Editor’s Note: The Women in DevOps blog series features leading women in the DevOps industry. This post features Buffi Gresh and Summer Weisberg, two women from CloudBees, who were selected to speak at this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration 2019 in Orlando. The dynamic duo will share their experience with helping companies navigate the waters of digital transformation during the event.
Four inspired CloudBees women set their sights high this year and selected a goal to speak at the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, which is said to have sold out of 20K+ tickets within minutes of the opening of online registration. They worked together to author and submit three powerful abstracts, one of which was selected. But the story here is about the power of working together, about beating the odds through partnership and sisterhood. They knew that multiple submissions would stand a better chance than one and partnering on each would produce the best product.
Buffi admits that speaking at Grace Hopper represents a career-high and humble honor. Her daughter is graduating this year from the University of Maryland with a degree in Information Systems. Buffi says, “At home, I’m Mom. What a wonderful gift it will be to have my daughter see me knee-deep in DevOps techno-babble and spewing all the latest acronyms. It’s amazing to work for a company that supports diversity and inspires us to spread our wings.”
Summer is thankful to be surrounded by strong women at CloudBees who push her on a continuous basis. She admits that taking the time and energy to submit proposals to Grace Hopper in addition to all her other responsibilities was intimidating but having the support and partnership of others turned it into a fun and rewarding experience. Being selected was an honor and she remembers the excited text from Buffi as soon as the speaker selections were published. Those little moments make all the difference.
AVP, Jenkins Product Business Team
What should a woman leader try to avoid in her work?
Avoid spending time on things you don’t have the power to change. If you want to search for inequality and negativity, you will find it. But if you search for equality and support you will find those too. The easiest way to effect change is through yourself. Hard work trumps all. Don’t hide or ignore your unique strengths. For me, it’s my instincts, free-thinking and compassion that gives me an edge.
What’s a big tip you want to share with other women in tech to achieve success?
Don’t stay in your lane. Don’t be the victim of your own glass ceiling. As women, we often have these societal and familial voices telling us how to dress, what we’re good at, and how high we can climb. If you don’t strive to attain what you feel might be unattainable, you will never really know the limits of your potential. I believe we fall victim to our own limitations every day. Break your Glass Ceiling. Shatter it, climb up and don’t look down. But remember, it’s invisible, so you might not even know where you put it!
What is an anecdote surrounding your experience that can help women in tech?
I was working as a Fortran programmer, just three years post-grad, interviewing for a new job in Windows programming. I edited my resume and replaced my first name with my initials. Physics, math and computer science degrees, for sure, everyone would assume I was a male. But… I did not get a ton of responses until I enlisted a consulting firm, who rewrote my resume and added my full name back in. The job interviews poured in. On my first day in my new cool programming job with one of the big banks, I found out the only reason they interviewed me was to see what a “Buffi” looked like. And here is where you can choose to find the good or choose to find the bad. I realized that as a woman I have advantages that men don’t have and there is nothing wrong with using them. I also realized that hard work and intelligence trumps all, because although I secured the interview with my name, I secured the job with my brain. Ok, maybe it was the red dress I wore, but a red dress and weird name only get you in the door. My insane work ethic kept me there.
About Buffi Gresh
Buffi is a DevOps technologist, author, speaker and IT professional with a current focus on helping enterprises drive CD adoption. She has 20+ years of experience in many legs of IT including architecting, development and business value realization. Buffi has a passion for numbers, receiving degrees in physics, math and computer science. Early in her career, she founded a software development company where she built financial software for Fortune 500 enterprises.
Director, World Wide Customer Success Management
If you could have given your younger self some advice for the future, what would you tell her?
Don’t wait for the perfect scenario. I spent the first 10 years of my career passing on opportunities because I didn’t feel ready. I always thought I needed to learn more or have more experience or wait until my kids were older. Not to steal anyone’s slogan but now I’d say just do it. There will never be a perfect scenario so stop waiting for it and just jump into the deep end.
How can women build each other up and support each other in this industry?
Everyone wants a safe place they can ask questions about technical topics or career progression so providing a community for women to do that is key. I’m fortunate that I have a few key people, male and female, that I’m comfortable asking any question without feeling I’m exposing myself to criticism or judgment. It makes a huge difference in my ability to learn and respond to situations. I also find it hugely rewarding to be able to do that for others. So, I’d definitely say making ourselves accessible to each other and offering support is critical.
About Summer Weisberg
Summer has more than 15 years of experience in IT ranging from enterprise software development and testing to professional services and customer success. She has a passion for problem-solving and enjoys working with customers to develop strategies to transform their organizations. Summer fully believes that technology enablers must be combined with business value outcomes to support successful adoption.
- Register for this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration
- View the 2019 agenda
- Find out more about the organization