It's Friday, and time to share this week's meet the peeps interview with Denise McKinnon. As you'll find below, sharing is a key concept in Denise's life; from work to family, and of course friends. As one of Rational Client Support's Knowledge Champions, she exemplifies what knowledge sharing is all about. Outside of work she also shares her many gifts in the form of quilts and as a Big Sister role model. She is also a kindred spirit as a motorcycle enthusiast.... something which I know a few people who read (and were previously interviewed on this blog) will identify with. Gotta love those backroads!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
I started with Rational as an associate support engineer on the ClearCase team and advanced to a more senior role which involved working with escalated issues. I become passionate about sharing the knowledge that I obtained from the issues I helped to troubleshoot both internally and externally and became the first Knowledge Engineer in Rational Client Support. The last 3 years I have spent my time in the knowledge sharing space where I am currently a Knowledge Engineer for the ClearCase product.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
I've been with Rational Client Support since April of 2000.
Describe a normal day for you.
My work life is all about sharing knowledge. I spend much of my time assisting and coaching our support teams in developing and publishing technical knowledge for posting to the Web (such as technotes, white papers, You Tube videos or other forms). New knowledge is being created every day, much of which requires a review and special handling to ensure they are properly worded and formatted for various delivery channels. It is also important to communicate key information such as product news, alerts and updates to clients which I share through the various social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter,...).
Are you a gadget person? What type of gadgets do you use?
I'm not a big gadget person, however, I do love my GPS which keeps me from getting lost on long trips to destinations where I haven't been before. I especially like the feature that allows you to locate stores and restaurants in the surrounding area.
What gadget, which you currently own, can you not live without?
Although I hate to say it, but probably the Microwave. Funny how we want everything in our lives to go faster except the years in our age.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
I would have to say the people I work with are my favorite part of working at Rational. I've seen many changes to the teams in the time I have been here and I've had the pleasure of working with a number of friendly, knowledgeable and hard working people from various geographic locations. I also enjoy the challenge of helping to solve issues, sharing the results when the solution is found and finding more efficient ways of communicating that information to those that need it most in the manner they would like best to receive it.
What inspires you in your work?
The hope that the work I am doing is helping people do their jobs better by providing them with the knowledge to help answer their questions, solve their issues and avoid roadblocks that would otherwise prevent them from being successful.
What are you passionate about?
Helping others including my family and friends. I come from a large family and have one son of whom I am very proud as he has developed into a responsible, decent and caring individual. I also volunteered as a Big Sister with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization and developed a lasting relationship with a young girl who has since turned into a very nice young lady.
What tip or trick would you like to share with the class?
Live your life having respect for others and don't ever forget to tell your fellow co-workers and those who are close to you how much you appreciate what they do
Tell me about the biggest problem you've solved?
I would have to say that the most memorable problem I helped solve while here in support was in troubleshooting a ClearCase MultiSite issue. It was an issue that involved a lot of replicated VOBs that had to be recovered. Although the recovery procedures went well into the night, we were able to successfully complete the recovery and get the teams back up and running.
How do you define success?
In work, knowing that I am helping to make a positive difference in the work lives of my co-workers and our clients. We can only succeed as an organization if our clients are successful as well.
At home, good health and a long happy life for my family and friends. I highly value all the quality friendships I have made and those precious few I have maintained for a number of years.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
I like to get away and enjoy the peace and serenity of camping in the white mountains in New Hampshire (as long as the bears stay away from my campsite of course).
I also enjoy sewing and quilting and have made many quilts for family and friends which they cherish.
If you were stuck on a technology deprived island, what single technology could you not live without?
I would have to say that I couldn't live without a phone to keep in touch with my family and friends.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.
How do you grow your technical skills?
I try to surround myself with knowledgeable people, participate in technical discussions/meetings and take classes.
How do you prefer to find answers to your questions?
I like to do the initial searching myself. I typically start by using Google or if it is a Rational product related technical question, I may use the IBM Support Portal to find the answer. Otherwise, I may consult with a co-worker (often times using a Sametime chat) or phone a friend
If I eventually find the answer that wasn't easy to identify, I'll create and publish a technote to the Web to help share that knowledge with others.
How are you using social networking today?
In my work life, I use social networking for sharing information with our clients regarding important news, alerts, updates and issues that may impact their use of our products.
In my personal life, I use social networking to stay in touch with family and friends around the world which allows me to keep up to date with the things that are going on in their lives. Amazing how much I can find out on Facebook that I wouldn't otherwise know about.
How could you see yourself using it in 5 years?
I see myself continuing to participate in the social networking space both personally and professionally. I hope to learn and use newer tools as they become available and as they help to improve the way in which we communicate.
Are you a blogger in the blogosphere? ... Are you a YouTuber? ...Are you an Author? .... Do you Tweet? ...
In my work life I have both created and posted YouTube videos and send tweets regularly on behalf of Rational Client Support. You can identify my tweets as they are stamped with my initials "^DM".
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
I regularly follow and/or contribute to our IBM Rational ClearCase Facebook page, RationalSupport on Twitter, the IBM Rational ClearCase Group LinkedIn group and the Notes from Rational Support blog.
Any other fun tidbits of information about you, your job, or RCS that you'd like to share?
Along with my interest in the outdoors, on a nice cool day I love to take a long ride on my motorcycle along the back country roads of New Hampshire and Vermont.