My 2019 Annual Review

written by Marie Last updated on February 11, 2020

Published on February 5, 2020

For the fourth year in a row, I will continue my tradition and write my 2019 annual review. And to switch things up a bit, I was inspired by James Clear, who asks himself these three questions every year: 

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go as well this year?
  3. What have I learned?

I find that these three questions will allow me to make a positive and beneficial reflection of the year 2019.

Read my past blog posts: 2018, 2017, 2016

What went well in 2019

Interview with PLAN magazine from the Order of Engineers of Quebec

For Women’s Day, the OIQ PLAN magazine published a column on women in engineering. I had the chance to be interviewed for the “View of the next generation” category for my involvement in promoting IT and engineering to girls on social media!

I was sponsored by Satellite WP who took care of all the WordPress updates and maintenance for my blog

I am truly grateful to the entire Satellite WP team for taking care of my blog for the past year. In fact, in November 2018, Maxime Jobin, co-founder of the company, wrote me an email offering me a sponsorship as well as a scholarship to encourage and recognize my efforts to promote technology to girls and women.

Their help was so beneficial to me in 2019. I was able to concentrate on creating content and finishing my studies without worrying about any technical issues with my blog. Indeed, Satellite WP offers a maintenance service for WordPress sites. This meant that I didn’t have to worry about updating my plugins and fixing bugs, I could count on Satellite WP to take care of it.

It gave me a great peace of mind. Thank you Satellite WP!

I participated in an 8-week machine learning research workshop: JSALT

I had the opportunity to participate in my first machine learning research experience as part of JSALT 2019 (Sixth Frederick Jelinek Memorial Summer Workshop). It consists of 2 weeks of summer school followed by a 6-week workshop. I worked with a team of 25 researchers on the subject “Speaker detection in adverse scenarios“. In other words, we were working on improving speaker recognition on audio recordings with a lot of background noise (for example a family eating in a dining room and chatting).

During the summer school, a different subject was seen every day. This allowed me to learn more about a multitude of subjects that I am not familiar with, in particular, linguistics and the construction of words in different languages.

 

Organization of Women Techmakers Montreal 2019

I was on the organizing team of Women Techmakers Montreal for the second year. In 2019, we welcomed 300 people to this day that was full of conferences intended for women in technology. There were two tracks: technical talks and soft skills.

For this edition, I was in charge of social media. I created posts several hours a week in order to promote the event, the speakers and our sponsors on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All of them were written in English and in French, so it was double the work!

If you want to attend the event in 2020, watch the website and our social media in order to be notified when tickets go on sale. The event is always sold out several weeks beforehand!

PS: We are still looking for sponsors, so if you are interested in sponsoring our event, send me an email at marie-philippe at wtmmontreal.com!

Trip to Austin, TX with Google

Thanks to Women Techmakers Montreal, I was able to become an ambassador for the Women Techmakers program from Google, which provides visibility, a community, and resources for women in technology all over the world.

Here is a video summary of the event:

Recorded a podcast with Québec Science, called 20%, which will come out in 2020

Équipement d'enregistrement pour un podcast

Recording Studio of the Quebec Science Podcast

I participated in an episode for the 20% podcast! It was my first audio interview in French, it’s usually in English. It was very fun to record so I hope that the result will be interesting for listeners. The episode will be released in 2020.

Graduated from software engineering

After many years of studying in technology, 2019 will also mark the end of my software engineering bachelor! These last 4 years at École de technologie supérieure went by so quickly. I loved studying at ETS and would do it again in a heartbeat.

 

I received the scholarship Pierre Sauvé, ing. for promoting women in engineering

Pierre Sauvé, ing, Marie-Philippe Gill and Danielle Gabrielle Roy are on the picture where Marie-Philippe Gill is holding her prize

I am very proud to have been the first recipient of the scholarship Pierre Sauvé, Eng. for the promotion of women in engineering! I was truly honored to receive this award given by the Foundation of the Order of Engineers of Quebec. For me, to receive this recognition is to see all the efforts that I have put in the last years recognized by my engineers’ peers. 

Today, I am wearing the iron ring, the “engineer ring” I never dared to dream of having when I was young. Nevertheless, I succeeded and while doing so I even managed to get involved in a social cause that is so near and dear to my heart.

 

Training several times a week

I have been subscribed to my university gym since 2016. However, for the last year and a half, I did not take training seriously for logistical reasons. Since I moved, the gym has been much closer to home. I started to train constantly every week, between 2 to 5 times a week depending on my workload!

Training is now part of my routine and it is a priority, which was not the case before. At the moment, I like to workout in the morning or whenever I have a “dip” in energy and focus in the afternoon at around 3 – 4 p.m. When it happens, I take the opportunity to go and get moving! 

I am often asked if it is good to train while having had surgery for scoliosis as is the case for me. The answer is yes! Training helps me a lot when it comes to reducing my back pain.

 

What didn’t go as well this year?

I published fewer blog posts on my blog

I haven’t published as many blog posts as I would like on my blog in the past year. One reason that explains this is because my priority shifted towards the end of my bachelor’s degree in software engineering as well as my entry into research. The learning curve is quite high when you start, so I invested more time than ever before in my studies.

What I learned

Improved my work/life balance

Something that has really changed for me in the past year is that I have a better work-life balance. For the past few years, I have been prolific: I published a lot of articles, videos on YouTube and I was present and active in the community in Montreal by participating in various events… However, I worked too much and I did not take the time to see my friends and relatives. I was just constantly working.

In 2019, I took more time for myself! And that’s another reason why I created less content this past year. But that’s ok!

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this 2019 annual review. I definitely learned a lot in 2019 and I am really proud of myself! I hope 2019 was great for you as well and I wish us all the best for 2020.

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