Episode 7: Judy Alter

“…they formed an IIBA chapter [in Omaha] and the initial meeting was held at my company. So if you had business analyst in your title, you didn’t want to miss that meeting. And I kind of enjoyed it and got involved with the chapter and then worked on many of our conferences. And I actually became president and I was president for four years. I really didn’t set out to be president, but one night … I asked the current president if she was running that next year, cause I knew that her office was up for reelection. And she said, I think you better ask [the other board member] about that. And I asked and she said, no, you’re going to be our next president. I was like, Oh, okay.”
(Click here for full transcript)

Tracie:

Hello everyone and welcome to the traceability podcast. Today our guest is Judy Alter. Judy is a long time BA, BA leader, consultant, trainer and presenter. You’ve seen her at the IIBA conference and she is also a huge fan of the university of Nebraska Cornhuskers which uh, pains me to say because I grew up in Iowa. So welcome Judy. We’re happy to have you here.

Judy:

Well thank you. You didn’t tell me that piece of information.

Tracie:

So, what we typically do here is we just kind of go back to the beginning and sort of talk about your career and I’d love to hear how you got your start as a BA.

Judy:

Okay. Well I started at Mutual of Omaha in 1984. And of course in those days the word business analyst or even project manager didn’t really exist either. And in fact, in that building, at least there were no computers as it went on. I spent a decade in claims and a decade in policy owner service and then we went through a very painful reorganization where I lost, I got demoted and it was not deserved at all. And I lost a five figure amount of salary. And so nine months later I became a business analyst and I was familiar with the area because I was the person in the business requesting that they do this project and that project. And I knew some of the officer’s through, uh, our golf league. And so I became a business analyst and it was just really something that was meant to be.

Judy:

And it’s a good example of how something good comes out of something bad. So I went along and about four years later, our city, actually one of my bosses at Mutual of Omaha was involved in it, but they formed an IIBA chapter and the initial meeting was held at Mutual of Omaha. So if you had business analyst in your title, you didn’t want to miss that meeting. And I kind of enjoyed it and got involved with the chapter and then worked on many of our conferences. And I actually became president and I was president for four years. I really didn’t set out to be president, but one night we, uh, we always had a bag stuffing meeting for the, uh, conference so that you were ready, you know, before you got to the site. Well, it actually was a good excuse to party, but we got the job done too. And so I asked the current president if she was running that next year, cause I knew that her office was up for reelection. And she said, I think you better ask Nikki about that. And I said, Nikki and Nikki said, no, you’re going to be our next president. I was like, Oh, okay.

Judy:

And so I, I really, you know, I enjoyed it. I mean, it’s like running a, uh, you’re CEO of a small business that you do at night and on the weekends and you don’t get paid for it, but an invaluable experience. And, um, one of the things is the people you meet. And that’s what I really wasn’t anticipating or thinking about was meeting some people who have become really good friends. And so then as I was about ready to leave the office of president, I started thinking to myself, what, what do I want to do next? You know, I just don’t want to sit around and do nothing. Well, um, I got an email one day from Heather Mylan-Mains and she goes, could we talk tomorrow? What time could I call you? And within seven days I had become the central region regional director.

Judy:

I later found out some years later that it was her and Jen Battan together that kind of cooked up that idea. So I was that for about two years. And then at the time Jared Gorai was over the, it was called the VCN then and he got hired by IIBA. And so after a few months he obviously couldn’t do, you know, both things. So I ended up becoming what we renamed it the day they decided to appoint me and it’s now called the GCC, which is the global chapter council. So I am over the group that actually oversees all the chapters, my IIBA involvement. And why talk about that first is because that really made me a much better BA than I would have ever been. I was known for my leadership, my mentorship. But one of the things that I really pride myself on is that I’m a people person and I definitely lead with my heart.

Judy:

And when you’re, when you have to sit down and elicit requirements from a group who might be in disagreement or who really don’t know what they want or who are trying to tell you what they need, you need to be able to really take control of the room and handle them in a way that’s, that’s good. You know, you have to be, you have to get to know them as people and once you do that and they kind of look at you differently. And, uh, my, IIBA involvement has just been an experience that is just wonderful. It just, uh, getting, being able to do global strategic management is, is something that I didn’t picture either. You know, I just, I really didn’t picture all of this happening, but it’s kind of unfolded, you know, in a way I didn’t anticipate as a BA as you know, every day is different.

Judy:

You never know. You show up and you kind of have a to do list and you get things together and then as soon as it reaches the time of day when everybody’s there, there you are, something happens and you know, you go a total different direction or you get all the drive-bys and you’re talking about six things in 10 minutes and then you’re like, where was I? What was I, you know? But through the years I was, I was very fortunate. I got to work on a lot of different projects. I was mainly on the side of individual life insurance and I supported the new business underwriting unit, but I was, I was very lucky. Um, my experience from, well even claims and, and policy owners service especially, um, really gave me a different view than some of the other people coming in as a business analyst because I was in the business.

Judy:

But then, but then when I, when I got to the, uh, business analyst area, I really got an opportunity to, to do a lot of different things and really affect change and make a difference. You know, that’s, that’s the thing in the last few years, branched out into, I mainly worked on individual products for quite a few years, but then got into more of the, we started building some UIs, different things like that and went through all the different frameworks that exists from waterfall, Kanban, agile, lean, scrum, you know, SAFE. Uh, you know, and really SAFE was the one I enjoyed the most, which I really referred to as agile on steroids. You know, you need to go at the speed of light. But I always thought that back when we did waterfall, that those 60, 80 page documents were just the biggest waste of time.

Judy:

You really just need to give your developers enough information to build what you need. That’s, you know, we, we spent so much time and killed Lord knows how many forests, but you know, it just, uh, that’s, that’s just the thing. So that’s why being a business analyst was so, you know, everything was so varied and you know, things were always changing and multiple projects change. And that was one of the things I mentored and trained a lot of new BA’s. And one of the things I am is I’m pretty calm and I don’t get too high or too low usually, and I always tried to teach them that immediately because I said there’s, there’s two occupations I can think of where you’re just on a cycle of something’s going to go wrong. And it’s like a roller coaster of emotions and you can’t get caught up on that.

Judy:

And that is real estate and working on projects. There might be some other out there, but those are two that just, you know, it’s a constant up and down, up and down, up and down and you just can’t ride that wave or you’ll never, you’ll just be, you know, it’s hard on your body actually. But, uh, when I used to train and mentor the new BA’s, I really taught them that lesson. I also taught them that when they got to writing a requirements document, that when they went to the walkthrough that the feedback was for the document and that they were not their document, that it wasn’t directed at them, but it was meant to be helpful. Because I know when I first started being a BA and people were, were going, you know, once in my first few walkthroughs, I thought, God, that’s awful picky.

Judy:

Why do they even care? You know, cause it didn’t make any difference to me exactly how it was worded. Well then I figured out maybe why they cared, but then I was like, okay, now I get it. And so I always made sure that was one of the things I told my trainees, the biggest satisfaction to me always is when you’d be teaching someone something and then you’d be going along and they would get it, they would finally get something that maybe wasn’t coming easy to them. And when, when you’re sitting there and you can see the light bulb go off on them, that that was just always very fulfilling, you know? And, uh, it just, uh, it, it’s just good to make a difference. And that’s what I do at IIBA. I think I make a difference. But the one thing that I bring to the table that a lot of people don’t bring is my sense of humor.

Judy:

I just don’t ever stop laughing because it just, life is too short to get upset about anything. And I just imagined the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. And okay, is what I’m about to get upset about. Is it better or worse? I haven’t found anything worse. So, you know, that’s how I gauge everything. That’s what I always try to tell people. So through this pandemic, I’m known as the one that’s always putting a lot of silly junk on Facebook, but people are usually laughing and sharing. So I think it’s doing the job, you know, some of them just get so wound up about things.

Tracie:

That’s a great perspective. There’s so much to really unpack in your story and what you’ve just talked about. But let’s of dive into the pandemic a little bit because I think there’s a lot going on for folks right now. You obviously have a lot of, have some experience with some career uncertainty and needing to pivot a little bit as you kind of went through some of that career uncertainty and pivoting and what was kind of going on for you at the time. How did you sort of make the leap to, Oh, okay, this is the organization I want to stay in, that I’m willing to move into a different role and grow there.

Judy:

Okay. I lived in Lincoln when I went to college and I stayed for a couple of years. It was the early eighties there was a recession going on. Not much was going on, was happening, job-wise, and so I just stayed where I was. I had actually worked full time through college, so I already had a job, but then my mother became very ill and so I was forced to move home because I was just constantly driving between Lincoln and Omaha. At one point I finally just said, well, I’m just going to move home even though I don’t have a job. And I had been interviewing quite a bit in Omaha, and so I kept looking every chance I had and she was getting worse and worse. Then I finally got an interview at Mutual of Omaha and it was for a very menial job. Um, the person that interviewed me, she goes, Oh, you’d be a wonderful person, but I can’t imagine you’d want to take this job.

Judy:

And I go, Oh yeah, I’ll take it. That’s fine. It was a pay cut to what I was earning, but I knew if I could get in the door, my education, and I knew I could work hard. And so after about six months of doing this menial little job, because ultimately my mom died like two weeks after I, I went to work at Mutual. And so, you know, things happened pretty quickly. It was kind of the mental rest I think I needed for a few months and then I got a job and I, I kind of moved up through the claims ranks, but that wasn’t really where I wanted to be. And then the policy owner service area kind of opened up. And so I went from a health claims where I was a disability analyst and during those 10 years I had been through several reorganizations and they called it everything, right sizing, you know, uh, realignment reorganization.

Judy:

There was once where we had to reapply for all our jobs and we had to go through like three different interviews for these jobs. And that was just very painful. And then it was, it was really messy because one of the VPs who was being eliminated wouldn’t leave his office. And so the new person, the new person wouldn’t, couldn’t take over. So it was like, okay, this is cool. What was so weird about my situation even was this was like February and in June I was getting married. Now I didn’t get married till I was older. So it’s, you know, it’s a little different, you know, type of thing. But it all worked out. I, I got a lateral role. It seemed like every reorganization we had, I never got promoted, but I kind of just got a lateral, so that was fine, you know.

Judy:

And so, um, I went through there and then finally about 10 years after being in claims for 10 years, I went to policy owner service and I went to a department, um, called premium services, which worked in conjunction with policy owner services. And I got promoted there. I became a senior analyst and, and things were going real good. And then there was an opportunity in policy owner service to become a specialist. And we went through a couple other reorganizations, which were kind of painful, but they were more kind of targeted toward people with production issues. But it was interesting because some of them, a security guard would just show up at their desk or some of them they just, you know, can you come into the office, you know, and it was just very interesting. You know how they would do it or you’d go to lunch and he’d be like, where’s so and so?

Judy:

Well, they got eliminated while you were gone. You know, it was just, it was just not a good thing. But, so I, I stayed there almost 10 years and then I, as I said, uh, we had a very painful reorganization. And what was, what was interesting about this whole affair in my case is that I had been selected to work on the project team that was helping to build this new organization. And so here I was, you know, putting everything, you know, working on things and I was there for my product knowledge is what I was there for. But it was just very interesting that when it all was said and done, I ended up with the very painful demotion. And, uh, at that time we had to go through two more, two interviews for that one too. So, uh, I just, I knew at that point I had been at Mutual 20 years at that, at that point.

Judy:

And I said to myself, I need to interview outside of Mutual. But then as I interviewed with different jobs, I found that some of them that I was attracted to, the salary was much less than what my demoted salary was. And so I was like, okay. But then I finally got into the business, you know, the BA area. And I remember about a month after we, I actually, one of my boss actually moved with me to this business, the BA area. She became a project manager and we ended up on the same team. And uh, about a month after we got there, the, the BA world had a reorganization and some people lost their jobs, but they did it in a total different way, which is much how I prefer it is nobody knew anything was going on and just certain, it wasn’t a huge amount of people, but just a certain amount of people were called down to HR.

Judy:

And then after that the entire division had a meeting. But her and I were just so stunned. We, you know, we’re still shell shocked from what happened to us, you know. And it was like, ah, you know, we just kind of kept a low profile for a couple days cause we weren’t sure how the team felt, you know, that some experienced people got let go. But it all worked out and you know, it just, uh, it was, it was really exciting and, uh, I really had a, that was what I was meant to do. You know, how you just find what you know you’re meant to do. Then I got asked to go to this project to help build, uh, a new user interface to the life system. And I remember I turned a shade of white that had not even been invented yet. You know, cause here I was in my little product world, you know?

Judy:

Okay. And I’m pretty flexible. I’m not, you know, just set in my ways. So I hate the people that, you know, you ask them a question, why do you do this this way? That’s the way we’ve always done it. Just makes, Oh, just makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I mean, it’s like, ah, well I, I kind of looked at my boss and it was a Friday, I’ll never forget it and I go, can I like to tell you Monday? And he goes, well, they asked specifically for you. And I said, okay, well I knew at that point no was not an option. And so I walked out of his cube and my one teammate goes, are you okay? And I go, I think so. Well, going to that project was one of the best things I ever did. And in fact, about a year later, the project director decided she was tired of BA’s coming and going.

Judy:

And so she was going to hire her own team. Well, I applied for it. Ultimately, it was funny because the manager I worked for, he was pretty new to the company and we had a one on one and he said, well, the project is going to be over in October, right? And I go, what? I think it’s more like December. And he goes, Oh, okay. So then you’ll be back. And I go, you know what, I don’t think I want to come back. And he just kind of looked at me like, what did you just say? And I go, well, I’m going to apply for the job, you know. And I said, I, you know, I said, I, I don’t know why I’d have to interview with Sandra Hall. Well, you know, that’s company policy, you, so I applied for the job and she had been with the company like 30 some years.

Judy:

Well, when she got the email that I had applied, she came running to my desk and she goes, Oh my gosh, I’m so excited. I was hoping you would apply. And I go, I really don’t want to go through a dog and pony show and have an interview. And she goes, no, we’re not doing that. She goes, I’ll take care of it. I will give him the requisition so he can replace you. You know, it’s just amazing how much you can get done with the right people in your network. And that’s the other thing I had. I had a network so deep from 35 years of, you know, uh, you know, it was, it was just always amusing how somebody be mulling over something and they wouldn’t know what it was. And I’d be like, Oh yeah, that’s so and so. Here, let me call them.

Judy:

You’re just going to dial up. Yeah, I’m just going to dial him up. You know, I, I think sometimes people hide behind IMS and emails and you know, you just pick up the phone and get it over with, you know, that’s the thing. And so then I, the project I worked on, ultimately it took four years. We were a little over budget a little over time, but the tool worked and you know, so that was exciting. Yeah. Yeah. And then I got to build another tool for a, uh, a, a tool that was so old. It was unsupported software on unsupported hardware. So if it had blown up, no fixing it. And it was so old that we had to get Adobe eight installed. And that was just back in 2017 and it was terrible. And when we, when we got that, that was just a real, that was a feather in our cap. And so I was kind of spoiled because the first agile safe team that I was on, we were kind of like rock stars, but we had been through this other project, most of us together. And so I was kind of spoiled and you know, that’s, I screw up, I saw the best and the maybe not so good.

Tracie:

So, yeah. So I think it’s so interesting, you know, every career is sort of made up of choices, your choices sort of lined up with staying with an organization for a very long time, but you also, um, did what you needed to do to stay within the organization. And, um, something that Heather myelin mains talks about is saying yes to things and because you weren’t afraid to say yes, that took you on to some, some new opportunities and it allowed you to, um, maintain your, your tenure within the organization.

Judy:

Right. And a lot of my BA friends always teased me. They’d be like, Oh yeah, we got a job opening, but we didn’t call you because we knew you wouldn’t come. And I started laughing, but, but then, you know, I did something that a lot of people didn’t think I would do. And last August I started thinking to myself, you know, I could probably pursue my passions about business analysis, particularly speaking, still have my position with IIBA and also do mentoring, training consultant, you know, whatever. And I thought, maybe I’ll just kinda, you know, think about this and maybe pursue some things. And so I called Sinikka Waugh, who runs Your Clear Next Step in Indianola. We’ve been friends for a long time. She started a business right before our chapter started. So we kind of grew up together. I told her, I go, you know, do you have anything going on?

Judy:

And so we, um, agreed that I would do some virtual teaching. And so the first thing that I’ve been doing for her, um, is a six part series on the human part aspect of the BA toolkit. And so I, uh, went and told my director in October, you know, I’m gonna retire, um, March 1st, but I’ll be gone January 31st because I had enough vacation and personal days. So she kind of looked at me and she was, she got really white and I couldn’t figure out why. And this is a funny story. She goes, she, she lives next door to one of my cousins who was very seriously ill a few years ago, and she thought something had happened to my cousin. So then I told her, Oh no, Jan’s fine. I just saw her the other day, she’s good. And she goes, Oh God. And she’s like, Oh, wait a minute.

Judy:

Not good. You’re leaving. And so she kept teasing me. You’re not going to change your mind, blah, blah, blah. And so they tease me now that I caused, you know, world devastation with the pandemic when I retired. But it really gave me a chance. It’s really given me a chance to think about doing different things and different things virtually. I just, I just had my YouTube channel built. Now I have two.

Tracie:

Congratulations.

Judy:

Thank you. Now I have to, you know, put up some things and I’ve been working on my website, I have a blog and you know, that sort of thing, which some of it at times it kind of seems surreal. So, you know, but the pandemic really didn’t scare me. It just gave me some different options. I, I was accepted to speak at like three conferences the spring and they all of course are not happening.

Judy:

None of them decided to go virtual. But, um, I know at least at two of them, I’m speaking next year, so hopefully in the spring I’ll be out and about doing something. So, you know, but it’s just, it’s brought new opportunities and had me think about it a different way. And it, it really became apparent to me that, you know, you really need to, uh, think about what good will come out of something bad no matter how horrific it is. But what I’m, the other thing I’m real passionate about is the BA as a leader. The BA’s have to be a leader because really someone that’s like in the middle of the company is in much better position to lead than the CEO. He has, he or she has so many interruptions. I mean they have, you know, the board of directors, vendors, middle management, all these people just coming at them and they, you know, sure they control strategy and things, but they can’t affect the day to day lives too much. But a good business analyst, they can take control and really think of things.

Tracie:

What does that leadership sort of look like to you? Because I know some of the frustrations that I’ve had are that um, the BA’s don’t always get to be part of the project initiation. You know, the, the project is often decided on before analysis was done kind of thing.

Judy:

Oh yeah. Yeah.

Tracie:

And so I think sort of a lot of the decision making, the BA’s don’t necessarily get to participate in and so maybe speak about, well, okay, what does leadership look like then in those scenarios I guess?

Judy:

I think that’s a global problem because I have gotten hopped into several projects where, okay, you need to go do this and because you did this 10 years ago, you need to go to this, and I, I always tried to be very, I, I spoke my mind, but I, I made sure that if I was passionate about it that you know, I got that across. But I was always polite and I knew that sometimes I would be shot down, but when really affected some change in when we were doing product projects that after a while we actually did get into the stage where they were maybe it usually started with a business case and then maybe a prototype and we would usually at least get in at the kickoff meeting, which was better than a lot of other things, you know? Right. I can’t say that I was ever a strategic BA because we never got in the, you know, we just couldn’t do that.

Judy:

That just wasn’t part of what we did. You know, sometimes you’re a victim of your own environment when you stay somewhere like that awhile. Um, I don’t think I suffered too bad there. There’s probably a couple of things that I, I’m not really that skilled at that people of my level probably should be. But you know, I’m skilled at other things. But leadership, you know, leadership is really not a job title.

Tracie:

That’s a great point.

Judy:

There are, there are managers who are probably great leaders, but uh, usually a leader is somebody separate. And so I remember one of the last few teams I worked on, I worked with a couple of people who would probably be described as millennials and they kind of had a, we, we had to reach an agreement on how things were going to be. And I think it took them awhile to fully appreciate and understand what I could bring to the table.

Judy:

And, and by the same token, they taught me things that I didn’t even know about certain tools and things because one of them had been at another company and someone, the other person came from the area. We supported, well with my assistance and mentoring, they both got promoted to a senior BA within about a year and a half. And that was exciting to me to know that I helped make a difference and boy, we really rocked and, and got some things done. And that to me that that was what really pleasurable. And then I got to go to another team toward the end of my career where I had to help them. They, because they worked on a product line that was dealt with a third party vendor, they didn’t use quite as much technology as some people. So I got to effect some change there.

Judy:

And, and that was helpful, I think also to both ends. But yes, you’re right. Most of my life I spent hopping in and out of projects where I worked, we did a lot of testing and so sometimes I might be pulled in just to test. We didn’t have separate testers, but when we got to the safe or the scaling agile or whatever he want to call it, I’m not, I’m not safe certified, so I shouldn’t use the safe word. But you know how that goes. Um, but a lot of times you, you know, there’s that big agile myth, Oh, there’s no documentation needed in agile. And why do you need BA’s? Well, you know what, all of that is baloney. You need BA’s, you need business analysis. I mean, I guess I should get the term right there, but you also need some documentation, but you just don’t need the 60 to 80 page Bible that we all used to write years ago.

Judy:

And, and that’s what I really tried to get across to people was only give, you know, your developer, what they actually need. Just enough to know. And that might be the picture of a, of an icon on a page. If you already have the tool built and you’re just changing something, that’s all they need. They need to know what it’s supposed to do, that they’ll know how to hold it. You don’t have to do that. And, and that was the number one thing I thought in our company was safe. That was the first time they implemented something from the top down. And so it worked a lot better because there was consistency and we had agile release trains and we had, you know, release train engineers and the whole bit the triangle and everything. Well what they didn’t quite do, and they were still working on it when I left, but uh, they, the culture, I don’t think the culture of some of the people had changed enough and, and some of the people were like, Oh, I can’t believe you just give that to your developer as a requirements document.

Judy:

I go, why? That’s all they need. What am I going to tell him? 10 other things that make no difference. I mean, it has to be a value. What you give them has to have value and that’s what you have to deliver to your customer. You don’t want to just sit there. I, I, I closed like 12 stories. This iteration. Well, yeah, but none of them were of any value. It’s, it’s outcome, outcome, not output. And you know, the word fail, first attempt in learning. And a lot of people just would shake when I’d say that because I was, I was very honest. If I made a mistake, I, I was accountable. I said, okay, yeah, it’s my fault. Let’s just figure out what we’re going to do and get it corrected. And people were just stunned. Well, our director had a good philosophy. If something happened on something, whether it brought another department to a screeching halt or whatever it was, it wasn’t that person’s fault.

Judy:

It was the team’s fault. So the team was accountable because somewhere along the way somebody approved your document. And so that was, that was the thing. But I was, it, my situation was kind of odd where I probably had the best two years of my life. The last two years I worked at Mutual and I walked out of the door on top, I would say. And people would go, why would you do that? Well, I just felt I can pursue my passions and I’m very happy, very happy. But I also don’t mind staying at home. So, and at my point in life, I have a lot of things I need to clean up. I had to really do some fast cleaning in this office when I was going to hang in here and there’s still too much junk.

Tracie:

Yeah, I can attest to having some of that in my, in my office as well.

Judy:

Exactly. We all do. Yeah.

Tracie:

So it sounds like you, you know, from your tenure at Mutual, from your tenure within the IIBA, you had done enough to prepare yourself for a situation where you could go off on your own, but you also have been around the block enough to know that there are cycles within both businesses and economies and that kind of thing. So it, it doesn’t, um, leave you as fearful as a, as it might leave some.

Judy:

Oh, right. And I also put my 401k into benefits, so it’s not like we’re going to start, you know, I’ve got a little bit of an advantage there, but I still want to make money. But it’s, it’s interesting because I did have someone helped me build my Google analytics page, which I didn’t know anything about. I finished my piece of it like Monday and on Tuesday I got a phone call where someone wants me to mentor them and at the end of the call I said to them, where did you find out about me? Because this is not somebody that’s even business analysis related. And they said, well I Googled and that you came up. And I was like, wow.

Tracie:

So you’re getting into search engine optimization and all of that stuff. So yeah, you’re active on LinkedIn and you’re active within the BA community. All of that provides you with a network and with preparation for who knows what.

Judy:

Yes, exactly. I’ve, I’ve got a network and so my name is out there now. I still have to prove myself. Obviously I have to, you know, I have to perform, but at least I think when you’re a known quantity that that helps a little bit. I just don’t know where the adventure is going to lead me. But uh, it’s interesting.

Tracie:

Let’s talk about sort of the new pivot because you sort of have to pivot after just pivoting.

Judy:

Exactly. I don’t even know if I had pivoted yet cause I was home the whole month of February before the world fell off. You know?

Tracie:

Well, and you, you were sort of envisioning a life of being on the road a little bit and being in person and, and that, that kind of thing. And so this is kind of causing you to pivot a little bit from there. So maybe what adjustments have you have you made personally in the last say month or two that you hadn’t necessarily counted on?

Judy:

Well, I had really, I have really consciously the last few weeks networked on LinkedIn and I’ve networked with a whole large amount of people. It seems like that, that the whole world is trying to network on LinkedIn right now. So I just kind of jumped in there and I, I actually have accidentally, um, hooked up with like about four people who will probably be very key contacts. One and two of them are in Omaha, Nebraska, which I didn’t even know when I hooked up with them. And so it’s really right. I think there’s fate involved because the one person I actually have had a conversation with and he, uh, actually, uh, has to do with a business where he wouldn’t hire somebody to speak or anything, but he would have contexts where he would be in a position to recommend speakers. And the other person has a TV show in our community where he promotes, uh, speakers and new business people. So, yeah. That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. We’ll be meeting quite soon, I hope. Yeah.

Tracie:

Well, congrats that’s an even bigger pivot than you were probably envisioning.

Judy:

Oh, right. I didn’t even think about that. And so I probably will maybe, uh, I’ve gotten involved with a group that Sinnika put together called Coach’s Connection. Most of them are from Iowa, but somehow this CornHusker snuck in here. So it was that. It’s, it’s proved very valuable. And so, uh, she’s got some plans, something we’re going to do through her company. So that’s exciting. And, and then as I said, I’m just gonna start recording things and, and who knows? I might decide to do a podcast, I don’t know. You know, it’s, but even just little, little five minute videos on your, you know, your YouTube channel and sometimes really go a long way. I know Fabricio who’s the president of the Brazil IIBA has been doing a lot of videos and he’s, he’s, uh, spent a couple of them to me to say, does the English sound okay?

Judy:

And so, you know, I might just start doing those sorts of things and, and maybe I’ll just put some posts out there, you know, what, what are you BA’s want to hear about or what topics, you know, one of the things I, one of the things I need to do is get my agile certification. I’ve been talking about that for far too long, so I just need to settle down and do that, pick a month and just do nothing but that, you know, you can do it. I’m sure I could do it. I just didn’t have enough time without going, without sleep or something.

Tracie:

Well, you know, and I, and I think that’s another thing. Um, uh, something that I did shortly after a was sort of working from home full time was I thought I need to go get another agile certification. And so I found a way because I knew that probably training wasn’t going to be an option for and getting it paid for and that kind of thing. So I found a good way to go out and get a certification and it took me just a little while and, and that kind of thing. But I think, um, you know, sort of the continuous training and the continuous, um, networking or the things that will get you through now and whenever the next crisis hits, you know, so.

Judy:

Exactly. Yeah. I’d also like to learn a bit more about cyber security. That kind of interests me and obviously, you know, data and cyber security, that’s kind of the hot topics of the day. So I just need to make sure I don’t, don’t become, not relevant, but I’m a lifelong learner, so I think it’ll be okay.

Tracie:

You know, this has been such an insightful conversation and so much for folks to learn in this episode for um, sustaining a career long term. And so I really appreciate your time tonight. Folks can find you on LinkedIn and then I want to make sure that we plug your website.

Judy:

Okay. It is judyalterba.com.

Tracie:

And also look for Judy on YouTube. For our listeners tonight, your call to action this week is if you liked what you heard today or if something in particular resonated with you, drop us a line at traceabilitypodcast.com or email me at tracie@traceabilitypodcast.com and share with us what small and simple thing you’re going to do this week to better your BA career because, uh, here we believe the power is in you to do that. Thanks and hope you’ll join us again for the traceability podcast and thank you Judy Alter.

Judy:

Thank you, Tracie. I enjoyed it.