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Heather Newman: Hello everyone. Here we are again for another episode of the Mavens Do It Better podcast where we interview extraordinary experts who bring a light to our world. I am super excited to have a great friend and colleague on today.
She's a coach. She's a speaker. She's a consultant. She's a trainer and all around awesome gal. Sharon Weaver coming to us from Kansas. Say Hi to everybody Sharon. Heather Newman: And where exactly are you in Kansas? Sharon Weaver: I live in a town called Lenexa, which is about 30 minutes away from downtown Kansas City.
Heather Newman: Okay, awesome. So Sharon and I have known each other for a long time now. Working with each other in technology and around that wonderful product called SharePoint. You know, I'm I m just a girl 46 Lenexa 46 to figure out when we met, it's been a long time.
Sharon Weaver: Yeah, it's been years. You know, I do this with a lot of people that are on the scene. I've just been rotating around so long we kind of meet at different events. Um, but being around for a while.
Heather Newman: Yeah, absolutely. So you, you, you're, like I said, you're a coach, you're a speaker, consultant. So, and, um, will you tell everybody about the business that you, that you own and run cause it's pretty fabulous. Will you let everybody know what that's called? Sharon Weaver: Yeah. So I own a business called Smarter Consulting. Um, and basically it's an IT consulting business where I partner with a bunch of cool people and I try to help people solve their problems using technology.
Heather Newman: Awesome. How long has that been in existence? Um, I have been consulting on and off for probably the last 10 years, but Smarter Consulting specifically has been around just almost a year. Heather Newman: Right. Yeah, that, congratulations. That's a big, that's a big thing. You know? Starting something on your own. That's great. And I know you're really involved with, the SharePoint communities there. In what capacity are you leading community efforts? I know you do a lot in that realm. This is our, I think it's our sixth year, um, that we have run it. Um, and so I run that whole thing.
I've had various committees that have worked with me over the years. I have, um, a handful of volunteers who show up every year no matter what.
But ultimately I'm the person who books the venue and pays the bills and make sure that it happens. Um, and I also run our local Office user group and I've been doing that for about seven months. And, same thing, I have people who volunteer to help with odds and ends. Um, and I'm actually in the process with that one, of forming more, putting together a more formalized committee that'll help run it long-term.
Um, but at the end of the day, I'm the one who makes sure that we have a place and we have speakers and we have something to eat and um, that everybody knows that it's happening. Heather Newman: Yeah. Yeah, it's a big job.
You know, I think people don't always see that, you know, it's something that we all do because we want to build community and love it, but we do it after, behind and beside our day jobs. Heather Newman: yeah, absolutely. And so I think a lot of us came up in sort of different areas. In talking to different people on the podcast, you know, I talked to a lot of technology folks, a lot of our, a lot of friends that you know, and you know, for myself, like I, I have an arts degree and you know, Liz Sundet came up in the arts and I know you came up, um, having psychology, right?
Heather Newman: So, uh, from the University of Kansas, so, you know, how did you get into technology from being a psych psychology major? Sharon Weaver: So, yeah, so everybody asked me that. I have like this really weird background.
So, um, I tell people I have been, um, a techno crazy person. I love technology. I always have. Um, I kind of got addicted to it when I was about eight years old and they brought an Apple 2E to our classroom. Um, and within a little bit, within a few weeks, I kind of started figuring out how to, you know, take the stickers off the disks and things like that. Um, I could make computers and applications and programs do things that nobody else, they could barely leave and run them.
And I was already making changes to them. Um, so we had computers I m just a girl 46 Lenexa 46 my house, basically my whole life, cause my mom was also, um, a tech junkie. I mean, she's super into new technology. Um, so she kind of brought it into our house all the time and so I got to play with it. Um, so on the personal side, I've just always been very, um, tech friendly, very into new things, um, and learn how to do a lot of it my own. Um, as far as my career and my education, I actually started out premed.
Um, I had every intention of becoming a surgeon. Um, I was kind of thinking about maybe doing, um, neuropsychology or some sort of, you know, brain surgery. I thought that'd be super cool. And, um, so I started going to school and one of the things they recommended was having a year in the medical field while you're going to school to kind of get your feet wet. So I worked in pharmacy for the first seven years of my career. Um, and I got a developmental psychology degree and I, you know, throughout my whole journey and I started looking into going to medical school and I realized pretty quick that a pharmacy tech, uh, salary was not going to pay for medical school.
And so, shocker, right? And, um, so I, um, started taking classes to learn web de. I started contracting on the side to make some extra money. Um, and long story short, I kind of got to a point where my IT career was, you know, paying me well enough that it just really wasn't worth my time and effort to go to medical school. And so I just kind of leaned more heavily into my IT career and let it go and kind of let go of the whole med thing and the rest was history. Well, and I think, you know, that totally happens, I think when you start finding a path that may be different than what you thought and I don't know.
Don't you feel like, I, I feel like I use my theater degree every day.
I mean, you know, you probably use that psychology degree of yours everyday doing sales and creating marketing and all that stuff for your business, right? Sharon Weaver: Yes, absolutely. In fact, um, a few years ago, my husband, because my husband's super romantic for Valentine's Day, he bought me the URL, the domain, called the Devwhisper. Heather Newman: Oh, my goodness.
That's fantastic. He's a sweetheart. I know Sharon's husband, Jonathan, he's a love. He's a sweet, sweet, sweet fellow. And I think, you know, a few years ago we all got to hang out, uh, during SharePoint Saturday Honolulu, which was really fun and did a lot of fun touristy things, uh, when we were there all speaking for a SharePoint and Office So pretty cool. Um, so for you, you know, in the consulting business and you and I talked a little bit about this earlier before we got on the Pod, was that, you know, looking at sort of the landscape of what's happening right now, you know, as far as Microsoft technologies and what are you, what are you seeing the, the problems are, or the solutions that you know, you're coming up with for businesses that are either struggling with adoption or deployment and those sorts of things.
What's the, what's, what's your landscape looking like? Sharon Weaver: Yeah, so I mean, I kind of get about half and half. About half of the people are kind of headed that direction and they really just need somebody to lead them in the right way.
So I do you, you know, training and support around building a governance model and building user adoption. So for the people who really kind of have it pretty clear what they want to accomplish, it's really just coming in and kind of helping them strategize and answering questions and training their users. On the other side. We also get people, um, that where the landscape is changing so much that we have developers that are no longer able to develop the way they used to, I'm talking about SharePoint development, um, SharePoint administrators who for whatever reason, maybe they can't have the same level of privilege that they had before.
And so, you know, it's, it's making them have to change how they manage their roles. Um, so a lot of it I think is, is getting people on the right track and helping them to understand what's out there. But the other part of it is there's a lot, you know, we joke about I'm using my psychology degree, there's a lot of therapy in terms of people understanding that there's a lot of change and that change is okay. And that as these things change, um, they're going to, they're going to be all right in moving forward in what it is that they're doing now as opposed to what they were used to doing maybe before.
I think, yeah, I think you're on point with that. I think that there's a, there's a culture shift. I'm feeling that I'm seeing that I keep talking about, or maybe it's just me talking about it, but um, but about how we relate to each other as humans, but, but how we relate to each other as humans in our workplaces and looking for building, you know, more I m just a girl 46 Lenexa 46 culture, more employee engagement and what a healthy, you know, a healthy, trust-based workplace feels like, you know, to be in day in, day out.
Are you seeing that as well? Sharon Weaver: Yeah, that was actually, so I've been having a lot of conversations with certain clients, um, that because of the way the administration rules have changed in Office so if you think about it before, so we've got our SharePoint guy and he is the admin for the SharePoint, um, server, right, for the farm.
Um, and really for the most part, they could do whatever they wanted short of, you know, maybe turning the server on and off or maybe doing some Windows updates or something like that. But for the most part, they kind of had way big control of everything.
Now when you think about switching to Officethat same SharePoint Admin, even if he has SharePoint administrator rights, is not going to have the same level of access that he had in the old days with just SharePoint administration. Um, and so I think what's ending up happening is you're starting to see these people who have kind of been able to control their own little areas, having to start to trust members of their team to say, Hey, I need you to help me with this. Can you get it done? Or Hey, can, you know, can you do this thing and can you go troubleshoot this thing? They're having to interact I think a lot more than they used to.
And they're having to architect how that works and they're having to task each other and they're having to communicate more. And it's definitely changed the dynamics of the administrators and the developers in general. Heather Newman: Yeah, I at a company that I worked for, um, I, at one point, you know, came in and you know, they were doing their thing and I said to my team, it was a marketing team.
I said, hey, um, you all are all in the same office, uh, here. Do you, do any of you know, anybody who is in the support or IT team? Like, do you know them by name or like, can you stand up and point somebody out to me that you know, that, you know? And I got a bunch of blank stares. And I was like, Huh.I m just a girl 46 Lenexa 46
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