Staff Spotlight: Eileen Connell, ITG
Weatherheadlines sat down with Eileen Connell, IT Project Manager and recipient of the Unsung Hero Award in September, to talk about technology at Weatherhead and her plans for Saint Patrick’s Day.
Q: What is your job title, and how long have you been at Weatherhead?
I came here in March 2001, and I’ve been in the same department the whole time. I came here originally on a grant from the Cleveland Foundation to improve technology, and I’ve been here ever since.
I am the IT project manager, so I help make sure things get done. I evaluate project requests, meet with clients and customers and match them up with people with the right skills.
Q: What did you do before Weatherhead?
I went to Rice University in Houston. I have a B.S. in Materials Sciences and Engineering but I did take a series of programming classes. I worked for a start-up downtown where I was a consultant for the web.
Q: What about your life outside Weatherhead?
I live in University Heights, but I grew up in Mayfield Heights. My family is all still in town.
Q: How about your worst job experience?
I came home during the summer from Rice University and got a job cleaning out a furnace here at a foundry at Case. It was tedious and messy and not really challenging.
Q: What was your best job or job experience?
Anytime someone gives me positive feedback about using our technology is good.
Q: Do you have a mentor or someone who gave you some inspirational advice?
I have two different high school teachers that come to mind; they both taught me how to work through problems. By teaching me how to be a better problem solver I was able to believe in myself. I still make decisions using those skills today.
Q: What was the last good book you read or the title of a book you are reading now?
Right now I’m reading Predator by Patricia Cornwell. I got The Google Story (David Vise and Mark Malseed) as a gift, and I’m looking forward to reading that. I try to switch it up between fiction and nonfiction. There are a lot of the classics that I know I should read. Just about anything by Jane Austen. I find myself buying these types of books when it’s announced that the movie version is coming out, but I don’t always have time to finish them.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
I teach Irish dancing with the Murphy Irish Arts Center in Beachwood. I’m also on a women’s soccer team in the winter, and I take tennis lessons in the summer.
Q: What else do you do to relieve stress?
I live near the MetroParks, so I go for long walks, in the summer of course.
Q: If you knew it was going to be your last meal what would you want?
Ribs and shrimp with mashed potatoes and gravy and then for dessert, Banana’s Foster.
Q: Name a famous person people say you look like and/or the person who you would want to play you in the movie of your life.
I don’t get people telling me that I look a lot like anyone. Who would play me in the movie … Jodie Foster, maybe. She does good work and chooses interesting movie roles.
Q: But do you think she can pull off the Irish dancing?
That’s a good question.
Q: If you had to do it all over again differently: What would you do?
If I had to pick a different career, I like the thought of being a high school teacher. I think you can really make a big difference in people’s lives as a teacher. I see these kids when I teach Irish dancing, but of course I do wonder what it would be like for 8 hours a day.
Seasonal Questions: Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up: What is your take on this holiday and how do you celebrate it? Do you:
A. Treat it like any other day
B. Wear something green and have Lucky Charms for breakfast and call it a day
C. Celebrate it with a few thousands of your best Irish friends downtown
D. Would love to tell you what I do for Saint Patrick’s Day but can’t remember
I haven’t worked on Saint Patrick’s Day in years. I actually perform in the parade downtown and will again this year. In past years our Irish dancing group has won Best Unit in the parade.