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GirlGeek of the Week
January 2001

Heather Osterloh

Heather Osterloh

Heather Osterloh's innovative, competitive, and outgoing spirit started very early in her life. The fifth youngest of six sisters and born into Army life, Heather learned how to quickly adapt to change.

Heather's ability to thrive on change and challenge has manifested into a philosophy of GirlGeeky optimism. In 1985, she landed a job managing a NetWare network at The Vallejo Company, a business owned by Gordon Getty. Heather had no networking experience, but at that time few people did. She quickly learned whatever she could through books and the consultants she hired. Soon, she didn't need consultants anymore.

At the time there seemed to be no other women in internetworking. But that didn't stop her growth. Heather took a NetWare Administrator course at Novell with instructor Laura Chappell. Laura suggested to Heather that she would make a great instructor and Heather's professional path was born.

At first Heather was self-conscious of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Men constantly questioned her ability as an instructor. She realized that the only way to gain respect was to arm herself with knowledge. To stay ahead of her mostly male students, she would spend two days researching topics for each day of class she taught.

In the early 1990s, she started her own consulting and training firm, Contract Training. In 1998 Contract Training evolved into IT Academy, a permanent training facility specializing in Cisco and Microsoft accelerated training. During the 90's Heather developed courseware and training videos for Cisco and Microsoft certification training as well as developing the first accelerated CCNP course in the world. And in the Summer of 2000 Heather released a book, CCNA 2.0 Prep Kit 640-507 Routing and Switching, published by Que/Macmillan.

When did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers and technology?

By accident — I was at the right place at the right time. I worked for a company with one of the first Novell networks.

How do you earn a living?

I press Enter and wait a lot! Training and consulting.

Do you consider yourself a Geek?

Yes. I think Geek is a compliment. I've worked hard to earn the title and wear it as a badge of honor.

What is your favorite Website?

I don't have a favorite. There are so many web sites I visit to gather information that are amazingly helpful.

What do you do when you are not working?

Play hard, study for my next certification like the CCIE, golf, play with my dog.

What's your motto?

Make it so.

Who would play you in a movie about your life?

Sandra Bullock, like in The Net.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

"There's No Crying in Networking"

When and where were you the happiest?

On a Caribbean island relaxing in the sun.

If you could have one super power what would it be?



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