I just joined the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology (ABI)'s Board of Advisors, and while I'm obviously pretty excited about this on a personal level, I wanted to share a bit about how I got here. It really goes to show that with a little effort and commitment, great things can happen.
I suppose you could say it all started with this blog. After all, by the time my first Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in 2008 rolled around, I was pretty confident in my writing. So I volunteered to be a community blogger, and delivered what I promised to do. Leading up to 2009, I offered more and more to help with community-related tasks (mostly blogging still), and was eventually made Lead Blogger. I organized all the blogging and note taking volunteers and made sure as many key sessions were covered as possible. This past year, I was on the newly formed conference committee for Online Communities, where I was again Lead Blogger among other things.
Thanks to my involvement with ABI and the conference, I became pretty visible in the community. This past year, I was also a Hopper volunteer for Grace Hopper, which means I did 8 hours of work for free registration. Through a little bit of good luck, one of my assignments ended up being the Board of Advisors meeting. This was pretty funny, because it's not like they needed me there. But I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone, and even sitting beside (and explaining the Poken devices to) the legendary Fran Allen. (She's awesome, by the way.) I joked that it was like fate, because if they were looking for more members and wanted another student and/or someone from Canada, I would totally be interested.
Lo and behold, less than two months later, I was invited to the Board. Who knows whether being at that meeting helped, or whether my visibility through my active involvement with ABI was enough - either way, going above and beyond and offering yourself to help where you can clearly pays off. Don't be afraid to offer to help with something you're good at, because you just never know where it could lead you.