MookyTech is my blog, so a page about me…..
Technology baseline: I consider myself a classically trained software engineer. This comes from years of Information Technology (IT) experience and a Masters Degree in Software Engineering (DePaul University, Chicago, IL). I also cut my teeth on the Chicago style school of Improv. Me being me, these are the types of influences that shape my perspective on innovation and technology and the world in which I live. I’ve been a practicing IT Architect for some time, currently as an Enterprise Architect for a large Insurance company, previously as an IBM consultant in industries ranging from banking, finance, pharmaceutical, software development, and retail. Architect is a term which itself has become overloaded over the years, and one which will become fodder for many blog posts. At most, I hope this provides at least a starting point for some legitimacy of my views, or it could just tick you off. Either way, let the discussions begin!!
Technology interest deeper dive: I enjoy what I do and the opportunities and perspectives that working in different facets of the IT industry has afforded me. I love to surround myself with smart and creative people from whom I can continually learn, in both my professional and personal ventures, and it is through these personal ventures that many of my technology viewpoints can be attributed. Below represents a smattering of these technology ventures and viewpoints that will provide the basis for many a blog post.
- Tech for Good: In 2010, I spent significant time becoming involved in, and contributing to, technology-for-good. After the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, I helped to organize and run several CrisisCamps in Chicago, part of CrisisCommons. Since then, I’ve been a core member of CrisisCommons, helping to draft their strategic framework through leading the Infrastructure Working Group. This will be a key focus area of this blog. I also like to engage in dialog about technology for non-profits, specifically in the Chicagoland area. Some people volunteer building houses, I found I can volunteer my time as a technology professional to achieve good. This is where my heart is.
- Geek or Nerd: I’ve been called a geek girl, but actually consider myself more of a nerd girl, in that I’ve actually been ‘trained’ for this. However, geekness is so much more fun, there are no boundaries, you just find and do. I reserve my nerdness and geekness for the software side of technology, I leave all hardware endeavors, such as the cable box and wireless routers, to my husband. I do seek to encourage girls, and women, to get involved in the more ‘techy’ side of the technology field, an area where they are, for the most part, underrepresented.
- The open web: I consider myself an open web (open source, open data, and open standards) advocate. I believe strongly in the power of collaborative communities to deliver on the open web promise.
- Technology communities: I love participating in an eclectic mix of technology communities, be it Mozilla drumbeat, C-SPIN, or a WebSphere User group, to name a few. The ability to network and hear other perspectives has always been important to me. I often attend various technology community meetup, conferences, or other events to seek knowledge, listen, and network. Occasionally I am asked to speak at these as well.
- Social Media and beyond? What we call new technology is often of personal opinion, but finding new ways to leverage technology to entertain, inform, or otherwise solve new problems, are areas that interest me. I spend significant time engaging in and exploring the technology composition and impact of social media, of semantic languages, of open source technologies, of cloud computing, of new technology architectures…it is limitless.
- Java and me: I have to admit, I’m a Java girl. I’ve been java/j2ee certified (I’ve held many tech certifications over the years), and a lot of my background is in java based open frameworks. However, I also dabble in PHP, Ruby, and a variety of other things. I have co-authored two IBM Redbooks on J2EE technology. (1) (2)
- Other chops: I am an expert in application architecture practices, including tiered architectures, quality-of-service strategies, patterns, and component architectures. I have a particular affinity for SOA and Integration architectures, but in my current position as an Enterprise Architect, I work in all realms of the technology stack, and all layers of the architecture, across many applications. I provide technology thought leadership, I seek to amplify the potential of individuals and teams through collaboration and mentoring, and I’m good at facilitating connections. Additionally, I have experience in all phases of the software development lifecycle for projects big and small, and I believe I have pretty decent written and verbal communication skills.
Other stuff about me: I have lived in the Chicagoland (as we call it) area my whole life, with the exception of childhood summers spent in Northern Wisconsin, and a summer during college living in San Francisco. I have also spent time living in a research residence in Silicon Valley when I worked for IBM, and I’ve spent a significant amount of time traveling the country in my past life as a consultant. Those of us from the heartland (or no-coasters) consider ourselves sturdy stock and hard workers. Chicago is the “city that works” after all, and I believe that a solid work-ethic is something I’ve always had. I was an NCAA Division I track and cross-country athlete (Bradley University), and I still consider myself a ‘runner’, although I don’t really run much these days, just so I can keep the dream alive. I enjoy cooking/eating, concerts, gardening, running (see?), biking, all things “Northwoods” (Wisconsin), my little dog Duke, flea markets, discovering unique and unusual art and artists, and HGTV. Oh, and I still love Improv. 🙂
I have a wonderful husband, Tom, that encourages me to explore all these interests, with the notable expense of time it takes. I have 3 awesome college age step children, Tim, Kevin, and Annie, the fact that they are moving on with their lives has freed up a lot of time for these extracurricular endeavors as well. Life is an adventure experienced in phases.
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