Episode 22: Tech & Side Hustle Maven Edith Young

Heather Newman:  Hello everyone, we are here with another episode of Mavens Do It Better podcast and I have the pleasure today to bring on a friend and a colleague, Edith Young who was amazing and she is an IT supervisor. She works in the public defender's office in Hennepin County. Um, she's from Minnesota and she also works with Beauty Counter. She is amazing and we've met over sort of many women in tech, diversity in tech conversations and things. And Edith, why don't you say hello to everybody?

Edith Young:  Hello everybody.

Heather Newman:  Wonderful. You're coming at us from Minnesota today? Yes.

Edith Young:  Yes, I am. I'm actually downtown Minneapolis today, right in my, my working office of the public defender. So yeah.

Heather Newman:  Wow. Um, so tell, tell everybody about your cool job that it's, oh my goodness. Tell everybody about what it is to be in the public defender's office. I would love to hear more about that.

Edith Young:  Oh, oh, most definitely. So what I'll do is I'll start out with just kind of a history and where my, myself has led just within Hennepin County and the almost five years that I've actually been here now. I started out, um, at Hennepin County back in February of 2014, and this is actually how I got to meet you, Heather, was through the SharePoint community and so came here as a senior technical analyst to work with the recently released SharePoint platform. At the time it was SharePoint 2016 On-Prem and was asked to come in and help with user adoption and training and governance and building solutions, all things fabulous SharePoint related. And so did that for probably, well it was three years of my, of my, you know, 2014, 15 and 16 and decided, you know what, I'm, I think I'm ready for a new challenge. I think there's something else out there for me, but still within the county because Hennepin County is so, it's an amazing community to work for and work within. we are the largest county in the state of Minnesota. We support 1.3 million residents. so, we are big.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, that's huge!

Edith Young:  Right? Yeah. And we actually have the Hennepin County public defender's office, which is overseen both by Hennepin County and then also the state of Minnesota Public Defense Office. So we're very fortunate here because our funding is split up a little bit differently than most public defender's offices. We are funded by both the state of Minnesota and a little bit by Hennepin County. So I have amazing employees. I have approximately eight and can't tell you that I, I, I adore them. I could talk about them for hours and days. they make my job so easy. And I just feel very blessed that I'm amongst such great colleagues. you know, we have a lot of, how do you want to say issues when it comes to disparity within the community and making sure that the individuals who need to be represented in a court of law have that opportunity for them. And we do a wonderful job of serving those individuals and those residents of Hennepin County. And we have some amazing lawyers who have been with us probably 30 plus years.

Heather Newman:  Wow.

Edith Young:  And then we have attorneys and lawyers who come in who kind of they take this, this is their, their stepping off point, this is their way to get, right out of college, and then they come in the door and they have the purpose and they're behind the mission and the vision and then they end up staying here for, you know, sometimes one, two, five years. It just depends on, on what their passion is, but it's really fun to be a part of the IT area and watch my team support all of these amazing people so they're still very blessed. So that's why I've been doing for almost two years now. Um, and uh, yeah, my other job. So, I got a, I got a little, uh, what do you call it? We'll call is a bug up my butt a couple years ago.

Heather Newman:  Or is this, is this your side hustle as they call it?

Edith Young:  This is my side hustle that I call. Yes, yes. And, um, so I have another girlfriend who I met through SharePoint. Um, I'm going to, I'm going to call her out here. Her name's Alexis Bruno. She's amazing. And she actually, um, uh, got me introduced to Beauty Counter and Beauty Counter is a skin care and cosmetic company that was stood up by Gregg Renfrew, um, back in 2015 and, uh, has done some amazing things with bringing attention to, uh, many areas of concern when it comes to products that we put on our face, on our bodies every single day. And just trying to get laws changed to make sure that we can actually have, how do I want to say this? Changes that aren't 80 years old. So the last time a law was put into effect with regards to the ingredients that go in to our beauty or skincare products was 1938.

Heather Newman:  What? Really?

Edith Young:  Yeah, and here in the United States and I don't want to quote because I don't know the, I don't have the facts right in front of me, but I want to, I'm going to guesstimate that we only ban a certain amount of ingredients that go into products. Whereas if you look at Europe, those individuals, that country over there is very, very careful about what goes into their cosmetic and their beauty products and they're there, they're selling quality, they're selling things that aren't creating carcinogen, carcinogens in it.

Heather Newman:  I'm with you on that across the different continent, across the countries in Europe. I think that's definitely. I've seen that too. There's more emphasis on what's going into the products and rules and regulations. For sure. I definitely have seen that too. I can't believe that's 19, the thirties. That's crazy.

Edith Young:  Yeah. It blew me away. I couldn't believe it. And so that's what sparked my interest. That's where, it wasn't about um, "Oh my God, look, they have a new lipstick", you know, I mean, trust me. Like any girl, most girls we love, you know, to, to make ourselves all look pretty and you know, do our hair up and, you know, make sure my eyelashes look good behind my big old glasses, you know? Things like that. But for me, for me it was about spreading the information and my approach to getting people interested to learn more is just to share the facts and talk about, you know, why would this be a good change for you? And so that's kind of my mission. You know, making sure that people know about better beauty, safer beauty, you know, what the laws are, all of those types of things. So yeah,

Heather Newman:  Well I love that. I mean the conversations that we've had and sort of how we sort of watch each other and comment on each other's stuff on social media and when we met and stuff, you know, I just, I felt like I had such a connection with you and uh, just like from what you do at the public defender's office and what you do here, it's like I just love that I was like, she's somebody who is, you know, making change in her own community and thus making change in the world. You know, like I was like,

Edith Young:  Thank you.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, totally. And I was like, oh, that's so cool. You know, it's, it's all of us, you know, how we have what we have for work. But then we also, you know, and, and sometimes hopefully you, you know, you work in something you love and that you're passionate about, but also then the other things in your life that bring you joy or that help you bring joy to other people or, or, or educate do some good or something. And I was like, that's so awesome, you know.

Edith Young:  Thank you. I appreciate hearing that because sometimes I think we as women, you know, we're caregivers, naturally that's what we're born to be as caregivers. And um, it's, it's ingrained really, really deep in some of us, in some of us, it's more like, you know what? Yep, I am, I am maternal, I was meant to have children. Some women were, are meant to just drive with these amazing careers and they'll be maternal but to their nieces and their nephews.

Heather Newman:  Or every other person in their life.

Edith Young:  And there's nothing, there's nothing wrong with that. You know, I mean, I, I was so young, I was 18 when I had my son. And so I feel very blessed to this day to actually have had him when I was so young because now, what he's done for me is he's opened the doors for me to be able to do all of these amazing things that I had to kind of put on hold when I was younger, you know. So here I am able to explore down the Beauty Counter lane, uh, road. able to get involved with leadership opportunities for other women. Able to, you know, learn and, and become a better and um, how do you want to say growing a leadership person myself in my IT supervisor role. So yeah, life is pretty, really good. I mean, it is.

Heather Newman:  I love it. fantastic. I love hearing that. So, and I know from, you know, talking and other things that you're also really involved like you're a pet lover for sure.

Edith Young:  Oh God, yeah.

Heather Newman:  Yeah. So how is that? You have pets and you also, I think help other people and finding pets, you know, all that sort of talk about that a little bit too.

Edith Young:  Oh sure. All right. Let's see, what else can I say about that? Well, there is another side hustle actually that I probably didn't mention at any point in conversation.

Heather Newman:  I think I just figured that out, but you know, or

Edith Young:  Who knows? I probably have 20 of them that I don't even realize that I do. But uh, so there, there's an organization here in Minnesota and it's up in Sandstone and it's called the Wild Cat Sanctuary and um, they truly give and provide homes to wildcats. Everything from an F1 Bengal all the way up to a Lion home that where individuals have tried to captivate them and make them domesticated cats. And so as most of us inherently know that's not something that's going to ever happen. Those, those, those cats are born to be wild. They are meant to be wildcats. And um, I got involved with the sanctuary back in 2014 as a volunteer. What did that mean? Well, it meant going up to the sanctuary. You have to be 18 years of age and then you have to, you know, go through kind of a volunteer, what I would call, oh, onboarding. And then you get to go up and you do hard labor, like you help rip down and enclosures and build new ones. You help make sure that the grounds are mowed, that the memorial garden is weeded, that wherever they need help because it's, it's a hundred percent donor and volunteer driven. And so then at the end of your volunteer time, usually if it's a good day, you get a little tour where you get to walk around and you're always, you know, there's a, there's a line around the outside of the enclosure about 10 foot of space and you get to walk around and see these beautiful animals and experience the beauty up close and they're living free again. And there, they're able to play and they're able to run and they know what humans are because they were taken in by humans probably in the beginning. Um, but they get to be wild at heart, you know, and so they're no longer being captivated. What they're, what they're in is the place that they get to retire now and relax and be what they were meant to be.

Heather Newman:  I would think that with these cats, do you, like they can't necessarily because they were captive or captivated that they can't be released back into a wild habitat because they probably wouldn't survive or you know what I mean, like, is that correct? Okay.

Edith Young:  No, you're absolutely correct, Heather. Yeah. So there are, I want to say five cougars that we have and, and I always say we, I should never say we. I Should say the Wildcat Sanctuary has five cougars.

Heather Newman:  Well you work there. You volunteer there. I think there's a little bit of that for sure. Why not? That's all right.

Edith Young:  I've adopted them in my heart and they were actually, their mother had suffered from a car accident and she passed away so they were abandoned and the Wildcat Sanctuary was, I believe they were reached out to by the Minnesota state DNR and um, asked if they could be taken in there because they were so small that they still needed to be how do you want to say taken care of? Like hand-fed, you know, bottle fed, like that sort of thing.

Heather Newman:  Oh, like weened or whatever. Yeah. Okay sure.

Edith Young:  But once you do that, then you really can't release them to the wild because they aren't going to be taught the same instincts that the mother cougar could have, you know, taught them.

Heather Newman:  Makes sense.

Edith Young:  Yeah. So, but yeah, they are an amazing organization. I also get to serve on the board of directors. I am currently in a secretary position and so, um, do that as well. So volunteer, do a little boarding, that sorta thing.

Heather Newman:  That's awesome. Wow. Yeah, I, I knew some of that well I knew that from some of your photos and stuff that you put up from different things. I was like, what's she got? Does She have a lion in her house? What's going on over there? Okay. I know you don't.

Edith Young:  I have no lions, but I do have a 20-pound domesticated male cat. His name is Stuey.

Heather Newman:  Oh, that's wonderful. Oh my goodness. Yeah. Well, you know, and I know that you're a big part of, you're on the organizing committee for the SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities too, right?

Edith Young:  I am, yes. There is another side hustle for you! Look at that we're uncovering so much today,

Heather Newman:  I know well in, Twin Cities is, you know, for, for those of you listening, the, you know, many of you know that, you know, I've been in the SharePoint world for very long time and I'm a Microsoft MVP and speak a lot in the circuit and you know, the SharePoint Saturdays are great events that happen all over the country, all over the world. I think there's, I can't even remember the number. It's like 83 of them now. I believe Jeff Teper, you know Godfather and CVP of SharePoint was talking about that at the European SharePoint Conference and the Twin Cities has been around, I think since the beginning of them. How many of them have you had?

Edith Young:  We've been around since 2008. It, it was kicked off back in the day, I want to say for sure Wes Preston was involved. And then, uh, Jim Ferguson, and I also want to say Sarah Hasse. Big shout out to Sarah. She's a beautiful person and awesome SharePoint individual and a very good friend. I love her dearly and they are the ones who, who kicked that off and Raymond Mitchell too, I want to say Raymond Mitchell was a part of that as well.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, those are all big sweethearts. That's so awesome. And you are, you, you're now doing two of those a year, right?

Edith Young:  We are, we do one in the spring and we do one in the fall. Yes ma'am.

Heather Newman:  I think you might be one of only a few that actually are doing two a year as well.

Edith Young:  I think so. I think so. Um, well, you know, it's a lot of work but I will tell you just from having now participated on the planning group leadership team since 2014, the process has become so fine-tuned that it, it just runs itself now and it's so cool because that just shows the effort and the, the timing and the, the ability of this group that we've all come together to be on the same page to pull off what is an amazing event. I mean we reach numbers in the 600s for attendees here.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, yours is one of the biggest for sure I think in the world, you know, that's. Yeah. And so, uh, last year I got to, was that this year? No, that was, I'm totally like, I can't even remember. Oh my God. But I, I came to my first one.

Edith Young:  Yeah, I remember I sat next to you during lunch. We had salad together

Heather Newman:  Totally, yes, we did. and you were so lovely and it was hilarious because, um, you know, we all got into town and there ended up being literally a blizzard. And so like it was, it was one of those where we're like, all right, well everybody got to hunker down, but we did, you know, we ended up, um, what was, what's the name of the place that we went to for the dinner afterwards? The, uh,

Edith Young:  That is Khan Mongolian barbecue.

Heather Newman:  Yes. That place is awesome. So if you like, so it's, it's where you go and they have, you know, all this stuff on the um, uh, you know, on a, like, it's almost like a salad bar. Right? And you pick up the meat, you pick up everything, and then you take it over to this giant grill and they grill it for you. I mean, you want to talk about nom nom, I mean, wow, that place.

Edith Young:  I know, it's the most amazing thing and you would think being, you know, living here in the Twin Cities that I would actually hit that place up as much as I can, you know, because it's just down the road and it's right off 494, which is our main, one of our major outside of the loop kind of deal. And um, I actually only go at SharePoint Saturday.

Heather Newman:  Really? That's so funny. Oh my God. I have to give a big shout out to Liz Sundet who drove, um, to that because it was like, not only was it a blizzard, but we were like, we were determined. Right. And we're like, we're going to get there. And literally there were people off the side of the road in snow piles, like stuck and everything. And we call her Luber because she's the Liz Uber. Um, shout out to Miss Awesome Sunshine Liz. So for sure on that. But yeah, and you know, the SharePoint Saturdays, um, they're free events that happen on Saturday as most of the time. Some, some folks have them on Fridays, um, but their SharePoint office 365, azure, Microsoft Teams, Planner, even got some blockchain chain going on in them. Um, and uh, if you're interested in those, it's spsevents.org, uh, on websites so you can check those out and I know that. So, you know, being a speaker, people can apply to speak, you can apply to sponsor all that sort of thing. So, um, we, I run the SharePoint Saturday LA one now, so, um, we did that last August, so yeah, I love those events and they're a lot of fun and uh, I think, uh, you guys are just, I mean it's just, it's, it's always nice when I hear the Twin Cities, I'm all like, Yep, that's sort of the grand grand daddy grand mama of them all for sure.

Edith Young:  Well thank you Heather I will pass that on. I will make sure that if none of them folks are on this podcast right now and I'm like, Hey, Heather Newman says that we're the granddaddy of all it daddies.

Heather Newman:  So yeah, no, it's totally awesome. Well, you know, you're so busy with many things, right? You, got you know, I guess your main job, your side hustles, I know your family and the other, the, the wildcats and everything. Um, we talk a lot about work life balance and you know, that tech can be very stressful and, and all of that. How do you, how do you unplug and where do you find your inspiration and sparks? Where's that? Where's that come from for you?

Edith Young:  You know, I, um, as I get older and I am getting older, I try to make sure that I take time for myself, uh, in several different ways. Um, one of them is I have gone to a chiropractor since I was 12 years old and I find that, you know, making sure that at least once a month if not twice, I go in and I get my spine realigned and I just make sure that, you know, everything that needs to hold me in place is, is holding me in place. Um, I also enjoy travel when I can travel. We have a trip coming up to Jamaica in February next year. So super excited about that. And um, you know, just hanging out, hanging out at home. I, I kind of turned into when I can be a home body, but I am a home body and just spending time with the hubby and the cats, at home. If I'm not bopping all over, you know, like I, I was thinking about this last weekend. My Saturday was taken up. Um, my husband has been home on um, on a medical leave since mid-November and so he's still not ready to go out to like all these holiday events yet. And so I took on that duty to represent the Youngs at the holiday events and I had two of them last weekend and I have a couple this weekend and then probably, I'm sure there's a new year's Eve something or another coming up that I don't even have on my calendar yet.

Heather Newman:  And you know, I know, you know, you're working on, you know, SharePoint and you know, all of our Microsoft technologies and stuff. And how, just from your perspective, um, how, how is it working in an agency like you do, you know, kind of keeping up with the changes that are coming out? Like at lightning speed, you finding that people will roll along with you with the punches? Are you kind of the person who is driving sort of that new sort of digital transformation and innovation and stuff or is it more like, let's hold the course and make sure we know what we're doing, we'll get to that stuff. Like how is that affecting what you do on a day to day basis?

Edith Young:  That is, that is a fabulous question actually. Um, and I, I would say that as a government agency we are actually pretty good when it comes to staying on top of technology. Um, we, I want to say it was, oh my goodness, I'm trying to think of the month that the transition took place, but we did move from SharePoint 2013 on prem to SharePoint 2016 on prem. And um, you know, there's not much of a change with that, the look and feel is quite the same. So we didn't have to go through a lot of user adoption as far as people going holy crap. They changed the interface, you know, because they didn't, they really kept the interface pretty, pretty nice. Um, as an agency we are also looking forward to the future and O365 and SharePoint online is a part of that future for us. we are a little slower than some to be able to switch over to that, but you know, that has a lot of play as to, you know, what's in the budget, how do we want to make sure that we are training and making sure that the governance that we need to have in place is going to work for our end users. So planning, um, respectfully and strategically, you know, those types of things. So, I'm, the eye is, is on the, on the ball that continually moves in the SharePoint technology world. And I'm actually meeting with one of our IT managers later this week to chat about a proposal that I had about figuring how, how can we make sure that user adoption, not just for SharePoint but for all Microsoft products is working across the county. What can we do to improve that? And so we're going to ideate and who knows, maybe there'll be another side gig that comes out of that for me, but uh, but yeah, so that's. Does that answer your question?

Heather Newman:  Yeah, yeah, totally. Absolutely. Absolutely. And maybe to kind of wrap up, I will ask you, um, you know, I think, I guess I find what you do very inspiring and I love kind of seeing you out in the world and know, you know, just from a sort of a diversity in sort of a, you know, women in tech perspective and, and all of that. Um, do you have any advice to budding folks in IT about, um, things that have inspired you along the way or people you follow or books that you're like, oh my gosh, you should read this kind of thing. Places you go for that sort of thing.

Edith Young:  Yeah, for sure. For sure. Thanks for that. That's, that's a wonderful way to wrap this up. Um, so I personally have been very involved with a, an organization that was just Minnesota based up until this past summer. It's called Team Women and Team Women is a now nationwide. And it's really an organization that much like what you do, Heather, from the perspective of building up other women who are in leadership roles who are working on getting in leadership roles or looking for new avenues to become better leaders or different types of leaders, that sort of thing. So I'm very involved with them and attending their events and supporting them. And um, I would say that if you have that opportunity and you have an organization like that, that is within the area that you live. The Twin Cities is a large area so we're lucky to have an organization like this. Please think about getting involved and looking into how they can help you grow yourself, find your passion and you know, build the next prototype because just, just because the first prototype doesn't work doesn't mean that the second prototype or the third prototype or the fourth one, etc, etc, etc. Will work. So, you know,

Heather Newman:  That's cool. Yeah. What's the, you know, so I'm with my folks for the holidays and we were listening, we were playing Jeopardy like watching Alex, you know. And then my mom was like, she's like, "How about this one? Do you know where WD-40 came from?", you know, the, the spray. And I was like, and it's kind of a joke because my grandfather used to put WD-40 on everything, you know, that like, it's like the Windex for the Greeks, you know? My grandfather was like WD-40 or um, what's that other stuff called? Bag Balm, that stinky stuff that you put on cows udders, you know, that you put on your feet. We were laughing about all that. And uh, I think I, I'm not, I can't remember what the WD stands for, but I know that the 40 stands for the, it was the 40th, um, mixture of the ingredients that got it to be WD-40. And so just like you were saying, you know, sometimes it takes more than once to get to the, the goodness, you know, so.

Edith Young:  Exactly, exactly. Passion, follow your passion. Oh, and listen to your gut too. Cause your gut's never wrong

Heather Newman:  Lady, I couldn't agree more. That's awesome. Well, we will make sure people know how to find you on the, you know, the Twitters and the Instagram-erratis and all of that kind of fun stuff because I know you're out there doing really good things in the world and um, and those of you who are in the Twin Cities area, you know, SharePoint Saturday is a great event and you can see Miss Edith there and um, yeah. And I just, I find again, like I think, you're kind of like my, my gal about town side hustle maven, you know? Like I just feel like you look at things and then you're like, yeah, I'm going to do that and you do it, you know what I mean? It's, so, it's cool. So I just, uh, really excited to have you on, so thank you for that. I really appreciate it.

Edith Young:  Well, thank you for having me today, Heather. I really appreciate it back.

Heather Newman:  Yeah, you're welcome. Well, awesome. Thank you Miss Edith and everybody that is another episode of Mavens Do It Better. Have a great day.


Heather Newman

Heather Newman is an award-winning marketing maven, technology entrepreneur and an epic connector that brings many worlds together. She has extensive experience marketing products and services for Enterprise businesses, startups and emerging markets. Heather builds plans and processes that are nimble, human and different. She is an adept storyteller and is passionate about growth for both employees and the corporate bottom-line. Heather hails from the arts and the bulk of her career has been working with the largest technology companies in the world (Microsoft, Google, Amazon, NetApp, Hewlett Packard, and Dell). Her nineteen years of experience working at technology companies and building global high-tech marketing strategy has driven millions of dollars of revenue and multiple award-winning campaigns. She has led global marketing teams for many technology companies including AvePoint, IT Unity & KnowledgeLake. Heather was a part of the original Microsoft SharePoint Marketing team. During her tenure, she helped launch multiple versions of the product, build the SharePoint Partner Ecosystem and conceived of and produced the first three Microsoft SharePoint Conferences. Creative Maven has produced thousands of global marketing campaigns and events. Currently CM is focusing on go to market strategies for Microsoft and its partners as well as a new site sister site launching in 2015 called Marketingfixer.com. Heather also serves as Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Content Panda, an innovative technology startup looking to actively disrupt how content is delivered inside software.