2017 Women’s Leadership Symposium: “Creating a Resonant Yes Through the Power of No”

yesSarah Young from Zing Collaborative had a powerful message for attendees of the 2017 Women’s Leadership Symposium: “How we spend our moments is how how we spend our lives”. Her interactive, high-energy and thought-provoking talk started with some alarming statistics:

Google searches per second: 40,000
Number of texts sent every minute of every day: 15,220,700 
Frequency in which one is distracted at work: every 11 minutes
Minutes it takes to to get back on task: 23
Percentage of behavior NOT consciously self-directed : as much as 95%

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Swords Are Cool

For most of us, a hobby is an end in itself. But for some lucky few, hobbies grow into careers. While one of Chris Last’s hobbies doesn’t quite qualify as a career, it’s close.

For 20-plus years now, Chris, who manages Math and Stats software packages for DoIT, has been part of the Bristol Renaissance Faire. It takes place on summer weekends on a 30-acre site in the Village of Bristol, Wisconsin. This year is its 30th anniversary.

Bristol, England’s Coat of Arms

Bristol’s organizing theme is the celebration of Queen Elizabeth I’s visit to Bristol, England in August, 1574, during the flowering of the English Renaissance (the visit and the celebration are actual historical events). Within its microcosm of the Renaissance, the Bristol performers present many of the less-unsavory aspects of 16th-century life: period dress, jousting, eating without utensils, street performances, etc. Many guests also get into the spirit by getting into costume.

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Counting Inventory in the Tech Store: 1, 2, 3…


The Tech Store group counts all of its tangible inventory at the end of each fiscal year. This year was no exception. We received in over $9.5 million of inventory over the entire year which was a 10% increase over the prior year.

During the week of June 19, the Tech Store group counted over 19,000 items in 4 main locations (including our 3 Tech Store locations, and the Dayton Storeroom in B202) that contain 138 unique locators. (Locators are specific locations where product is placed within a main location.)

The Tech Store completes double counts of all the items in our Tech Store locations at Dayton, East Campus Mall, and at HSLC. Tech Store staff are paired up with a partner, a scanner, and a laptop, and scan in each item individually until all items have been scanned. Then, a second pair of staff counts the same items to verify that all of our counts are accurate.


Of the 19,137 physical products that were counted, 49 items required a 3rd count (a recount) because of discrepancies between the first two counts. This commonly happens when boundaries between individual locators are not clearly defined, or when product is misplaced or not where it would normally be.


In the Tech Store location at Dayton, Hannah Pringle and Brian Rucinski scanned the largest number of items of any team (1,364 items). Bret Vlach & Maggie Buday counted the second largest number of items (1,255).

Jeff Meyers spent over 11hrs across 6 days to complete the processing and reconciliation of all the counts. Jeff had to resolve 400+ discrepancies, which resulted in 130 adjustments.

The Tech Store will complete a post-project review of Inventory to find ways to improve it for next year!

A special thank you to the staff from Repair and Product Management for helping with Inventory counting this year.


Significant contributions for this article were made by Jeff Meyers & Lloyd Carter. Photographs were contributed by Dawn Karls

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.

The Bridge to Better Service: The Embedded Help Desk Agent

Imagine being an ambassador to two worlds that rely on each other. One would need to know the language and currency in the two distinct realms for interactions to run smoothly. The DoIT Help Desk Agent embedded within a DoIT Service, does this day to day!

Relay to the DoIT Service:
– end user
– end user struggles and areas in the Service that need improvement

♦ Continuously improve DoIT Help Desk:
– documentation
– internal processes

In an effort provide consistent, face-to-face coordination of the technical and functional, the Help Desk has embedded agents within various services throughout DoIT. The concept began with our own Chris Mayeshiba working closely with Learn @ UW acting as a liaison conveying the needs of the Help Desk.

With the gap identified, when it came to the Help Desk and the campus migration to Office 365,  a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was drawn citing the specific duties and expectations of a Help Desk Embedded Agent. Rhianna Campbell was assigned to 50% of her time to work side by side with the Office 365 Service Team. Rhianna recently spoke of her experiences as an Embedded Agent, specifically the management of constant changes to documentation, at the 2017 KB User’s Group Meeting and was received with much acclaim.

The following are the current DoIT Services who have a Help Desk agent working alongside them:

50%   ECMS Imaging
25%   Learn@UW
25%   MyUW
25%   Mass email / Wisclist
25%   General Desktop Support (GDS)

The embedded Help Desk agent quickly becomes the “face of the customer” to the DoOT Service and also becomes the “go-to person” for Help Desk staff.   The time and energy invested by the embedded agent ultimately adds much value to both areas.

The image below depicts many aspects the embedded Help Desk agent does to ensure a positive and consistent end user experience for the DoIT Service to which they are assigned. On the left side of the image depicts specific facets the embedded agent engages and participates in the DoIT Service. The right side of the image depicts what the embedded agent brings back to DoIT Help Desk to inform the staff and their internal processes.

Embedded Agent


If you have any questions about the DoIT Help Desk embedded agent role, OR, if you are interested in embedding a Help Desk agent into your DoIT Service, please contact Abrianna Barca.