#WeAreArity Wednesday: Austen Tucker
At Arity, I ______________
Herd cats. 🙂 As an Agile Coach and Scrummaster, my job is helping engineers, product owners, stakeholders, and leadership have a shared understanding of the work we do, as well as finding ways to make that transparency easier to achieve and delivery more frequent. Between team meetings, discussions with leadership, and coaching within the agile delivery organization, I get to do a lot of cat herding.
In your own words, what is Arity?
A fascinating technical and organizational riddle whose solution leads to a market-leading telematics solution that can change the way we think about the space. There are significant challenges on the road ahead; if there weren’t, I would not have taken this job! We are a year and a half into an experiment in near-full remote work, and the challenges that have come along with that have stretched my ability as a people leader to their limits.
What is your work for home set up like?
Depends on the day – I can get stuck in a rut if I work from one place all the time so I have a few spots in the house where I do work. Most days I’m working from my gaming PC desk or at my dining room table. When I’m thinking through a problem, though, I’m usually in the house’s “break room” for a few games of pinball.
We all commuted into the office prior to COVID, how are you spending the extra time?
Getting into a better workout and mental health routine! Working from home means I can squeeze workouts between my meetings; find space to meditate and journal; and make more time for my chosen family.
Most people don’t know that …
I have mentored over 50 people as they underwent transition related care. I didn’t have the best coming-out experience back in ’08 and decided that I wouldn’t let that happen to anyone else in my extended social circle. My most recent mentee has been my own spouse – turns out being stuck in quarantine with your own thoughts unlocks a lot of things!
Meeting a lot of trans people across a lot of backgrounds also means I’ve dipped my toes into a lot of communities’ waters: you name it, I’ve probably spent some time around it. I know plural systems, circus performers, furries, ravers, game designers, hackers, rally racers, cosplayers, lawyers… honestly, I just love watching people be excited and genuine about the things they love or the experiences they’ve had.
The theme song of my life is…
Jackie Shane was a trans woman making a living as a jazz singer in Toronto in the 60s. Being trans often means dealing with a lot of rejection and heartbreak, and Jackie Shane’s gentle acceptance of that experience speaks to me.
Would you get in a self-driving car? Why or why not?
Sign me up! I have a significant visual impairment that restricts my driving to daytime hours. Soon as that stuff hits prime time, I’m in.
Favorite innovation pioneer?
Lynn Conway. She fleshed out the math that made multi-processor computer systems possible. She was also fired from her prominent computer science job IBM for being trans, got _rehired at IBM_ as a woman, and rebuilt her career from scratch. (IBM apologized 52 years later). I hope to be a fraction as resilient in my own life as she was through all of that.