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Blog It Forward – Caroleigh Deneen

Wow, it’s been almost six years since my original BIF and too long since my last blog post! For those of who don’t know me, I’m a gamification and user experience consultant at SAP for the community and developer web sites. In addition to helping run the gamification and reputation program, I also have the pleasure of designing the mission badges that embellish the profiles of our active contributors. Thank you, Audrey Stevenson, for inviting me to join the BIF challenge, and Susan Keohan for reviving the challenge.

I was born and raised in Philadelphia and now I live just outside the city in Villanova, PA. Villanova is a small college town made famous after the Villanova Wildcats won the men’s NCAA basketball championship in 2016 and then again in 2018. I live directly across the street from the university campus and enjoyed celebrating the wins!

I am definitely a home-body but I do enjoy travelling. My favorite trip so far was to Ireland where I have never felt more at home! I was single when I was there and hope to return someday with my children. I’ve also had the good fortune to visit London, Madrid, Scotland, Mexico, and multiple cities in France. I made it to SAP TechEd in Las Vegas in 2013, but that was before I was on the community team and Vegas overwhelmed me. With the family, we enjoy annual summer vacations in Sea Isle & LBI, New Jersey, and skiing over Christmas break in Mount Snow Vermont.


View from Long Beach Island, New Jersey

 

 

 


View from Mount Snow, Vermont

On the home front, I am a proud mama of four children, two Great Pyrenees dogs and am happily married to ADHD daddy. With a full-time job, it is a lot to manage gracefully, but SAP does a good job supporting work-life balance, so I have the flexibility to manage my commitments well.

Here is the family on Christmas morning, apparently posing for an Apple commercial.


I took this picture of my husband taking a picture of the kiddos
My daughter took this picture of my husband and me taking their picture on the stairs

The pups both share an affinity for this same spot under the kitchen table, caught on different days.

Macho, our senior who’s been with us since the year I started at SAP Rocky, who just turned two and is the reason Macho looks so tired

On the hobby front, I enjoy playing and watching tennis. I love watching the grand slam tournaments and hope to attend one in person someday. It would be tough choice between such fantastic venues… I suppose the US Open is the most realistic, but oh, the food in France. I am a big Roger Federer fan! I never root against him but I have been enjoying the recent rise of the younger players from all over the world. The recent Australian open wore me out because of the time difference, but such great matches.

For those of you who read my last BIF, you may remember I am an identical twin. My twin, Amy, did finally move back to the area – and now has two fraternal twin boys of her own! We have a lot of fun getting the cousins together.

 

How did you wind up working at SAP or working in the SAP ecosystem?
My path to SAP was rather indirect. Professionally, I started out in web site development at an interactive agency after failing as a teacher. I was way too shy and introverted for teaching. I was much better suited for tech and enjoyed the heads down time building cool stuff. The Internet was just unfolding, so I taught myself how to build web sites and got pretty far, even setting up a Solr search engine for a buyer’s guide site. I was a generalist until the web matured. Eventually, with my undergrad degree in Psychology, behavioral design and information architecture emerged as a natural focus for me.

When the kiddos came, I stayed at home while they were Littles, but I always did freelance gigs to keep my skills current. I also got my masters from the University of Pennsylvania in the Management of Technology. Kids and school loans are expensive, so I started looking for something with a steady pay check when I thought they were old enough to handle it. SAP’s North American headquarters is very close to home and I was excited to join such an established international company. I was hired as an IA on the sap.com team. I moved around quite a bit over the years, but after a re-org landed my position on the community team as a gamification consultant. I never dreamed of such a position when I was growing up, but I feel like I’m at the perfect intersection of tech and psychology, where I belong.

What do you enjoy most in your work and why?
I enjoy SAP’s international presence and working with smart colleagues from all over the US and around the world! I think it’s a great way to learn about different cultures, perspectives and keep an open mind. With my fondness for illustrating, I also feel very lucky to get to design the community badges. It’s a great creative outlet from some of the heads-down analytical work. Here are three of my favorite contender badges, it’s always a tough decision which one goes live – I have quite a parking lot. T-shirt anyone?

What do you like to do in your spare time?
LOL> What spare time?! … I am an aspiring artist and spend most of my limited spare time illustrating. I publish two annual calendars – one focused on kid’s use of technology, the other focused on the antics of my Great Pyrenees pups. I aspire to publish a third calendar with all the material ADHD Daddy gives me every day, but that will have to wait because I’m also working on a book. The book is titled, Why Were You Late, and it is a collection of humorous excuses to give the cranky middle school tardy tracker lady. It’s written, but the illustrations are slow-going. I hope to finish before my youngest is out of middle school, but it will be close:)

Fun Fact
All of my children are taller than me now☹ I guess it’s not that hard since I’m only 5 foot 3 inches, but it’s a milestone that marks their not being so little any more.

That is enough about me! I am happy to change the focus and invite others to join the fun… I’d like to blog it forward to Sajid Amir , a colleague I truly miss working with because he is awesome, super smart, reliable, nice and thorough. And another former community colleague who published her first BIF in 2012, who I also miss working with. I’m sure the community would love to hear from you again, Krysten Gentile.

 

My questions:

If you were given by your work a full day every week to do whatever you feel like, what would it be?

Share a fun fact/story about yourself that people don’t know

What was the most fun project you ever participated in and why?

What’s a neat trick that you know and can share that you think others could benefit from and?

Thank you and cheers,

Caroleigh

13 Comments
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  • Hi Caroleigh – I enjoyed learning more about you and your beautiful family.

    Yes, I remember Villanova in 2016 knocked out my team, University of Kansas, in the Elite 8.

    I enjoy the cool badges you design, and hope the community does too.

    Tammy

  • Caroleigh,

    So glad you took up the baton when I passed it to you. I’m still very lucky to get to work so closely with you on the reputation and gamification elements of this community. Your dedication and thoroughness, combined with your sense of whimsy (see the badge designs!), make collaborating with you a pleasure.

    I LOVE the two photos on the stairs. How funny!

    And now I want to read your book. Hurry up and illustrate! LOL

    Again, thanks for posting this great BIF.

    • Audrey, you are one of the most genuinely kind people I have ever worked with, and it’s a pleasure collaborating with you too. I will never forget the time I attended a business dinner with you and Marilyn Pratt and you both noticed that you could expense the meal because you were travelling, but I could not because I was local. And so you left funds in my desk the next day. So unnecessary, but such a reflection of your character. It’s no surprise that you have extended your home as a foster parent, even as you have dealt (so gracefully!) with many challenges of your own recently.

  • Yes, hurry up with the book! Don’t you hate it when people say that? But seriously, I’m really looking forward to it. I have always enjoyed your illustrations and little cartoons, and of course the badges are fantastic.

    And for somebody who describes herself as a “home body,” you sure have done your fair bit of travel!

    It’s always a pleasure every time I have the opportunity to interact with you here, in any small way. You are one of the truly bright sparks that makes this Community sparkle.

    • Matt Fraser, Encouragement appreciated! I will continue to try to sparkle plenty – as you know, our optimism has been tested on the community in recent years. You’ve always been a voice that focuses on trying to find solutions, which is appreciated more than you can imagine.

      I’ll share a draft when I’m further along. When I get demoralized by the pace, I tell myself, even small progress is progress… so even if I can only find 5 minutes a day, that is better than giving up.

       

  • This is a nice reading Caroleigh Deneen and actually an interesting story, too. It’s nice to get to know you better since we work together on the badges. BTW: I love your contender badges 🙂

    And wow, 4 children. This is amazing. I think you did a great job: in personal and business matters 😉 and I am curious about your book!

    • Hi Svea Becker, thank you!

      Yes, four kids can be crazy. But it’s a bit liberating too because I know I can’t control everything and have to let the little things go. The house is almost always messy; the wash is done, but rarely folded; I just got around to taking the Christmas decorations down last weekend…you get the point. And even when I can four children dressed and groomed and ready to get out the door, ADHD Daddy makes us late anyway. So I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping things in perspective and focusing on what’s important.

      One of the interesting things about working at SAP, is you have many colleagues, that you work with for years, but never meet in person. You are one of the ones I hope to meet some day because you are always so positive and warm.

      • Oh thanks so much, I also hope we both will meet one time.

        “To have to let the little things go and focusing on what is important”… this is quite a good advice for many of us who still run in the hamster wheel… Thanks for that. Again, this is great about blog it forward – there are so many nice advice in there… simple briliant 🙂

  • Hi Caroleigh and welcome (back) to the #BlogItForward family!

    I love this blog – it gives me a little more insight into your life, and wow, do you have your hands full.  Love your artistic abilities – your badges are intriguing, and we’re lucky to have you working on the gamification.

    I think if I take a road trip to PA, I will need some snuggle time with Macho and Rocky.  And if you come near Boston, I can offer snuggle time with Sunny.  🙂

    Sue

    PS: Can you please add the #BlogItForward tag?  That will make it easier for people to find all the ‘BIF’s.

    • Hi Susan Keohan , Thank you! Our pups should have a play date, I love the photos you have shared around here. Rocky will snuggle with you anytime. And if you try to stop petting him, he will paw you until you restart. I didn’t realize you were in or around Boston. Very cool town! I hope to do some college visits with my son there soon.

      I updated the tag, thank you for the reminder.