Wow, time has flown by. I can’t believe we’re already in week two of 2018! Before we get too far into the year, I wanted to take a moment to look back at 2017, and share some of the things that I’m excited for in 2018.
Between family, friends, work, travel, moving to a new city and maintaining some semblance of sanity, 2017 was one heck of a rollercoaster year. For the most part, I hope that rollercoaster ride continues going into 2018 as it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ll break the year down into a few different “categories” so to speak.
The one with the biggest change is probably my work. I started 2017 working at Microsoft in Vancouver. It was such an unforgettable experience where I had the opportunity to work alongside some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. Working at such a large company like Microsoft has many benefits like being able to work on projects spanning low level networking to websites like MSN or creating a Mixed Reality experience. You also have the opportunity to take part in many different events around the office like a Sumobot challenge, or the internal office Hackathon and I was super proud of what my teams cerated for both of these. I worked on low level networking, and have a much larger appreciation for how the internet works. I did, however, also realize that while low level networking is an extremely interesting space to work in, it wasn’t the kind of thing that interested me as my day job and definitely not what I wanted to be doing five years from now. I began looking for a new role that better aligned with my interests, which led me to both internal teams at Microsoft as well as external companies. Eventually, I made the decision to join Square on the Square Cash team! I started a week ago, and it’s been great so far!
With the job came another change: I left my home and friends in Vancouver and have now moved to Waterloo. New year, new job, new city. Bring it on!
I think the most surprising thing that happened this year was how much I got to travel. I figured that once I started working, I’d have to nip my wanderlust in the bud and not get to travel as much as I would like to. Boy was I wrong.
I originally wrote this section, and it was super long, so I’m going to put it in a list format instead:
- Seattle and Redmond to visit the Microsoft HQ
- Toronto (a couple of times throughout the year)
- Calgary and Banff while my sister was visiting me
- Whistler (a couple of times)
- Sri Lanka, Maldives and Dubai on a family holiday (I finally got my Scuba Diving License, and got to dive with Sharks!)
- England (London) and Spain (Marbella) for a bachelorette trip
- Victoria on Vancouver Island for a conference I was speaking at
- Washington DC (job interview)
- Toronto and Waterloo (job interview)
- Seattle (job interview)
- Kenya (home will always be where the heart is)
- Ajman (an hour from Dubai) for a wedding
- London for my sisters graduation
- USA for an incredible roadtrip with my sister: Miami —> Florida Keys —> Orlando —> Pensacola —> New Orleans —> Houston
Looking back, I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to top this year in terms of travel since I’ve hit so many bucket list destinations. For example, swimming with sharks in the maldives or riding horses in the Canadian Rockies! The great thing about my bucket list is I still have so many places on it that I can’t wait to go and visit! I know there’s already at least one bachelorette party in an exotic destination to look forward to this year, a big family event back home in Kenya, as well as some potential speaking opportunity related trips that are currently in the works. As for my bucket list - I’m sure I’ll knock off a few more places on the list soon!
My proudest non-work work achievement for 2017 is the work I’ve done with Elixir Labs. Elixir Labs is a non profit that partners with other non profits to create technical solutions in order to help the non profit achieve more. It’s a fully volunteer based startup with a lot of future potential. I joined EL in late 2016 as a developer, but now find myself… running the ship instead. This is a huge responsibility, and not one I take lightly. As a fully volunteer based organization, we hit many blockers over the year, but I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve accomplished on three different projects, and can’t wait to officially announce these projects in the next month or two. My goal for 2018 with regards to Elixir Labs is to recruit more members, and really make the kind of positive impact in the world that I know we’re capable of. (Psst, if you’re interested - get in touch! I’m looking for people with many different types of skills!)
Other than this, I’ve had the opportunity to teach elementary students through the Hour of Code, and given a few talks both at Conferences as well as virtually. I’m hoping to work and improve on both my technical and speaking skills and already have a couple of great opportunities in the works! I also did the very unique experience of both a SnapChat and Instagram takeovers for Women in Tech and Tech Founder groups and really enjoyed them. While I’m still somewhat cautious with the type of information I share on Social Media, I really enjoyed the real time interaction with people watching me and the types of questions they’d ask. I’d like to try and do more of these in the future, as well as share more of my technical adventures on my Social Media channels.
Family & Friends
2017 gave me a huge appreciation for the people I surround myself with, and the people I’m willing to give my time to. This may sound corny, but I spent the most amount of time with my sister this year than in the last 6 and I’m always so impressed by her. She hands down knows me best, and is someone that inspires me constantly and is the kind of person I’m extremely proud to call me sister. Ok, gushing over my sister is officially over.
I could do an entire sequence of blog posts on how amazing an awesome my family and friends are (and just might one day). Whether you’re my partner in crime when it comes to eating Thai Express, my photography buddy, my identity swap partner, or someone in a far off city and we called/texted/skyped/snail mail’ed/met in person after years, you’re awesome. Thanks for showing me friendship over the year, whatever form that took. Hopefully you didn’t get too bored hanging out with me :)
This Is The End Where I Begin
Wow, that was a lot longer than I expected it to be. A decent mix of 2017 review, and 2018 ambitions. I think one of the most important things I experienced in 2017 is the concept of “going with the flow”. I had a lot of unexpected twists and turns, and by going with the flow I think I made the most out of it. In a similar stream of thought, I want to continue “going with the flow” and see what unexpected twists and turns come my way this year!
Happy 2018 to all!