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tabGeeks ’19: What A Con

April 15, 2019InfoSteph

If you missed it, last month, the tabGeeks con took place in Long Beach, CA and your girl was a panelist! Jesse and Shani Nowlin invited me to be a panelist in November of last year, to which I gladly accepted because #honored. I also wanted to be an attendee, so I attended every talk (except those that took place on the first day because work) and live tweeted it.

tabGeeks is a community for IT geeks for small to medium businesses because let’s be real: it is super tough to work for a small or medium size business. Budgets, buy in, execs, small teams, juggling acts, you name it, these IT heroes have done it. They also have an annual con as well and this year was their second year. Jesse and Shani Nowlin started the con after Jesse attended a massive conference who had lost it’s original mission and turned into a vendorfest. He had also noticed the lack of support and learning and development opportunities.

I am so glad that they decided to do something about it, because tabGeeks was probably one of my fave cons so far. I learned a ton and it was pretty dope being amongst peers for three days. I’ll recap below:

Day One

My flight came in a bit later than I wanted because I worked the beginning half of the day. By the time I got to the hotel and checked in, I only had just enough time to freshen up and head to the first social event: a party in a castle with unlimited pizza and open bar. *insert heart eye emoji here* The founders of the conference were so bomb to also include a Lyft credit for transportation to the social events, which was awesome as well.

Now, this place was legitimately castle style with a turret and everything. We had wood fire pizza, legitimate open bar, games galore and a new friend (@JLH_me) and I heckled people playing pool. It was a great introduction to the conference for me.

Day 2

The day began with breakfast and a talk on Powershell. We then went through various other talks about a host of different things like crazy idea brainstorming sessions, security for small- and medium-size businesses, Video Conference optimizing, and even a talk on the brain (my psych nerd came out). It was a day filled with learning and being introduced to things that I may have not even thought relevant to my current role.

Then, the moment of truth happened: I had my very first security panel discussion, moderated by the co-founder Jesse Nowlin. I was super nervous going in, but I had tried to focus more on the talks before mine than the hammering of my heart in my chest. Sitting next to two security vets who are heavy hitters in the industry was intimidating, but I also felt honored. I learned some things from my fellow panelist and we had a great amount of engagement. The questions were relevant and thought provoking. I even got questions afterwards, which made me so happy. Definitely the perfect con to have my first speaking engagement. It validated all that I have learned so far in my career.

After the talks were done, we had a pretty awesome dinner: street tacos made right in front of you, mashed potatoes done two ways, chips and dip, and a gloriously open bar. It was a bit cold out, but they had heat warmers that kept us relatively warm. Jesse and Shani walked around the event, jumping in conversations and mingling. I had a great group of people around my table and we talked about everything and joked around. After dinner, we all jumped in Lyfts to go to the theater to watch Captain Marvel.

Obligatory blurry photo

Having the theater filled with nerds and geeks may have been one of my favorite experiences from the con. We got to recline, laugh at the slow internet connections in the movie and enjoy the magnificence of Captain Marvel. (please save us, Queen)

Day 3

The last day of the con was very bittersweet. I had such a good time so far learning and mingling. However, the day did not disappoint. After breakfast we launched into the last couple of talks, my favorite being one by @exchangegoddess about the human side of IT and imposter syndrome. And then, it was goodbye and see you next year.

tabGeeks is the 4th con I have ever attended before. It was smaller and more intimate than others, in the best way possible. I learned a lot, made some awesome new friends and got to spend a couple days in California in the end of winter. I got to speak, I learned a lot and I got to cop a copy of the tabGeeks magazine, with an article from me inside!

Quits J school…writes article in magazine years later…

Thank you, tabGeeks, Jesse and Shani for taking a chance on me and for literally putting on a show a week after bringing life into this world. You rock, I appreciate you and I can’t wait to see what you do next!

Here’s a cool video that Google Photos made for me after the con:

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