Hello, this is my ice breaker speech where I would like to introduce myself…
And tell you a little bit about myself,
And what I do,
and then end with what I want to do.
Hello, my name is Matt Comer.
I am glad to be a part of Toastmasters and so warmly welcomed into this Positively Charged Club. After attending several meetings as a guest, I had joined my local Austin IBM TM Club in 2019. I gave an Icebreaker Speech. Then another speech, then Covid happened. I thought, this is my chance to really get in some speeches and further down my pathway, from behind a computer. But then I was laid off and my priorities changed and I put Toastmasters on the backburner while I looked for another job.. Now that I have settled into my new role at ADT (Tuesday was my 1 year Anniversary at ADT) and just recently at ADT I was introduced to Karen Flam, I am now back in Toastmasters and would like to give another Icebreaker Speech for my new club, so that you can get to know me.
I live in Austin, Texas with my wife Jenny and are two children Garrett and Grace; 12 and 11. I’m from Austin and the secret is out and people are moving here in droves. The kids are 14 months apart and will be starting school next week. With my daughter joining my son in Middle School. And with these Covid times that we are in, it means masks are required and other non-norms that school children don’t normally worry about. But at least that will be back at school. They have been home with me mostly since Spring Break of 2020. That was a hell of a Spring Break, best Spring Break ever, let me tell ya!
Jenny and I have been married for 16 years and my wife is a Dental Hygienist, she works 3 days a week and home with the kids and school is what she really loves to do. Garrett plays tennis and is getting good. but he is about to be 13 and is transitioning from a Lego Master to a Game Master, playing remote games online with friends. Grace is a lover of animals, a social butterfly, and involved in many groups. She is both a Girl Scout as well as the the BSA, Boy Scouts of America, but now we just call them the Scouts.
Both kids are tall for their age and just this year now taller than my wife. And as of checking last night, both have now caught up to me. We love being together as a family and doing outdoor activities, lot’s of swimming in lakes and little creeks. Riding bikes taking them to places and showing and teaching them things. And recently we got a little pull behind the truck camper and at the start of Summer took a 2 week road trip through New Mexico, into Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota to explore National Parks, like Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes, Devil’s Tower from Close Encounters of the Third Kinds, like the mashed potatoes scene, Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands and the Black Hills. It was a fun and exhausting road trip and we are planning our next trip now.
What I love, besides spending as much time with my family is, I love music. Live music. Generally just a good time. Going to see live shows and attending events around town. There is usually so much to do here, with music festivals, fil festivals, touring groups, you name it we got it and it is fun. So you could only imagine what I’ve been going through with this lockdown. No music, no festivals, nothing.
And the light at the end of the tunnel was here, as things were just starting back up and I was able to get out to a couple things. Everything started shutting down again. Cancelled tours and events and looking like, at least here in Austin we are at Stage 5 and we are just about back to where we were at Spring Break last year, with a cancelled SXSW and everything else.
But don’t feel too bad for me, because at least I am employed! After 16 years with IBM and being laid off with 22 thousand other IBMers in the very early stages of this pandemic. I was freaking out. I hadn’t ever been in that position of not having a job and looking for a job. Along with my family to take care of… as a lot had changed in my last 15 years…
What I do now is, I am an Agile Lead at ADT. Which is basically the role of a Scrum Master. Previously I had taken some courses and earned some certifications on the Agile and Scrum path and this along with my Project Management experience is what helped set me up for my next opportunity. I enjoy what I am doing. I help “carry the water” for the team, it is called servant leadership.
ADT is the leader in home security and now partnered with Google to integrate their products such as Nest doorbells and cameras with out monitored security services. I support teams that develop the mobile app and online experience for the Blue App that allows you to monitor your security system and smart home. It is very interesting stuff and I couldn’t be more happy with the role and company that I landed. It is just what I needed, I realized long before the lay off that I needed a change. But the trade-off at what I was doing at IBM and allowing me to work from home for over 10 years. That gave me the time and flexibility to be there for my family and small children and raising them and getting them to and from all of their activities and school. The last few years at IBM, the pioneer of work from home employees, had called everyone back into the office. And as much as I enjoyed the social aspect and making new friends and professional contacts and immersing myself into different groups and opportunities groups, Toastmasters, Mentoring mentees, volunteering, taking on stretch projects, patent groups (that is when and why I joined Toastmasters originally). And all of the free food, mmm tacos and fun office events. Nobody I worked with was in the office with me, meaning that I could still do my exact same job from home without the need for putting on pants and making the hour trip to the office and home again through all of the gridlock of traffic to rush and get kids to and from places. I don’t miss that part. My new ADT employment is a “work from home forever” kind of deal, so that too is a big perk for me.
What I want to do and where I want to be, where do I see myself in 15 years… I still have a lot to do to get there and be ready to be there. Baby steps. I used some IBM reimbursement monies to take some training and get 3 additional Scrum certifications and have another Agile certification that I need to schedule and take the exam for… I have been in talks with my boss about what ADT will reimburse and have some additional certifications like SAFe for Scaled Agile, PMP, and other certifications that will not only help me in my current position, but help me in the future. There is also a reimbursement program for a Master’s degree and this too is something that I have been exploring. Patents are also becoming a big thing at ADT, which is good, because this had been a big thing for me previously. I had submitted several patents, but only earned 1 submission just a few months ago from IBM. I am taking what I learned there and helping ADT and our teams form small groups of 4 to work on patent submissions. So as you can see I am taking the steps needed to further my career. It’s not a marathon
Anyhow, that is who I am and what I do. And what I want to do.
I hope that you have learned a little bit about me as you are going to be seeing a lot more of me. As Karen is my mentor and has given me some very good advise on giving speeches and has inspired me to get back on my path on my Toastmasters journey.
I want to thank you listening and being with me here today and excited to hear your feedback.