My Journey: Learning Disabled, Fine Artist, Technology Professional in an Open Source World.

My journey to open source technology professional: Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Studio Art and minoring in Theatre. Master of Fine Arts in Theater and a certification in Non-Profit Management.


"Your degrees are in what?!"


Oh, and severe learning disabilities as a child.

How did that take me to making a career in the world of open source? How did these building blocks in life set me up to successfully metamorphose from fine artist to technology professional at Pfizer?

As a child, my parents were told that I was bright, but I would likely never learn to read or write. In retrospect, the very challenge of my learning disability made a positive impact, helped me be open to opportunity, and drove to choose a completely unexpected career.

At every step of my life, I was in the right place at the right time, grabbing opportunities where they could be found. Whether it was learning to read because I wanted to sing in a choir, or happening to be part of a crazy online project with a Dance company when the World Wide Web was in its nascent form, or pushing the boundaries of what an MFA in arts administration really ought to be, understanding those moments where your life pivots and taking full advantage of them can make the difference between success and failure.

I’ll openly share my own pitfalls and failings, too--professional, medical, and academic. Any of them could have become a weak link in the chain that brought me to my current role, but I clawed my way out and kept going..

I hope discussing my experiences can help you recognise your own moments when everything can pivot, in ways that will positively impact your life and career.

60 minutes
Speaker(s): MatthewS Time: July 29th - CAMP 1:15pm-2:10pm Room: Room 213 Track: Business and Open Source