teamwork Celebrating leadership with a new community

Follow our new website, Coaching Buttons, for an open community about leadership.

My first career was in Information Technology. While my undergraduate degree was in physics and mathematics, I was always interested in technology. Growing up, my brother and I taught ourselves how to program computers - first on the Apple II personal computer, then on the IBM PC.

As an undergraduate, I did temporary work as a programmer, and that's how I landed my first job in IT - working at the company that had hired me the previous summer.

Over the course of my career, I transitioned from a hands-on IT role to become an IT manager. Later, I stepped into a leadership role, where I focused on a strategic view of how we might leverage technology as a "power multiplier" for the overall organization.

Empowering IT leaders

I served as CIO in higher ed for over five and half years, and as CIO in government for the next three years. During that time, I met with other CIOs in the region - and learned that many of them had stepped into their leadership role without knowing how to shift from management to leadership. I would always find time to help them find their footing.

I eventually realized my new passion was helping IT leaders, whether that was helping them understand their organization or defining a strategic plan. I enjoyed sharing my perspective and advice with current IT leaders on how to manage strategic IT, and teaching new and emerging IT leaders how to step into a new leadership role.

Several years ago, I left my role as CIO and launched Hallmentum, an independent consulting company that helps IT leaders to drive meaningful change through hands-on training and workshops. It was exciting (and a little scary) to start my own company, but I've really enjoyed helping IT organizations to invest in leadership within their teams.

Building online communities

Earlier this year, I decided that it was time for Hallmentum to give back to the community. I still provide workshops and training on IT leadership and IT management, but I wanted to do more. But in May, we launched Technically We Write as an open community about technical writing, technical editing, web content and SEO, usability, accessibility, and anything else you can put under the technical communication umbrella. The website is supported by Hallmentum.

In July, we soft-launched a new website: Coaching Buttons is an article-based community website about leadership. And everyone can lead, no matter where you are in the organization. Anyone can lead from within and across the organization, from CIOs to IT Directors, managers and supervisors, and line staff. This concept of "leading from within" where current leaders encourage and embrace leadership within the team is also called an open organization. I prefer leading an open organization; the IT Leaders Program that I provide at Hallmentum is based on open organization principles.

And this week, we are celebrating the launch of our new website! We welcome anyone to follow Coaching Buttons and share their story about how they lead. You don't need to have a traditional "leader" title to contribute to Coaching Buttons. If you forged a path and led the way, you are a leader.

Share your story

If you are a leader within your organization, or want to move into a leadership role, we welcome you to join us at Coaching Buttons! We're planning to publish one article per week, on Mondays. As interest in the community grows, we'll publish more frequently.

Share your story! You can contribute an article, story, or conversation about leadership - and we welcome everyone to share their perspective with us. There are many ways to write about leadership. Here are a few ideas to get started with your first article:

Share your leadership journey. Everyone has a unique background and perspective on leadership. How did you step into your first leadership role? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

Share your advice on leadership. What recommendations would you give to someone who is taking their first step into a leadership role?

Envision the future. Every leader needs to consider the future landscape and how they will prepare their organization to meet that future. Where is your industry headed, and how are you shaping that future in your organization?

Discuss leadership challenges. What's your take on the issues facing leaders today? How can leaders prepare themselves for these new challenges?

Comment on leadership issues you see around you. For example, Google is facing turnover in leadership. What advice would you suggest to Google as they reshape their identity?

We want to hear from you! Reach out to one of our editors at Coaching Buttons to share your leadership story