Giving Women Credit

What can be done to improve retention of women in tech? Here’s one suggestion: recognize and reward our accomplishments. As management advice goes, this may seem obvious, even trivial, but it can have huge impact on women’s job satisfaction and career advancement.

Everyone has been given career advice like this:

“In addition to doing excellent work, you must make sure that your work is recognized. This may consist of making a point to tell your boss, or your boss’s boss, what you have done—either orally, or by sending reports or copies of pertinent correspondence.

Deborah Tannen: Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work

In other words, “lean in.” But… there’s a Catch-22 for women in such advice. Continue reading


A few (extremely busy) weeks ago, Brendan Gregg wrote a blog post very different from his usual technical treatises: it was about me. And it’s probably the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.

It’s taken me a while to come up with an adequate response – I have been, most uncharacteristically, struck dumb. 

But, finally… here goes.

Asked to speak at a stranger’s bachelor party, Bill Murray had this excellent advice to give on love and marriage:

“If you have someone that you think is The One, don’t just think… ‘Okay, let’s make a date. Let’s plan this and make a party and get married.’ Take that person and travel around the world… go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And if when you come back… you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.”

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Cancer: The Aftermath

It’s been 11 months since I finished chemo. I’ve had one mammogram (January), due for another in June, with follow-up visits each time with my oncologist, radiation oncologist, and surgeon. So far all clear.

So what happens after cancer is “vanquished”? Frankly, it’s not pretty, or easy, and I haven’t had much mental space to experience feelings of relief or even to simply be glad I survived. My body has been a battlefield for over 18 months. I’m scarred, physically and emotionally, in ways that may never heal. And there are plenty of side effects of treatment still to deal with… Continue reading

Deirdré Straughan by Helena Price 2016-0

The Techies Project

I am thrilled and honored to be included in the Techies Project, which launched this week as a way to showcase some of the diversity that does exist in the tech industry. There’s not nearly as many of us as there should be, but we are definitely here. And we are staying, and growing. Projects like this can help us know that we’re not alone in this.

For more about the project and the woman behind it, Helena Price, read here:

And there’s been lots of press:

The portrait of me above is the one Helena did for the project (she’s a great photographer!). There’s also a somewhat edited transcript of two hours of conversation we had about my history in life and in tech – I really need to edit that down more, it’s a lot of words! But you should read all the other stories on the site – there are some truly amazing people in tech, far outside the mental picture we all have of tech as being all young white dudes in hoodies.

Deirdré on water buffalo at TIMland, 1968

A Peculiar Experience of Privilege: Part 1

Born in the American South

I was born – as we all are – into a world of assumptions about race, nationality, and privilege. My particular life experience was unusual, for a white American.

I was born in New Orleans in 1962, when the Civil Rights movement was still a long way from achieving its goals. My parents were activists, participating in lunch counter sit-ins. While I was still small, we moved to Beaumont, Texas, where my dad (then teaching at Lamar University) was the campaign manager for the first black man to run for mayor of Beaumont. He didn’t win. (In east Texas circa 1964? Are you kidding?) I’m told we had a cross burned on our lawn over that, but I don’t remember the incident, if I even saw it.

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