How many years have you been in tech?
Tell me about your background. What were your early years like?
I grew up in a very rural area of Kentucky, and I always aspired to be a leader in business operations. I wanted to make LOTS of money and move to a big city far far away.
So, my college degree was focused on global business management – NOT TECHNOLOGY. My first career was also in business management.
How were you exposed to tech?
The turning point in my career was in 1993 in a manufacturing facility in Shelbyville, KY. I worked as a business operations manager in a division of Alcoa Aluminum. I was “drafted” by a project team to work on an application implementation, and I just fell in love with the technology and “behind the scenes” activity. That project allowed me to build relationships and learn from my team mates, and it eventually opened the doors to a position in our corporate IT department. I worked for Alcoa for thirteen years, and I served as Oracle Applications Systems Administrator, and eventually moved into a leadership role managing business systems analyst activities. In 2006, I was recruited to move to St Louis to work for World Wide Technology, Inc.
What is your current role?
As Senior Manager of Application Services for World Wide Technology, I am responsible for the creation and support of all solutions that serve our sales organization and customers. Under my responsibility is a team of analysts and developers that work together on an array of custom built web applications and third party applications. Our applications support business processes such as customer relationship management, partner management, vendor alliance, data services, and analytics.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is that of wife and mother, but in my career I would have to say it is directly related to my experiences at World Wide Technology. I absolutely love this company and the culture that it upholds. It provides me with unlimited opportunity to grow as a leader, but to also influence those that work for me. I think my proudest moment is watching my direct reports grow, and then eventually become my peer. That is the most rewarding part of my job.
What are you learning right now?
I’m really focused right now in how to grow as an agile leader serving our IT organization. I’ve managed resources in IT for the better part of 25 years, but only now am I learning what it means to be an Agile Leader. I was very used to command and control and strong direction. However, in an agile landscape, you have to become more of an enabler and less of a commander. It’s a work in progress, but I love it. It’s so much more helpful in building effective teams.
She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted. Tell us about a time that this applied to you.
If you are a woman in IT, you face an overwhelming gender gap. If you are in leadership in IT, the gap is even bigger. The biggest challenge I face everyday is pushing through that gap, and not letting it impact my will to succeed. I can lean in and hold my own with the best of the “ol’ boys”!!!
What was the last fear that you faced? How did you feel after you conquered it?
I have a HUGE fear of heights. Last year, my team at work decided we would do some team building by zip lining at a tree top obstacle course. Are you kidding me?? I was scared to death!! However, they taught me how to follow safety measures that would ensure I didn’t fall. Plus my team was super supportive. My boss stayed with me because he knew I was terrified. In the end, with the help of my team, I finished the course without injury (thank God!). Now, I don’t think I would hesitate to do it again. I felt a sense of accomplishment and bad assery that I really didn’t expect 🙂
What advice do you wish someone had given to you? What advice would you give to others starting out?
I wish someone would have told me to explore technology at an earlier age. I was told that those technical jobs were for boys. I needed to work in an office..that’s where girls do best.
I want to tell other girls out there that is NOT true. You can do anything you want..even writing code. Do not let the gender gap scare you, but instead do your part to close the gap!!
What are your hobbies?
I play golf with my husband, but I am the worst golfer in the world. I also like to go out with my friends on the weekend to see live music and local bands in St Louis. My newest hobby is learning to play the piano.
What do you like about St. Louis? The midwest? Why do you live here?
I love St Louis. My absolute favorite thing about St Louis is baseball and our Cards!! #CardinalNation
It’s also at the center of everything. You can get to Chicago, Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, and Kansas City within just a few hours.
Who inspires you?
My family inspires me to be the best version of myself. In my career, I’m inspired by those female pioneers that are leading the way for women in technology (Grace Hopper, Anita Borg, Sheryl Sandberg)
Anything else you’d like to add?
I believe that empowered women should empower other women!! We are stronger together than as one!!