee about that possibility for the future as well. But Pause is starting its own scholarship. If you go buy a ticket, you have the option to pay for someone else to attend.

Matt:  Okay. I think I do remember that. Pause has changed so much. I mean, because it’s been run by different people over the years. I ran one a bunch of years ago here in Portland with Gerald. Then, yeah, the Cleveland one. There’s been so many of them.

Susan:  Women of FileMaker just ran one in May.

Makah: Mm-hmm.

Susan:  Which was –

Matt:  Right, exactly.

Susan:  … fantastic. Yeah.

Matt:  Yes. I sent all the women of my company to it.

Makah:  Awesome.

Susan:  Matt, if I understand it, you have quite a few women in your company, don’t you?

Matt:  We are now more than half female at App Works.

Makah:  So awesome.

Susan:  Way to support. That’s awesome.

Makah:  Mm-hmm. For a tech company that’s really really great.

Matt:  Every time we looked at a candidate, I hired the best person for that particular job. Why should I care, or why should anybody care if it’s a man or a woman? It just worked out that that’s where we are. I’m very happy.

Susan:  Well and you know, I think that that’s one of the things that we focus on too. We want to build the confidence in many women, because that’s a lot of the problem, is that they don’t have the confidence to present themselves like a man would. It’s, I don’t understand it. As the outgoing extroverted person, I’m always going to be out there. But a lot of women are taught not to do that. Whether it’s been culturally or in school, or by different parents. A lot of different, depending on your upbringing, a lot of different backgrounds.

Matt:  Sure.

Susan:  They don’t encourage it, and so it is a challenge. I think that’s part of the mentoring. Which is also something we can talk about that we’ve been doing.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  Yeah, I want to talk about mentoring. But I guess one of the other things, like what you’re really hitting on is women presenting themselves kind of more boldly. But I think another thing that really is a factor in our company’s makeup is, my business partner Kim is a huge part of the hiring process.

Susan:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  If a company puts a woman in charge of hiring, it’s probably going to be much more equal than if a man’s in charge of hiring. Is that reasonable? I don’t know.

Susan:  It’s an interesting perspective.

Matt:  Yeah.

Susan:  I mean I would like to think that it really doesn’t matter whether you’re Black, orange, green, man, woman.

Matt:  Yeah, exactly.

Susan:  You know, who cares? But everyone does have biases. It is a natural thing, and prejudice, whether it’s racist or sexist, it still is a natural tendency of who you relate to better and how you interact. That has challenges to overcome in the world that has been, especially in tech, so male-dominated for so long.

Matt:  Oh, yeah. I know. I mean I started in my tech career, actually, App Works is now in our 30th year of business for FileMaker consulting.

Susan:  Wow.

Matt:  Starting this month, January 2019. Back in the beginning, it was really close to 100 percent men.

Makah:  Yeah.

Matt:  In all the companies where I’ve been.

Makah:  I think Bev Voth has said that there were two or three women at the first couple DevCons. It was barely any.

Susan:  Well and if you look at how our organization has evolved, it started as Women Who Lunch, because they wanted to get together, and there were so few of them. Then all of a sudden there are so many of us. We can offer things, and we can share things. We can be more than just Women Who Lunch.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Susan:  That’s really what we’ve gone after, and that is what helped us win last year’s excellence award at DevCon. We were very proud of that. The work that Makah put in in regard to that mentorship program and everything surrounding it had a huge impact on us being able to win that award.

Matt:  Congratulations on that award, by the way.

Makah:  Thank you.

Matt:  That’s awesome.

Susan:  Thank you.

Makah:  Yeah, that was really exciting. I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t know we were eligible to win that. It didn’t even cross my mind. I don’t know if it was for you, like that, Susan. But –

Susan:  No, absolutely. You know, sometimes when you just get so into serving without thinking about, “Oh. We could win an award”, it turns out that the award just falls in your lap.

Makah:  Yeah.

Matt:  That’s the way it should be. That’s totally –

Susan:  It should be that way.

Makah:  That’s true. That’s true. Exactly.

Matt:  Yeah. If you want it and expect it and don’t get it, that’s not good.

Susan:  Right.

Makah:  Yeah.

Matt:  Talk to me about the mentorship programs you guys have. Because I’m really loving this.

Makah:  Sure. I’m the lead of the mentorship program at Women Innovating Together. It just recently kind of broke up into two different parts. But it started off as just having a mentor in FileMaker. Just basically, it was pretty much just a matchmaking process. Where we had people sign up, they tell us their interests and their availability, where they’re located, things like that. Then we would try to match them up with a good mentor who also signed up. The signup sheet was for both.

Makah:  We actually do have people who signed up to be both. Like their skills were intermediate, so they wanted to mentor a beginner, but they also wanted to advance their own skills, and so they would like an advanced person to mentor them as well.

Matt:  Okay.

Makah:  Yeah, it’s been going really well. We actually just had a survey, we did a survey recently for our mentorship program to see how people were enjoying it. I think the recommendation rate was really high. It was like, I should have put it up here before talking. But –

Matt:  Yeah, actually I want to know more about where people can learn about it. Is it the same website?

Makah:  Yeah. Mm-hmm. If you go to, it’s still womenoffilemaker.com, or if you go to womeninnovatingtogether.com it’ll redirect you to Women of FileMaker. Then it’s –

Susan:  It’s not, sorry, Makah, to interrupt you.

Makah:  Sure.

Susan:  It’s .org.

Makah:  Oh, okay. Women

Susan:  Womeninnovatingtogether.org.

Makah:  Innovating together.

Matt:  Did you buy the .com too? I recommend it if you didn’t.

Susan:  I think we did.

Matt:  Okay. Lots of domains pointing.

Makah:  Yeah, so you could sign up there and you could learn more about it there. We also have some guidelines on our website. If you are not sure about what it’s like or how to even have a mentorship relationship, there are some guidelines up on there. We also have a thank-you page for our mentors with a link to their name, their company logo, and then a link to their company. Just to give our mentors some recognition. Because it is, you are dedicating time to help someone else grow in their career. We do want to give people some recognition for that.

Makah:  It’s been going really well so far. I mean I’ve heard lots of good things about it. A lot of the mentors say they actually get more out of it than they give. That it’s a learning process for them too as a mentor. To be able to help another person grow, it’s a good feeling, and you’re really helping other people in the community. It’s open to everybody. It’s not restricted to just women. We love to have male mentors and mentees. Yeah, I think the success rate is pretty high with it so far.

Matt:  I’m looking at the list of companies who are mentors. There are some great ones.

Makah:  Exactly.

Matt:  This is already off to a great start.

Makah:  Yes, exactly. Some really good, some really high profile people are helping out. We’re very fortunate that they stepped up to help the community grow.

Matt:  Good stuff.

Susan:  We have a DevCon buddy too, Makah. Don’t forget to talk about that. That’s so cool.

Makah:  Yeah. DevCon buddy. This DevCon buddy, we just launched it at the most recent DevCon in 2018. It was a suggestion on our dream board on our booth. At our booth at DevCon, the Women of FileMaker booth. People could just go up and write whatever they wanted, and someone had suggested a DevCon buddy. I just loved that idea. We went and we launched it this year. Basically, the way it worked was, if you wanted to be a buddy … We have the ambassador and then the, what did we call it?

Susan:  I think we called it a rookie.

Makah:  Rookie, yes. Thank you. The ambassador and the rookie. We wanted to match up an ambassador DevCon buddy with a rookie. We had little stickers. Whatever you wanted to be, you could put it on your badge. If you were looking for a rookie you could go find, just kind of glance at people’s badge. The idea was to try to get kind of an organic relationship to form. Because you’re going to potentially spend a lot of face to face time with this person in just a short couple of days, so I didn’t want to force a relationship on people.

Matt:  Sure.

Makah:  I kind of wanted to try to have it happen organically. In order to kind of make it fun for everybody, Jeremy Brown suggested, “Why don’t we do a game? I’ve always wanted to do something like that”, so we made kind of a bingo game for the participants to complete all these fun tasks at DevCon. Whoever got the most points wins the prize, and so we had some prizes at the end of DevCon. People had a lot of fun with that too. I got a lot of great feedback from that.

Makah: Yeah, I think both of them have been pretty successful. There are definitely areas we want to improve for both of our programs. But I think they’re both off to a good start, and I’m really excited to see where they go from here as the word spreads around, thanks to your help and everyone else who’s helping, talking about these two programs. I think we can do a lot of cool great stuff with it.

Matt:  I love it. That sounds really fun. I didn’t actually know about that game idea, but I’m going to really be looking for that one next time around.

Makah:  Yeah. One of the comments we got was like, “It should be open to everybody. This game was so fun”. It was things like, “Take a picture with the CEO”. Or, “Go to the pool”. Or, “Buy your mentor a drink”. Or, “Attend someone’s specific session”. I can’t remember who off the top of my head. But it was all fun things that would kind of enhance your DevCon experience.

Matt:  “Collect five of the free versions of FileMaker with single user licenses and come up with a place to donate them to”, which should be on the list for next year.

Makah:  Whoa, that’s a good idea.

Susan:  That’s a great idea.

Matt:  I always keep those things and give them away to someone who asks for a license that otherwise wouldn’t easily be able to afford it.

Makah:  Yes, mm-hmm.

Matt:  Especially now since single user licenses are so expensive, you know?

Makah:  Yes.

Susan:  Well and especially if we can use those with students. Now we can even start to recruit some women out of school by giving them free licenses to start with. That’d be really cool.

Makah:  Yeah, it would be cool.

Matt:  What are the other things you guys are moving towards? What are some other ideas that you have for maybe things you want to do to innovate even more for women?

Susan:  One of the things that we’re helping with is getting more women to speak at DevCon. A lot of times you hear, and I always call it the FileMaker famous people. Right?

Matt:  Mm-hmm.

Susan:  It’s those people that everybody knows. They’ve heard them speak for years. It’s Matt Navarre.

Makah:  Matt Petrowski.

Susan:  It’s, yeah. It’s Todd Geist. Everybody knows their names. I think even FileMaker is trying to make an added push to get more new names, and especially some female names into that group.

Matt:  Right.

Susan:  We had a lot of female speakers last year. The most ever.

Makah:  Yes.

Susan:  We as a group are, we have a Slack channel and we encourage people to join it. If you want to join it just email me, susan@beyondthechaos.biz, and I will add you to the Slack channel. It is for women only. We have a DevCon speakers channel in there. Anybody that wants to speak at DevCon can put their information in there and get feedback from people on their submission, their video, their idea. Some support as we go on through building our proposals. Until we get to –

Matt:  Oh, yeah. Help in actually submitting and coming up with the right topic, and getting really good proposals, and the right number of proposals. I love that.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Susan:  Right. We’re pushing that and supporting our women to do that. We encourage it. We hear a lot that they don’t want to because they’re busy, but we’re all busy.

Matt:  Right.

Susan:  The benefit of being able to speak at DevCon with your free admission and free hotel is, I mean –

Matt:  Yep. Very valuable.

Susan:  That’s a big dollar amount. It’s a big dollar amount to consider.

Matt:  Definitely.

Makah:  The exposure. The networking exposure. I mean, every time I speak random people come up to me afterward and talk to me. I think that’s, the networking, it’s huge. It’s really –

Matt:  Absolutely.

Makah:  I know people who’ve gotten jobs just because –

Susan:  Mm-hmm.

Makah:  After a session, somebody came up to them and basically gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Matt:  Yeah. There’s a lot of benefits to speaking. Another really big one is that you actually assign yourself a task of some topic you want to speak on, and then you have to really be an expert at it. You give yourself a bunch of months –

Makah:  Right, you’re held accountable.

Matt:  Yeah, exactly.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  Well I’m hoping that –

Susan:  Yeah, you –

Matt:  I was actually just, as we’re talking about this, I’m thinking about the women who work here. I would really, I’m going to strongly encourage three of them to submit DevCon proposals and I’m going to have them lean on you guys for help. To speak at DevCon.

Makah:  Yes. Tell them to join our Slack channel. I know we’ve got a couple –

Matt:  Yeah, I know Kim’s on it.

Makah:  A couple of people from your company in the mentorship program as well.

Matt:  Yep.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Susan:  Yeah.

Matt:  Then I guess maybe the other thing is, I’m actually still deciding too whether to submit to speak. If I just choose not to even submit, that even makes more space available, right? These are little things that we can all do as individuals in the community to help improve the situation.

Susan:  Well and you know, I don’t know when this is going to air, Matt. But the deadline is approaching fast.

Matt:  Yeah. Is it the 17th? Or is it, when is it?

Susan:  It’s a week, I think it’s the 14th. Are they, yeah. I think it’s the Monday.

Matt:  Yeah. Usually, it takes a couple days after we’re recording. This is being recorded on January 4th. We’ll see how quickly we can get it posted. Edited and all that. Yeah, it might already have passed by then. But still.

Makah:  I think it’s the 14th. Yeah, okay.

Susan:  We have another undertaking that we’re starting right now, which is to set up some virtual meetups. To give more like a one to many type of mentoring opportunity. To give people the opportunity who might be more nervous to speak in public to be able to speak on a video in their own secure world, to get them some confidence to maybe go speak at DevCon one day. But we’re going to start that coming up here in the next few weeks too. I think we have one coming up later in January. It’s not scheduled yet. Watch Twitter for it.

Matt:  Okay.

Makah:  Twitter, and then Facebook. We’ll put –

Susan:  Mm-hmm.

Makah:  … Facebook.

Matt:  Do you do Instagram too?

Makah:  We don’t.

Susan:  We do not do Instagram. We’re on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and we have our Slack channel. Then we are active in the community as well… in the FileMaker community as well.

Makah:  Yeah. That’ll be a good place to post it. Post the announcement.

Matt:  There are so many things.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  Look at all these platforms.

Makah:  Then that’s, the meetups are also open to everyone.

Susan:  Yes.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  Okay. Yeah, Instagram’s not really the right fit for this kind of thing, is it?

Makah:  No.

Matt:  Twitter’s much more for information. Instagram, that’s where you share pictures of your lunch.

Makah:   Exactly.

Susan:  Exactly. Or your kids or your dogs.

Matt:  Right, exactly. Or all of those things.

Susan:  All of the above.

Makah:  Another possible mentorship thing we’re looking into is having kind of what we call a speaker cheerleader. If you’re a first time speaker and you’re nervous and you just want a familiar face in the audience to just kind of support you while you’re there, there’s been, some of our past speakers have said they wish they had somebody there that they really knew that could kind of just support them. That’s possibly on the horizon for the mentorship program as well.

Matt:  Okay. You know what else is great for first-time speakers? Being a guest on FileMaker Talk, and talking about your topic. I’ll throw this out there to any, really anybody. But a special invite to any women who are going to be speaking at DevCon the first time when you get approved. Come on the podcast and talk about your subject.

Makah:  That’s a great idea.

Matt:  Yeah. Get a chance to kind of, it feels different, right? Do you guys feel different sort of being interviewed, compared to just having a conversation, knowing this is being recorded and released?

Susan:  No, this feels like a conversation to me.

Makah:  Yeah, it feels like a conversation. Feels not too bad.

Matt:   A lot of the people I interview get really nervous.

Makah:  Really? Oh. Well, let me ask you this, Susan. Because I’ve never been to Pause. I really want to go. Hopefully, I’ll get to go in the next one. Would you say that speaking at Pause is like a nice first stepping stone to speaking at DevCon? Because I heard it’s also pretty intimate and small. Or is it a little bit more stressful because you’re really having a conversation instead of just presenting what you know, and then that being over?

Susan:  It is very different. It is not about a presentation. To stand up in front of somebody with slides and a podium and lecture is not the Pause brand, as Matt well knows.

Matt:  That’s true. Although the Pause security one, there were several sessions like that. That were really like researched presentations. Then also like the public speaking thing of it. You’re right that they’re very different. But I think there’s some aspect of actually just standing up in front of a bunch of people and talking about a subject.

Susan:  Yes.

Matt:  It’s a good –

Susan:  Absolutely.

Matt:  Yeah.

Susan:  Absolutely. You’re also, you don’t have to … The beauty of Pause, you don’t have to be the subject matter expert. You should bring some good information and share some good information. But you’re inspiring the conversation to make almost like a crowd presentation, you know? Everybody’s adding the input into the discussion. You’re leading the discussion, sort of.

Makah:  That sounds so cool.

Susan:  To me it’s a lot less stressful than presenting. It’s more like having a conversation with some really, really smart people.

Matt:  Yep. I kind of wish DevCon was more like that, honestly. You know, like –

Susan:  I wish there were some sessions like that, for sure.

Matt:  Yeah.

Makah:  That would, yeah.

Matt:  But you can’t do that with 500 people. I mean –

Makah:  No.

Susan:  No. It’s not the same.

Makah:  It would have to be small rooms, a limited amount of people, or something.

Matt:  Yeah.

Susan:  Well, and they used to do that with Unconference sessions. But then they stopped doing those.

Makah:  Huh. Interesting.

Matt:  If I’m going to do any sessions at DevCon, the only ones I would want to do would be panel discussions.

Susan:  Well –

Matt:  I like those.

Susan:  You’re a pretty good MC on those.

Matt:  Yeah.

Makah:  Yeah.

Matt:  I definitely like that role. But also, having people who otherwise wouldn’t speak.

Susan:  Yeah.

Matt:  Hey, we can have panels of mostly or only women, would be interesting. Like here’s a good panel discussion. What are the challenges that you feel are unique to you as a woman, and how did you become successful in your FileMaker career? I’m going to submit that one.

Susan:  You should.

Makah:  Yeah. I’d love that.

Matt:  It would be interesting.

Makah:  That’s a good one.

Matt:  I’m not sure, honestly I’m not sure if it should be me or Kim who leads that panel. It probably should be a woman-led panel, honestly. But nonetheless, I’ll give her the idea and she can submit it if she likes it.

Makah:  Yeah.

Matt:  She’s submitting a couple things anyway.

Makah:  Oh, nice.

Matt:  Anyway. I’m not sure where we’re going with all that. It’s just … I guess the bigger thing is, this is all sort of encompassed in, what other things are you guys doing? What can we do as a community to improve?

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Susan:  You know, we are all volunteers. That should be important to note. We are open to the suggestions and know that we will take whatever we can and run with it. But also since we are all volunteers, if you suggest it, you might be put in charge of it.

Matt:  That’s the way to do it. That is the way.

Susan:  But we have come so far in the past three or four years. Molly Connolly led this group prior to me, and she set us up with such a great structure and such a great direction to go in. Then the team that she put in place initially just ran with it. Makah with the mentoring has done so much. I can say that Elizabeth Swenson has done a lot with fundraising. Last year she did fundraising. This year she’s doing a scholarship. Or did I get that backward? I think I got that backward. She did scholarship last year and is doing fundraising this year.

Makah:  Yes.

Susan:  She’s added so much to this group, and really helped put things together to be able to get out to the public. That’s part of our challenge, and thank you, Matt, for giving us a platform to be able to get the message out. That we want scholarship applications and we need funds to send them there. The funds will be tax deductible since we’re working on our 501C this year. We’re real, and we’re separate from –

Matt:  I missed it for 2018. Sorry.

Susan:  You did. 2018, we were not. But 2019 we will be.

Matt:  Oh, okay. In other words, if there was a donation in 2018 it wouldn’t have been tax deductible?

Makah:  Because we weren’t a 501C yet.

Matt:  So you just started.

Susan:  We weren’t –

Makah:  Yes.

Susan:  Yeah.

Matt:  This is exciting.

Susan:  We weren’t anything. We were just a group of people.

Makah:  A group of women getting stuff done.

Matt:  You’ve actually filed your paperwork in the last couple of days?

Susan:  We have an EIN number. We have formed a corporation in the state of Texas. We are working on the submission for the 501C.

Matt:  That is so exciting. I just sort of figured all that happened in the middle of last year. But that must be, you guys must be pinching yourselves with excitement. That’s amazing.

Susan:  It is pretty exciting. We’re very excited about it. You know, we want to make sure everyone is very aware though that this is not a money-making venture. This is also very separate from FileMaker. We do have Julie Sigfrinius as a liaison for us. She helps us on the FileMaker end and gives us advice when we’re not sure how to navigate some things. But it’s separate from FileMaker.

Matt:  I’m going to bring this up. FileMaker, you mentioned that Pause has their own scholarship thing.

Susan:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  FileMaker doesn’t, and really should.

Susan: Yeah.

Matt: But even if they did, even if they said, “We’re going to offer two scholarships”, or something like that, you guys, you can still do more. I think it’s still super valuable for you to do. Even if FileMaker steps up and offers scholarships for women coming to FileMaker. Wouldn’t you say?

Susan:  Yes. But I would imagine that they would offer, they probably could not discriminate, women versus men. They might do it for maybe new to the FileMaker –

Matt:  Right. First time, or like maybe an age cutoff. Or if you’re a college student. They probably can’t even do one by age. Yeah, you’re right. They’re going to be super limited because they’re Apple.

Susan:  Yeah. Yeah, and as a non-profit who is seeking to encourage women in the tech business, we can absolutely discriminate. That’s what it’s created for. But no, I don’t believe it would affect what we did. If they did it that’s great. Then more people get to go. I love that.

Matt:  That’s cool. Where’s the link to –

Makah:  While we’re talking about –

Matt:  Go ahead.

Makah:  Fundraising.

Matt:  Yes.

Makah:  Can I just give a shout out to the FileMaker community? The amount of money that we raised in days for these scholarships, it just blows my mind. I just can’t believe how supportive the FileMaker community is in helping these first time FileMaker DevCon attendees really advance in their careers. I was just shocked at how much money … Do you know the number, Susan? Or no? I don’t. I just remember it was a lot.

Susan: It was close to $10,000 last year. That is –

Makah:  In a matter of days.

Susan:  Yeah.

Matt:  Wow.

Susan: We had to actually, we opened it last year too late and had to raise it fast. I think this year we’re well ahead of things. We have a Go Fund Me out there. If you do want to donate it’s gofundme.com/wofdevcon2019. It’s the Women of FileMaker DevCon 2019. This was, the Go Fund Me was actually opened before we changed our name. You can –

Matt:  What’s that one again? Gofundme.com/, because I’m opening it now.

Susan:  W –

Makah:  W-O-F.

Susan:  WOF DevCon 2019.

Matt:  Oh yeah, there it is. Pops right up.

Susan:  Yeah.

Matt:  Is there a link to that on your website?

Makah:  Last year …

Susan:  There is.

Matt:  Okay. I don’t see it.

Susan:  If you go to the website there’s a donate area, and you can, it will take you there.

Matt:  Okay.

Susan:  I’m pretty sure. If it’s not, maybe we should look into that. There will be by the time this airs. Sarah Stickford, who is on that page, has such a great story. She was our scholarship winner in 2017 and she was a speaker in 2018.

Matt:  Yes, that’s a great story.

Susan:  It can totally change your FileMaker world by applying and winning this scholarship. But it takes so much of the FileMaker community to contribute to it. Everyone always does, which is so awesome.

Makah:  Amazing, yeah.

Susan:  We have two memorial scholarships I think I should call out too. The Karen Witsel scholarship. She actually was at The Support Group. Both of these are for people who have passed away. Karen was a developer and managing director at The Support Group, and The Support Group sponsors a scholarship every year. As does Wizard Software Solutions. Dave Johnson was the founder of that. He passed away last year. It was a cause near and dear to his heart, so Wizard Software also has a memorial scholarship.

Makah:  We also have Steven Blackwell’s travel scholarship, right?

Susan:  I think so. I don’t know. That one’s less official.

Makah:  Oh, okay.

Susan:  It is a possibility. We’ll see how it plays out.

Makah:  It happened last year.

Susan:  It did happen last year.

Makah:  One other thing I want to mention about the Go Fund Me for last year, that the donations were coming in to the point where I don’t know who was running it then. Was it Josie?

Susan:  It was Josie.

Makah:  She had to close it down. She had to close down, turn off the donations because people were being so generous.

Matt:  Wow.

Makah:  It was really amazing.

Susan:  It really was. But we are short of our goal. Our goal is set, we’re set to award the scholarships earlier this year too. We want to make sure that people know that they don’t have to buy a ticket, can plan to travel, and all of those things before the Early Bird’s over. We’ll be awarding scholarships and making the purchase of them because we then buy the admissions through FileMaker. We like to also try to take advantage of that Early Bird special.

Matt:  Oh, for sure.

Susan:  Yeah. We need some funds here coming up pretty soon. Our winners are going to be announced on February 25th this year.

Matt:  That’s definitely soon, yeah. Funds need to come in. When’s the Early Bird deadline?

Susan:  FileMaker actually hasn’t posted anything for sale yet.

Matt:  Oh, okay. Oh yeah, so you can’t even register yet?

Susan:  You can’t register yet.

Matt:   That makes sense. It’s really far in advance.

Susan:  It is. Last year I think it was close to the end of February when Early Bird was over. We want to make sure that we have the funds to do it when the time comes, and we need about $10,000 more. We’ve already gotten $3000 this year. Our year, we call it DevCon to DevCon.

Matt:  Right.

Susan:  Our year actually started right after DevCon. But we’re short, so help us.

Makah:  Yes. Everyone. I think we need to do another big push, and we’ll get there.

Matt:  I think this is the first time we’ve made a plea on FileMaker Talk for donations. But I am making a plea for donations.

Susan:  Thank you, Matt. I appreciate that as well. Your support is important.

Makah:  Yes.

Susan:  The overwhelming thing that I have heard too is, the support that so many men in the FileMaker community have for our group and for our goals and for what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s really overwhelming, and such a blessing to have so many wonderful men support the women. I don’t think that that happens in all tech industries.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  Well I would chalk that up to just the FileMaker industry being so much more collaborative and supportive in general.

Susan:  Yes.

Matt:  I don’t think it’s, I don’t know. I guess I don’t really see a difference of men in this community versus any other community I’m in. But I don’t know, maybe there is. It just seems like we have such a culture of collaboration compared to other industries that are more cutthroat. You know?

Makah:  Right.

Susan:  I think that’s probably true.

Matt:  Like .NET developers.

Susan:  That could be the difference.

Matt:  Let’s nerd out on FileMaker for a couple of minutes, unless there’s any other stuff you guys want to close. I definitely feel like I have to get my nerd on a little bit, and I’ve got you guys on the phone with deep expertise in tech with FileMaker and project management with FileMaker. I’d love for you guys to impart some wisdom. Lay it on me. Like favorite … Here’s what I’ll just ask. Really cool things you’ve done on a project in the last few weeks, or something like that.

Susan:  Hmm.

Matt:  Like, I don’t know if it was like an API integration or a cool project management win, Susan. Or, I don’t know. An interesting use of button bars?

Susan:  Well so –

Matt:  Unprepared.

Makah:  Something I did kind of recently, you know over the years the coolest technique always changes.

Matt:  Mm-hmm.

Makah:  I was like, “What is the coolest newest technique for portal filtering and portal sorting, and stuff like that?”

Matt:  Yeah.

Makah:  I reached out to everyone at Soliant internally and said, “Okay everyone, tell me what’s the newest thing here. Because I don’t really know”. I got a really cool suggestion, and so I kind of combined all of that into one demo file and wrote a blog post about it. If you’re interested in that, my blog post, it’s on the Soliant website. But I thought that was cool. Just the way it did it was pretty nifty.

Matt:  That’s cool. Did you read Chris Irvine’s blog post about portal sorting?

Makah:  No, was that pretty new?

Matt:  It’s really new. He has one –

Makah:  Okay, I’ll look it up.

Matt:   It’s only about one really specific topic. But he discovered that there’s one ridiculously fast way to get inverse natural order sorted. Like the inverse order of record creation. It’s pretty interesting.

Makah:  Oh.

Matt:  Yeah. What was in yours? What do you have in there?

Makah:  Oh man, you’re asking me about stuff before the holiday break.

Matt:  Yeah.

Makah:  I honestly don’t remember.

Matt:  Was there a few really cool ones?

Makah:  I just remember, it was cool. Yeah. I just remember, “This is interesting”. Honestly, I’d have to pull it up to tell you.

Matt:  Did you make a video too? Or a demo file?

Makah:  I didn’t … There’s a demo file. There’s a demo file.

Matt:  Okay.

Makah:  I don’t have a video. But there is a demo file. Yeah.

Matt:  Do you guys do, on the Soliant blog, do you sometimes do video as well?

Makah:  Yeah. Well, we have Soliant TV. It’s like our YouTube channel, and we’ll sometimes do both a blog and a video. Or sometimes just a video on Soliant TV. Yes, we do that. Mm-hmm.

Matt: We’re trying to do some of those too.

Makah:  Yeah. I feel like the videos are easy to follow. It’s nice. But it’s also nice to have a demo file for you to play with and pick apart.

Matt:  Oh, pick apart, yeah.

Makah: Yeah. I don’t know which one’s better.

Matt:  I’ve always thought that people sort of learn either by hearing, by doing, or by seeing. Right?

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  I mean the typical ways to learn. That’s video file, podcast, and demo.

Makah:  Yep. Mm-hmm. Totally.

Matt:  Yeah, so kind of hitting all of them. I’ve always been more auditory. I listen to books on Audible. I’ve been doing podcasting forever.

Makah:  Yeah.

Matt:  For me, when I hear something it just kind of sits in my brain in a different place, and with more permanence than other methods of learning.

Makah:  I’ve been really into podcasts recently. I totally bing listened to all of your podcasts. They were really good.

Matt:  They help you sleep, don’t they? So boring.

Makah:  I listen to them when I drive. But yeah, there are some really good podcasts out there.

Matt:  … after years. But what’s your other favorite podcast? Do you listen to like Serial and This American Life?

Makah:  I like Serial, yes. This American Life. Serial I thought was, the first season was so good. I was just walking around the house with my headphones on because I couldn’t not be listening to it.

Matt:  Mm-hmm. Yeah, I totally binged that one too.

Makah:  Yeah. Then there are a couple of new ones I need to check out people have recommended, and I don’t remember what they’re called. But yeah, I need to get back into it. But it was like my go to, if ever I have a down, like if I’m going to be in the kitchen and making lunch I’m going to be listening to my podcasts.

Matt:  Yeah.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  Radiolab‘s a big favorite of mine. Then I listen to a bunch of science nerd ones too.

Makah:  Oh yeah?

Matt:  Like Science Talk, and some other ones like that. I listen to –

Susan:   In –

Matt: … podcasts.

Susan:  Sorry, go ahead.

Matt:  Like between books I listen to. Susan, what about you? A FileMaker thing?

Susan:  A FileMaker thing?

Matt:  Mm-hmm.

Susan:  The thing I worked on most recently that has been such a blast, coming out of the PauseOnError in May, I continued working with Ernest Koe and John Sindelar for the PauseX in Chicago for PauseOnSecurity. Out of that, I built a template for future PauseXs. It’s an Asana solution hosted by The Proof Group. But it’s a template, so that as new Pause X people want to put on a Pause, they have a template to follow. That was such a blast to break it down into each of the different types of things you’re working on and what order they’re supposed to go in. That’s really been a blast.

Susan:  I’ve loved being involved with Pause. I’ve learned so much from the community, and ways to think outside the box, instead of just doing it the way you’ve always done it. You always ask why.

Matt:  Right.

Susan:  That’s one of the things I’ve loved in creating something that is structured for something that is purposely unstructured. It was a very interesting challenge.

Matt:  What a lovely way to put it. That’s so true. That gets right to it.

Makah:  Very poetic.

Matt:  Mm-hmm.

Makah:  I bet the networking at Pause must be incredible. At the end of Pause do you basically know everybody by their first name?

Matt:  How can you not have gone to Pause?

Susan:  Yeah.

Makah:   I know.

Susan:  You have to go.

Makah:  I don’t know. I know. I do have to go.

Matt:  I don’t know if I would say that you know everybody, but you definitely know a lot more percentage of the people. Because you … Like the Pause security one, the most recent one.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Matt:  I looked around the room and there were maybe two or three people who I didn’t hear speak. I didn’t hear like a question –

Makah:  Oh.

Matt:  They sort of –

Makah:  Oh.

Matt:  It was sort of conspicuous. Like everybody else of the, I don’t know, 50 or so people there. Something like that?

Susan:  There were 43 people.

Matt:  43 people? Yeah. I had, like I took great nuggets from almost everybody in the room after that.

Makah:  That’s awesome.

Matt:  I looked around and I was thinking, “What did I learn from you? What did I learn from you? What did I learn from you?”. There was only, like it was kind of weird as I thought about how interactive it was. It was great that there was just a few. I mean there’s always going to be wallflowers, quiet people, whatever. Introverts.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Susan:  But it’s a room of introverts as well. I mean, most developers are introverted. Even going into those situations, being surrounded by people who are also introverts gives you a little bit of confidence to say what you know you’re good at. Because that’s why you’re here.

Matt:  Yeah. I’m an introvert.

Susan:  You’re right, everyone speaks.

Matt:  I don’t think you are, Susan. Are you?

Susan:  I am absolutely not.

Matt:  Well Makah, I think you and I are introverts. But I’m labeled as an extroverted introvert. Whatever that means.

Makah:  I feel like I’m like that too. I’m usually not an introvert after a couple drinks. But before that I’m pretty quiet.

Matt:  Yeah. The best definition I heard of it recently is, “Do you get energy from being with people, or does being with people take energy from you?”.

Susan:  Right.

Makah:  Oh, interesting.

Susan:  You know, and I can say, at DevCon even I sometimes have to go to my room and be by myself for a while.

Makah:  Yeah. It can be overload.

Matt:  It can be overload.

Susan:  Because there’s so much, and you want to do all of it.

Makah:  Mm-hmm.

Susan:  But you know, at Pause it’s a lot more laid back. A lot more laid back. You should definitely go to the next one, Makah.

Makah:  Okay. Everyone here is going to hold me accountable now.

Matt:  Or just –

Makah:  … going.

Matt:  I don’t think there’s one announced. Let’s talk about when and where it’s going to be.

Makah:  Yeah, is there? That’s a good question.

Matt:  Portland needs another one.

Susan:  There might be a Pause X in a planning stage.

Matt:  Oh, excellent.

Makah: Nice.

Susan:  I can say that you should probably watch Twitter or the Pause website in the next few, let’s say within the next month. Then you’ll get some information.

Matt:  This is exciting.

Makah:  Ooh.

Matt:  A hint has been dropped.

Susan:  That’s my insider information.

Matt:  That made the whole podcast worthwhile right there. Actually, it was all good. Thank you so much both of you for taking the time out. I don’t know if there’s anything else you want to add. Now’s the time. We’re coming up on an hour. I have really loved this conversation.

Susan:  I’ll just … I have loved it too. I’ll just close by saying, you know, our membership is open to all the women that work in the FileMaker industry. You do not have to be a developer. Quite a few members are in sales, project management, marketing. You’re supporting, just like I do. I am not a developer. You’re supporting the development aspects and people in the industry. It is open to all women who work in the FileMaker industry. Don’t not join because you think that you’re not a developer. It’s okay. We welcome you.

Makah:  Yes.

Matt:  Thank you for that.

Makah:  Actually I’ll end by saying, if you are interested in learning more, join our Slack channel. Because I feel like it’s so cool to just have a bunch of women who know FileMaker, and you could ask any question to this whole group of women. People have asked technical questions. They’ve asked non-technical questions just to the group.

Susan:  We have a job board.

Makah:  Yeah, we have a job –

Susan:  We have a job board on the group.

Makah:  Exactly. If you need some work or you’re looking for someone to help you with your work, there are lots of resources there with our Slack channel. You’re not alone in this, women of FileMaker. There are other women out there to help.

Matt:  Awesome. Well, that’s some great content.

Susan:  Thanks so much for having us.

Makah:  Yeah, thank you so much. You’re such a great host.

About Susan Fennema

Susan helps you gain control of your business through process development, organization, and structure of your business operations and projects. From developing processes to coaching project managers, she can help you get beyond the chaos.
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