What Citrix technologies are most important to your work?
I work primarily with on-prem Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops. I’m a consultant, and my clients are mostly medium-sized healthcare organizations. They have complex needs for their size and Citrix offers the range of options that they need to deliver EHR applications and all the related peripherals effectively.
What are the biggest technology challenges you deal with and how do Citrix technologies help resolve them?
My biggest challenge personally is always learning. I’ve worked 20 years as a System Admin and Consultant, building and supporting networks of various sizes, but my venture into Citrix is only a year old. I also support Windows and VMware infrastructure for my biggest customer, and am enjoying learning Citrix.
The company I work for was founded by my husband, Mike Meyer, and I have brought in my own clients as well as supporting some of the business’ existing clients. The focus of Aspen Systems is Citrix, so I’m in fast-track learning mode on the engineering side. In other areas of the business, I am turning my focus towards outreach and connecting with others in technology, to learn from them, and bring new talent into the company. On the client side, my philosophy is very relationship-focused and I have a passion for supporting healthcare. I find healthcare to be more relationship-based than other industries I have worked for, and that plays to my interest and strength. I need to feel that my work is a benefit to humanity, and Citrix helps me provide solutions for healthcare providers that allow them to do their valuable work with minimal distraction from technology. The ultimate goal is to make the tech as invisible as possible and allow providers to focus on patient care.
Tell us about your experience in the 2019 CUGC Women In Technology mentorship program.
I was so honored to be accepted as a mentee in the CUGC Women in Tech program. I applied thinking it was a long shot, since I am such a newbie to Citrix, and when I got the acceptance message back from Stephanie Boozer, I was so excited to begin. I had just left a very toxic workplace and was feeling burnout and discouragement, and I was looking to the mentorship program to help me rediscover my tech mojo. I thought, "With 20 years behind me, I can’t give up now," but I knew I needed some help to get back on track. The opportunity popped up at the perfect moment, and my mentor, CTP Theresa Miller, has been exactly the inspiration I needed to get back into the groove. I didn’t have any specific goals beyond just reconnecting, so we developed our strategy as we went along.
One of the most helpful things we did was choose books to read, assign ourselves chapters, and then meet and discuss the book, our feelings about it, and how it related to our experience as women in our careers. She also helped to connect me with other women in our field, and we talked about the benefits and challenges of our experiences. The best part of the program was learning that I’m not alone, there are so many shared experiences among the still-too-few women in our field. I feel so validated and part of a community now, and I am so grateful for that! I expect each mentee’s experience will be different, tailored to her (or his) stage in career, background, interests, and communication style. My personal experience was not as tech-focused because I have a lot of background there already. I needed to reconnect and that goal was achieved exponentially beyond what I thought possible!
Tell us about leading the CUGC Women In Technology workshop and networking event at Citrix Synergy in Atlanta.
The WIT networking event at Synergy in Atlanta this year featured a discussion called “50 Ways to Fight Bias,” which Theresa and I kicked off with an introduction to the topic, and then turned over the discussion to a really great audience of women and men. The participation was amazing–I believe that the folks who attended would agree that their sense of connectedness and camaraderie was certainly increased by participating in the workshop. The presentation opened with some surprising facts about common unconscious biases, and a short video about different types of workplace bias. Each table then worked on small-group activities discussing different theoretical scenarios of bias and how they would address each example, and presented examples to the full group. Through sharing of opinions and personal stories, I believe everyone walked out of the room with greater consciousness of biases they may not have realized still lived in their own minds, and a new set of skills for noticing and addressing those biases.
On a personal note, this was my first experience with public speaking, so a huge thank you to everyone who shared with me the story of her or his first public speaking engagement. Every one of you made me feel welcome and gave me the little nudge of courage I needed to show up.
Heather, standing far left, moderating discussion at the CUGC WIT event at Citrix Synergy 2019.
Now that the mentorship program has wrapped up for this year, what's next for you?
I think the point of climbing mountain peaks isn’t to reach the top, it’s just to get up high enough to see the next peak. We certainly met some important goals over the past year–some planned, and some pleasant surprises. One thing I have not completed yet is passing a certification, which is still on the agenda. The more important focus is an ongoing goal of greater outreach and connection. I met so many wonderful people at Synergy, and will be attending E2EVC in Portugal in the fall, where I plan to reconnect with some of you.
Finally, outside of work and CUGC, what do you do for fun?
I love the outdoors. In summer, I tend a beautiful garden and enjoy hiking in the Colorado mountains with Mike and our dogs, and kayaking when we travel. We travel a lot, and visit California and Canada (our former homes) often to enjoy the outdoors there as well. I also love to cook, and am exploring Indian cuisine. Cooking and baking is a family tradition, it’s a way we honor our family members who have passed, and enjoy the times we get together as a family. We all live in different U.S. states, so getting together and cooking with family is always a special occasion.
I grew up an artsy kid–playing multiple instruments and singing, participating in theatre and dance, and taking art classes. Fun fact–I had the good fortune of performing at Carnegie Hall in New York when I was a university student. This year, I’ve decided to reconnect with the arts. Art is for grown-ups, too! I particularly enjoy transforming old, used objects into new, beautiful, useful things. I love to put new life and beauty into old furniture. I’m venturing into a new musical journey by learning guitar, and I keep up on dance by taking classes, occasionally performing, and dancing around the kitchen while I cook.
My every day hobbies are yoga and books – I’m an avid reader of geeky non-fiction, and I calm the busy mind with yoga practice. A few recent books that I loved:
- “The Myth of the Nice Girl” by Fran Hauser – Theresa and I read this together, it’s a must-read! Perhaps it could be part of the WIT program in the future, it’s full of gems.
- “Utopia for Realists” by Roger Bregman – some new and old ideas for a better world.
- “Becoming” – Michelle Obama’s autobiography. So inspiring!