We have a wealth of opportunities as citizens of the United States, and one of the challenges many people of my generation have faced is deciding which opportunities to pursue. If you want to be a firefighter, a doctor, a business-owner, a chef, or whatever else, in many cases you can put in the effort, acquire the skills and knowledge, and build a life in your chosen career.
Finding a career that brings you joy and contentment requires experiencing different kinds of work and reflecting on what you like and dislike about them. For me, my journey started with the assumption that I would like to be an author because I love to read. And because my dad worked with computers, I rebelled against that idea and wanted to avoid Information Technology.
Missouri State University
I went to college and double-majored in Religious Studies and Creative Writing (Poetry), because in the early-2000s, we believed that the subject of a college degree mattered less than having one. At the same time, I took a job as a student worker in the computer labs at my university because learning for the sake of learning is great but it doesn’t necessarily pay the bills.
Despite being a minimum wage lab monitor whose primary functions were to unjam printers and make sure nothing got stolen, I already had a lot of IT experience when I turned 18. So when the university was hit with a virus attack that shut down all financial services and the bookstore, I found myself drafted into leading the manual remediation efforts because no one else knew how. When wireless internet was being rolled out, I wrote the documentation on how to connect to it. And when the university changed its name and consequently needed to change its domain, move 6000+ computers to the new domain, and do it without inconveniencing users, I was the one to figure out how to do that quickly and efficiently and I led the team of full-time staff on the project.
This contributed to me being hired full-time at Missouri State University where, over the next few years, I led a number of other high-profile projects, was promoted into management, and navigated the hazardous rapids of budget cuts and increasing demands successfully. By the time I left, I had secured budget increases for my area and we won the “Best Service on Campus” award multiple years in a row, which was a far cry from the “Helpless Desk,” as we were called when I started.
Despite my original intent when I went to college, I found that I really enjoyed my career in IT, and that I particularly loved project management. I enrolled in a Master of Science program in Project Management and found a job at a consulting and software development company named Adaptavist. My years of experience working with Atlassian software at the university combined with a myriad of other projects and programs equipped me as a consultant and, in a strange twist of fate, set me up as one of the leading worldwide experts on Atlassian.
Over the next few years, I would help a number of company’s teams work better together, and I also helped Atlassian develop a certification program by contributing to the exam blueprint designs, writing questions and answers, developing study materials, and delivering training at conferences. When my CEO asked me to take over the training department at Adaptavist, I built teams from scratch to develop eLearning, write documentation, and create a training plug-in for Jira to deliver our content in-app.
While I loved Adaptavist and my team there, I felt like my career had gone as far as it could unless I moved to the United Kingdom. I began looking for my next adventure and joined Stride to lead a new product they were building.
When I joined, they had been working for eight months with no real product leadership. There were brilliant people there, but they were either spread across multiple programs of work or were really new to product management. This particular product was ambitious and complex, and they needed someone with modern software development and cloud architecture knowledge who could guide the product development and delivery. The roadmap was non-existent, the code had no automated testing and was buggy, and everyone was incredibly stressed and burning out.
During the seven months I was Director of Product Management at Stride, I built a 6-month roadmap for our product, figured out how to fold an acquisition in and move that business forward in a healthy manner, unblocked recruiting, pushed the team forward to pay down 4 months worth of tech debt while delivering 2 releases and having 2 more half done, and earned the trust of my product, design, research, and engineering teams.
Fieldway exists to help people work better together, to do the next right thing, and to work in the best way. The best work honors both our teammates and our customers, and it delivers maximum value to both the business and its customers.
I decided to start my own company after talking with executives, team leads, and employees at dozens of companies who needed help finding their way forward. With 20 years of experience in the IT space, I’ve run into many of the challenges that companies and teams are facing today, and I can help solve them.
My goal is to help you become better and move forward without me. I will teach your employees the skills they need to make your company better and delight your customers. I care deeply about your success and the experience of your customers, and those will always be my priority.
Learn more at Fieldway.us.