Sipping Tea with IT
By: Brooke Landrum
Time to learn about my favorite unsung hero: Collins.
Cece “Collins” was the first person from Narrative Science to follow me on Instagram. They are a champion for all sorts of good stuff in the office: wifi, the beer kegs, the green team and general good energy with their Hufflepuff qualities. Even though we are a tech company IT can still get lost in the weeds, so here we are to get to know Collins and give them the recognition they deserve.
How long have you been at Narrative Science?
I have been here for 11 months, which feels like 11 years and 11 days at the same time.
What is your role?
My formal title is IT lead. I don’t even know what that means. If it plugs in, I’m your go-to person. I manage the beverage stations, internal networks, daily happiness and more.
How did you get here?
Specifically, I got here this morning on my bike. But speaking long term, I got here by road-tripping from Portland with my two dogs and my wife. I worked at Apple during college, that’s where I fell in love with tech and decided to start looking for jobs at other companies that had a mature mindset regarding technology. I’ve had some amazing opportunities since Apple that really helped further my love of wearing many hats with an IT focus. So, when I heard about Narrative Science, it ticked all the boxes for me. I took one trip to Chicago to interview, meet the people, see the city, and I was hooked.
Tell me more about the committees you serve on.
I started the green team here – that is our sustainability and environmental initiative. This team was something I started almost right after I was hired, the support I got in starting the team was astounding and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. I am also a part of the DEI committee, which is the group that makes sure Narrative Science is properly equipped to deal with all types of diversity. I have gotten to be a part of some very important moments through this group, including hosting sessions about LGBTQ+, pronouns, and the history of the Pride parade during Pride week (this has been the most rewarding and vulnerable experience yet!). I think it is really impressive that we have a group like this at such a small company and I love being a part of it.
On the more fun side, I am a part of NS Cares, which does nonprofit work in the community, such as helping kids who want to learn to code but may not have the resources. And then I am part of KegOpps, which is where we maintain the in-office kegerators for beer, wine, cold brew… aka the party makers. I’m also Area Warden for the Emergency Response Team, so of course we hosted a Dungeons and Dragon themed scenario run through! Saving lives one D20 roll at a time!
What is the weirdest thing you have had to fix as an IT person?
Fixing our Bevi machine [the flavored water dispenser we have in the kitchen] was the most stressful thing I have done yet (so many eyes watching… waiting for it to work again) and it was in my first week. People really wanted their water and I did not know what I was doing. Turns out, it just needed the new wifi password. Phew!
What would the title of your autobiography be?
“Nonbinary in a Binary World”
Tell me something that you’re passionate about.
I am passionate about being passionate, which sounds cliche, but I mean it. I like to try new things. Whatever I try I go in head first, even if it’s crazy. That’s why I have a woodworking shop in my apartment where I make wooden bow ties. Luckily, I have an amazing wife who supports my non-stop curiosity, even if it means taking over our dining room space or listening to my wacky ideas. I love seeing a project from beginning to end, even if it’s just for me.
What was your favorite day at work this past year?
The day we officially had 100% of our MacBooks on a new mobile device manager. It has been 4 very intense months and seeing end-user reactions when they realize how much better their devices work is really satisfying. It’s been nonstop positive reactions to a huge project.
If you were an animal what animal would you be?
I would definitely be a Corgi (note from Brooke: they answered this extremely fast. Almost as though they had thought of this before). I am always smiling, people have a hard time yelling at me, I live in the moment and am always ready to have a good time or make someone else happy. I play hard and sleep hard and that sounds like my Corgi, Gryffin (aka Gryffindog).
Heights or depths?
Depths are more frightening, if that’s what you mean. With heights you can keep going up and have positive momentum, depths are engulfing and surrounding. I want gravity to be on my side.
If you could take over the job of one other person here who would it be?
It would be really fun to be customer success for a day. I never get to see how customers feel and I’d like to hear first hand how they are doing. Basically, It would be neat to be an external-facing person.
If I told you to close your eyes and put out your hands, what is the worst thing I could hand you?
A spider. 100% a spider. The proportion of body to legs on spiders really freaks me out. It’s not right.
Anything else or any fun facts?
Growing up I did pretty much every activity under the sun: dirt biking, drumline, competitive figure and speed skating, my mom even made my skating outfits by hand. I also used to break things just to see if I could fix them, that’s where the tech bug really first bit.
Until next time
At Narrative Science we love telling the stories of our traditionally untold heroes. We think it is critical to a happy, healthy work environment. To learn our full philosophy on this, check out our about us page!
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