E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day – ¡Gracias, Mamá!

It’s that time of the year again, folks! Time to go and celebrate Ada Lovelace Day: “an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science". If you have been reading this blog for a while, you would remember how last year I also contributed into this wonderful initiative proposed by Suw Charman-Anderson by putting together a blog post that I still remember and treasure quite a bit, because of the impact its protagonist has had in my career at IBM, my current employer.

So I just couldn’t escape this year either and here I am again, once more, putting together a few words to celebrate such a special day. And you may be wondering who, out of those amazingly talented women in technology and science that have influenced me so much over the course of the years, I would love to blog about, right? Well, this year I thought I would go back to basics and celebrate the person who’s been the most influential for me into becoming what I am today and what I do with a passion day in day out: my mum!

Yes, indeed, today I am going to celebrate this special Ada Lovelace Day in a different way; in a very different way. My mum has never worked with technology, she hasn’t been much around it either!; quite the opposite! She has never been on the Internet; she doesn’t own any other kind of technology related gadget other than a standard, classic mobile phone; she doesn’t do email (Yay!), nor Facebook, nor Twitter;  she would probably freak out if she finds out the kinds of social software activities one of her sons has been involved with over the course of the years; she probably even can’t be bothered about everything Internet related!

In fact, if you Google her name it won’t show up. At all! Nothing. Zipped. Nada. So I’m going to keep respecting her treasured privacy and just celebrate her achievement in helping me become what I’m today; she gave me birth a few years ago; she has always been quite an inspiration when things have gotten tough to keep moving along; to fight the good fights; to understand that life is a continuous learning process that one cannot ignore, nor neglect, but, instead, embrace and enjoy every single minute of it! There is no way back! It’s not a choice, it’s a given!

She is the one who, back when I was at high school (When BASIC was en vogue), taught me how just because I hated pretty badly such a subject as Computing (Back then I just couldn’t stand computers! Who would have thought about that today, right?), I shouldn’t ignore coming around it, study harder to pass it, which I barely did, so it wouldn’t stop me from moving further on, and persevere, because there’s a great chance that it may come around at some point…

That may come around at some point was 10 years later, after having graduated as an English teacher, having lived abroad in multiple European countries, worked in several interim jobs, having landed in The Netherlands for a two week holiday and lo and behold I started working for IBM. Back in January 1997. Till today!

Goodness! She was just so right! It was her perseverance, her stubbornness to keep me going with that troublesome subject, her enduring patience for me to keep learning and progress further that I do still treasure today, because, just like back then, whenever I confront a similar situation I seem to have developed those skills to fight the good fight and get something out of it, including my dream job!

Funny part is that for her, 13 years later, nothing much has changed. She knows I work for IBM, and she knows I do stuff with computers and maybe the Internet, I don’t know. Actually, every time that we talk on the phone, or see each other face to face, we keep talking about everything else but technology, which I find quite amazing, specially in today’s world. She keeps me real, very much down to earth, trying to explain to her what I do in my day to day job without using any kind of jargon that would make things more complex. Quite the opposite, but that probably deserves a blog post on its own at some point.

To me, my Ada Lovelace Day will be my dear mum, the one who planted the seed many years ago to be curious about things, to explore, to always want to learn more, to challenge things that don’t make sense, to healthily challenge people always looking for the best in them and their conversations, to keep getting up when knocked down, to move on with our lives in the best possible way making use of the tools we may have at our disposal. And, to me, that’s technology; that’s what she has taught me throughout the years and why I knew how at some point in time I would be creating a blog entry on the subject and I am surely glad it’s today.

Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day! ¡Gracias, mamá! 😀

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  1. Luis, your story reminds me of my mother. Back in high school I had to take French and I got my only D (almost a fail) ever in any subject. I was an honours student so I thought it would be best to drop French. My mother set me straight and said I had to keep with the course because I started it and learning languages is a good thing. I did finish the course and I think finished with a C+. In later years I would work in French while in the Army and now I have business partners in France. Moms are smart!

    1. What a great story, Harold! Yes, moms are *incredibly* smart! Always have been! It’s funny, too, because mine reacted pretty much in the same way; Computing on that high school year was the only subject I almost ever didn’t pass and it was thanks to her and stubbornness that got me through it with a C; then I remember how when I was in The Netherlands and I joined IBM she reminded me over a phone conversation that very same year with that very same subject: “Remember Computing back at high school? … I told you it would pay off!” and it sure did! 🙂

      Smart moms! Never underestimate their judgment; they are probably right! 🙂

    1. Oh dear, yeah, they do, don’t they? Every time they have got a chance they are rather assertive in reminding us all about such “little” things! Every time I see her F2F and I mentioned to her I’m still working for the same company she goes and smiles… I know the rest! 😛

  2. Thanks for sharing this delightful story. My women-in-computing blog post (to be written someday) will be about the seminar I attended from Commodore Grace Hopper. I still have the nanosecond she gave me! (anyone that attended one of her seminars will know what I’m referring do.)

    1. Hi Eric! You have now made me very very curious about Grace and her seminars; I guess I will find out at some point what you were referring to with the above commentary… Intriguing! 😉

      Thanks though for the kind comments; look forward to speaking to you soon on that lovely topic it’s developing over email 😛

    1. Hi Mary! Oh, thanks a bunch for dropping by and for the kind comments! Yeah, I can imagine! More than happy for you to forward it along to that kid and see how things go 🙂

      They worked out all right with me, so I can imagine how it could also work out for others 😉 hehe

      Thanks again and will speak to you soon!

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