Teylyn Puts Her (Technology) Power To It

Posted by · May 22, 2012 1:54 pm

As you might have noticed, we’ve been profiling some of the top experts on Experts Exchange here on the EE Company Blog over the past few weeks.  First, we featured JavaScript expert Michel Plungjan (a.k.a- mplungjan) , then Scott McDaniel (a.k.a- LSMConsulting).  This week, we’re talking with Excel Genius Ingeborg Hawighorst (known to most of you as teylyn) about her life in one of the best places on earth and what keeps her participating on Experts Exchange…

As the sole breadwinner for her family and the mother of two pre-teen boys, Ingeborg Hawighorst doesn’t get much sleep.  In fact, in order to find time to answer questions and volunteer as a Zone Advisor and Clean-Up Volunteer on Experts Exchange, Ingeborg often stays up until the wee hours of the morning.

“Sometimes I wish I could sleep in a bit, since more often than not, I spend my nights answering questions at places like EE,” Ingeborg says. “I try to get my ZZZZzzzzs before 1 AM, but sometimes I get caught up. New Zealand is in a very unfortunate time zone when communicating on the web.”

While it might be a bad place to live when communicating with people online, New Plymouth, the New Zealand town that Ingeborg and her family live in is actually one of the best places to live in the world.

“When we moved to New Zealand, we settled in a small town to get out of the rat race. As our boys grew older, we realised that we needed a bigger community to offer them the opportunities we wanted them to have. We found New Plymouth a very attractive place (to live). I found a job and it turned out to be the best one I ever had in my life,” Ingeborg says.

Ingeborg is the lead at a small Information Management team in the IT department of a utilities company.  For her, each day presents a new set of challenges that allow her to try new things, break new ground and help her peers.  Recently, her job has forced her to dive into SharePoint 2010—an opportunity she relishes—and fortunately for Experts Exchange members, she’s been sharing her SharePoint knowledge on the site.

Teaching people to fish

“Manuals and user guides are not perfect.  People are always asking questions and that’s reason enough for me to keep participating on EE,” Ingeborg says.  “Different people have different ways of learning things. Sometimes a little personal tutoring is required. If I see a question I can answer, I’ll have a go. Everybody deserves an answer.”

For Ingeborg, it’s important that the folks she helps on Experts Exchange understand the whole concept, not just that they receive a quick fix:

“I’d like to show people how to fish instead of giving them a fish burger. Show them how to solve their own problems. My answers are often wordy, because I try to make people understand the concept, so they can maintain the solution if the framework changes and the solution needs to be adjusted.”

Having participated on the Internet since the first Dot Com bubble, Ingeborg first stumbled upon Experts Exchange in the early 2000’s, but it wasn’t until January 2010 that she returned to the site and ramped up her participation.  Six months later, she achieved her Genius rank in Excel, in November of 2010 she was invited to be a Zone Advisor and, as the crowning glory for her banner year, Ingeborg received Experts Exchange’s 2010 Rookie of the Year award.  Most recently, Ingeborg was honored by Microsoft for her work on Experts Exchange and in the tech community at large by receiving the exclusive Microsoft MVP award for Excel.

Free time

When Ingeborg isn’t working, she can be found spending time with her family, enjoying the New Plymouth coast line or playing cello in the community orchestra.  However, as a self-proclaimed “charting geek,”  there’s nothing she enjoys more than answering people’s questions on Experts Exchange.  In fact, the most interesting question she’s answered on Experts Exchange was about Bubble Charts.

“This question stretched me in my near non-existent maths skills and was welcomed enthusiastically by the asker.,” Ingeborg recalls.

As for what non-technical advice she’d give people, Ingeborg cites a line from a play she recently watched at her sons’ school about the life of Maria Montessori: “You can be what you want to be. Put your power to it. You can be what you want to be! Just go ahead and do it!”

Given all that Ingeborg has accomplished in her career and on Experts Exchange, we’d say those are words she lives by.