Consulting life

In my approach to software development, I value my clients as a partner in building a product that meets the needs of the humans who use it. Having worked with clients in a wide range of industries including healthcare, performing arts, beverage distribution, pet food, hospitality, luxury consumer goods, and government, I understand that no one knows your domain better than you do.

I bring a unique blend of technical knowledge, non-technical language, and empathy to all of my projects. My clients walk away feeling empowered, comfortable, and heard. The specific technology and stack used aren't important if you don't love it when we're done.

Community

I recently started a community in Chicago called Dev Together that connects people starting their development career with technical mentors through low-commitment, high-value, human interactions. Currently, we're focused on monthly events centered around code reviews and pairing. The Mentors do a small code review of the Mentee's code prior to the Meetup event, and then they come together at the event to review the feedback and start working through the Mentor's suggestions in a 1 hour pairing session. To learn more about Dev Together, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @devtogetherchi

Speaking Engagements

I enjoy speaking about technical communication, other tech soft skills, mentorship, and yarn crafts. My previous talks and interviews can be found here. If you're interested in having me speak at one of your events or have an idea for an event that would be a good match for my background, let me know!

Fiber arts

Outside of work, I try to unplug. I really enjoy fiber arts, particularly dyeing wool, spinning yarn, and crocheting. I learned to crochet as a child, and picked it back up after college. I opened an Etsy shop, Blind Dog Yarns, inspired by my late dog George, a blind Australian Cattle Dog. He was always getting into trouble and I had so many George-stories. I couldn't resist a good pun about spinning yarns.

My favorite items to make and sell in my Etsy shop are projects made with patterns I created myself. I offer art yarn scarves and cowls, baby blankets with custom graphghan patterns, Christmas stockings with various holiday characters, and sometimes small stuffed toys (my crocheted dachshund is the most popular).

As I've completed more and more crochet projects, I've become increasingly interested in the raw materials that go into creating beautiful yarns. I took a spinning class in January 2017 and fell in love with the process of dyeing and spinning my own yarn.

Many of my scarves feature art yarn that I've dyed and spun myself. I hand paint my wool using environmentally friendly, heavy metal free acid dyes. The dyes I use comply with the Organic Trade Association's criteria for organic processing. Then I spin and ply the wool into yarn on my Schact Ladybug spinning wheel. I've even started sourcing my wool from local Illinois wool producers.