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Nikema’s Spinnaker Summit 2021 Recap
Nikema for Armory

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Nikema’s Spinnaker Summit 2021 Recap

My Second Spinnaker Summit is in the Books!

Last week I attended and spoke at my second Spinnaker Summit. Like last year’s summit, it was fully virtual. This time Spinnaker Summit was co-located with cdCon and took place on the Hopin platform.

Last year, I spoke on a panel about Black professionals a few months after starting as a new employee at Armory. I showed up and just spoke my mind. I was just getting introduced to the Spinnaker community. Between then and now, I co-founded a Special Interest Group (SIG), the Contributor Experience SIG, with my co-lead Ige. We presented the story of our SIG on Day 0 of the summit.

In less than a year’s time, I can see how much I’ve grown in my comfort level and my level of community involvement. I no longer feel unsure that I have anything of value to offer this project. I am solidly an active member of the community.

As further confirmation of my place in the community, I won an award for contributing to Spinnaker. I was super surprised but honored.

Must-See Sessions and Keynotes

As the Associate Community Marketing Manager at Armory, Spinnaker Summit was an important event for me to participate in. For a number of reasons, I didn’t get a chance to attend all of the sessions I wanted to check out in real-time. Fortunately, this was a virtual conference that was recorded. I can’t wait for the replays to be posted in July.

Until then, we have the conference keynotes available on the Continuous Delivery Foundation YouTube channel.


Tweets posted during the event that caught my attention.

Personal Notes

Burnout is REAL. I’ve been approaching the point of burnout since the beginning of May. The #SpeedOfLife campaign was a stretch outside my comfort zone. Stretching and growing pains are fine and normal under regular circumstances. Unfortunately, during #SpeedOfLife, I started writing energetic checks I could not cash at work and in my personal life. I quickly found myself overwhelmed, over-capacity, and struggling.

What I’ve learned from two months headed towards burnout

  • Count the costs and know your capacity. Factor in the whole picture when it comes to agreeing to a workload. Creative expression, caregiving, family, emotional labor, and self-care all have time and energy costs.
  • It is my responsibility to get unstuck. Ask for help sooner rather than later.
  • Remember who you are and what you do best. Don’t stray too far from that center.
  • Plans, structure, and strategy need to be in place. Having few to no surprises will prevent last-minute efforts and leave margin for changes.
  • I’m doing a lot. I can’t do it all 100%. I have to learn to prioritize the most important task at the moment and allow an appropriate amount of time to complete it.
  • I have support and means of assistance. I can remember to access that when it’s needed.
  • I can’t do my job well if I’m not taking care of myself. I can take breaks before performance suffers or my body forces the issue (illness, exhaustion, immobilization).
  • I’m allowed calm, peace, and to be doing better than just scraping by. That will be my new normal. I’ll be happier and healthier once I address my addiction to chaos and break the habit of overcommitting.

The #SpeedOfLife campaign taught me through my experience of leading a project for work and from the words of the people I spoke with. Kelsey Hightower talked about being present, Lee Faus talked about how the appropriate speed depends on the context, Margaret Francis spoke about how our work at Armory enables developers like me to work effectively at the speed our lives necessitate.

I am grateful and relieved to be where I am today. I had three major projects to complete over the past few months, #SpeedOfLife, the website refresh, and Spinnaker Summit. I many ways, I fell short of the expectations set for me but I have objectively accomplished a significant amount.

I’m grateful but I definitely need a break ASAP. I am looking forward to returning refreshed and reset, in a mental state that sets me up for success.

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