All Articles Tagged "Behind The Click"
Welcome to another installment of “Behind the Click.” This time, I’m going to take you inside the world of UX via Glennette Clark. Just what is UX? It’s a growing buzz-word in the tech game, and something you should know. It stands for “User Experience.” Developers take human psychology and studied human reactions and responses to create digital experiences users can enjoy. Glennette is playing a particularly interesting role in this space and will certainly serve as encouragement for all those out there, whether techies or not, who dream of producing their own conferences while firmly seated within an office holding down another position simultaneously. Read on to learn!
Current Occupation: Producer, UXCampDC and UXMobileCamp; Senior Business Analyst/Health and Human Services (Contractor)
Favorite website: I don’t have a favorite web site per se. I have a favorite app that allows me to read blogs from many different sources. That app is Zite on iPad.
Favorite read: The Princessa by Harriet Rubin. I highly recommend this book for all women.
Recent read: The Hunger Games
2012′s ultimate goal:
I want to build a network of support for the nonprofit I want to start. The mission of the nonprofit is to support underrepresented minorities, especially black and Latino, in building start-ups. One of the biggest hurdles for building a start up isn’t talent or lack of ideas, it’s financial. Most people in my target audience don’t have the financial means to focus 100% of their time to building a business. They have bills to pay.
The nonprofit, Start Up for All, will be an incubator that will provide participants with mentors in sales, PR, marketing, finances, etc. while providing them with a stipend to help cover their bills while they work to get up and running. In return, we will take a 6-8% equity position in the business.
Quote that Inspires You:
Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. - Steve Jobs
Ldc: So, are you a Washington, D.C. native? How was it attending Howard University and how do you find D.C. currently?
GC: Actually, I am originally from Elizabeth City, NC. Going to Howard was a great experience. I have family in DC so, moving from NC to DC was not that big of a change for me.
Howard was a different experience for me socially because I had come from a predominately white high school. In most of my HS classes, I was the only or one of the only black kids in my classes. It was great to be around other smart black people.
LdC: So you have created this extraordinary program in tech. What exactly does UXCamp DC and MobileUXCamp DC entail?
GC: UXCamp and MobileUXCamp are un-conferences or barcamps. An un-conference is just like a conference except that there are no pre-selected speakers and no keynotes. Each participant has the opportunity to speak because the sessions are participant-led. The discussion leaders can talk about anything that they think would be of interest and other people will go to their session, or not, based upon their interest in the topic.
Both UXCamp and MobileUXCamp are all day events with 24 breakout sessions. UXCamp focuses on user experience design and MobileUXCamp focuses on mobile user experience design. UXCamp DC 2010 was the first un-conference in the states. They had been doing them in London for at least a year prior.
Our sponsors are companies with an interest in gaining exposure to the participants as well as an interest in positioning themselves as leaders in the UX space.
LdC: What, exactly, inspired you to create this program?
GC: I wanted to learn more about user experience design and gain more exposure to the community because I wanted to move into that profession. Although I have more than 15 years of web design and development experience, user experience design was an emerging field. I found that I enjoyed the production and outcome of the event as much as I enjoyed the learning.
LdC: So, what has response been like?
GC: So far, every UXCamp and MobileUX Camp DC has been sold out with waiting lists. I am also able to get a good group of sponsors who have seen value in supporting the events. To date, there have been three UXCamps and one MobileUX Camp. The next MobileUXCamp DC will be September 15, 2012.
Favorite website: pinterest
Recent read: Currently reading young adult author Tamora Pierce’s Mastiff
2012′s ultimate goal: To find my perfect city or town in the world and settle down in a unique and well-decorated home.
Quote that Inspires You: Stay calm and yoga on.
Twitter handle: @idealisticnomad, @girltankorg
Welcome to another hot profile. This one will be of particular interest to those who are interested in tech with a philanthropic, global twist. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Tara Roberts who is the co-founder of Girltank, a female-focused social start-up that supports young women entrepreneurs all over the world. But not just any entrepreneurs – women who are making a difference the world over. Girltank, along with their partners, MTV Voices, have launched their ’10,000 Names campaign’ to find 10,000 young women game changers. Tara’s journey and drive make for great reading and great encouragement. Here we go!
LdC: How were you lead to start Girltank?
TR: I traveled around the world for almost a year in 2009 and 2010 interviewing young women changemakers. My original plan was to write a book about the great work they were doing. But after talking to so many young women, I realized that there was, perhaps, a more pressing need. No global body connected these young women changemakers to each other. And I discovered that many felt alone, unprepared and unsupported in their work. So I decided to begin building a global community of young women changemakers who could help support each other.
LdC: Tell me all about how you found out about Start Up Chile, with which Girltank is affiliated, and what it is like there?
TR: My partner, Sejal Hathi, heard about it, and so we decided to apply. Start-up Chile is great – full of enterprising, innovative and supportive entrepreneurs from all over the world. Santiago is a burgeoning entrepreneurial hub, so as an entrepreneur you feel like you can do anything here. It’s been an amazing and eye-opening experience.
LdC: Explain the response to the work that you are doing?
TR: Phenomenal. We have discovered young women changemakers from over 76 countries worldwide. It’s inspiring to hear their stories and to see the creative and unexpected ways in which they connect with and support each other.
LdC: What advice do you have for other women looking to help support other females via digital ventures?
TR: Join girltank! Seriously, lots of new entrepreneurs are concerned with other people stealing their ideas, but many wonderful things happen if you share your ideas and use your skills and talents to help others. You’ll get a lot further a lot faster.
Welcome to another profile of a dynamic African-American female in the tech space. I’ve got a special treat for you today that should touch many of the fans of this series. I recently had the opportunity to connect with a fellow tech colleague in the mobile space, Michelle Fisher. She is CEO and Founder of Blaze Mobile, a technology company that develops innovative mobile commerce, health care, banking and advertising solutions. The company’s product suite includes a mobile wallet, mobile advertising network and NFC-enabling payment stickers. Now, some might not understand what all that is just yet; but Michelle will certainly explain. And given that we African-Americans out-index in mobile usage and expenditures, I know you will find her profile and company of interest. Read on!
Current Occupation: CEO and founder of Blaze Mobile
Favorite website: www.blazemobile.com …of course! =)
2012′s ultimate goal: Blaze Mobile becomes the clear market leader for mobile wallets and mobile contact-less transactions including payment, ID, funds transfer, and more.
Quote that Inspires You: ”The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.” – Dr. Martin Luther King
Twitter handle: @BlazeMobileNews
LdC: So I learned that you attended Stanford. No doubt it gave you a foundation for what you are doing today. What was it like attending that university?
MF: Igot my Master’s degree there and loved it. It was challenging intellectually. The professors, some of whom had Nobel Peace Prizes and were leaders in their field, were friendly and supportive.
LdC: I know that shortly after Stanford, you were offered a position at Microsoft. How did you obtain that position and what was it like?
MF: After launching Media Park at Pacific Bell, there was a lot of press coverage and I got a lot of job offers including one from Microsoft, which was a very challenging environment. A lot of smart people. A humbling environment. Exciting time to be at a company and work in a new part of the business – the Internet Group as it was being born and that was run like a start up . Microsoft gave me opportunity to try something new every year and learn how to develop commercial internet services on a global scale.
LdC: Fantastic. So from there, what were the series of events that led you to start Blaze Mobile?
MF: Afterleaving Microsoft, I took a year off to recharge. I knew I was ready tofinally start a company. I was at a small specialty retail store near my house. When I got to the check-out stand the cashier asked for my loyalty card, which would enable me to get a great discount. I didn’t have it with me since it was a store that I rarely shopped at. I didn’t have enough space to carry all of my loyalty cards, like most people unless you carry a backpack. I was literally hitting my pockets wishing I had the card with me on something I was already carrying like a credit card or my mobile phone. That’s when the light bulb went off and the idea came to me to develop software to enable me to not only track my loyalty points, but to pay for goods, check my account balance and more.
LdC: Talk to me a bit about how important patents are in this space and how your company uses them specifically?
MF: Extremely important. They level the playing field. Become a barrier to entry and source of revenue. Patents are a true asset.
LdC: So, what was it like raising money for your venture and what advice do you have for others?
MF: I raised money for my venture all from angel investors which include family, friends, former co-workers, classmates, colleagues, and complete strangers. My advice is to tap into your network for angel investors.
LdC: There aren’t a ton of Black women in exec positions in the mobile space right now. What are your suggestions for encouraging more women of color to get involved in the mobile space from a career stand point?
MF: Do it. I decided to work in corporate America first and hone my skills and save money. Then, I started my company, But, if you have a great idea and it does not cost a lot to start, I encourage you to go for it. The most important thing is to first file a patent for your idea before you share it with anyone else to protect it.
LdC: Michelle, have you ever felt that race and/or gender what a hurdle for you to cross? If so, how did you handle it?
MF: Yes,especially in raising money from venture capitalists. They are trained to fund in companies that they have invested in the past – pattern recognition. Since there are very few women and people of color that have been funded by VC’s, by definition we don’t fit the criteria for a company to invest in. Unfortunately, I have seen them invest money in intheir portfolio companies who fit the “pattern” and copy my ideas. So, I kept raising money from angel investors and continued to patent my ideas so that I would be protected.
LdC: Love this work with Media Park (a forward reaching broadband service that connected creative professionals in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and New York to digital content libraries.) How did you get involved in that?
MF: Iwas working at Pacific Bell at the time and selling executives at our largest companies on using telecommunications services to network branch offices and deliver value added services such as video over broadband. During the evening, I was taking classes on how to make multimedia CD-ROMs using a MAC. I made one for Motown that I got to pitch to them which was exciting. I found myself going to store every weekend to get things I needed like additional storage to encode video, clip art. Etc., It occurred to me that during my day job I was promoting networked service to transfer digital assets, but during the weekends, I was driving around in my car to get digital assets. It occurred to me that a network service could be used to provide me with access to all the digital assets and supplies I needed for multimedia production and that other creative professionals might benefit from it too. So, I pitched a senior executive at Pac Bell on the idea. She likedit and asked me to develop a business plan which I did. I presented it to her and the CFO and got $2M in funding to develop the idea.
LdC: You are no joke! What has response been to it?
MF: I ran it for a year and the response was overwhelming. As mentioned earlier, there was a lot of press coverage from the SF Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, etc. After I left and went to Microsoft, Pacific Bell couldn’t find anyone else to run it and they decided that their core competency was network services vs. content and value-added service so they didn’t continue it.
LdC: Wow, so after all this; what’s your greatest hope for the mobile arena for 2012?
MF: Mobile payment [industry] continues to grow.
That does it for this installment. Stay tuned for the next profile. Until then stay up on all the tech events and more by following me on Twitter @mediaempress.
Have you seen those new Best Buys ads yet? You know the ones that showcase a variety of contributors to the tech space from the guys who created Words With Friends to the man who enabled your phone to be able to take a photo? Well, they are all the same gender and same ethnic type; leading one to believe that this is the standard in digital. Well, I’m here to tell you it isn’t. And with that, welcome to another installment of the longest running profile series on African-American females in the tech space. This time the spotlight is on Tynicka Battle. She is the co-founder and CEO of ThinkTank Digital, a New York City-based digital marketing agency. Under her direction the company provides digital branding, social media strategy, online publicity and web/app development solutions. The company’s clients range from cutting edge start ups to Fortune 500 names in music, film, media, beverage, government and telecommunications industries including Pepsi, Lady Gaga, Motorola. Tynicka shares with us the triumphs and challenges of being in her position.
Current Occupation: Co-founder and CEO of ThinkTank Digital. A boutique digital marketing agency in NYC.
Favorite read: Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”.
Recent read:“The Sisters Brothers” by Patrick DeWitt, an awesome shoot-em-up Western.
2012′s ultimate goal: To not die as I walk across the street in the city, texting
Quote Governing Your Mission: “Just the facts ma’m”. I feel I can solve just about any problem if I focus on the facts at hand and remove all subjectivity.
LdC: I always start off with education. How did you come to select Rutgers and how did you like it?
TB: I’m a Jersey girl. Plus my parents told me they could only afford for me to apply to 3 colleges. Once my best friend also got her acceptance letter to Rutgers College, the decision became crystal clear.
LdC: How is your psych major applied to your current occupation?
TB: My Psych degress have been tremendously helpful. I was always intrigued by human behavior. I play close attention to many digital marketing campaigns to help fine-tune my own philosophy of what works well with users, and why.
LdC: Where were you before you helped found this business and what did you do, specifically?
TB: I was handling digital marketing for another agency from 1999-2006.
Time for another “Behind the Click” profile already? You betcha! This time I am placing the spotlight on a fellow tech colleague named Shellye Archambeau. Shellye is CEO at a company called MetricStream which is one of the top GRC (governance, risk management, and compliance) solutions companies in Silicon Valley. The company includes among its client list such corporations as Pfizer, Kellogg’s, American Airlines and NASDAQ. But this position is just the latest stop in a string of tenure success stories that also includes a stint at IBM. Shellye shares with us inspiration and experience from the tech front lines as an African-American female.
Favorite website: amazon.com
Favorite read: The Economist magazine
Recent read: Tribal Leadership
2012′s ultimate goal: Encourage people to thrive on risk, not shy away from it
Quote that Inspires You: “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” - Oprah Winfrey
Twitter handle: @shelarchambeau
LdC: I saw via your bio that you are a fellow Ivy Leaguer. How did you enjoy U.Penn?
SA: I applied to U. Penn to attend Wharton Undergrad. I wanted the business education in undergrad so I wouldn’t have to go to Grad school. I was trying to optimize time and money. I enjoyed my experience.
LdC: What lead to your interest in business and what was it like at Wharton?
SA: In high school I got involved in clubs and organizations and found that I enjoyed leading and was good at it. I was told that leading clubs was similar to leading teams in business. I enjoyed being President of different student organizations, so I set my sights to be CEO of a business.
LdC: I also read that you were the former head of Blockbuster’s e-commerce division. How did you obtain your former position at Blockbuster and what was that like?
SA: I was recruited to Blockbuster, where I became President of Blockbuster.com, from IBM. The CIO of Blockbuster, who was a former IBM customer of mine reached out to me. We had stayed in touch over the years and he knew of the innovative work I’d done at IBM leveraging the Internet to grow sales as well as my general management skills and experience.
This was back in the late ’90s and everything related to the Internet was exploding. It was an exciting time to build and work with a great team to launch the first Blockbuster.com business site.
So here we are with another profile of Behind the Click! This series is actually the first and largest running living interview archive on African-American females in the technology industry. I’m happy to continue to select and spotlight my fellow colleagues in the industry so that we can continue to dispel myths and inspire action globally! As the series continues, you will find that I am re-defining what it is to be note-worthy in the tech industry. For too long the pool of talent has been much too limited. Ideas and contribution take many shapes and forms so it’s about bringing a broad vision to identify powerati in all its forms – not just what the mainstream deems worthy. Evelyn Castillo-Bach falls into such a category. I’ve selected her because she is bringing a unique vibe to the tech game. She is an Afro-Cuban power player and just may be one of the only few women in the U.S. who is heading two digital start-ups simultaneously. She is also a champion for digital privacy, particularly as it pertains to teenagers. What follows is a snippet of my recent conversation with her:
LdC: So you run the start-up called Collegiate Nation. Tell me more about (the mission) and how you got the idea?
Current Occupation: Software Engineer
Recent read: EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
Twitter handle: @commandmobile is the Twitter handle
Welcome to another installment of “Behind the Click” where I bring you a look at today’s African-American female movers and shakers in the tech world. This time, I had an opportunity to connect with DeAnna Davidson who is President and CEO of Tracen Technologies. Tracen specializes in enterprise mobile software applications, integrated mobile and web solutions, and IT Program Management support for commercial and government customers. If it sounds heavy duty, it’s because it is. DeAnna is quite an achiever and has an impressive background in the realm of math & sciences. This is my first look at someone quite like DeAnna so I think you will find her background and current responsibilities nothing if not inspiring. Here we go!
LdC: So I read that you attended North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics? How did you decide on that school?
DD: The first time I heard about NCSSM was at a summer program at Wake Forest University the summer before 9th grade. As soon as I heard about it, I was hooked. It seemed like a challenge, something rare in my academic career, and it seemed like a great opportunity to be exposed to so much more academically than was available at my local high school.
LdC: What was it like for you in North Carolina?
DD: I was in academically gifted classes from sixth grade on. That meant that all through middle school and early high school I was either the only African American student (male or female) in most of my classes or one of the very few. Programs like the Awards Committee for Education, Duke University’s Talent Identification Program and the option of attending NCSSM were excellent opportunities for a student like me. In many ways, I was very fortunate to have grown up in NC and have those resources available to me.
LdC: What led you to pursue an MBA?
DD: My husband and I started Tracen, a technology company, in 2000. With an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering, I felt very confident about my technical ability and wanted to have the same confidence in my business acumen. So, an MBA seemed like a good idea.
LdC: Tell me more about Tracen?
DD: My husband and I founded Tracen in 2000. While working for a government contractor developing mobile software applications back in 1998, way before everybody had a gadget in their pocket, I got really passionate about the advantages mobile technologies could bring to any industry. When we started Tracen, we knew we wanted mobile technologies to be a focus area for the company. We also felt very strongly that we could create a company that would be a great place for developers and technologists to work and feel valued and be treated well.
by R. Asmerom
In January of 2011, Adrissha Wimberly birthed her baby Smarteys, a paycheck management and personal finance product targeted to millennials. Considering her and her co-founder left lucrative jobs in the finance industry to break out on their own, Smarteys was a labor of love. For this latest installment in our Behind The Click series, profiling Black women in the technology field, we ask the co-founder and COO of this startup about taking the road less traveled.
Current Occupation: Co-founder and COO, Smarteys.com
Favorite website: www.cnn.com
Favorite read: Magazine – ELLE Decor; Book – Steve Jobs by by Walter Isaacson
Recent read: Pillars of the Earth; The Lean Startup
2012′s ultimate goal: Personal – run a 8 minute mile. Business – grow Smarteys to 17000 subscribers.
Quote that Inspires You: Walk the line between the known and the unknown and you will find that courage is not in the absence of fear but in the judgement that there is something more important than fear.
Twitter Handle: @adrissha; @smarteys
How did you decide to not return to go from a high-position of VP at Bear Sterns to founding a personal finance startup?
My decision was based on many things, but the three salient reasons were (1) I was more passionate about the future than I was about the past. Although I enjoyed my career immensely prior to business school, I had an unshakable feeling that my future career was about expressing a passion for helping young people. (2) I no longer wanted to move vertically but instead horizontally. In a corporate gig you move vertically, both higher in title and deeper in skill. In entrepreneurship you move horizontally, covering many different areas. And given the startup culture, where the weak shall parish, you somehow grow in skill across those many areas too. (3) I figured the world would never ben the same again. When I came to business school in the Fall of 2008, the world of investment banking-type finance had changed for the worse. Conversely, the world of entrepreneurship, particularly in Chicago with the rise of GroupOn and GrubHub, was changing for the better. There was just no better time to start; the stars may not have aligned like this again.
How did the idea for Smarteys come about?
We were leading a seminar for graduating college students at the local university and realized that seminars aren’t the most effective way of creating behavior modification for people. The issue is that money is personal so unless an example directly uses your financial situation, you are likely to discount the lesson being exemplified. As the students crowded around us after the seminar to ask their unique money questions and choices for life after school, it dawned on us that what graduating students needed was an easily accessible and simple way to load their financial profile – future income, bills, debt, savings – and see how that, plus other lifestyle choices like having a roommate, effects them. It was clear that these soon-to-be graduates had great educations but little understanding of the money choices they would need to make over the next few months and how it impacts their future.
There are many online financial planning tools being offered in today’s market? How did you seek to define your product? Was “standing out’ even a concern for you?
Product differentiation is important to us. To make sure that we don’t become another “me-too” financial company we devote a bunch of time to understanding our core market – people one year from or after graduation. Our focus on that critical time in a student’s life is what sets us apart. We seek to stand out by sticking to our core beliefs:
Great products are inspired by simple everyday things.
User experience is a technology’s life source.
Security and data privacy are foundational.
Financial software should educate and cause you to do something.
Simple is better.
Understanding should be instant, time is a luxury.
Customer service matters.
Did you start working on the company with your co-founder while you were both still working full-time or did you quit your jobs before building the foundation of the company?
We started working on the company while attending the full-time MBA program at Chicago Booth. So, I’d say it was like starting the company while “working.” Before school, my co-founder had the mission and sense of purpose for the company and we used time in business school to flush out the idea, raise money, and start branding the name.
Current Occupation: Managing Director, Moguldom Studios
Favorite website: I’m pretty sure it’s Twitter.com! Yes, I read via the website.
Favorite read: Anything non-fiction about business.
Recent read: Act Like a Lady, Think Like A man—this was for work purposes, I promise!
2012′s ultimate goal: Make it better than 2011!
Quote Governing Your Mission or a Quote that Inspires You: “”I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. ” It’s from Nehemiah 6:3, and reminds me to stay focused on whatever mission I’m looking to accomplish.
Twitter handle: @calinative
Full disclosure: Madame Noire is owned by Moguldom Media Group. Phew, now that we got that out of the way, let’s get back to the task at hand. For this edition of Behind The Click, we highlight Liz Burr who is a techie in the video production world. She took her years of experience as a digital consultant and social media expert and applied it to her current position of managing director at Moguldom Studios, the video development arm of Moguldom Media Group.
What got you interested in tech?
I went to MIT initially as a Biology major, and many of my classmates were Computer Science majors, as this is a very popular major there. My classmates were always hacking things and making cool projects in their free time, and I felt left out because I couldn’t do any of those things. While I was very much an eager technology consumer in high school, I wanted to be able to make cool things without the help of my friends and classmates. After pledging my sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.), we needed a new website for our local chapter. I decided that instead of asking my (male) friends to help me build it, I would teach myself. So, I taught myself HTML, CSS and I loved it! I felt so empowered. Since then I’ve continued to teach myself other coding languages, and am generally very curious about how things work. My mother also knew some programming languages, and when I was a kid I used to read through her college course books for fun, so maybe that helped empower me on some level.
Did you already know what you wanted to do by the time you got to MIT?
Yes and no. I knew I loved Biology, but that I didn’t want to be a doctor. I knew I loved media, but wasn’t sure how being at MIT would help me with a career in media. I entered MIT with the mindset that I would double major in Biology and Media Studies and see what happened from there. I ended up later realizing I didn’t love Biology for a career path as much as I thought I would. Trust me–I forced myself to stick with Biology for 3 years in college, but eventually I dropped it and focused more on majoring in MIT’s Comparative Media Studios program.
Welcome back for another profile spotlight! This time I thought I would check in with a fellow tech pioneer and organic technology consultant Adria Richards. Not an executive, not a start-up chieftan; Adria provides a service which lights a torch for those trying to make their way in the new era of digital business by providing special insight. What type of insight you may ask, and how? Well, read on to find out!
LDC: So Adria let’s start off with where you went to school?
AR: I started with a major in psychology at the local college in Minneapolis. I knew I wanted to help people and make a difference in the world. My mother had her master’s in sociology so I thought I’d follow that path.
I took computer 101 but it was so basic at the time that I couldn’t understand how anyone would want to learn more about input devices, motherboards and memory. I had the opportunity to become a Windows 98 beta tester and my whole view on technology changed. My mother had signed me up for to be a beta tester because she loved coupons and deals and wasn’t going to pass up receiving a $200 software license. In order to participate in the program, the letter I received from Microsoft indicated I would need to increase the hard drive space and speed of the CD-rom in the old hand-me-down NCR computer I had. I immediately went to work figuring out how I would get this done and picked up my first computer book, “Upgrading and Repairing PC’s” the 8th Edition by Que. Not only did it help me make the necessary upgrades to my computer, it also helped me land my first real tech job at Geekquad! Back then, Geeksquad would give you a written test and one of the questions was, “What does ‘fdisk /mbr do?” and I was able to explain that it formatted the master boot record to wipe out viruses and other unwanted programs.
I realized the world was changing and this “Internet” thing was going to be big. I wanted to become a network administrator. As I looked around the post secondary landscape, I realized I could not get the training I needed to accomplish this goal. I dropped out of school and began working on getting IT certifications and real world job experience. By 2000, I’d passed the A+ certification test and set my next certification goals on becoming an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator). I achieved this in 2005.
LDC: How did you get into training?
AR: When you solve technology problems, a large aspect of that is making sure the problem doesn’t happen again. When working with end users, this means explaining to them how their actions (or lack of action) contributed to the problem and educating them on what to do next time. From the very beginning in my technology career, I began to receive recognition for how I dealt with people. As time went on, the compliments, notes of appreciation and feedback continued. I enjoyed helping people have that, “Ah ha!” moment with technology and as I became more experienced in network administration, website development and IT projects, I realized how much I enjoyed that facetime with customers.
My first opportunity to do in-classroom training was 2007. A friend of mine was going on vacation and had been doing a series of classes at the local St. Paul Continuing Education program. He asked me to cover his classes which included, Intro to Windows XP, Microsoft Excel and Introduction to Online Research. I researched adult education, technical training strategies and went to work creating a curriculum. Since I’d worked for several years at a market research company, I folded in surveys as a part of the outline to ensure I gathered feedback from students. I had a blast and began looking for more technical training opportunities. It wasn’t long before I spotted a position at the Minneapolis Urban League. They were looking for an A+ certification instructor to teach a 12 week course. I applied, prepared a proposal and landed the position. Again I created the curriculum, delivered it, actively engaged the students and staff for feedback, built an intranet using WordPress to share coursework and class updates.
I then moved into making screencast tutorials for clients, again with very positive feedback. Eventually, I began uploading these videos to YouTube and again, received compliments, questions and consulting inquiries.