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The Male Perspective: The Tech Tea with Kimberly

It's November and it is time to see what the men in IT think.


I asked some of my male tech peers to share about their career journey. Check them out over the next couple of weeks.

 

LinkedIn brought our first featured guest and I together. Although I am no longer in the CIO space, I really enjoyed us being able to swap ideas and just simply talk when I was in the role. Cheers to my forever friend in tech, Chuck Henderson.



Chuck, tell us about yourself and what you do.


I am 51 years old. Grew up in rural Missouri, and still live there. I like being around trees. I am a leader and an analyst. I am the CIO of St. Louis County Government. I have a passion for bringing technology into government and using it to improve efficiency and customer service.



What’s your professional background, and how did you get into your current career?


I actually never intended to do what I do. I have a EE degree and wanted to work on big communication systems. While in college I needed a job, and a friend got on at a local computer manufacturer. I haven't been able to escape sense. I have been a field service technician, desktop support, helpdesk, desktop automation, server technician, network, security and telecom as well as over a decade of management experience. Basically, I have been everywhere in the infrastructure and support side of IT. I was the IT point of contact for M&A activities and a project manager.


What do you like best about your current position?


I get the opportunity to lead a really great team of professions who share my passion. We have brought a new level of technology to County and are leading the way through modernization and change with the goal of making services easier to get and County operations more efficient.


What is the best career advice you have received?


Two things. Don't be scared of opportunities. You are far more capable than you give yourself credit for. Second, get a team you trust. Your team has to be your friends as well as co-workers. Having a team that cares about each other means having a team that will help each other. And that is a recipe for success.


What has been your experience with working with/for women in tech?


Honestly, I am not sure how to answer this question. I have worked for women, with women and had women working for me throughout my career. I have never seen women different than men. If I look at my top 5 favorite supervisors during my career, two of them have been women. Some of my favorite hard charging employees have been women. I have always enjoyed having a diversity of backgrounds an opinions around me.


What advice would you give women about a tech career?


There is not a barrier to women entering a tech career. I know several women that are far better technicians than I ever was. That doesn't mean that there aren't toxic workplaces out there. I can tell you that I haven't worked in a toxic workplace since 1994 (yes, I am old). The best thing is that you don't have to tolerate a toxic workplace, and you don't have to be underpaid to be in a good workplace. Lots of companies and governments are looking for women in tech to increase the diversity of experience and opinion. Don't settle for less than you deserve.


Tell us one really cool or unique thing about you.


I love to create. I create role-playing games and write science fiction. I don't have much in the way of spare time, so I can't do that professionally, but maybe someday I can.


 

Thanks Chuck! I will definitely be taking your advice as I seek out my next role.


Reach out to Chuck if you want an amazing tech mentor. He is doing a fantastic job in St. Louis County.




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