ITSM SolarFocus

Is This Real Life? An Unconventional Path to Head Geek

July 20, 2020

Is This Real Life? An Unconventional Path to Head Geek

My Leslie Knope Moment

Long-time listener, first time caller Liz Beavers here… Head Geek? It’s like when Leslie Knope won the election for Pawnee City Council. I’m pinching myself.

Throughout my professional and personal life, I’ve always been driven by people and relationships. The opportunity to step into the shoes of Head Geek is one of my most exciting chapters yet.

Unlike Leslie Knope, I didn’t have a binder ready for, well, any of my career. Fresh out of college (go JMU Dukes!) with my B.A. in Communications and Human Resources in hand, I was intent on a career in public relations or to make it big in the craft beer industry. I’d just discovered IPAs and was sure I could blend my affinity for public speaking with my taste for hops. Having brewed on that idea (see what I did there?) and discovering quickly it was too niche to be viable, I pivoted to industry research for bankers.

That entry role gave me a foundation for account management and cultivating strong, professional relationships. It also challenged me to learn about an industry with which I was completely unfamiliar. I enjoyed educating the teams I worked with on the application, learning about the financial vertical, and uncovering solutions outside traditional use cases. Like Leslie, I too am fueled by the relationships of those I serve, continually learning, and the occasional waffle. Over time I crossed into the IT service management (ITSM) market, where I continued to foster my affinity for customer relationships and dove head first into learning the intricacies of the technology behind the platform.

From Finance to IT

Moving to the ITSM space nudged me beyond my comfort zone and fed my appetite for technology. I grew my career from a client success manager into a solutions engineer, which allowed me to broaden my understanding and appreciation for the technology on which IT and service management pros rely. I got to experiment with the API, expand my appreciation for differing service management methods, and stretch the limits of our platform beyond “the norm.”

During my stint as a solutions engineer, I was in a unique position: the trusted advisor, technical evangelist, and problem solver. Each day and each conference call were different, and the pain points I was working to solve spanned so many use cases. What I discovered to be universal was the significant role the service desk played—no matter the industry or organization size. It was gratifying to see a team’s evaluation result in a successful implementation.

The most rewarding part of my job was connecting with our “champions.” The service desk has a host of responsibilities and a broad set of capabilities. Seeing the creative ways customers configure and evolve their uses of their ITSM platform is beyond cool. Even better? Watching service desk advocates collaborate together, empower one another, and work seamlessly with our product team.

A Passion for Customers and Community

This key combo—the customers and the evolving community—best sums up my desire to become a Head Geek.

Having witnessed the bonds established between the original SolarWinds Service Desk community and advocacy groups, paired with the innovation evidenced in the platform, makes me excited to see the THWACK community continue to grow. I’ve loved getting to connect with THWACK members, both digitally and at in-person events. It’s been an incredible resource to further my knowledge and exposure to both technology and people. I appreciate the passion, humor, honesty, and trust this community has to offer. It makes me feel that I, like Leslie Knope, have found the group that challenges and inspires me. I’ve found my team. 

What continues to amaze me is the impact of technology as a uniting force that brings so many people, from all walks of life, together. I cannot wait to see what lies ahead, in life and technology, and I am thrilled to take the next leap alongside you, as a Head Geek. Let’s get to work!


Like many IT professionals, Liz’s entry into the tech industry was unconventional. With plans to pursue a career in public relations, Liz’s career quickly took a turn toward technology. She got her start working as a customer success manager with a research platform for the financial industry prior to joining Samanage, now SolarWinds Service Desk. Prior to becoming a SolarWinds Head Geek, Liz served as the technical point of contact for SolarWinds Service Desk customers. In this role, she combined the best of both worlds: her passion for communicating with prospective and existing customers while leaning on her multiple ITIL certifications to provide ITSM best practices to help alleviate pain points, work smarter, and streamline service desk operations. Liz is a formally trained public speaker and is actively involved in the service management community, participating in and hosting podcasts, webcasts, panel discussions, and speaking at large-scale industry events. She attended James Madison University where she earned a B.A. in Communication Studies. She's ITIL 4 certified and has never met a dog she didn't want to adopt.