For one man, finding the HDI community at the beginning of a transition to the IT service and support made all the difference.

by Douglas Rabold
Date Published May 18, 2022 - Last Updated January 20, 2023

At this year’s HDI Support World Live Conference in Las Vegas, I was once again asked – along with several fellow members of the Board of Directors – to address the conference audience about the value of the HDI Local Chapters network. At last year’s conference, Tom Wilk and I spoke about “The Power of Connection”. This year our merry band of pranksters spoke with the audience about “Our HDI Journey.”

This is a topic that we could have each taken hours to cover, as each of our board members has had a unique and intriguing journey. In the interest of time at the conference, we put our heads together and came up with just a couple of moments that were illustrative of the impact that HDI Local Chapters have had on us professionally and personally. Here is what being part of this group has meant to me.

I was a latecomer to information technology, transitioning to IT in my early 40’s. Tossing aside a lucrative income in sales, I started in IT from the ground level, taking a job as an overnight level 1 technical support agent. For two years I would work nights on the service desk learning my company’s technical landscape, grab a few hours of sleep, and then spend the afternoons learning about industry best practices. Those were lean days financially, but I saw it as a matter of paying my dues to make a career change.

It was at this time that I learned about HDI, an organization synonymous with IT Service Management best practices. I began attending local chapter events in San Antonio – which afforded the opportunity to make connections within the local technology community. Through the chapter, I was given the opportunity to see some exceptional industry experts and influencers present locally. Among the list of exceptional individuals that our chapter had as guest presenters were Malcolm Fry, Ron Muns, Kirk Weisler, and Jeff Rumburg. The opportunity to learn from such luminaries so early in my new career was invaluable.

A couple of years into my IT career, I also began attending HDI conferences. I remember my first conference like it was yesterday, because it was truly a “drinking from the firehose” event. I sat in a pre-conference session facilitated by Doug Tedder which opened my eyes to how data-driven decisions based on valuable metrics can and should guide IT leaders to run IT as a business. With a keen understanding of business from my years in sales, this concept alone became somewhat career-defining for me as my IT career progressed.

The next step in my HDI journey was certification. A major aspect of my transformation from salesperson to technology leader was learning and understanding best practice. Through HDI I initially undertook and became certified in Knowledge Centered Service and Support Center Manager. John Custy was facilitator for both courses, and we struck a connection that has endured. Over the next few years as I transitioned from contributor to leader and my path took me out of the service desk and into IT operations, I added the Technical Support Professional and Problem Management Professional certifications to my growing base of knowledge.

The next development in my HDI journey was becoming a Local Chapter Officer. At HDI we have an unwritten rule that goes, “If asked, say yes.” At one point our local chapter president, having seen me (often bleary-eyed from lack of sleep after an all-night shift) appear at meetings consistently for several months, asked if I had an interest in joining the board. Because of my previous career in sales, I first took on the role of VP of Membership. After a year, I transitioned to VP of Learning and Development. This provided exposure to the leadership of a nonprofit local board, which led to the next big step in my journey, and I was elected local chapter president.

As president of my local chapter, I attended my first HDI Local Chapter Officers Leadership Summit. This was transformational, as I met and connected with leaders from other chapters and from the organization’s national leadership. Unlike many organizations that I’d been involved with during my sales career, this group was very open and caring – especially to newcomers. That weekend over one hundred officers from across the country worked hard, played hard, and grew in fellowship. At the end there were a series of affirmations that left not a single dry eye in the room.

After only a few years in IT, I was asked to deliver a presentation at one of the HDI Conferences and at the next Leadership Summit. I learned I enjoyed public speaking and have since been a presenter at dozens of conferences across the globe. As a lifelong learner, my learning journey never stopped, so I added the Support Center Director certification. More recently, I became an HDI Certified Instructor. Now licensed to deliver several of the certification courses to others, I have reveled in seeing scores of my students adopt best practice and apply them successfully to their support centers.

The last few years I’ve gained considerable media exposure. As a second year contributing writer for HDI Support World, I now have several books in various stages of development. I’ve become a frequent podcast guest on a variety of topics – most recently on neurodiversity. Leveraging LinkedIn to expand my reach within the greater global ITSM community, I was recognized this year as a Top 25 Influencer in Service Management and Customer Experience. Because of my involvement with HDI, I have landed two new jobs in the last seven years. As a leader I’ve grown from being a local chapter officer to being a national officer to being the leader of the HDI Local Chapters National Board of Directors – a progression which mirrors my career growth.

I would not be who I am personally, nor would I be where I am professionally, were it not for my involvement with HDI Local Chapters. This is my HDI journey; let me know how I can help make yours as amazing of a ride as mine has been.

Tag(s): supportworld, community, best practice


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