You might wonder how my blog got its name. While I *am* Rae (short for Raechelle), I am most definitely *not* a guy.  Here’s the story behind the blog’s name:

When I accepted my first CIO job at Menlo College, I had not met all of the college’s management team nor my soon-to-be team members. At some point before I arrived on campus, one of our VPs was talking to one of the IT folks and said — “hey, did you hear that some guy named Rae was hired to run IT?” So that’s me, some guy named Rae. Heh heh.

Now, I can’t blame them for thinking I was a guy. With a name like Rae (I assume they hadn’t seen it on paper), and a title like CIO, it’s a fair assumption. After all, only roughly 10% of CIOs are women*. It’s unfortunate, but information technology is not a very diverse profession (either in gender or ethnicity, sadly). I hope to have an impact on that.

As it turns out, I’ve had an ongoing love-hate relationship with the word “guy.” Of course, there’s the ever popular use of “you guys” to connote groups of people who include both men and women. Heck, even I’m guilty of saying that from time-to-time. And then there’s the fact that well meaning and educated people will look me dead in the eye and call me the “IT guy.”

The common thinking, of course, is that  “guy” is a gender-neutral term. Except it’s not — I’ve looked it up. First and foremost, “guy” is an informal term that refers to a man or boy. Only secondarily is it defined as “persons of either sex; people,” when plural. I would challenge this definition. When someone says “guy” or “guys,” I believe the vast majority of people form a mental image of a man, or group of men. I certainly do. So when I say, I’m “some guy named Rae,” but I’m clearly a woman, it causes people to pause, and think….

Which, I think, is a good thing.

* Across all industries, as reported in CIO Magazine’s 2010 State of the CIO Survey, January 2010 (free registration required to download).

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