[Progress News] [Progress OpenEdge ABL] Who’s Who at Progress360: Meet Brittany Woods, Manager, Server Automation, H&R Block

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Jessica Kent

Brittany Woods, Server Automation Manager at H&R Block, will be a featured speaker at Progress360.

The business world is constantly changing, and leaders must continually adapt or risk falling behind their competitors. To succeed in this environment, companies use best practices and key insights to drive innovation and fuel momentum.

Progress360, a multi-dimensional event for developers, DevOps and IT security professionals, will provide attendees with the knowledge, products and personal connections needed to overcome today’s business challenges. Being held in Boston from September 11-14, Progress360 will combine two industry-leading events: DevReach, the largest developer conference in Eastern and Central Europe, and ChefConf, the premier DevOps/DevSecOps showcase.

At ChefConf, attendees will hear from Brittany Woods, Server Automation Manager at H&R Block. A longtime member of the Chef community, Brittany will lead sessions about configuration management and building communities of practice. Read more about Brittany and Progress360 below:

How did you get started in tech and engineering? What drew you to the field?​

Computers have always fascinated me. When I thought about what I wanted to do with my life, I knew that my primary passion was music. The problem was that I didn't really want to teach music or work as a professor; I would much rather perform. I would have loved to be a member of a professional symphony, but as a clarinet player there are only a limited number of spots. So, knowing that I could continue to play music, I embarked on another interest in my life: Technology.

After taking a couple of Java programming classes, I realized that not only were development and technology interesting, but I was also pretty good at it. From there, I accepted an entry level operations center job. I monitored patching processes, watched alerts and contacted on-call administrators to fix issues. I later moved into an administrator role myself, and it was there that I learned Chef. The rest is history! 

I was drawn to the field because I really liked technology. At that time, I didn't have a good pulse on the community aspect—I just knew I wanted to work with computers. I love that this field allows me to constantly learn and grow. It's crazy, it's stressful, but it's so rewarding to learn new tech and see new, cool ways to make environments better.  

What is one of the most valuable lessons you've learned in your career so far?​

Making space for others is incredibly important. By this I mean, be the person to create an opening for someone who is getting talked over. Be the person on the call who points out that people are talking over someone. Celebrate everyone's wins; not just your own. Find and embrace ways to build others up if that's what they want on their journey. 

Another valuable lesson I have learned is that it's okay to have a voice. It's okay to be your own advocate. 

Why do you think it would be beneficial for DevOps and other IT, business and security professionals to attend Progress360?​

Conferences like Progress360 provide a great chance to network with others and learn patterns that are being put into practice across the industry. 

You will be one of the speakers at the event. What can attendees expect from your sessions? ​

I am really excited about my sessions this year. First, I'm honored to be able to give my individual session, which is called Config Management Isn’t Dead. In this talk I will discuss the past, present and future of configuration management, as well as the importance of it across entire environments, not just virtual machines. I am also so excited for the Communities of Practice roundtable with Mike Butler, Nate Ferrell and Mandi Walls. It's so good to talk about strategies to grow platforms and grow communities while doing it!

What are you most looking forward to during Progress360?​

I'm really looking forward to interacting with people. Progress360 is a new environment for me to be involved in, coming from the Chef community. Interacting with new faces and learning about areas that I previously did not have exposure to will be exciting. I hope that next year we can do the same with the Chef community, as I have really missed being able to see Chef friends in person, interact with them and learn from them and just do things together.  

Looking to take your business and skills to the next level? Don’t wait—register for Progress360 today.

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