She was 4’ 10” of pure spit fire with enough empathy to rival all the great women of this world. One of the greats. Fierce as hell. That was Mom. MY Mom.
The one I learned everything about humans from and how to root in integrity and compassion. My sweet little Moms (Moms is what I called her, or a variation of it like Mothra, which really is not close at all if you break it down, but she loved it). She treated everyone she met with a level of gratitude and calmness that could diffuse even the most heated of hatred, injustice and conflict. A woman of the highest integrity only matched by her drive and power of true grit.
She was kind hearted, wicked smart, and would wrap everyone she knew in love. Everyone. Period. I am totally my mothers daughter. Her best friend of 65 years told me the day she died. That is a badge I will proudly wear on my chest for the rest of days. It is an honor to be compared to her.
My Mom died of Covid-19 on December 21st, 2020. Sweet, ferocious, little Moms. We are devastated. She fought a valiant fight with the disease and was bound and determined to get home to her husband of 58 years and her kids and grandkids that would take a bullet for the woman. She was exemplary. Covid won. Damn it. So unfair.
Something strange happens when you go through grief. Everyone has a different experience. Not everyone has a great relationship with their families, parents, sibilings, lets face it, the world is swirling so hard right now, the struggle is so real. I am so lucky, I do not take that for granted for one second. My grief is not special. Everyone will experience the death of a parent in some way or form. My grief is mine and mine alone.
What Does This Have to Do With Tech?
Well friends, it has everything to do with tech.
I lost a huge part of my family on that day. Our rock. Our little honey badger. Our Moms. But I gained an entire battalion of people that showed up for me. Those people are my team, my colleagues, my leadership, my friends, and a company that I was so skeptical of when we were bought in March of 2020. That company is Equinix Metal and Equinix. True, this post is not about the latest release of Tinkerbell or where we are breaking ground for a new IBX somewhere on the globe. Its about my human story as part of this mega huge multi billion dollar company.
I have been a remote worker since 2008 and have worked at a few of the big tech companies. I have built Engineering teams for the most respected leaders in the biz. Only a few of them showed up for me as a human or a valued asset of the company when I needed them. I was pushed down at the hand of people with power trips, relentless quests for an IPO or buy out, fame, and most importantly ego. They completely broke me. I am an end product of how tech can run so fast and leave a trail of human annihilation behind it. I bet some of you reading this know what I am talking about. Burnout, PTSD, fatigue, depression, those deep dark places you go because someone kicked your ass and took your work.
Ya. I know. You know. We know. No one talks about it.
Putting the Pieces Back Together
I am a huge skeptic of billion dollar anything. I thought Equinix was just another code manufacturing plant that would follow the rigor of Big Tech that chews amazing humans up and spit them out. I. WAS. SO. WRONG.
The day Moms died was like someone gutted me like a fish. I fell. Equinix and Equinix Metal caught me. They saw me. They heard my story. They showed up.
My story should be the norm for how companies should support their employees. Unfortunately it is not. What I am going through is a very human experience and something that should be part of its culture. Something has sparked in me. Something I haven’t felt in over 10 years. Affirmation. Affirmation that I am valued, I am seen. I have a seat at the table at Equinix with a full plate of food and sitting next to people vs at the end of the table without a voice.
Equinix seriously showed up unexpectedly. I did not ask, they just surrounded me. They took care of me and my family, they fed us for weeks and sent constant support. A month later its still rolling in. Consistently. Its humbling.
Mom was so proud that I was building the next generation of awesome with some of the worlds elite engineers at a company that my division was lead by a woman Chief Product Officer. She thought that was just everything. “Atta girl, Sweetie” In her thickest Rhode Island accent, the one that she was so famous for.
I am proud to call Equinix home. I am proud of my team and my leadership in Talent Acquisition and my Engineering teams in Metal and Equinix all up. Most of all, I am proud of me, for telling this story.
I always say, when you create safe spaces for people to be human, where they can fall on their face without fear of persecution and have real emotions, code and innovation just falls out. When you have experienced ego death at the highest form, that is when the real juicy stuff happens. Your team just rolls.
I hope where you are, where ever that is, that you know good humans are in tech. I do not just believe, I am part of it. There is hope. I have a vast family now. Nothing can fill the hole in my heart for Moms, nothing. However, I know I have a company and family that extends across the globe and is helping me pick up the pieces.
My heart has never been so broken and full at the same time. For that, I will steep myself in gratitude and persevere knowing that Equinix has got my back and Moms is by my side, pushing me to be the best human I can be on the reg.
I love you Moms. I love you Equinix Metal.
I love you Equinix. Let’s roll.