That’s right! You read that right! Gina Rosenthal is coming to Tech Field Day 20 as a delegate. Gina is, at the core, a storyteller and educator. She has a background in social justice and has been blogging for over 12 years. Her professional career has included such roles as technical trainer, *nix sysadmin, technical training developer, community manager, social media marketing manager, and now, product marketing manager.
In January 2018, we learned more about Gina through our IT Origins series. Take a peek at that post here – Gina Minks – IT Origins. Connect with Gina at @gminks on Twitter, the web, or the Tech Field Day web site.
How did you get into technology and IT?
I was a single mom, working my bootie off (3 jobs at a time!). My brother told me the government would pay me to go to school, and I took a chance, figuring I could get down to 1 job! I enrolled in community college in an Electronic Engineering Technology program. I did an independent study project outlining how to set up an ISP and quickly decided I liked software better than designing circuits. I got my bachelor’s degree, was recruited by EMC, and the rest is history!
What do you do now? Tell us a little about your current role.
I just founded a consulting company: Digital Sunshine Solutions. My goal is to help companies with product strategy bring back true community strategy, and attack the problem of digital literacy in the US. Being a founder is much more complex than I expected, but I’m really enjoying the challenge!
Where do you see IT going in the next 3-5 years?
I believe we are currently experiencing the “digital transformation” that big vendors have been marketing the last several years. The technical possibilities of cloud-like architecture, containerized apps, acceleration hardware, and 5G will make AI a reality. However, there is a huge societal risk in digitizing every aspect of the human experience and then applying man-made algorithms to that data to extract meaning. We are living in very interesting times.
What was your first computer?
A Compaq? With Windows 95. I bought it with Pell Grant money so I could do my lab work at home while my kids slept.
If you could have ONE superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?
Flying. I would never be stuck in traffic. Also, have you ever watched the birds play in the air currents… that looks wicked fun.
What do you do in your spare time (hobbies)?
I like gardening. I love to preserve food. I try to make my big mama’s pickles and apple butter every year, and I usually have a jar of half sours in my fridge. I read a lot, and I love hanging out with my dog all over Austin.
What are your biggest challenges?
One huge challenge is having enough time to tackle all the interesting challenges that cross my path. Related to that is the challenge of staying balanced. When you are too stressed and tired, it is hard to do the emotional work required to create real change.
How do you manage your work/life balance?
I try not to email or take calls after 5 or on the weekend. I’ve found that for what I do, it always can wait. I don’t drink much anymore, and I exercise every day. Since I live in the Music Capital of the world, I also make a point of getting out to see shows. It can’t be all work all the time! You lose your humanity without being present in your community.
What are you most excited about seeing at the event?
Old and new friends! Also, the Forescout product looks interesting.
What is your favorite movie? Tell us about some of your favorite parts or characters.
Hmmm… just 1?
Trainspotting is a favorite…I love the social message.
A movie I can’t resist watching if it’s on when I’m channel hopping is Joe Dirt. It is SO DUMB and reminds me of so many people I love.
They both have killer soundtracks!
What is your favorite kind of ice cream? Do you eat it alone, with toppings, in a cone, in a bowl, out of the container?
Yes. Favorite is either chocolate or coconut. Mexican ice cream is so good! I never eat it alone anymore…I don’t eat dairy (except ice cream and coffee cream when that’s all there is). Usually in a bowl, but for my son’s birthday we went to some insane ice cream place and I had a unicone. It had everything on it and was the bomb.
If you weren’t working in IT, what would you be doing instead?
I’d find a way to be a full-time activist. Technology is making things hard for the “have nots”, they need our help.
That’s awesome, Gina! Looking forward to seeing you at Tech Field Day 20 this week!
Don’t miss a minute of Tech Field Day 20; happening November 13-15, 2019. Mark your calendars, so you can catch the presentations live! #TFD20