Today we spotlight Laurel Dickson-Bull. As a certified Project Management Professional, Laurel has her hands in a number of different programs at the leadership level, as you'll find below. But don't be fooled, she also has her hands in numerous hobbies and projects outside of work as well! Read on to learn more about Laurel's work and interests, and maybe you'll have something to chat about when you run into her during her numerous VoiCE events or other program collaborations!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
I am a Client Programs Manager, which means I run beta programs, Design Partner Programs and VoiCE Events.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
I have worked for IBM 7 years. I like to say I am "heritage Rational", but the fact is I worked for Rational only two weeks before the IBM acquisition.
Have you had any other roles in Rational?
My first job in Rational/IBM was as the Globalization Program Manager for ClearCase and ClearQuest. This was before we started using the IBM Globalization processes. I managed the release of the first Japanese version of the products, fondly remembered by some as "McKinley-I".
What are you currently working on?
I am currently running a managed beta program for Rational Focal Point, a Design Partner Program for Rational Focal Point and Rational Project Conductor, setting up a Design Partner Program for Rational Insight and helping with the 2010 Workbench for CLM beta.
Describe a normal day for you.
I'm up at 6:00, walk the dog, make sure the kids are out the door, then drive 5 miles to work at the Littleton, Massachusetts Lab (I know I AM lucky to have such a short commute!). My work day consists of planning meetings with the product teams to set up client programs and monitor feedback. I spend a good deal of my time answering client questions, meeting with clients and preparing for client meetings. So I am on the phone a good deal. I love my headset! I collaborate a lot with the other client program managers in my team to improve our internal processes. We recently created a "process wiki" to document and share all of our team's processes, as well as a database to manage all our team data and metrics.
What project are you the most proud of?
I have had a lot of great experiences since I have been in the Client Programs team. Probably my proudest accomplishment is helping to grow the team. Managed beta, open beta, Design Partner and VoiCE (Voice of the Client Event) have become household words in Rational. Last year, I was fortunate to lead the first VoiCE events in China and Germany. It was a pleasure to build VoiCE from scratch in those geographies and to get to know the local marketing teams and the clients. Plus, I love to travel.
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
I do like gadgets, but I tend to loose them. I had an iPod Nano (twice) that I loved, but alas, I lost it (twice). I haven't replaced the second one...
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
Is a car a gadget? I cannot imagine my summer commute without my 1995 Miata convertible.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
I like working with the customers and connecting them with colleagues who write, test and support our products. I also think the senior management in Support has a good sense of humor.
What inspires you in your work?
My current team inspires me. They are hard working, smart and inventive. It's amazing how the Client Programs team has grown in the last two years - from a small US team of three to an international team of nine. We expect to run about 30 beta programs and nearly 20 Design Partner Programs in 2010.
How do you define success?
Doing what you love, loving what you do and then watching your kids do it even better.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
I like too many things... it's hard to get really good at anything. Right now my hobbies are community volunteer activities, gardening, reading, and I am learning to oil paint. My father painted, my sister and brother also both paint... I guess it was inevitable!
Do you have any big plans for the future?
I visited my son in Barcelona, Spain this spring. The Dali museum was unreal (actually, surreal). I adored the architecture of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona: ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Gaud%C3%AD ). My next trip I expect will be to one of the national parks next summer.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
I just finished "The Unnamed" by Joshua Ferris. It was a strange book, but thought-provoking. I am currently reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". It's a good summer read.
What future technology would make your life easier?
I would like to be able to use a transporter like on Star Trek. That way if we have extra food left over after a company barbecue we could send it immediately to hungry children anywhere in the world. I like to imagine that technology will help with things like that in the future.
What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
I am sending my three children to college! They should be smarter when they graduate.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
I Google a lot. I visit Google news. For work-related things, I tend to SameTime or phone people. I am not shy about that. I think using the phone is underrated. We need to email less, talk more.
How are you using social networking today?
I use Facebook to keep up with family, friends, colleagues. Also Linked in for professional connections. I tried Tweeting for awhile, but I got bored with it. I use Lotus Communities extensively.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Paying my last tuition bill. Probably in another position at IBM, hopefully leading and growing a team. Working on the side as famous oil painter (ha!).