Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Tina Varughese on Technology

Tina is an Indo-Canadian daughter of first generation East Indian parents. As such, she’s able to find the very best of multi-cultural living, where she brings knowledge, insight and humour to her audiences. She’s an entrepreneur, daughter, wife, sister, mother, and friend who offers keynote talks that address diversity and inclusion, along with doses of work-life balance.

“Hi, my name is Tina Varughese, I’m a professional speaker and trainer. I specifically speak on diversity and inclusion with my signature keynote being 50 Shades of Beige: Communicate with the Cross-Cultural Advantage. I am absolutely an iPhone person, I’ve been an iPhone person for as long as I can remember. Just got an iPhone X, highly recommend. Oh it did take me a little while to recognize there wasn’t a Home button. I couldn’t believe something so small could make an impact, so I did miss it initially and now I’m very used to it, so it’s working for me.

What I love about the iPhone X is the camera on it. The camera is to me almost a professional quality camera because I’m a speaker and I do a lot of social media, I’m constantly taking pictures and finding situations where I can take pictures, so that for me has been an awesome bonus of iPhone X.

I am an Office 365 person, definitely love Google Drive too because I have an EA and she’s virtual. And so I find we do a lot of work virtually on Google Drive. I love to do lists, so definitely use a notes option on the app so that I can keep track of myself. Definitely need the Calendar app because I travel so much that I can keep my flights, etc., and all of that information in the same spot. I love the health apps where I can actually check out the heart monitor, see how many steps I get. I travel a lot, but you can get a ton of steps just walking in an airport. So it allows me to remain accountable. Big social media person again because I’m a speaker, I like to keep in touch with conference attendees, so I use all of those apps, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter. So I’m all on all of those apps as well.

So I am very dependent on my phone, sadly or not sadly. I am a big believer that you’re doing this so often you really want to make sure you’re looking up. The most important people are right there, but I do love my phone, I absolutely love my iPhone. So because I post to social media quite often, I really like to use a couple of different apps.

So Canva I’m a big fan of. I also like Typorama. They’re not expensive, they’re very, very cost-effective, but yet they allow me to put out very professional quality posts that I now can organically post to LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. So I really like that, and I love the capacity that it’s mobile. That I can do this anywhere, anytime and post something within seconds. I have to say I am intimidated sometimes by tech and I really wish I wasn’t as intimated by tech. I feel I’m decent, but I’m not there.

Because I’m an entrepreneur I have my own website and one key place I’m just doing a lot of learning and I find as with any entrepreneur, you can contract everything out. So for example, I have a web developer, but if I don’t understand how web analytics or SEO works, I can’t direct my web developer in order to maximize my presence on the web. So one key place that I’m starting to learn is on the web analytics and Google Analytics side. And I would very much encourage any small business, medium-size business owner not just to simply contract everything out and not understand the mechanics behind what you’re trying to accomplish with search engines or your website. I remember, I’ve been an entrepreneur now for over a decade, 11 years. And my first website when I look back was simply a poster board. It was a billboard because I didn’t understand how true search engine optimization worked. So even though I contract all of that out, I’m not gonna do that work, I need to understand it as a business owner.

So I have a funny story, my husband was in the car and the entire family behind him including the driver of a car, they were all on their phones. So that was terrifying and I also, we just recently went on a date night, hubby and I, and the people beside us were both on their phones. And we so badly wanted them to text each other just to get each other’s attention.

My kids are both teenagers and so I just found one thing. I could either embrace it or I could ban them from it, and that’s not gonna work. You have to find a balance in between. So I would, instead of, they don’t pick up phones. Teenagers never have their phones actually on, however I did find for myself I have an iPhone X and they have that animation emoji. So I created one for myself and I deliver little messages to them using the animation emoji and they think it’s hilarious. And all of a sudden they get mom’s voice, but for some reason coming from an animation emoji, they actually listen. So it’s been able to give us a bridge as well because I travel so much, I’m able to completely engage with my kids through FaceTime. So they’re not gonna talk on the phone, but FaceTiming them totally works. So I can be in Toronto and they’re in Calgary and FaceTiming them, it keeps me close to my kids. So there’s pros and cons of everything.

I try to find the good in the technology to be able to bridge it with my family. I am excited where technology is going. I’m hoping to keep a growth mindset with it. I have to admit, I have a very funny story, you want to hear a funny story? So my mom who is, this is a funny story. She wanted to connect more with her grandchildren, and so we had her texting, and or we said mom if you text, you might be able to connect with the kids more. And she said, “Okay, what is the texting number?” And I’m, well mom, there is no texting number, it’s your cell number and for about three months, she actually thought you needed a cell number versus a different number. So then we thought okay, let’s try something different. And we started Skyping, having my mom Skype.

And so we tried to Skype her and she kept hanging up the call. Hanging up the call, hanging up the call. And finally we went to a landline and we said mom, why do you keep hanging up? And she says, “Because it keeps saying “Irritating the Caller, “Irritating the Caller.” I’m mom, put your glasses on, it says Initiating the Call. And so, so, I really commend her for actually embracing the technology, she just needs a little bit of work. She needs a little bit of work. But I figure if my mom can do it, who’s, I’m not gonna say rage, ’cause she’d kill me. But she’s up there. If she can embrace technology, anybody can.”

Tina on Tech