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Insider 6_2

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When I think about the ICT industry, whether my own career or the technology connecting the world, it's all about balance. When it comes to carrying differential mode signals to achieve proper data transmission, twisted-pair cables must be perfectly balanced to cancel out noise. This balance is also imperative to transmitting DC power over twisted-pair cabling in the latest Power over Ethernet (PoE) applications that not only change the way we power devices, but also help pave the way for fully connected smart buildings. If the twisted pairs are unbalanced, power transmitting as common mode voltage is not evenly split between conductors, causing distorted data signals, errors and retransmits. So what causes unbalance in twisted-pair cables? While it can be due to subpar cable quality, more often than not, unbalance is a result of poor workmanship—inconsistent termina- tions, exceeding the minimum bend radius or failing to maintain pair twist as close to the point of termination as possible. Balance is just as important in our own lives. While I say this now, I admit that I wasn't always so astute. There were days early in my career when I holed up in my office working diligently into the evening hours rather than reveling in the joy of precious family moments. But at some point over the past two decades, I realized that a lack of balance wasn't getting me anywhere and was leaving me completely unfulfilled. As with twisted-pair cabling, keeping a good work-life balance is also about workmanship and paying attention to the details—just like a cabling system, it's what lets us perform as individuals and be the best we can be. In recent years, I've gotten much better about ensuring good personal workmanship. I participate in activities like yoga and meditation to keep my mind clear and calm; I rarely work past 5 o'clock; and I take a full hour lunch every day—and not one of those where I'm trying to shove as many errands in as possible. As part of my effort to strive for better balance, I conscientiously try to not sweat the small stuff at work, but instead appreciate the small stuff in life—those rare FaceTime calls from my college-age daughter, a quiet stroll through the woods with my pup and laughter with friends. And this brings me to another thought—my tribe. While there are so many smart, amazing men in the ICT industry who I can't thank enough for teaching and championing me from my early days as editor of BICSI News Magazine, to my current role as Chair of BICSI's Education Advancement Committee, when you're a woman in a man's industry, you need other women. For me, that's been the amazing friendships that have been created with other women in the industry. These women have been my ears, my shoulders to cry on, my home base and my source of strength and encouragement; in short, they are my tribe. Not only are they the ones in front of me, beside me and behind me striving to keep the ICT path clear, accessible and welcoming for all women, but they've also helped improve my balance by bridging the gap between work and life through camaraderie and laughter. So if you're a woman in need of a little balance in your ICT career, check out Women in BICSI—you might just find it's exactly what you need to tip the scale. More than Words from Women in BICSI Better With Balance by Betsy Conroy ORGANIZATION Page 12

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