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Happy New Year!

I hope you had great holidays and have made your resolutions! One of mine is to engage with everyone who volunteers to help with the ongoing OPS, the key initiatives at WITops. As you know, the work on the Women in Tech Retention project could only happen with the hard work of volunteers all over the world. Only through you can we move the dial to help women and diverse people thrive in technology organizations. 

With volunteers’ help we have conducted the basic research outlining the @Work Experience Framework and Measure. By the end of March you will be able to purchase our Career Power board game to facilitate conversations about success at work. We are now working with individuals from 6 companies and doing a deep dive with some to test the effectiveness of our Team Onboarding Checklist – we can use a few more! And we are looking for more partner organizations to work directly with teams. Thank you!

So I’m happy to announce that Lillian Meg Rosen has volunteered her time to help us organize our volunteer activities. If you sign up to help us whether you are local to the DC area, in the US or Canada, or overseas there are volunteer activities for you. With Lillian’s help we plan to communicate often and hold special events to share information and our experiences as well. Plus we are putting together a set of local volunteers to help with work that is best done face-to-face.  If you want to help and you are local to the DC area, or know anyone, please sign up.
Become Part of the WITops Core Team!
We are looking for a set of people to be part of the core professional volunteer team for WITops projects. They may participate in activities such as those listed below for the Jerk Project. But they may also help synthesize the data, generate solutions, and meet regularly with each other and Karen to explore special topics. Together we will design how this group participates. Learn More... 

But no matter where you live you can help. The Jerk Project, as we lovingly call it, is our newest research to understand which exact behaviors really matter for creating a positive working experience. Specific behaviors create or undermine the experience of connection and value within a working group. But what are they? For the Jerk Project we will do field interviews with people early in their career to understand which behaviors are experienced as valuing and which might be named “jerk” behavior. Using the data we’ll generate interventions. All projects have volunteer project leaders. Another volunteer and student at UMD, Lacey Arevalo, will project lead the effort.
Help with The Jerk Project 
Soliciting cross-disciplinary professional volunteers 
Using Contextual Design techniques I’ll lead volunteer students from UMD and industry professionals to conduct field interviews with students and professionals to identify observable behaviors that stimulate the feeling of “value” and represent being a “jerk”. We will focus on specific behaviors and situations that they have observed or experienced in the last 3-4 weeks in work meetings, interactions, and non-work life contexts. The field data will be interpreted to capture key issues and behaviors organized into an affinity diagram to reveal patterns. Then we will vision solutions. So sign up for one or all of these volunteer opportunities:

Help us find interviewees. – maybe that’s you! Interviews can be in person or remote for 1.5 to 2 hours. They may be people you work with or know if they meet the following criteria. If they or you do please send them here to sign up. We will make the schedule of the interview work for them. 
•    Age: 25-45
•    Gender: any
•    Job roles: Developer, Product Manager, UX Researcher or Designer, People Manager, Director or similar job roles in Industry but with other names. 
•    Industry: Technology companies of all sizes, IT within a business producing websites, aps or other tech products.
•    Academic: We are interviewing a few professors and students  

Perform an interview. If you are a user researcher or experienced in field interviews you can help do the interviews. We hope you will volunteer to do at least 2 interviews. This includes:
•    Being on a training session call and watching a video
•    Performing the interview (2 hours) plus the interpretation session (2-3 hours) 

Participate in a remote interpretation session. - We will be using the Contextual Design interpretation format to capture key insights and stories. These are easily handled remotely. We need professionals to work with the interviewer (both professionals and students) to capture the issues in a Google doc and lend your skill in ensuring that the important things are captured. Help includes:
•    A 2-3 hour commitment for each interpretation session. We’d like people to sign up for 2-4.
•    Easy access to remote connections that let you use Google Docs

Sign-Up for the Jerk Project.
* Filling out this form will record your interests - it is not a solidified commitment.

By working together we can make a difference. And we also spread awareness and the change techniques. Please join me for this journey. Without you nothing will happen and I’d have so much less fun!

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