9th Annual Women and Leadership Symposium

Good leaders organize and align people around what the team needs to do. Great leaders motivate and inspire people with why they’re doing it. That’s purpose. And that’s the key to achieving something truly transformational.  

– Marillyn Hewson, CEO at Lockheed Martin

The 9th Annual Women & Leadership Symposium was attended by hundreds of people, and the ratio of women to men was approximately 200:1. Walking toward Varsity Hall in Union South you could hear the thunder of hundreds of conversations taking place simultaneously during the morning networking hour. Some of the most influential women on campus were there including Lori Berquam (Dean of Students), Diana Hess (Dean of the School of Education), Margaret Raymond (Dean of the UW Law School), Dr. Linda Scott (Dean of the School of Nursing), Kathryn VandenBosch (Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences), among many other prestigious faculty and staff.

The opening keynote presentation was made up of a panel of many of the aforementioned women on campus. They shared the most important advice that they have learned from previous mentors including:

  • The importance of finding what you’re good at and what brings you joy, and being better at it than anybody else.
  • The notion that we should all try to be, and to seek out critical friends. A critical friend is someone who is both an advocate for your success and also someone who will provide critical and constructive feedback.
  • When you think about where you want to be, it’s about walking toward those goals, and avoiding the urge to run away from challenges.

UW’s new Chief of Police, Kristen Roman, presented at a breakout session immediately following the keynote, about the idea of owning your individual story and using it to shape who you are as a leader. Kristen quoted Brenee Brown who said that “What we know matters but who we are matters more.” In this way, she describes her leadership style as “authentic,” and encourages us all to research the notion of authentic leadership. Her philosophy for the UW-Police Department is that they “will be leaders in innovative, community-oriented policing. [They] value diversity and will promote campus community wellbeing through collaborative approaches to ensuring safety.”

Leslie Orrantia, Director of Community Relationships for UW, gave another breakout session which explored reflection and identity as it shapes who we are presently and who we want to become. Leslie reminded us all to be an advocate for those individuals who don’t have a seat at the table. She spoke of the importance of adaptability in any given situation, and adjusting to the situation when necessary. When prioritizing for effectiveness, and efficiency, her advice is to look at deliverables from a short-game and a long-game perspective and tackle projects accordingly.


The energy and mood of the Symposium remained high throughout the day. The Endnote presentation consisted of a panel of women who shared their experiences in advisory and policy-making roles at both the state and federal government. These women gave a message that consisted of patience, hope, and change. They all overcame significant obstacles in their work, devoted years of their life to the betterment of the country, and quickly discovered how powerful partisanship was. One of the most important leadership qualities that they identified was the ability to bring together different people with different opinions to advance a common goal.


User Services Professional Development Plan Workshop

Looking to develop in your current role or for a new role at DoIT but unsure where to start? Stop by 3139BC between 10:30AM and 12:00PM on Friday, June 14th for the User Services Professional Development Plan (PDP) Workshop. The Workshop will provide a time, place, and assistance to help you complete your PDP self-reflection and draft your professional development goals.

Here is a suggested timeline for the PDP portion of this year’s PDP/Performance Evaluation process:

If you have any questions about the process, please contact Jaclyn Zavoral at Jaclyn.zavoral@wisc.edu or stop by 3118.

Systems Engineering and Operations Track & Snack

Systems Engineering and Operations (SEO) is the operational hub of all IT Services provided by DoIT to campus. Two managers from SEO, Mark Nessel and Beth Wendt, spoke at the third Track & Snack on 6/27/2017.

Mark manages Systems Engineering (SE), which is responsible for research, design and system administration for all of the hardware systems resident in the data center(s). In addition they are the primary design and support technologists for mass storage, backup and disaster recovery infrastructures.

Beth manages Customer Application Services (CAS), which is responsible for application administration and service delivery and customer support for many of the mass applications (portal, mail, etc) as well as direct customer support of many enterprise services and tools (back-up, service scheduling, document management).

You’d think SEO would be looking for people with tech skills above all else. But even with the technical nature of the services their groups provide, both Beth and Mark emphasized their need for the things User Services staff have in abundance: people skills, customer service skills, and communication skills — the so-called soft skills.

The way Mark put it, it doesn’t matter what tech skills you do or don’t have, if hired you would be trained in SE’s standard way of doing things. He credited SE’s highly standardized procedures with making it possible for 9 of his staff to administer 1,700 servers, and said that he could train anyone in the room to be a system administrator.

The soft skills, on the other hand, are more difficult to teach and learn. Generally, you have to have those going in, and Mark said that half of his job interview questions will concern customer service and soft skills. He also said that when hiring he’s more interested in enthusiasm than in tech skills.

As DoIT’s services face campus more and more, CAS needs people who can have that business conversation with departments on campus, Beth said. It’s no longer technologists talking with technologists to get things done — she needs people who can engage with not-necessarily-technical department heads to understand their needs and deliver the service.

Beth said that her group is focusing more on soft skills now. She needs people who are not only technical, but can also talk to customers. Technical people with the soft skills of customer service plus people skills are much less common than purely technical people. She mentioned Sarah Buszka as someone who recently made the jump from User Services to CAS as a Critical Infrastructure Service Lead.

Like those from other groups who presented at the previous Track & Snacks, Beth and Mark indicated their willingness to talk with people one on one about tech careers. So if you’re interested in the work SEO does, a conversation with one or both of them is a great opportunity to develop your career path.

The Track & Snacks were designed to introduce interested User Services staff to leaders from other areas within DoIT, to familiarize current US employees with the missions of other DoIT groups, and to discover the skills and characteristics those groups want in their staff. The presenters could also announce any positions available now or forecast for the near future. The SEO Track & Snack was the last in the series, but Jaclyn Zavoral indicated that there could be more in the future — contact her with suggestions of other DoIT roles or groups for future Track & Snacks.

Design Thinking Workshops

This past week User Services welcomed Dee Warmath, an assistant professor with the School of Human Ecology’s Department of Consumer Science, to lead a Design Thinking exercise focused on identifying and empathizing with the needs of the customer.  Dee led User Services staff through a fast-paced version of the Design Thinking process.

This crash course in Design Thinking allowed staff to get a feel for the entire process of Design Thinking.  The process begins with building empathy for their customer through a process of asking questions and synthesizing the information.  Design Thinking focuses heavily on collaboration, customer service, and innovative problem solving.  Dee discussed innovation as a process of finding a fresh idea that is feasible and adds value to the current solution being implemented.

Staff were asked to redesign the process of gift giving on behalf of a partner.   By gaining empathy through an interview and reflection process, participants were able to create an Empathy Matrix.  This consisted of reflecting on what their partner said, what their partner may have been thinking, what their partner does currently, and how they partner may have been feeling.  Using the information gained from the empathy exercise, each partner created a physical prototype that may help their partner in the gift giving process.

Dee walked staff through the five steps that she identifies as essential for the Design Thinking process.  The first step is “Empathizing” with the customer by asking questions and learning precisely what the customer needs in order to be successful.  Once you have a good idea of what the customer may want, you will “Redefine” or “Reframe” what you have learned from the customer and understand what the customer needs.  Often it is helpful to use a “(customer) needs a way to (need of customer)” statement to keep you on track.  When the need is clearly identified, you can “Ideate.”  Ideation involves working with other staff members as well as the customer in order to come up with several possible solutions to the customer’s need.  It can help to ask the question “How might we…?” to start forming solutions and new ideas.  After you narrow down your solutions, you can create a tangible version of the solution.  This is the “Prototype” phase.  After creating several iterations of the prototype based on feedback, you are free to test your solution.

Design Thinking has been broadly used in fields ranging from Computer Science and Engineering to Ethnography and Anthropology.  Design Thinking is an additional tool to keep in mind which can help to provide new perspectives, and enable us to maintain our “customer first” attitude.


contributed by Annie Erickson

Women in User Services Resource Fair Recap

Here’s what you need to know if you weren’t able to attend the 2nd Annual Women in User Services Resource Fair:

The goal of UW-WIT (Women in Information Technology) is to create a supportive environment for women in IT at UW-Madison. Stay up to date, and get invited to Networking and Professional Development opportunities by joining the UW-WIT (Women in Information Technology) listserv at: join-uw-wit@lists.wisc.edu

The Lockdown 2017 Technology and Cybersecurity Conference will take place on July 13, 2017 from 8a-5p at the Health Sciences Learning Center. Register today!

Did you know that DoIT offers a Leadership Breakfast twice each semester? The goal is to create an atmosphere that’s fun an inviting, and at each breakfast they focus on a specific leadership competency. The next Leadership Breakfast is July 25. If you would like to get invited, please contact Laura Grady (laura.grady@wisc.edu, (608) 890-2475).

The Leadership Improv group gets together monthly combining the tenets of improvisation with leadership development training. Learn how to be present in the moment, how to respond to counterfactual arguments, maintain openness to inquiry, facilitate decision making, and improve your public speaking skills. Join their listserv at:  http://join-leadership-improv@lists.wisc.edu/

The 9th Annual Women & Leadership Symposium will take place on Thursday, July 6, at Union South. This event focuses on supporting all women who wish to pursue leadership opportunities at UW-Madison. Register today at:  http://go.wisc.edu/rw2f74

Derrian Jones presented on behalf of DoIT’s Equity and Diversity Committee, which constantly looks at the culture, climate, and employee experience in DoIT and seeks to improve it. If you have any feedback for them please reach out to Derrian or your department’s representative.

Check out UW-IT Connects for more information about these and other great opportunities in support of women in leadership on campus.

Cybersecurity Track & Snack

It was Cybersecurity’s turn to talk career at the 5/18/2017 Track & Snack. Bob Turner, UW-Madison’s Chief Information Security Officer, spoke about his career, cybersecurity at the UW and in general, and about what it takes to get into the field. This was the second in a series of three Track & Snacks.

Bob led into a description of what the Office of Cybersecurity does by describing an exercise his team undertook last summer to think about the First Principles that guide them. What is Cybersecurity’s purpose? What are the reasons for its existence? At the root is the necessity of managing high-risk material impact, and the rest grows from there:

While stating that pretty much everyone attending the Track & Snack would be in some way qualified for the positions opening soon in his department, Bob also named some specific areas of expertise that would benefit applicants:

  • Information Security — Network Security, Cryptography, Information Assurance
  • Network Setup — Cisco Routers, Firewalls (including NGFW), Network Engineering, VPN
  • Core Database, Coding & Scripting — SQL, Oracle, JAVA, PERL, C++, Python
  • Auditing — Internal Audit, Audit Planning; Risk Assessment, Risk Management; Legal Compliance
  • Network Protocols — TCP/IP, DNS, SSL, LDAP, DHCP
  • System Admin — System/Network Config, Disaster Recovery Planning; Windows Servers

Finally, Bob talked about the positions opening up in the near future. He said that the department as it stands is nowhere near the right size — he needs many more people to perform all the tasks assigned to them.

  • CSOC Watch Supervisor
    • Available in late June
    • Day-to-day operations – supervises Student Interns
    • Uses “Playbook” to work through daily operational chores
    • Maintains briefing notes and presents Daily Cyber Intelligence Brief
  • Security Testing and Cyber Defense Analysts
    • Awaiting Funding (plus another funded position potentially opening in July)
    • Practical operation and management of cybersecurity tools
    • Involved in systems security testing and supports CSOC operations
    • Drafts Risk Assessment reports
  • GRC Risk Analysts
    • Awaiting Funding
    • HIPAA Risk Assessment Team and Risk Management Framework support
    • Conducts risk assessments using templates and guides – coaches system administrators and engineers
    • This is a thinking position that generally requires some cybersecurity background.

He encouraged anyone who’s interested to come to his office and speak with him — his door is always open and he’s always happy to talk about careers in cybersecurity.

The next Track & Snack will be with Systems Engineering and Operations (SEO) on 6/27/2017 from 2pm to 3pm in 3139AB. 

US Internship Program Kicks-Off

The Summer Internship officially kicked off on Monday with a day filled with food, fun, and a ton of collaboration. We were very excited to welcome some new faces into our DoIT family, and of course some familiar faces as well! We are even more excited to watch this cohort grow throughout the summer and complete key projects throughout their respective departments.

In addition to spreading our excitement, the Internship Team wanted to take this opportunity to thank those that made this kick-off a success:

  • Thank you to Brandon Bernier for his presentation on the Internship Program.
  • Thank you to Bryan Rastello for his presentation on DoIT Organization.
  • Thank you to Jaclyn Zavoral, Chris Poser, Bridget Bartell, Nick Reynolds, Leah Scheide and David Schlaefer for sharing the story of their User Services journeys.
  • Thank you to the Extended Leadership Team for taking the time to come and introduce yourselves.
  • Thank you to all the full time and student staff that took time out of your afternoon to join us for our ending social hour.
  • Thank you to our mentors for being present for most of the day and for making the interns feel welcome in their new space.
  • Adventure Learning Program for provided us with a fun day out at the high ropes course!

We are looking forward to an excellent summer filled with learning, teamwork, and of course, fun!

Pictured below is a team of interns, mentors, and sponsors playing a silly ice breaker called Human Rock, Paper, Scissors.