Getting to know Cordelia Geiken

Women in Technology is pleased to kick off a new series featuring some of our members. First up in the spotlight is Cordelia Geiken, who is not only a manager at Tech Services, but also a recent recipient of a Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Award!

What do you do?

I manage the Quality Assurance and Web Hosting Teams at Technology Services. The Web Hosting team runs the campus level web hosting services, cPanel, and the Illinois Wiki. The QA Team evaluates any software that is purchased or developed by Tech Services to make sure that it is Accessible for all and also performs traditional QA testing on everything Tech Services develops.

I am also part of the Illinois WIT Leadership team and I Co-Chair the Illinois Web Implementation Guidelines Group, a group that is working to create accessible, secure and on brand templates for the Campus Web Community.

I serve as a Mentor for both the WIT and Tech services mentorship programs and participate as a coach and Facilitator for the IT Leadership Workshop.

What led you to this career?

I started working at NCSA as an undergrad in 1987. I was hired to do photography and computer animation and eventually I started working as an online video editor for them. When I graduated from the U of I in 1990 with a degree in Cinema Studies, NCSA hired me full time as a Media Specialist. For the next few years I worked doing video production and editing for NCSA and maintained their media library. Then, they invented MOSAIC, and once it was able to support images, I thought I should move our media library online. I taught myself HTML using VI and a Sun Spark Station computer. Eventually, I became the first person to hold the title of Webmaster on Campus. After working at NCSA for 12 years, I left the University for a year and worked at a computer based training company. I decided corporate life was not for me, and came back to the University, this time at the College of ACES. From ACES I moved to Tech Services (then known as CITES) and I’ve been with Tech Services for the last 21 years.

What is something interesting that you enjoy doing outside of work that may surprise your colleagues?

I really enjoy playing board games, especially resource management games (CATAN, Carcassonne, Splendor, Azul and the like). I also enjoy camping, historical re-enacting (14th Century and American Rev War) and trap shooting.

What makes someone a good leader?

I think a good leader is someone who listens to others and who really wants to do something to make things better for others (be that people or an organization). Managing and leading are two different things, and I think once people figure that out they become much better leaders. A person can lead from anywhere, you don’t need a title to be a leader, you just need a good idea and the gumption to move it forward.

What’s a song or type of music you listen to puts you in the best mood and why?

I like a lot of different kinds of music, but SKA always puts me in a good mood. It’s so upbeat and peppy, you just can’t help but want to move. The English Beat and The Specials are two of my favorite SKA bands. In general I like 80’s Alternative and Punk ( I am a child of the 80’s after all), but I also enjoy music from groups like The Band, Allison Kraus and Union Station, The Killers, Flogging Molly etc.