Ep#63 Dr. Liz Dennett flips the script on me!

May 5, 2022
EP63 Dr Liz Dennett 1280

About the Guest

Aspirationally Chaotic Good. All opinions are my own. Your mileage may vary.
Have you ever stopped to catch a snowflake in your mouth? There is an absurd joy in feeling it quickly melt, realizing that this morsel of frozen water is billions of years old and undergoing a rapid chemical transformation. This grand sense of wonder and awe is something I strive to impart to everyone I meet.

Full bio: Liz Dennett, PhD is a passionate technologist with over a decade of experience using data-driven approaches to solve pressing energy challenges. She has demonstrated success pioneering novel data types, architectures, and analytics solutions through the energy value chain.

Episode Summary

Dr. Liz Dennett joins the show again to talk about being back at AWS re:invent 2021 in-person. Recent job changes, but is it my job changes or hers? I guess you'll have to listen to the episode to find out.

Plus a new podcast that she's started and we can't forget the special appearance of her dog "Flux".

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

Host: Jon

Okay. So today the tables have turned and my guest is asking me random questions. Instead of me being able to put her on the spot, you're gonna wanna stick around to some of the answers to these questions because they are. How do you say? Very interesting.

Host: Jon

Oh, also we're talking about job changes and, um, no, not mine, but I did recently. Okay. Okay. Moving on. We are also talking about rust and not this type of rust engineering and podcasting, but it's a new podcast and you're gonna wanna stick around to hear more about this. Joining me today is Dr. Liz den, VP of data, architecture and engineering at wood McKenzie. Now, before I bring Dr. Liz onto the show, please, please hit that light subscribe and notify. Okay. Join me in welcoming Dr. Liz den without her NARAL costume to the show Dr. Liz, thank you so much for joining me again.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

It is a pleasure to be back.

Host: Jon

So Dr. Liz, today, we're talking about reinvent job changes. Wait a second. Wait.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Mine, yours. Who's job changes.

Host: Jon

Uh, stay tuned. You're gonna find out engineering, architecture, programming, language rust. My favorite is gonna be pretty cool and not to mention a podcast you launch, but a way are you out doing me on podcasting?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I, I hope not. If I am ever out doing you on anything related to evangelism, like something is massively wrong in this world. I zigged when I should have packed.

Host: Jon

Well, thank you. This was my Zig instead of zagging and it's working out. So I'm not complaining. I do have a question for you. Are we expecting any normals to join this podcast?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Um, I don't think so, but I might have a trick or two at my sleeve. You're gonna have to stay tuned and find out.

Host: Jon

Mm, this is gonna be interesting. All right, let's jump into it. We had a chance to catch up at reinvent first reinvent two years, and we did an improv and we were just doing a blooper reel that might make it to this about improving cuz you're improving for this entire podcast and nobody will notice the difference.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

No one will notice the difference or, or they will, or they won't. Um, I have come to embrace a lot of things, especially. So this is a quick aside. Um, I, I had the pleasure of leading a keynote and workshop for international women's day, last month and Illumina the DNA sequencing company. One of the coolest companies that I've ever had, the privilege of being associated with, they, they invited me to lead a workshop and keynote about whatever I wanted. And I talked a lot about authenticity and innovation. And I'm normally not a fan of this whole be your authentic self at work, because I think it tends to wreak a privilege because I know a lot of people whose authentic self is the dominant paradigm, so they can just show up. They can be their authentic self and it's really easy for them to advance and be comfortable.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

And I know a lot of people who, senior leadership doesn't look and talk and act like them. So their authentic self is not as naturally pervasive in the leadership culture. And so I, I have mixed feelings about that, but what I have been trying to do over the past year, year and a half plus, especially since taking on more, more formal leadership roles, stepping into a VP role is really kind of checking myself to see what aspects are true to me, feel very, very endogenous to who I am. And one of those is myself. My, my human core characteristic is I like to show up and just experience things. There are certain things I completely over prepare for, but I find that that takes the joy and the spontaneity out of a lot of it. Uh, you can talk to my husband about our differences in traveling sometime, but with experiences like this, where it's a trusted environment, John, I know you we've done this before.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I like to show up and just have a genuine experience. And if people are watching it and they're like, well, this guy should have prepared more. She should have had talking points to go over. And this isn't their cup of tea. That's awesome. But for me and who I am having these spontaneous recorded moments is what makes me feel a little bit more magical and give me a spark. So it's a way that I'm able to pay homage and tribute to myself. So when I make jokes about improv or showing up unprepared, it's not a bug, it's a feature

Host: Jon

<laugh>, it's one of those requests that were, uh, put into play. Speaking of the improv, what we actually did an improv at reinvent in the Venetian up at the top, it had so many views. I did not edit at all. I might have cut out like two seconds at the beginning of me pressing play.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

We doing this, do do do we're in Vegas. We're in Vegas. We're learning about cool services.

Host: Jon

Exactly. We had a chance to meet up and reinvent. What was your feeling at reinvent first person? First time in person in like two years,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

It was wonder and awe and just gratitude, like the privilege to be around there and to see people, the safety measures were incredible. Meeting up with people was incredible. Um, the spontaneous meetings were fantastic. The reason that I am, I'm such a fan girl of rust actually comes from a quasi chance encounter at reinvent. Can I talk about Russ now or do you, do you wanna actually go order of the things that you had, you had teed up at the beginning?

Host: Jon

There is no order reinvent was the start and where it goes from there. I almost jumped into your job change and then the rust let's talk about Russ and then job changed because I'm, I'm, I'm still confused as whose job is changing, but let's talk about rust.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Okay. So one of the coolest things about reinvent, there were, there were so many, so many cool things. Um, two of my favorite memories that will, that will stand out is one is the sustainability pillar of the well architected framework was launched. I actually had the privilege when I was at AWS to be a teeny tiny portion of that working with Margaret O tool and Adrian Corot. And just some of the most brilliant people I've ever worked with. It was formally launched at reinvent, which means that AWS has put sustainability alongside things like security in the well architected framework, which is cool because if you've been dabbling in the cloud for a while, you may have heard that workloads around AWS have an 88% lower carbon footprint, then similar workloads run on from. So there is an inherent sustainability benefit of moving your workloads to the crowd, the cloud that's well and good, but how do you take it a step further?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

And there is this brilliant white paper with step by step guidance about the things you can do, how you can run your current jobs at 12, 10 instead of midnight, to reduce the load on the server populations, ways that you can choose more energy efficient programming languages like rust, which we're gonna get into a second ways that you can choose regions that have more sustainable overall infrastructure, things like that. There's there's so, so many things in this white paper, if you have not read it, read it. Um, and so one thing that we have done at wood back that I am super, super proud of is we have launched a cloud sustainability community of practice and put up the bat signal said, Hey, sustainability is one of my core values. Like if you are also interested in sustainability, join me, let's geek out. Let's nerd out.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Let's think about ways that we can make cloud sustainability, a key part of our initiatives. It's not just about reducing, reusing recycling things like yogurt containers, but let's also look at how we can impact our infrastructure. And we had a huge turnout. The AWS team Margaret actually came and gave a presentation. Our CTO, Rob was there to kick things off. It was this, this really awesome event. Um, so that's part one and being able to really practice those lessons on a much more local scale has been incredible. The second coolest part, which ties into number one is, um, I, there was a session at reinvent about the, the sustainability impacts of rust is a programming language. If you have not ever heard of rust are U T Google it it's, it's fantastic. Um, it's compiled, it's not interpreted. So the energy impacts of that versus something like Python can be massive.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

So I sat down with Shane, the chairperson of rust because I sent her a cold message on LinkedIn because I missed her session and was like, Hey, I'm gonna be at reinvent. I'm gonna miss your session. I have some people that I work with, uh, at wood Mac who are super into rust, I wanna learn more about it. They say it's one of the coolest things ever like let's connect. So we sat down for like an hour and a half and talked about everything. I learned all about the Russ foundation. I learned about what they were doing. And since then we have spun out this huge working group inside of wood Mac, looking at how rust is a programming language can be used in very specific use cases to optimize jobs that would normally take hours and hours and hours to shrink them down to minutes, lowering our CO2 emissions, lowering our cost of things, run in the cloud, and ultimately ultimately helping us get data to our customers, both internal and external faster. So tying together the cloud sustainability community practice with rust, it's like a win-win plus it helps our engineers like me learn new things. Um, so those are some of the seeds planted at reinvent that, you know, four or five months down the road have really blossomed into these really beautiful flowers. And it's really cool to share those. I will get off my Russ soapbox now. Um, but I'll probably climb back on it later today.

Host: Jon

I can see your passion behind Russ, but sustainability. There's a podcast. We're gonna talk about Margaret O tool. I had the pleasure of meeting her virtually by the way, I did a recording for my previous employment. Yes. That is a hint into this job change by the way. And she's joining my podcast at the end of may. I think she's completely awesome. I had a very, I had a 15 minute conversation with her and it was like, we connected. And I was like, wow, this is pretty cool. We had a great topic. Really enjoyed the conversation. She talked about sustainability. She talked about some of the benefits around it. She will be joining my podcast. One of the things that I find unique that you keyed on was running your workload on the server at like 12, 10, that goes back to like server admin days where it's like, oh, I wanna reduce the load on my server.

Host: Jon

Let's run it. Why don't you run it like 28 minutes after the hour and not 10? I didn't think of that as sustainability. I thought it was less of the workload. Also a different region that supports more sustainability than another region. Those are some key things that I don't think people take into account. They're like, oh, this is closer. But in actuality, other regions might be more beneficial to actually run in the workloads. There is so much there that you just dropped on me. I'm not sure. I, I gotta stop. I gotta let you go for some more <laugh>

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

And full credit, all that stuff I've learned from the team at AWS. Like those are all knowledge bombs I've learned from Margaret and the extended team there. And they're all like encapsulated in that white paper. And I know, I know if you've, if you've never read one of these AWS white papers, you're probably like, just give me an infographic. Give me a quick video, but skim the white papers, all the, all the well architected white papers are actually going really, really good. And if you're ever prepping for an exam, you need to read them or at least skim them.

Host: Jon

I'm glad AWS released a sustainability pillar. In fact, it just went live in the last couple of weeks and a company that I work for. All right. I gotta tell everybody because I keep, I keep dropping it,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Timing it just to see it's like an exercise in patience because I am so curious. I saw a little title change on LinkedIn and was like, okay, John spill the tea, everybody out there wants to know, go.

Host: Jon

I have to tell you, this is the first time I'm actually doing it really publicly like saying, Hey, I've changed jobs. I did it a little quiet. The reason I did quiet is I'm working on a lot of things and I wanted to kind of get those out there. I had a huge opportunity to become a chief evangelist based off of one of my, my mentors. What's that

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I'm giving you a drum roll. I don't know if you can hear it

Host: Jon

Based off of one of my mentors, Jeff Barr, uh, he really inspired this title I work for. I, I can't even really like they're a startup, but they've been around for a while called N ops. They're working on some huge initiatives. They've been ingrained into the well architected review since it was, you know, conceptually realized from AWS ingrained into the team, we are release and support for sustainability. In fact, why this recording comes out, we will have supported it, but we're also working on some huge initiatives. We've dubbed inops 2.0, and I will be dropping some things before this video comes out. So stay tuned to that. I'm really happy for this opportunity to actually produce a lot of content technical content and really drive the initiative around what we're trying to achieve and giving more control into more of the shift left, but into the customer where you can develop what you want based off the information we already provide,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Which believe it or not, people probably not believe it completely not planned. None of this. It all was planned whatsoever.

Host: Jon

No, I'm, I'm glad I get to share with you. This is the first time I'm actually seeing it. Uh, announcing it now I'll probably drop some other things, but I, I put out some videos and this is huge for me, but, and, and I don't want this. Show's not about me. I gotta switch it back to you. There is a job cha in fact, this was definitely not planned where we're both announcing things. I want to hear about your job change because in the beginning I announced your title and you're like, no, no, no, John, it's this. I said, I know, but I'm gonna have you correct me during the show. How about you tell everybody what your job changes.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

So these days I'm actually a VP of data engineering and data architecture, which is awesome because wood Mac, I think I actually teed up. The first time I was on here is we have a world class engineering team. We have incredible data engineers that are building pipelines to connect these different silo data sets all over the place that feed into this, this lens platform that's delivering value to our customers. And, um, as of about a week and a half ago, I am leading these incredible data engineers in addition to the data architects. And so it's a chance also to really go captain planet and unite the data architects and the data engineers, while really respecting that there are two very interwoven skill sets, but at the same time, it's a much bigger team that have very different backgrounds. And we're actively looking at how we can continue to cultivate a diverse and engineering team. In addition to the work we've been doing with architecture.

Host: Jon

Well, congratulations on your new role change. Well deserved Dr. Liz, I was hoping that you'd actually jump onto the show in a captain planet outfit, you know, kind of gone off our NAL. That would've been pretty cool. I could have done some editing and a like, there you are. Yes,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

We plan it. That was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. It really, really was. Um, and it's, it still rings true because all of these problems we're facing are, are nothing that we can do alone, both from an interpersonal perspective, but also from a domain perspective, like the power of the cloud is great. The power of energy data is great, but not, not one domain or one silo is going to be able to really fuel transformative change. That's that's my 2 cents. It really is one of these things where, where the planet is, where this energy transition is. We need to be in it, hand in hand, looking at how we can fix things together.

Host: Jon

Well, congratulations well deserved. And thank you in our, in our previous one that we got a chance to record. We talked about, you know, your experience, uh, Alaska to actually becoming a doctor and, you know, congrat <laugh>

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Crazy.

Host: Jon

I know. I know. Right? Well, well deserved. I have a note that we're gonna be talking about engineering, but is that's we just talked about your job change. What engineering are we talking about?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

My dog is just barking. Apparently he wants to, my dog wants to make a Cammy and say hi.

Host: Jon

Hey, all right, well, we're cutting the engineering short. Oh, there we go. <laugh> what is your dog gonna engineer for us?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Uh, adorableness as most dogs do purely adorableness. This is flux like a flux capacitor in case you are curious, you ever wanted an little, little bit of adorableness in your life. <laugh> um, I wanted to, to ask you some questions.

Host: Jon

Oh, you're gonna, oh, we're going there now. I thought we were talking to ventures and all that. Okay. All right. Wait a second. Wait, I thought I was asking you questions and now you're gonna flip my own podcast on me. I I'm

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Gonna flip. I'm gonna do it prematurely too, because if we follow the script enough to where you're comfortable and kind of see the twist turning you're like on the lift tail, ready to go on the rollercoaster? Um, I think, I think it's time

Host: Jon

<laugh> I feel myself like this, so I have a bunch of notes, right? So bullet points, this is our topic and wherever it goes, wherever we talk about is gonna be the questions. I don't feel that I am on the lift going up and you're gonna put the thing. I feel like I just buckled in. And you said we're going downhill. That's what I feel. Take it. All right, let's do it. I'm gonna let you ask some questions.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

What is one thing in life you're the most proud of?

Host: Jon

Um, I, I, with the feeling cheesy, the life that my wife and I built together, um, I, I know where I've come from and the struggle growing up. And, uh, wow. Actually I feel emotional on, on, on saying like, it's, it was a struggle. Yeah. And I didn't have the things growing up. And my wife and I, we had struggles in the beginning, you know, providing for the family. And it was perseverance that got us to where we're at that every day. It it's just, we're able to provide for our kids what we didn't have and they're able to do things we didn't get a chance to do. And looking back at the 15 plus years, we've been together, uh, we've built an awesome life.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

15 years is a long time. And it sounds like an incredible, incredible journey.

Host: Jon

It is. And we keep striving. It's, it's this journey. And in this adventure is continuous. It's fun. We are always, you know, we're always thinking of the next thing that we want to do and, you know, kind of plan it. And given that we have worked so hard for this, we're able to do it. And I don't wanna sound like, you know, with ease, we're not struggling to do it. We make those, yeah. You know, financial decisions that we can go ahead and do it. Or even if it's not like some of the things we do, we camp out in the backyard, it it's just those things that are, make the memories for our family. And I can't wait to see where the next thing takes us.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

So if you could hop on a time machine and go back on the first date you had with your wife, what is one thing you would tell yourself?

Host: Jon

Um, wow, man, you put that probably, uh, we've had a number of act. I wanna say a number of first dates because we always had adventures during ours, or we did something spontaneous during it. One thing I tell, uh, I would say, keep those, keep those things going. Um, one thing like, you know, don't let, uh, you're trying too busy, make a life than living that life always come up and do those, those weird things. Her and I always use the term weirdness and, uh, we always like being weird together and keep doing those, like whatever it is, you know, try to plan something once a month, at least to do something weird.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

It wouldn't be like you got this

Host: Jon

<laugh> um, I <laugh>, I, I would obviously you're nervous and all that stuff, but it's always good everything, but I would, it's, it's keeping that continuous weirdness throughout, you know, our journey together.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Awesome. Okay. We can, we can lighten it up. We can shake it off. We can go to some more whimsical, fun questions. No,

Host: Jon

No, no. That's good because you know, <laugh>, uh, it's, it's nice to it. Thanks for that spontaneous question. By the way, these are not prep and Liz is doing this on purpose.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, what's your favorite food?

Host: Jon

Seafood. Give me some lobster,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

But like what dish? Like what is the

Host: Jon

One dish? What dish? Um, oh my God. Right? Well, it's not even like a, a specific dish. Hmm. All right. I gotta switch that up. I gotta switch it up. Why I got it? Because you asked for a dish, it's a, I go to the Texas Roadhouse and get their New York strip steak with some mushrooms and salted onions and a, uh, sweet potato. Not with all the extra stuff on the sweet potato. Cuz I like my sweet potato kind of plain that right there. Cut. That would probably be my favorite. And if you wanna throw some seafood on the side, I'm good.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Uh, did you get the bread with the honey butter?

Host: Jon

Oh my God. So my wife is a condiment person. She absolutely will love like a bread with, you know, ketchup and you know, they'll pickle. Whatever's leftover. Like if my kids eat the hot dogs, she would love the bread. It's it? It's pretty cool. I, I find it eating. I always save that stuff for my wife. She loves the bread and the, you know, the honey butter and everything. My kids love it too. And so what I do at the end, when we're all done and we always have something to go, I was like, can we get a little more bread and butter to take with us and take that? Yeah. Yeah. You know, that'll last a day and we can have it afterwards.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I, I love that. Um, are you an early morning or a late night person? Do you early morning? 5:00 AM or midnight?

Host: Jon

5:00 AM

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Me too. Every single day. Every day. Uh, dream car or transportation mode.

Host: Jon

Okay. There is this, uh it's uh, Liam, have you ever seen it? It's basically a personal plane, but it has a vertical takeoff and it's, they're actually tested it in Spain off of it. And the reason I like it is one of the deep racer guys that won't share his name on it, but he actually joined it maybe two years ago and I always see his posts and I always like watching the progress of it, doing it and it actually just takes off. And then you can go ahead and fly. I want one of those backyards. Amazing. Yeah.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

That's so cool. I want one of those too. Now

Host: Jon

It's the, the way it's going. It's gonna be soon.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

That's so cool. How are they powered?

Host: Jon

Uh, good question. I just thought it was cool. I didn't look at it's. Uh that's I think it's actually battery powered. Uh I'll I'll drop you a link. Oh my God. Thanks for challenging me please. Don't sorry folks.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

If we weren't being so spontaneous, we could totally edit this out and you could come in with a really snappy answer and be like, they use these cool lithium batteries that have an average wattage and output, blah, blah, blah. And you could, but

Host: Jon

Yeah, I was gonna go look that up an insert, but we'll just let it go. <laugh>

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

At this point, we're just gonna let it go. Um, what is one place in the world that you have never been? You've always wanted to go

Host: Jon

Never Hawaii.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Uh, what part?

Host: Jon

I have no clue. I just want to go. So my, my wife has wanted to go. Her dad has wanted to go and has got me itching to go and I wanna do a huge family. All of us go. Uh, any recommendation is great, but I we've never been,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Uh, what is one place you have been, you would go back in a heartbeat.

Host: Jon

Aruba.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

  1. OK. OK. You've been to Aruba, but not Hawaii.

Host: Jon

Okay. I live on the east coast. So Aruba was a shorter flight. All right. Long story short. Last year I celebrated a milestone birthday and I will drop it on the show, but

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Turned 21. We all do wonderful.

Host: Jon

Yeah. Right. And I told my wife, I wanna go to someplace special and we were looking it up and a buddy was going to Aruba and we looked it up and I always wanted to take my wife to blue water. We've always had this thing where blue water, you can look through it. It looked really cool. And we had just planned it and we took, uh, the family to Aruba. I celebrated my birthday on the beach. I have pictures. She did. She brought signs and everything and put it on the beach. And it was a inclusive,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Like the big yard signs,

Host: Jon

Not as big, but yes, our actual, our, our hotel had a ocean view. Like literally you could hear the waves go to sleep. It was, it was freaking awesome. And they were only at 60% capacity. They said, I think it was less. My kids loved it. They're like, I wanna go back to Aruba. The food was completely free. Uh, it was all inclusive, so it wasn't free, but whatever, whatever works about a and you know, it was very nice. The kids wanna go back. I would love to go back. If I'm afraid going back now might ruin the memory of what we had. So we're just kind of, Hawaii was probably next. Maybe,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Uh, what's the current hobby or obsession you've picked up in the past year,

Host: Jon

Uh, podcasting

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

More than a year.

Host: Jon

Uh, I actually, well, the one I started and it's kind of transitioned the last year was really where it's been, uh, kicked up. Okay. Video editing would be my other one. I used to edit my videos really quick using, you know, uh, a very, a software that's very dependable, but then I had just transitioned over to DaVinci resolve studio. And by the way, that sounds fancy. This is awesome. I actually got, and I go play a little thing. I have a speed editor too for it. So <laugh> I? Yeah.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

You're literally a professional. Now you are full on a professional in this. This is your full on job now.

Host: Jon

Well, I feel imposter syndrome when people say that because I, I feel like some of my stuff is not professional. I, I guess what it is, but I did this awesome video. I have to share. I'll I'll I might put it in here. You you'll see my intro. Let's just put it that way. I took these different videos and then I inserted some more sounds and it was like an inspirational, like don't give up and it was full on. Wow. Like, you know what? Hold on a second. It's only one minute and I gotta bring this up for you because I am very proud of it. Okay. Let's see if I can do this really quick and we will share it and I'll put it in there. Okay.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I, I have no video editing skills. I do all my videos with one take using my camera that comes with my laptop and the default video recording software. And if I mess up, I just, just leave it in.

Host: Jon

Okay. Let's share this. Can you see, can you see? Yes. All right. I am started out. All right. I did this. I'm very proud of it. Totally geeked out on how proud I am at. So I apologize.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Let's do this blind react video from like TikTok go. You

Host: Jon

Ready? Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Beautiful.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Very beautiful light. Damn.

Host: Jon

Okay. To totally geeking out over this because I, I loved it. What'd you think

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

That's incredibly professional? <laugh> I also feel like I need to go to the gym. So CRB, I gotta go install a rope in my home gym and now climb it.

Host: Jon

So when you first get, when you first watch that video, right? You're like, what the heck does this have to do with John? But if you look at where I come to the ending, it's all about like recording podcasting and pursuing your dreams. You would've never thought this was what I was going towards in the beginning.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Sorry. I muted. Cuz my dog is once again barking. Fantastic. One of the cats we have in the neighborhood, Hey bud, bud. Back on the couch. You're in timeout. You're in timeout up, up. Go on. Sit. Good boy. Um, no, it totally makes sense. And I like the transition and the build and then like, let's do this. Let's go. I feel very motivated now for many things, including a rope climb to be here right now, we probably should have listened to that as a pump up music. And I maybe would've stayed more to our general outline.

Host: Jon

<laugh> no, not at all. And I, I sent that to a bunch of people, by the way, this is not a podcast about me. Why are we talking about me?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Because it's much more entertaining for the viewers who gonna see the other side of you. Um, okay. Last question. I have one thing people don't know about you.

Host: Jon

I have, um, this is, this is gonna sound really fast. I have like O C D tendencies. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, I have a truck and in my truck, you know the vents where your heat and blah, blah, blah come out, right? I must at all times, no matter what, they all must be closed and face, parallel out. They can't be turned sideways. They must be faced out. If you leave my truck and they're not that way, you will not sit in the front seat again. You will not touch my stuff in the truck is all my,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

That is fast. Do your kids respect

Host: Jon

That they do. They actually know it. So my oldest daughter who we celebrated her 21st this past year and uh, she will turn 'em on purpose and she will, I will give her heck for it because I'll be like, no, no, no, you, you gotta go fix that. I will send her back out and fix it.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I think all of us have a little bit of your oldest daughter's tendencies right there. When you said that there's probably half of the listeners who in their heads are like, of course you have to do that. And the other half that mentally, or just <laugh> them a little bit, just to be like, oh, this feels good to mess. 'em up. It feels so good to mess 'em up.

Host: Jon

I will notice it no matter what they will, I will see it while driving and I'll see it when I get in it's it's just something like they have to be. I don't care if we use it. We're getting in and out of the truck at different stops. They gotta be closed. When I leave my truck

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Fascinating. I, I have a model three, which doesn't have air vents.

Host: Jon

What's you have an O C D tendency in this by no chance. Does something have to be a certain way?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

That's a good question. Probably not one that I'm actively aware of. And I'll probably go brag to my husband later and be like, I don't have any weird quirk and he'll probably just start laughing hysterically. And I'll probably send you a list of like seven things that I'm very particular. I, oh, now that I say it out loud, I definitely have to use certain cups for coffee on different days of the week. Or like, depending on my mood, I have a whole cup thing about like, it's a Saturday. I use this cup. Oh no. I'm feeling tired. I use this coffee cup. Yeah, no, I have a whole cup thing and different plates and different flatware.

Host: Jon

So it's, it's coming up. I mean, you said no, I don't believe I do. And you just listed a bunch of things.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I know <laugh>

Host: Jon

Yeah.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I like the fridge to be very ordered and I don't like to have extra food that we're not going to eat in the fridge. We have a very minimalist condiment fridge, which may be the opposite of your fridge. <laugh>

Host: Jon

It is definitely the opposite of it. But yeah, no pitchers, sorry folks.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

We have one mustard. We don't need another mustard. We have one type of mustard. Why would you need more?

Host: Jon

Well, we have one type of everything. No, I'm just kidding. <laugh> Uh, I got a question for you. I'm gonna flip it back to you. Yeah,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Go for it. I deserve it. It can be a tough question.

Host: Jon

Yeah. Let let's go. Well, you already said your early mornings, what is one thing that you would tell your younger self?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Oh, there's so many things. Um, sorry.

Host: Jon

I can only pick one. Okay. Maybe a couple, but no,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I think I would say, go for it, like go for it. That would be my line. Just go for it. Whatever I interpret it to be, just go for it. Um, whether it's whatever, whatever I interpret it to be, just go for

Host: Jon

It. Yep. I put, uh, for me is be yourself. Ooh, no matter what be yourself. Don't don't, you know, like I I've just realized in the last couple of years to just be myself, be weird and quirky on my podcast. You don't have to doesn't matter. And, and do the same when you're doing more of a, you have to do one for work, be yourself because all the feedback I've received from people when I'm myself has transitioned into, Hey, you wanna do another one? Hey, I got more for you. Yeah, it's all coming out. So,

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

And I think going back to my comments earlier about elements of, of who you are now that we're both further on in our careers and there comes more privilege with where we are and being able to, to let elements of who we are come out. I think with that privilege comes the responsibility to, to show elements like that. It can be small things like if you wanna wear jeans in a hoodie to the office, wear jeans and a hoodie to pick a very trivial example. Um, but also if I wanna talk about my dog, when people are talking about their kids, for instance, and that's a way that I feel like I can contribute and let people know, that's what, that's how I define my family is my husband and my dog. And that is very valid and very important to me. That's a way that I don't have to feel like I can't step up and talk about my weekend plans or I don't have to feel less than because when I'm <laugh> for instance, I, I had a, I was talking to someone, we typically get pizza on, on Friday night and she made a comment like, oh, you have small kids, don't you?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

And I was like, Nope, I don't have kids. It's just me, my husband and my dog. And she's like, oh, you mentioned you were ordering three pizzas. I just assumed you had a bunch of small kids to feed. And I was like, no, I just really like pizza <laugh> they were delicious pizzas. Um, but, but just using that more as a, a way to just break the tension and be like, that's, that's my self sustained family unit, period,

Host: Jon

Nothing wrong with it. Not at all. Exactly. Sometimes, uh, you know, your pets are your kids and that's, you want to talk about them. You wanna talk and share, you know, what you're doing, what your pet that weekend just be yourself.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

It's not every weekend, but sometimes as earlier he will speak up in a meeting. Um, there was a time that my dad lived with me back in right before we invent. And I at first was like, I just keep it on down though. I won't tell people I might be late. I won't take extended breaks if I have to go make sure he is eating. My dad is at chronic autoimmune lung disease. Um, and then eventually I was like, no, I'm gonna be open that I'm also being a part-time caregiver. And eventually I chose to share that on LinkedIn too, because I wanted to give people a glimpse into not just the highlight reel of everything is going well at work, we're doing this awesome new thing, but there's aspects to myself and competing variables that are equally valid and equally important. Um, and funnily enough, at reinvent, thanks to you.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

I got the, the guts up to talk to my, one of my personal heroes. Uh, Jeff Barr. It required a lot of following him around until he was finally free. And I got my chance to take my Jeff bar selfie. And then I took a selfie of me with the Jeff bar selfie. And then I took a picture of him in the background of me with the Jeff bar, with the, the selfie of me with the Jeff bar selfie. So it was this whole roast effect thing like stack overflow. It was, it was probably this, the LinkedIn post I'm most proud of last year. Cause I thought it was very clever anyway. So I finally got the chance to talk to him. I, I wanted to talk to him all about work stuff. And he asked me about how my dad was doing, because he saw my post on LinkedIn and wanted to ask about my dad.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

And it was a great moment of reminding me that that is the type of leader and mentor. I wanna be one day, first time I'd ever met him. I had been looking forward to meeting him for literally years and years and years. And the first thing he says, I'm like, hi, I'm Liz. I'm such a big fan. And he is like, yeah, I follow you on LinkedIn. How is your dad? And it was just a moment of genuine connection. And he shared stories about his dad and it's the kind of person that this world needs more of. And it's the kind of person I wanna be when I grow up.

Host: Jon

Yeah, Jeff's a good guy. He's very personal. Uh, whenever he is in my neck of the woods, he'll shoot me a text and be like, Hey, uh, if it works out, you wanna get together for a recording. It hasn't worked out, but Hey, it is what it is. You gotta go with the flow. But, um, you know, one of the things about Jeff is that all, all through his career, he is doing all this awesome stuff for AWS. And he told me a story once on the show that, uh, he was always running and hustling. As soon as he was done speaking, he'd have to get in the car and drive to the next place. And he didn't have time, you know, to sit down with some of the people and, you know, really talk and, or he'd be late or didn't have time to prepare.

Host: Jon

And this one time he said, you know what, I'm gonna sit down. I'm gonna have that conversation. I'm gonna talk. And throughout that, he has a, you know, kind of developed that mentality of just taking that extra time out and being a little more personal with the community in the folks and really hearing their stories. Yeah. And it was very inspiring that he starts to pay attention. You'll realize what he pays attention to. If he follows you or not. If he notices something, he runs into you, he has a great memory about it. And not only is he highly technical, but he's really personal on, on a level. And it's nice to experience that at, you know, somebody's caliber like Jeff who's experienced so much throughout his career that he takes the time to ask you personal stuff rather than technical stuff.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Yeah. It was world needs more people like that too. And it's just a great reminder to me, at least, especially is I lead more and more people, which I've done before, but it still is always, uh, it's always scary to have more people and more team members report to you because they're in many ways, they're trusting you to lead their technical vision. And I am so grateful for the opportunity, but at the same time, it always makes me take a moment to reflect on the kind of technical leader and person that I, I wanna be. And what are those core pieces, both from an interpersonal perspective and from a technical perspective. And for me, individual growth and team morale is one of the most important non-negotiables like everyone needs to have a career development plan, even if that means just becoming a technical expert at what they do.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

And it means that personal development time, isn't something you just talk about. Like you make that something, whether it's taking time out to do podcasts and talk about the really cool things you're doing with rust or taking certification exams, or just becoming better and keeping, keeping your ax or your saw sharp. Um, so, so that's really cool. And it's something that the more senior leaders actually recognize the, the human elements that come along with it. I think, especially now as we're in the midst of the great rec resignation and I, I found that my peers are being much more critical of how they can find work that aligns with their values, how they can find management that really speaks to them and they can feel like they're contributing to something greater. I know what originally drew me to wood Mac is we're working on, um, impacting how we, and transitioning how we, we transforming how we power the planet, uh, which is something with my love for sustainability comes very near and dear, but it's not enough just to have a broad rally and cry. I need to make that tactical and tangible for myself and then for my team so that when we do things, we can make workflows more efficient. We can decrease the amount of CO2 we're putting in the atmosphere for our cloud workloads. And we can actually have deliverables that move the needle. And a big part of that is being an empathetic and human leader, not just someone that says, okay, great KPIs, great OKRs, do 10% more next quarter, but can lead with empathy, which hopefully is a, a big transformation we'll see coming out of COVID.

Host: Jon

I agree with you and understanding your employees more and being, uh, you know, on a personal level with them, Dr. Liz, you are inspirational. I really appreciate everything you do. And all the posts that you share and also joining this podcast, it's always fun to sit down and chat with you. Uh, folks, Dr. Liz Deni, VP, wait, let me see if I can get this right now that you change job VP of data, architecture and engineering, right. Just checking. I know we edited. Isn't

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

That correct? Chief evangelist. John,

Host: Jon

<laugh> yours a lot longer than mine, but yes, very true. Actually that's the first time I'm hearing that on a show. I kinda like the ring of that, right?

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Yeah. Chief evangelist, John.

Host: Jon

Ah, I love it. That that's pretty awesome. All right. Dr. Liz, thank you so much for joining everybody. John Meyer podcast. I'm your host. John Meyer joining us today was Dr. Liz Dennis. Really appreciate it.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

It was truly a pleasure. Alexa podcast lights off.

Host: Jon

You have to go louder.

Guest: Dr. Liz Dennett

Alexa podcast lights off.

Host: Jon

Okay.

 

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