BullCon 2020 Speaker, Frankie Nicoletti, “You Are Not an Impostor”

BullCon 2020 is a women’s leadership conference where career badassery and feminism intersect.  BullCon operates on the belief that leadership is not a position or a title it is action and example, which is why it is the place for feminists who want to make the world and the workplace better. We did a little Q & A with BullCon speaker, Frankie Nicoletti, to learn more about her presentation, “You Are Not an Imposter,” which gives you tools and exercises to overcome impostor syndrome.
Hi Frankie, first we’d like to express how happy we are that you’re joining us for BullCon 2020!  We’d love to learn a bit more about you and what inspired you to teach workshops on imposter syndrome .
Engineering is my second career. I used to be a mid-level accounting manager. I witnessed all nine circles of bureaucratic hell where innovation and career advancement dreams die at the hands of small-minded micromanagers who feel threatened by competent direct reports. I believed changing careers would free me to innovate and make the world better and…it didn’t. It pays a lot better and I’m not expected to wear high heels to work but the microaggressions against women aren’t any better. Tech isn’t a meritocracy; its a boys club. I rode the roller coaster of impostor syndrome-related cognitive dissonance until I realized that the low periods all corresponded to extra shitty periods at work. Impostor “syndrome” was a thing done to me, not a personal failing. I found some effective ways to deal with it and I’m really excited to share them. 
Can you share with us some misconceptions about imposter syndrome?
If you take nothing else away from my workshop, I want you to know that impostor syndrome is environmental. It isn’t “in your head.” There are people around you (white guys) who are encouraged and supported by default, we see that and think that if we aren’t equally supported we must not be as deserving. Its a lie. There’s nothing wrong with your sense of self-worth. Understanding this will dramatically change how you tackle the problem. 
Can you tell us more about your BullCon Presenation, “You Are Not an Imposter”?  Who should attend your talk and what will they learn along the way?
This workshop is for anybody who feels like an impostor. It will be primarily oriented towards the individual, but I will offer some quick tips for managers who want to support their direct reports better in this capacity. This workshop has been described as “a combination of a career coach and my therapist.” I draw on some cognitive behavioral therapy concepts to create individualized tools you can use when the doubt starts to creep in. 
Can you talk to us about an impactful moment in your career?
I designed and built an entire accounting system a few years ago. I applied both my software and my accounting skills to a single project. It uses pubsub architecture to send subscription invoices, charge credit cards, and even shuts service off due to non-payment with almost no human interaction. Its still in production today. I talk about it in every job interview I have had since. It is the very few projects I’ve worked on where I felt like I could truly bring my whole self to the project, where I wasn’t held back by leadership. It was an unquestionable success and I am very proud of it. 
And lastly, can you tell us one quirky or unexpected thing about you?
I’m an atheist who reads tarot. I love the occult! Witchcraft has historically centered women and honored inner strength and the world is afraid of those things. Tarot, like horoscopes, is meant to help your subconscious recognize familiar concepts in a broader narrative. The exact cards that are pulled are less important than what they mean to you. Consider it a brainstorming tool. The cards are just the lens through which to reflect on your situation. A good reader will help you navigate what feels meaningful. 


To meet Frankie and our other fierce speakers, attend BullCon 2020!


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