• In 2010, I attended my first PauseOnError in Portland.
  • In 2011, I spoke in front of the FileMaker community for the first time, at PauseOnError in New York City.
  • In 2018, I helped plan PauseOnError in New Orleans.

Whoa.

I’d worked with FileMaker for only a few years when I attended my first Pause. I was in awe of the presenters and attendees alike. There was a camaraderie that I didn’t know existed in a technical community. I was sitting on the sidelines admiring the masters play their game. It was fascinating and overwhelming and ridiculously cool.

Fast forward to the year I decided to speak. We were in New York, where the weather was obnoxiously cold and somehow, I was sweating bullets. I was so nervous to stand in front of the pros. But from the second my presentation started, I was standing with them, and they were standing with me. The support was unbelievable. They treated me like an equal. And I survived.

And fast forward to early 2018.

Sara Severson said it best. Say the thing. Do the thing. I said I wanted to be part of the Pause committee for the Women of FileMaker (WoF). And just a few days ago, I helped kick off PauseOnError: Stand Tall in New Orleans. I had the honor of doing that with Lisette Wilson (Informing Designs) and Susan Fennema (Beyond the Chaos) standing with me. With the support and mentorship of John Sindelar (Seedcode) and Ernest Koe (Proof Group).

What?!?!

Was I sweating bullets? Absolutely. And each drop of sweat was worth it. We put our hearts and souls into that. And it took time for me to realize my own motivation: I wanted to make someone’s first Pause as amazing and life-changing as my first one was. I wanted to make sure each attendee had the opportunity to feel included, accepted, and empowered. I wanted to be a cheerleader for the attendees.

And the attendees said their thing. And did their thing.

Not only did Pause have a ton of first-time attendees, but many of them stepped out of their comfort zone and shared their story. There was a great mix of technical sessions (think Card Windows and cool API integrations) and a lot of business sessions (like learning about communication styles and how to manage projects). When sessions weren’t going on, there was so much time spent talking with each other in the hallways. With New Orleans as a stellar background to it all, many conversations carried on through dinner and field trips.

I hope everyone walked away from Pause feeling a little more supported, a little more accepted, and a lot freer to be good at whatever their thing is. Will Mercer (Data Stride, Inc.) shared a personal story where he was told:

“You are smart. People need to hear your story. And you need to be the one to tell it.” Everyone needs to hear that and remember that.

After two days of intense discussions and lots of laughter, thank you to the FileMaker community for being unique, kind, and extremely generous. Thank you to everyone who stepped up to bat, even if you’d never batted before. And thank you to every mentor and leader who continues to give back, share more, and help others.

Stand tall.

PauseOnError is an unconference empowering developers and consultants to come together to share their stories. Organized by the Women of FileMaker, the event is open to individuals of all technical backgrounds and encourages collaboration and support.