In case you haven’t heard, Agile2024 is set for July 22 through 26 in Dallas, Texas! Behind every successful conference lies a team of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to curate an unforgettable experience.
We are proud to introduce our exceptional program team, the driving force behind Agile2024: our conference chair, Dana Pylayeva, and our program chairs, Chris Murman, Semira Allen, and Reese Schmit.
These professionals bring diverse experiences and passion to the table, ensuring that every aspect of Agile2024 is finely tuned to perfection. We know the team is great – and since we’re confident you’ll want to know more about each one of them, we’re going to share a short Q&A with them here.
Our third team member is Reese Schmit.
Start by telling us a little about you and your Agile career
I was born in Tucson, Arizona, and raised in Chicago. When I was 13, my stepdad got a job in northeast Texas, and so my life in Texas began. I went to middle and high school in Gladewater, then moved to Austin to attend UT Austin in 2000 and never left.
As far as hobbies go, I love all things fiber arts: knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and I have recently become obsessed with macrame. I also jumped on the sourdough bandwagon about two years after everyone else, and now I bake bread weekly along with other sweet treats! 5-6 days a week, you will find me in my home gym lifting heavy things as well.
Career-wise, the day after I graduated from college, I started working at a UT-affiliated software lab as a baby graphic designer, and so began my journey in software and Agility. There were only 8 of us, and we worked on government, military, and education contracts, so when one came in, we threw a proverbial pile of hats on the floor, and we each picked a few up to cover the roles needed to deliver the contract. I meandered from designer to tech writer, project to product manager, QA to UX, and everything in between.
When I moved on to my next company as just a QA, I quickly found that I wanted to work in a system where we all worked as a team to deliver, regardless of title. We introduced a team to Scrum, and I shifted to being their first Scrum Master. From there, over the course of the next four years, we grew our Agility and delivered some incredible products built by people who truly loved what they were doing. I realized that while I’d worked with dozens of teams and helped build hundreds of products, I needed to expand my experience outside of this one company.
I moved on, and over the last eight years, I’ve had the opportunity to work as a consultant with some incredible companies of all shapes and sizes, building in a variety of industries along very different points in their growth. I love building teams that want to work together as I did all those years ago, knowing what it will take to deliver and going all in together to do it. It’s been an incredible journey. I’m excited to see what’s next.
What has prepared you for your role on the Agile2024 Program Team?
I have a bad (maybe good) habit of jumping in to support whatever group or event I find myself immersed in and benefitting from in that period of my life, whether that be Flipside (Austin’s Regional Burn) or the Atlassian User Group. If I am attending, I’m likely going all in.
This same pattern continued when I joined our local Agile community, and thus I led the Scrum Master and Agile Coaching SIGs for Agile Austin for a number of years before running for the program chair position, curating a program of monthly speakers to enrich our community of Agilists. I worked with the Scrum Alliance and my team of North American Gathering Team members to build the program for Scrum Gathering Austin and Scrum Gathering New York (womp, womp … I promised y’all it was gonna be so good!). I continue this pattern by being the communications chair of my daughter’s PTA Board and supporting her school via various other forms of volunteering.
Why did you want to get involved in Agile2024?
I’m ready to spend my energy working with this amazing team on the Agile 2024 program to see if we can build a life-changing program that brings our community together and helps us find a way forward in these uncertain times.
What are you most excited about for this conference?
Seeing all of the humans who come back together regularly learning from each other, and all of the new humans who bring their energy and experience to create a melting pot of amazing new ideas every year.
Our community is struggling right now in a post-pandemic, great-resignation world with an economy that is tenuous. We are focusing our energy on building a program that helps create space for some of the tough conversations that need to be had about what’s next and how we embrace the current reality. We are bringing in the whole team and making sure some of the less-represented parts of our community have a voice this year. I’m super excited.