Wednesday, August 1, 2018

(Another) Long-Overdue Update

The most rewarding part of being a recruiter is helping people grow their careers. I have coached and mentored dozens of people informally and love watching them achieve their goals. In April 2013, I joined Improving Columbus as a Technical Recruiter and quickly became their community liasion as well. During my 5 years there, I worked with some of the smartest, friendliest, and most trusted people I've known. I saw them become community and company leaders. I’m proud and humbled I helped that growth by encouraging people to challenge themselves and keep learning.

Last February, I gave a talk called Career Growth Questions You're Afraid to Ask. As I talked about the reasons to change careers, I realized it was time to take my own advice and look for a new challenge. I wanted to transition out of full-time recruiting and into something that included more of the career coaching and community outreach work I love. I quietly began reaching out to people I admired to explore my options.

In a happy coincidence a few weeks later, Test Double approached me about a role that focused on employee mentoring and engagement. It was the ideal next step in my career! I gladly accepted the position. In addition to mentoring, I help with Test Double's community outreach, account management, recruiting, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. The role is evolving and growing as the company grows. It's an amazing place to be. As an added bonus, I get to travel more. Essentially, I now get to combine all of my passions into my day job!

I’ve known the people at Test Double through Twitter and the tech community for awhile. I'd admired their commitment to not only creating good code, but also being good people. I’m really excited to work with them directly now! I keep saying that I went from one company full of smart, friendly people to another one. It's amazing to work somewhere that counts Empathy as a core value, enables autonomous work, and has a robust career mentoring program.

For those who don’t believe that social media is important to your career, I probably wouldn’t have met Test Double's co-founders and employees without Twitter. The initial invitation to discuss this role came even came through a Twitter Direct message. Since all of Test Double’s work is done remotely, I’m scheduling more coffees and lunches in Columbus and traveling to speak at conferences regularly. Let me know if you want to meet up!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Save the Date: Dog Food 2014

Dog Food 2014 is scheduled for September 29-30. Exciting changes are in store for us this year!

Previous attendees know that the Columbus Microsoft/DeVry building was getting a little cozy. So this year, I'm happy to announce that we're moving down the road to Quest Conference Center.

We'll still have all of the high-quality technical tracks focusing on Microsoft development, administration, infrastructure, mobile, and cloud technologies that you've come to expect. With the new space, we're also offering lots of new things!

  • Keynote Speakers: We're talking with some great keynoters & will announce them once they've confirmed.
  • Breakout Spaces: Some of the best conversations happen in the hallways between conference sessions. We'll have spaces available for them.
  • Business Services Track: We're adding a track for executives, leads, management, and others who work in the business services end of technology.
  • Sponsor Tables: Sponsors will now have the option to set up a table & have giveaways.
  • Dog Food After-Hours: On the evening of the 29th, we'll have a happy hour & jam session.

This year, there will be a registration fee of $50 to help cover the cost of conference center, wifi, food & beverages. Registration opens on August 13 and will sell out quickly.

For additional information, please visit, or get in touch with me via Twitter, LinkedIn or Email. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dog Food Conference 2013

In the tech industry, when a team uses its own products or services, it's called dogfooding. The idea is that if a company or team wants to promote its products and services, it should use those products and services itself, or "eat its own dog food". Dog Food Conference started in 2008, based on this idea. Its founders wanted to create a Midwestern conference by and for those who work with Microsoft technologies.

Dog Food 2013 is scheduled for November 21-22 at the Microsoft Office in Columbus, Ohio. It features tracks on ALM, Azure, collaboration tools, infrastructure, mobility, .NET, security, SharePoint and SQL BI. Conference speakers are technical professionals who use these technologies in practical, real-world situations every day. 

In 2012, the Dog Food steering committee decided to give back to the community. The conference now features a food drive called Dog Food for Human Food. Attendees are asked to bring donations of nonperishable food to benefit Mid-Ohio Food Bank and LifeCare Alliance. 

Conference registration opens October 21 at 10:30am Eastern Time.

I hope to see you there!

For the most up-to-date conference updates and information, follow us on Twitter and watch the #dogfoodcon hashtag. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Long-Overdue Update

Time flies! It's been 4 months & I just realized I never followed up on my last post. So, here's what I'm up to.

I'm now the Talent Manager for the Columbus branch of Improving Enterprises. I'd known of Improving for some time due to their presence at user groups and conferences. I'd taken Girl Develop It classes at their office. I knew that a lot of really good people worked for the company, and that they had a culture focused on teaching, learning and having fun. When they asked me to interview, I couldn't pass up the chance. 

During the interview and hiring process, I learned that my recruiting would be referral-based and focused on building long-term relationships. I learned that I'd be supported in my involvement with IT community groups and events. I learned that I'd work closely with our developers and other technical professionals during the candidate interview process. I also learned that I would be the only dedicated recruiter, meaning I would be directly responsible for helping the company grow. That last part sounded a bit scary, but it was also exciting and challenging.

Since May, I've interviewed and hired some great people, participated in several conferences as an organizer or sponsor, and am learning how to better connect with technical professionals. I'm facing new challenges and figuring out how to balance new commitments with previous ones. I'm also having a lot of fun in the name of "work". Ultimately, I'm doing the things I've wanted to do since I began recruiting.

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Recruiting Journey

In the spring of 2011, I was recruiting temporary warehouse employees for a staffing agency. For a number of reasons I won't get into here, I decided to leave that position. I knew I wanted to continue recruiting, and was drawn to the IT industry's innovation, creativity and growth potential. I started applying for Technical Recruiter jobs online. I had a few interviews and a few more rejections, presumably due to a lack of industry experience.

Eventually, Halcyon Solutions took a chance and hired me as their Technical Recruiter. My time with Halcyon has been some of the best in my career. My manager and coworkers have been teachers and mentors. I've loved being part of a company that is truly committed to serving the community, and to training and investing in its employees. I've recruited passionate newbie developers and watched them become full-fledged Agile consultants. I've been able to wear my marketing hat and promote the company. And I've met a lot of really cool people along the way.

So it is bittersweet for me to announce that today is my last day at Halcyon. I won't get into too many details yet, but I'm really excited about what's next.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

I Heart Twitter

A couple weeks ago, I attended a meetup with some other IT professionals that wouldn't have happened without Twitter. Basically, several of us were tweeting about whiskey bars, which turned into "hey, we should meet up sometime!", which turned into actually setting a date and time for a happy hour, which turned into an evening of great conversation at Barrel 44.

It got me thinking about why Twitter is easily my favorite form of social media. It's awesome because it's an easy way to access tons of knowledge quickly and it helps you meet some really cool people.


To me, Twitter is the best form of social media for connecting with new people. Facebook is locked down, LinkedIn isn't personal, Instagram is for pictures rather than conversations, and the other networks aren't that heavily used. Twitter is great because it's so open. You could just as easily be tweeting with a C-Level executive as you could the bartender at your local bar, a coworker, or an entry-level developer.

Twitter also makes it easy to combine offline and online worlds. It's common to be at an event and hear or say something like, "Hey! You're @username! It's great to meet you in real life." This can get fun when it's followed up by a question about a recently tweeted recipe, run, trip, pet picture, etc. The reverse is to meet someone offline, then stay in touch via Twitter. Instead of exchanging business cards, just pull up the Twitter app on your phone and follow one another.

Professional Benefit

I rarely advertise job openings on my personal account. That's what my work account is for. When people tweet at me asking about jobs for themselves or their friends, I follow up with a direct message asking for a resume and a convenient time to talk. Sometimes I hire these people. Sometimes I don't. And sometimes I can't hire them immediately, but know what they're looking for when the right opportunity does come along.

Aside from recruiting, I often use Twitter to introduce people who can help one another. For example, a developer tweeted me saying he was looking for some part-time side work. I knew of a small company who could use his help, and offered to introduce them. The developer got his side work and the company got the help they needed.


When I first started tweeting, I had no intention of doing so professionally. My first account didn't even use my real name or picture. When I moved to Columbus, I made an account using my name because I thought it might be a good way to meet people and find out what there was to do. I followed friends and local businesses, and eventually found people I didn't know who were into food and running. Some worked in tech and tweeted with others in tech who had interesting things to say. So I followed those people as well, started tweeting with them, and the whole thing kind of snowballed. Here's what I've learned about how to use Twitter.
  • Be yourself - Use a picture of yourself & fill out your bio. Tweet about what you're doing and your hobbies. You'll likely find someone else shares these interests.
  • Engage with others - Whether you use Twitter professionally or personally, don't be that person who only broadcasts information. Talk to people. Ask questions. Answer questions. Share interesting things you read or cute pictures of your dog/cat/kid.
  • Don't be afraid to @ mention a stranger, celebrity, business, or person you want to meet. - Twitter is an equalizer and people are generally willing to engage. 
How has Twitter benefited you? What tips do you have for using it?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What's a Recruiter Doing In a CodeMash Precompiler?

As I walked into Brandon Satrom and Clark Sell's HTML5 workshop on Wednesday morning, I asked myself the same thing. I was nervous about attending CodeMashSure, I've been learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I even have an app I want to build. But I'm not a professional software developer. I'm a technical recruiter.

Normally, I love attending conferences, user groups and other tech events, and am completely comfortable at them. I catch up with friends, meet new people and have interesting conversations. I always leave full of new knowledge and ideas. But I'm usually a sponsor or organizer. I sit behind a company display, or work the registration area, or bring pizza to the "real developers".

At CodeMash, I was stepping away from my usual, comfortable role. Armed with curiosity, two Girl Develop It (GDI) classes and random code knowledge, I was attending as a developer. And that scared the crap out of me. Here I was, a newbie and a hobby developer, surrounded by people who do this stuff for a living. I admit that knowing how poorly developers can view recruiters didn't help. Some developers think that none of us recruiters know that Java and JavaScript are different and that all we care about is making as much money off of them as possible. I was afraid people would find out how little knowledge I have or what I do for a living, and tell me I had no right to be there.

I am happy to report that my fears were completely silly.

The GDI HTML/CSS & JavaScript classes I had taken, and my own reading and experimentation, were a great foundation for the precompiler. After a recap of the technologies, Brandon and Clark gave a broad overview of useful resources and tools. They also discussed how to handle browser and device compatibility, and touched on some fun stuff you can do in the newer experimental browsers. My only frustration was that I couldn't complete the labs. The wifi connection was spotty and I didn't have Git installed on my machine.

As for me being a recruiter, no one seemed to care about that either. If anything, I was encouraged to keep doing what I'm doing. I got some great advice for connecting with developers that I find on LinkedIn and job boards. I also had some entertaining discussions about dumb things recruiters do when contacting candidates and dumb things candidates do when looking for jobs. It was nice to be around people who had a sense of humor about themselves.

Once I realized that no one was going to tear me down for my skill level or my profession, I relaxed and enjoyed CodeMash. I focused on learning as much as I could. I selected sessions that were geared to my skill level and the technologies I'm learning. I spent time chatting with people at meals, in the hallways, while gaming and in the hot tub. I learned as much during those times as I did in sessions. I also made sure to visit sponsor booths to thank them for their support. After all, I've been in their shoes and will be in them again.

I'd like to thank the CodeMash community for encouraging a newbie developer and making her feel so welcome. I came back from Sandusky completely exhausted. I blame all the ideas bouncing around my head at the end of each day. I know the late-night gaming sessions didn't help either. I also came back completely recharged. As a recruiter, I'm ready to keep connecting with tech professionals and getting to know them and their goals before trying to hire them. As a developer, I'm ready to start working on that app, make time for some local hack nights and see where it all takes me.