By Joy Beland
Holy Smokes!!! It’s been 20 YEARS? It was March 1997 when I received my LA City Business License in the mail, and I remember that day – I immediately got all teary-eyed that I was so excited to actually be in business. Back then, my business name was “The Business Set Up,” and I consulted on business productivity, workflow, internal operations and computer automation with small business owners. Being new to IT consulting, I only charged $25 an hour. And it was 1997…
Within a year, I won my first big contract with Hebrew Union College to be their Network Administrator for 30 hours a week. I managed five servers and 105 computers for them. And one year turned into nine years. It was a tremendous blessing, to work with the Reform Judaism community and to learn so much about technology. To this day, I have priceless relationships from that experience and learned so much about technology that I started the next iteration of my business, LA IT Girl.
That’s how you all know me. For many wonderful years. And as you know, things changed yet again …
I stop here to ponder what is the biggest thing I want you to know about these 20 years … and I come to this huge feeling of gratitude. Yes, gratitude for the amazing clients and colleagues that I am so honored to serve. But also, gratitude for all of the hard times. The really hard times. I mean all of the all-nighter or all-weekend scenarios when I had my jaw frozen from tension and blood shot eyes staring into a server monitor as it finally booted up; I mean all the difficult client conversations when we had to work our way back to really communicating well; I mean all the proposals that were rejected and I thought for SURE I would get the business; I mean the early days with the skinny bank account balances that precariously survived another month …
It is for these experiences that I am most grateful. Because it helped me understand what my clients - small business owners themselves - experience. Blood, sweat and tears, baby.
And it reinforced the honor in staying in integrity, and the value of long-term relationships.
Those really hard times made me who I am today- and as a team, makes us who we are today.
You see, it’s our job to make you feel like everything is always under control, and we can do this thing with our eyes closed; to assure you that nothing will go wrong. But as you know, there’s no way to be perfect and sometimes technology just doesn’t go smoothly no matter how well we plan. What we do can be very stressful. And we try to never let it show.
So, we built our team up and we continued to grow. The shared burden of the stressful situations is also our shared joy, as we navigate our way into better solutions, better communications, and better systems.
As such, these past two years have been a lot of commotion while we go through rebranding to Pink Hat Technology Management - in acknowledgement of our team (it’s not just the LA IT Girl anymore!) and a nod to the intense focus we are putting on cyber security. Mixed in with all that new training and service delivery, we added many new clients, and had to go back a couple times to refine our internal systems. It has been a bumpy and necessary ride, to get to where we want to go.
And where is that? To operational maturity. With strategy, security, responsiveness, integrity and profitability – while balancing affordability - in everything we do. That’s my birthday wish. Thank you for taking this journey with us. It’s an honor to serve all of you.