Change Agent: Technology Geek Becomes Digital Storyteller

I was never a good student and struggled to get passing grades in high school and college.  After college, I found it hard to get a job in technology and ended up taking a job as a cyber security help desk associate for a government contractor supporting the Department of Defense.  My hiring manager took a chance on me as I had never taken a single course in college on cyber security and had no military or government background.  This was when I discovered YouTube university and online learning!

Training Cyber Security Course in Iraq 2008

Two years after taking the help desk job I seized an opportunity to travel to South Korea on 48 hours notice to teach an intrusion detection course at the US military base in Taegu.  I used the 13-hour flight to study the four-day course agenda with the attempt of sounding smart enough not to expose the fact it was my first time as an instructor.  The course went great, and the co-instructor told me on the flight back home that he’d never heard someone “translate the geek-speak” the way I did during that course.  Long story short, I was offered that trainer job after the trip.  Over the next five years, I grew that role into a training management position deploying four classes a week and creating the first cyber security training school for the defense information systems agency.  

It was during this time I discovered two key personality traits about myself:

  1. My passion wasn’t for technology rather it was helping people leverage technology and embrace change.
  2. I loved not having a niche because it allowed me to relate to both leaders and subject matter experts which is the secret sauce behind my ability to “translate the geek-speak.”

Fall 2013

I left the cyber security role supporting the government because I felt like it was a war on drugs and my personality and passion for driving change was limited.  I took a senior eLearning position at a startup that I segued into my dream role within 12 months. I became the company’s Technology Evangelist modeled after Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki.  

On my first day in this new role I wrote on my whiteboard in giant letters:

“To change the world, people must first learn my story!”

At that time I had no personal website. I had only written a couple of blog posts for my startup and hated doing them. I had four Twitter accounts with my Pittsburgh sports profile having the largest following and I hadn’t posted a single video of myself online.

From 2013 to Now

In early 2014, I launched two Twitter chat shows as a co-host, Social Business Hour and Cloud Talk. Both included a video component leveraging Google Hangouts to do live video interviews with our guests while bringing in questions and linking the hashtag conversations on Twitter.  During this time I was also awarded the Top 25 Social Business Leader by the Economist and IBM and became the face of my startup speaking at industry tech events: AWS, VMworld, and Gartner.

In the summer of 2014, I decided to make the jump to becoming an entrepreneur and professional speaker.  During my first year as an entrepreneur, I partnered up with multiple digital agencies and jumped all-in on live streaming video platforms Meerkat, Periscope and Facebook Live.  Between March 2015 and December 2016 I created over 1,800 live video streams which resulted in being nominated for the first ever Periscope of the year shorty award in 2016.  

Oct 2013 – 2k Twitter Followers | Dec 2016 – 100k

It’s now 2017, and I’ve spoken at nearly 75 events in 13 countries, launched projects with enterprise technology brands such as IBM, Dell, SAP, Samsung, Adobe, Cisco, Applebees, and others.  I host two podcasts and have grown my iSocialFanz personal brand and digital footprint to over 200K including 106K followers on my @iSocialFanz Twitter account.  

My secrets to success: #ShowUcare & #BeYourself

I am sharing my path to today because my two worlds of technology training and digital storytelling have finally joined forces in the creation of my #BeYourself online course.  My business success can all be linked back to investing in my digital footprint, telling my story, growing a community through caring, and doing it all while being myself both online and offline.  

My business success is linked to building a community #ShowUcare and telling my story! #BeYourselfClick To Tweet

The #BeYourself course contains 4.5 hours of training broken down into short 5-10min snackable videos where I share the mindset, strategy, and tools I have used since 2013.  As I stated at the start of this post I was never a good student but I’ve dedicated myself to daily learning. I built this course with the goal of sharing everything I’ve learned over the last few years and everything I wish I had known back when I first started building my personal brand.

Below is a one-minute video clip explaining what the course is about and what you’ll gain upon completion of the course.  To learn more about the course and view the full curriculum outline go here: http://BeYourself.live