September 10, 2008

Out & Equal Workplace Summit 2008

Posted in transgender at 8:56 pm by Michael

Anh, Samwich and I arrived in Austin today for the Out & Equal Workplace Summit 2008.

I’m on a panel tomorrow for the afternoon plenary session (at 3:30) with the CEO of Clorox, as well as the President of AT&T California – Don Knauss and Ken McNeely (bios). Cindy Solomon is the moderator. We are doing a panel discussion, and we each have been given a few minutes to speak up front, and then answer questions from the audience. I’ve been asked to talk about transitioning in the workplace, and I expect that I’ll be asked questions around that topic.

So… I’m a little nervous. I’m no CEO, and this is the first time that I’ve done a non-techie presentation to anywhere near this number of people (I’ve been told that there are about 3000 registered – how many show up to see us? Well see!) I still feel like a total newbie in this space. Who am I to give advice, or even think that my experience is relevant? After a lot of teeth gnashing, I’ve decided to go pretty simple – big lessons learned for me, and big lessons that (I think) Microsoft learned.

For any even semi-regular reader of this space, my big lessons are the same ones I’ve been writing about for quite some time:

– If you aren’t ashamed, don’t act like you are!

– Open to questions means that there aren’t any secrets!

– Be unconstrained by percieved limitations

– Don’t be an adjective!

and so on… Of course, each of these little bon mots will be accompanied by an anectode (I’m nothing if not anecdotal).

I can’t say that my path would be good for anyone else, but it was my path, and I’ll talk about it. Please, if you are in the audience, no snoring.

Plenary 2 – Tomorrow in Austin. I’ll be there.

(As an aside, tomorrow is the one year anniversary of me sending my “Hi, I’m coming back in January with a new name and a new gender presentation!” (No, the mail didn’t say that – I’ll post it tomorrow for reference… it was *way* more eloquent) I could not have planned it this way… Quite a bit of change in a year, huh?)

PS – If you are at O&E and are wondering where I’m going to be, drop me a comment on the “Contact” page, and I’ll see what I can do!



  1. Kelli Z said,

    Wow a year since that mail already!

    I remember when I first got it; it had been forwarded to me with the intent that you wanted people to know. I only remembered you a little from when I worked on the IE team a long time back. I sat there, stared at the mail, and I’m sure that many had the same gut reaction – wow that was kind of not a mail I was expecting today! I always remembered you in the lobby of building 10 for some reason during some meeting that had been there. I tried to get my mind around this new information. The code of Michael/Megan wouldn’t compile in my head for a few minutes.

    On it’s heels was the real thinking; wouldn’t this be hard? How much guts does it take to take a step like that?

    Many people go years, maybe their whole lives, not knowing who they are. They go through life not understanding themselves, hiding themselves, and living unhappy, unfulfilling lives because they can’t understand who they are. When I think of that, I think you are very fortunate that you not only know who you are, but you aren’t afraid to live it and embrace it. You will always have that which many others lack in their lives, a strong sense of self and the conviction to be who you are.

    With that in mind, it all made perfect sense. 😀

    Congrats on yet another milestone!

  2. Marybeth said,

    I was at Out & Equal 2008, and had the good fortune of attending the plenary session you participated in. I can assure you that no one was snoring! Your “Lessons Learned” are ones we can all take heed, and your experience is relevant to so many more people than you can imagine.

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