Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day: Julie Lerman

Apparently today is Ada Lovelace Day (more information here). It's an opportunity for bloggers to write about women in technology who have inspired us. That makes this the perfect time to write a few sentences about one of the programmers who has been an inspiration and friend for around 5 years now - Julie Lerman.

I originally met Julie because she runs our local .NET user group. She works tirelessly for this group. She ensures the meetings are scheduled, maintains the web site, arranges for speakers, getting little gifts for them and presents her own topics when speakers are hard to come by.

Her technical skills, energy and humor are wonderful. But that's not why I wanted to write about her on this day.

It is Julie's dedication to community which is inspiring. She continually works to foster a real sense of community among the people who attend the user group. There's the usual call for people to raise their hands if they are looking for work or looking to hire (what I call the "Love Connection" portion of the meeting). She encourages people to get up and do their own presentations - both at our meetings but also at regional code camps (we don't have a local one... yet). At our last meeting she took a moment to lead a discussion to brainstorm how we as members of the same community (professional and regional) might support one another in this period of economic uncertainty. Julie is sure to introduce you to people "you've got to meet."

Julie's dedication to community transcends our small state, by the way. She travels the world speaking at conferences and user groups. She participates on "women in technology" panels (perhaps inspiring an upcoming Ada Lovelace). She blogs and has written a book. Julie is one of those people that wants to see others succeed and will do a lot to try and help.

She's a true leader and an inspiration.