Diversity, career, HR

#WomenColorTech at Microsoft

Agenda and list of speakers for the evening. 

Agenda and list of speakers for the evening. 

Before: Pleasantly surprised at both the turnout and the makeup of the audience. This is the first diversity event dominated by a diverse group of attendees. Also the first diversity related event in which there seem to be more corporate than startup. 


- "diversity is super profitable."
- No pomp and circumstance, getting right into the speakers and the meat of the event.
- First all black panel I've seen. Badass.
- Barabino: personal, professional, and STEM identity
- "You're going to be a great CTO. And you're going to be a great mom" - Minerva Tantoco (twitter

Overall: Very strong event around diversity and women of color in tech. Microsoft partnered with Startup52 brought together insightful and bold panelists and speakers who weren't afraid to give some real talk about problems, solutions, and how they've been affected as women in STEM industries. 

life lessons

How Toilet Training My Cat Made Me A Better Person

Originally posted on Buzzfeed

Life Lessons From Toilet Training A Cat

I live in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City where the bathroom window opens to an airshaft. I have a cat, Niko. Therefore, I had a litter box. The combination of the litter box and no fresh air was truly horrific. One day, my mother sent me a link to CitiKitty and said “Wouldn’t this be great for Niko!”

Well, anything was better than the status quo, so the training began. It was entertaining, frustrating, and involved a lot of vacuuming of excess litter during the training process, and the whole thing was a great learning experience for us both.

Niko and his Toilet

Niko and his Toilet

Challenge Yourself to Make That “Smelly” Situation Better

Toilet training my cat was a result of necessity. My quiet literal “smelly situation” needed to end and I took action. A simple purchase click of the CitiKitty kit and there was hope for a better situation by challenging the cat, my New York life, and me.

Niko was quite open to the new litter contraption. For the 6 weeks where the litter tray resided on my toilet there was much cheering and positivity. The cat was succeeding! I was still cleaning clumps from a tray, but hey, it was all flushable contents!

By the end, Niko was toilet ready each and every time. I took initiative to make a smelly situation better and into one where everyone’s quality of life is better. It doesn’t get much more amazing in my crazy cat lady book!

Take Enjoyment Out of the Little Things in Life

Every time Niko pees or poops I have one or more reactions:

Giggle. Laugh. Point and Laugh. Or saying, “HEY LOOK AT MY CAT ON THE TOILET!”

It reminds me that each and every day awesome events are all around us. Toilet training Niko (and the comedic aftermath) has had a profound effect on my enjoyment of life with a ‘stop and smell the flowers’ mentality.


Everyone Likes an Interesting Conversation Starter

Many don’t believe me that my cat uses the toilet (thank you, video function on my phone for allowing proof at all times), but boy is it a great conversation starter. There are volumes written about the best way to begin chatting with someone you don’t know. Niko has provided me a great intro to a conversation, it is important to find (or take action) to find yours!