The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Leslie Daigle

March 12, 2024 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 83
Leslie Daigle
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Leslie Daigle
Mar 12, 2024 Season 1 Episode 83
Chris & Zoë

Today we chat with Leslie Daigle, CTO at Global Cyber Alliance, where she works on addressing cyber security challenges that require collective action and coordination among different stakeholders in the internet ecosystem.

We peek into Leslie’s career journey from being a computer science student to a programmer, a manager, a leader, and a collaborator in various internet-related organizations and projects, such as Bunyip, IETF, World IPv6 Day, and MANRS.

In this talk, we will hear some of Leslie’s insights and challenges in her work, such as how to frame problems in ways that matter to others, how to balance technical and human aspects, how to deal with imposter syndrome and career transitions, and how to support network operator groups like NANOG.

Individual contracts and consulting kept me entertained but really got to the point where I was like “well, this is fun, but I can't do big things on my own”
It's much more interesting to be part of something.



Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Show Notes Transcript

Today we chat with Leslie Daigle, CTO at Global Cyber Alliance, where she works on addressing cyber security challenges that require collective action and coordination among different stakeholders in the internet ecosystem.

We peek into Leslie’s career journey from being a computer science student to a programmer, a manager, a leader, and a collaborator in various internet-related organizations and projects, such as Bunyip, IETF, World IPv6 Day, and MANRS.

In this talk, we will hear some of Leslie’s insights and challenges in her work, such as how to frame problems in ways that matter to others, how to balance technical and human aspects, how to deal with imposter syndrome and career transitions, and how to support network operator groups like NANOG.

Individual contracts and consulting kept me entertained but really got to the point where I was like “well, this is fun, but I can't do big things on my own”
It's much more interesting to be part of something.



Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Machines made this, mistakes and all:

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the Impostor Syndrome Network podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundemann, and this is the Leslie Daigle episode, which I think you're going to love. Leslie believes in collaboration as the means to achieve the impossible. She brings people together to solve problems and deliver coherent, innovative, on point results.

[00:00:29] Chris: Leslie has led corporate technology teams, cross industry institutions, and industry volunteer efforts to achieve results with global impact. She has driven to figure technical and organizational systems out, reduce confusion, and disorganization, to identify opportunities and enable groups of people to achieve great things.

[00:00:48] Chris: She has repeatedly built organizations and teams, introduced innovative ideas, and led people to see things in a new light. 

[00:00:55] Chris: Hi, Leslie. Would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the Imposter Syndrome Network? 

[00:01:00] Leslie: Hi there. Uh, well, first of all, thanks for having me. It's lovely to be here. I'm not, I, I, I'm not really sure what more I can say beyond all those lovely things that I wrote about myself once upon a time.

[00:01:11] Leslie: Um, quite an intro, but anyway, moving on. Yeah. 

[00:01:14] Chris: Um, we'll just dive right into it. You were the internet society's first chief internet technology officer. I think you joined them in 2007, if I remember right, and helped kind of recreate the global dialogue on important technical issues. With them until 2014, during that time, I had the great pleasure of working for you after you did me the honor of hiring me because of that, I'm pretty familiar with the internet society and the work you did there, but I assume that many of our listeners may not be.

[00:01:42] Chris: So maybe you can tell us a little bit about what the internet society is. Why you dedicated seven years of your life and career to them and maybe even why you ultimately decided to move on. 

[00:01:51] Leslie: Yeah, sure. Um, I'd be happy to do that. And it's kind of, it kind of is the pivotal moment, shall we say it was, it was a point at which my career kind of took a bit of a turn for the better.

[00:02:01] Leslie: So the internet society is, um, a not for profit organization that was founded on the principle that the internet is for everyone. And initially it was, you know, it was part of the set of institutions that were helping move the internet technology development forward. It was the organizational home of the IETF, the Internet Engineering Task Force, which is responsible for the standards that upon which the internet works.

[00:02:23] Leslie: And in 2007, it really was a tiny, tiny organization that had been struggling to make ends meet until the then CEO had the brilliant idea, Lyn Sanamore, had the brilliant idea of working with another organization to bid on running the org top level domain, which basically guaranteed a funding stream, so all of a sudden, it just happened.

[00:02:45] Leslie: Chasing after funding wasn't a big thing. Making sure that the internet society would meet its mission, that the internet is for everyone was the focus as it should be. So I joined in 2007 in part because. I wanted to ensure that the Internet Society had a technical program that was broader than just making sure that the IETF continued to survive.

[00:03:04] Leslie: That was important, but not the only thing from my perspective. I felt that there were a lot of other challenges that faced the Internet and its technologies that could use some Some programmatic support, shall we say, and could help, you know, solve some major problems that nobody was around to solve. So that was sort of my side of the house at the Internet Society.

[00:03:25] Leslie: And, I mean, to be clear, the Internet Society does a lot of other things, a lot of other important things, including, um, staying true to its roots and ensuring that, you know, building out capacity, building out access to the Internet. You know, they've done a lot of good work in terms of building out IXPs all over the world.

[00:03:42] Leslie: in the last decade or so, really changing the way internet traffic flows for the better for local communities. So sort of part of a, let's make the internet better panoply of things, if you will. But the kinds of things that I focused on when I was at the Internet Society were more like, well, IPv4 addresses are running out.

[00:04:00] Leslie: What are we going to do about it? And so somebody else who worked for me at the time, Phil Roberts, was talking with network operators about that, and ultimately those discussions, small discussions at first, and then slightly larger discussions, and then the why don't we do about it, something about it discussions led to the World IPv6 Day and the World IPv6 Launch.

[00:04:19] Leslie: And those were really massive in my mind, because it showed how competitive, well, industry competitors could come together still to do something that was really important for the Internet. And that was basically moving the needle on deployment of IPv6. You know, the World IPv6 Day was founded to determine whether or not large content providers actually could turn on IPv6.

[00:04:44] Leslie: Because at the time, there was a significant concern that, I mean, technically, knew how to do it. Not a problem. The problem was, there were so many out of date and otherwise broken V4 to V6 translators deployed across the globe, the concern was that too many customers would be sucked into oblivion rather than connecting to the content over V6.

[00:05:08] Leslie: And that's not, again, it's sort of not a technical problem for the content providers to solve, but it was definitely something that the marketing departments of those companies said, yeah, we're not, we're not going to let you do that because we don't know how many customers we're going to lose. So the whole point of World IPv6 Day really was to determine exactly how many people would get sucked into oblivion if they turned on IPv6.

[00:05:30] Leslie: So, but I said that that was sort of a pivotal point in my career. And so I got into technology because I like pushing buttons and seeing things happen. I mean, right back to when I was a kid and I had a Fisher Price push, push button phone with a little operator that popped up when you press zero. So from there I got into computer science.

[00:05:49] Leslie: In university. And I kept pursuing university degrees until I knew what I wanted to do with my life, or at least. I wasn't scared about the options presented. And at that point it was, well, I'm doing a PhD that's not really going so well at McGill University in Montreal. Or there's this little startup that's founded by the people who created the world's first internet search engine.

[00:06:09] Leslie: And it's kind of more fun to work with them. So I think I'll go play with them for a while. Um, which is how I got into, you know, pursuing internet standards and whatnot. 

[00:06:18] Chris: And that was, uh, was that bunny IP? 

[00:06:20] Leslie: Yeah. Bunyip, Bunyip information systems. Yep. Alan Emtage and Peter Deutsch. They had, Alan had created the Archie anonymous FTP index service while they were at McGill university and they spun it out to, Run it as a service and pursue other things.

[00:06:35] Leslie: And it really was sort of a little bit of, I don't know, it was the glory days of internet technology development, but it was pretty exciting times because you'd go to an IETF meeting and you'd sit down, you know, in the terminal room. Cause it was long enough ago, there were terminal rooms. And you'd be, you know, working on something and, and you'd realize that the person sitting next to you had written the, you know, whatever, whatever code, whatever program you're running was something that the person next to you had actually written and they say, so how do you like it?

[00:07:02] Leslie: You know, how's that? How's that FTP client doing, doing for you? And the important thing was that, you know, you'd go to the meetings, you'd argue strenuously about the parameters and the protocol, and then everyone would go home and implement it. So talk about pushing buttons and seeing things happen. It really was pretty exciting to be part of the stuff that was happening.

[00:07:21] Leslie: So I went from there and to, you know, move to the U S worked in, you know, a couple of corporate environments for Verisign and briefly at Cisco and realized that at the same time as I was heavily involved in the leadership of the IETF, the corporate jobs were not really. It was, it was not really helping move things at the scale.

[00:07:39] Leslie: It was really appealing. And hence, you know, talked with Lynn Sainamore at the internet society and said, why don't we do things together? And we did. 

[00:07:48] Chris: Awesome. That's very cool. That makes sense. I think it resonates with me on a lot of levels. I like the idea. I like the way you put that, the, the pushing buttons and seeing what happens.

[00:07:56] Chris: I think there's also the, I don't know about for you, but for me, the, you know, open it up and see how it happens or, or what's going on inside of there. I think a corollary of that, right? Absolutely. To our parents frustration, usually, at least in my case, everything doesn't always go back together as well as it comes apart when you're a, when you're a kid, 

[00:08:13] Leslie: yeah, not only when you're a kid, 

[00:08:15] Chris: fair, fair point.

[00:08:16] Chris: Absolutely. So was it just time to leave? I soccer. I mean, we don't have to dive too deep into this, but I'm interested in kind of, you know, moving on from, from the United society. And then eventually landed in your current role. 

[00:08:26] Leslie: Yeah, so, I mean, we did a couple of big things. We did a few big things when I was at the Internet Society.

[00:08:31] Leslie: There was a World IPv6 event. There was the Deploy360 stuff, which is, you know, where you and I were working together. And, you know, there was also this MANRS thing that mutually agreed norms for routing security. And there were, you know, a number of big things launched, but it actually occurred to me that the internet itself was changing.

[00:08:50] Leslie: The dynamics of the industry were changing. There were some massive, massive, um, policy things going on at the time with the ITU trying to take over management of the internet. It occurred to me that the Internet Society would really have to make a choice about where it wanted to put its resources, because although, you know, it had a steady funding stream, it is not, in spite of external appearances, an infinite sum of money And so, you know, being able to do the things you wanted to do, you kind of had to make a choice.

[00:09:15] Leslie: So it was a combination of that, a combination of too much travel, travel kills, and, and I genuinely believe if I'd stayed in that job doing those things for another couple years, I probably would have been travel kill myself. So it was just time to take a step back, take a breather and say, you know, let's puddle around and see what else makes sense to do in the world, which is what I did for a bunch of years.

[00:09:37] Leslie: Had some interesting individual contracts, you know, consulting, kept myself entertained. And, uh, But really got to the point where I was like, well, this is fun, but I can't do big things on my own. It's much more interesting to be part of something. So I had a friend who was interviewing for this job at the global cyber alliance.

[00:09:57] Leslie: And she looked, you know, had the interview and said, yeah, you don't want to talk to me. You want to talk to my friend, Leslie. So talk about friendship. Right. Um, so we did talk and I, I read the job description and thought, yeah, this really fits me. And it really sounds like something interesting to do. So that was in early 2020.

[00:10:12] Leslie: And so I started at the Global Cyber Alliance as their Global Technical Officer in, on March 9th, 2020. Which, if you think about it, is exactly and precisely when the global pandemic started crashing down around our heads. To the point where Monday I start my job, still thinking that on, you know, later in the week I'm flying off to the IETF meeting.

[00:10:33] Leslie: By Tuesday, I'm not flying off to the IETF meeting because it's been cancelled. I'm thinking, well, maybe I'll go visit Mom in Montreal. By Wednesday, it's like, no, we're not going to Montreal because, you know, you can't visit people in, in those institutions anymore. And then it's just, you know, we all know, we all have our stories.

[00:10:49] Leslie: I didn't meet my boss in person for over a year. 

[00:10:52] Chris: Oh, wow. Yeah. A lot of that resonates with me. I mean, going back to the travel kills and too much travel, I only lasted in my role at the Internet Society for about two years. And a big part of it was, Travel, which is funny. 

[00:11:04] Leslie: We had conversations about that.

[00:11:06] Leslie: Yeah. I seem to recall. 

[00:11:09] Chris: Very possible that you were right. Which is funny though, because I think, you know, not that my career was about travel, but I definitely had a focus on, on traveling. I felt like, you know, going to these conferences and being involved in those conversations was really important to be kind of part of what was going on.

[00:11:23] Chris: Also just seeing places that I'd never seen before. And, you know, especially for a young man, as I was getting someone else to pay for me to fly around the world was, was pretty awesome. And so I had pursued that pretty relentlessly as a piece of my career. Right. I was looking for that perk in jobs, like how much, you know, I wanted more travel and more travel and more travel.

[00:11:40] Chris: And then I finally got what I asked for. And, uh, like, like many of us, I realized, wow, this is maybe not actually what I want. Having some stability in my sleep patterns and things is actually important to me and not being strapped into a small chair for 16 hours weekly. Anyway, like, yeah, definitely be careful what you wish for there a little bit.

[00:11:58] Chris: Although it was awesome. I did get to go, you know, see and speak in tons of countries and it was pretty fantastic. 

[00:12:04] Leslie: And, and you're right that it is really important to actually go to the places and meet the people, right? I mean, In two years of not traveling for work during the pandemic, it was like I didn't miss the travel itself one tiny little bit.

[00:12:16] Leslie: It was awesome. I very much missed people and meeting with people and, you know, having the conversations that you can't schedule via zoom. Right, 

[00:12:26] Chris: right. Those conversations where you bump into someone, you know, completely unplanned kind of fortuitous, or I don't know the word right now, but it's, it's really neat and a lot of really amazing stuff happens through those little conversations that just kind of happen spontaneously.

[00:12:38] Leslie: Absolutely. Yep, absolutely. You know, I maintain that some of the meetings that I go to even now, it's like, well, I'm going for the hallway track. Yeah. So it's funny, you go from, you know, pushing buttons on computers to, I would say that 90 percent of my job now is about working with people and people mechanics, you know, on a larger or smaller scale.

[00:12:57] Leslie: Yeah. Which is kind of frightening for an introvert, but there you are. 

[00:13:00] Chris: Right, an introvert and an engineer, right? It's, it's, it's very wild. Yeah. I've gone through a similar transition, definitely not at the, at the kind of scope or scale that you have. And for me, I think, you know, getting a little bit further away from technology.

[00:13:11] Chris: Was at least initially fairly terrifying. I don't know if that brought up any doubts or, or fear in you as, as you've kind of made that transition from, you know, really poking at the buttons to just hanging out and talking to people. 

[00:13:24] Leslie: Yeah. Um, probably a solid dose of denial is what's gotten me through that.

[00:13:29] Leslie: I mean, I went from being. You know, when I worked with bunny up, I mean, I started as a part time programmer and pretty rapidly became a part time manager and then full time manager and, and it was literally years before I could admit that I wasn't going to be programming. Anymore. And yet, you know, that all the skills are still relevant, and it takes you a while to figure that out, that the, you know, the ability to analyze it, to figure out how to, you know, tease apart a problem, and the approach to finding solutions, right?

[00:14:02] Leslie: You know, let's take some incremental steps. What is the least destructive incremental step I can take to see, you know, to get more data about the problem, for instance? These are all actually useful outside the context of programming a computer. So, it is a bit terrifying because the, one of the things that is challenging is that, you know, when you go out into the world and say I am a C programmer or I'm a Go programmer or whatever, you know what you are, you know what jobs to look for, people know who you are, they know if you fit their job.

[00:14:33] Leslie: But the further you go away from sort of those boxes and the more experience you get in your career, it's like you can't, you know, it's harder and harder for your CV to be picked up by the AIs that, you know, drive most job searches today because it's not obvious that you fit the box. 

[00:14:50] Chris: And even just, even just, I noticed that even just in casual conversation, I think as I moved away from being a kind of a full time all day on the CLI network engineer.

[00:14:59] Chris: And I think actually at the internet society, it was one of the first times where, you know, I would meet people and they would ask what I do and I would be unable to answer. Uh, it took me a while to kind of come up with the, like a one sentence or two to what my job was. I actually kind of struggled with that for a little while.

[00:15:15] Chris: Uh, that's interesting. I eventually landed on, I fly around the world, um, And speak and try and make the internet better. Um, 

[00:15:22] Leslie: Yeah, I just say I work with internet technologies. I don't say what work I do with them. I just I work with them. 

[00:15:28] Chris: Yeah, that's fair. That's fair. Maybe diving into that, you know, I think being the chief technical officer and director of the integrity program at the Global Cyber Alliance is your current role.

[00:15:38] Chris: That sounds like a really powerful and amazing job to be in. But maybe you can explain to us what actually goes into that. Maybe, you know, what, what's the day to day of a CTO at the, at the Global Cyber Alliance? 

[00:15:49] Leslie: Sure. Well, so the Global Cyber Alliance itself is another not for profit organization that is focused on making a difference with, you know, for individuals and small businesses, as well as, you know, in network operators.

[00:16:01] Leslie: Making a difference in terms of the cybersecurity of the internet. It was created by, well, initially funded by asset forfeiture money, um, from the district attorney of New York and the city of London police and CIS for the three founders. So founded with a view that there's an awful lot of this cyber attack nonsense going on.

[00:16:20] Leslie: We really have to do something about it. So it was started with seed funding for five years. And by the time I joined that seed funding was just finishing and we've been free and flying. on our own since. So that's the point of the Global Cyber Alliance and part of what really attracted me to it was it wasn't just a group that would sort of stomp around the globe and shake their fists and say, you know, we really ought to do something about that, but rather there was already a development team and they had built things.

[00:16:46] Leslie: And for instance, one of the things that the development team at GCA has built was the initial implementation of what's now the Quad 9 protective DNS service that's operated by, well, it's independently operated under the aegis of PCH. So, you know, that's a real thing. And that's a real thing, doing something useful.

[00:17:04] Leslie: So that was an attraction to the organization and in terms of what my role is and, and sort of as we've evolved it to as CTO, it's sort of like, let's stay on a rational path in terms of what are we doing with our technologies. Let's make sure that we're not. Trying to build things that are impossible, and let's, you know, also, you know, keep an even keel in terms of problems we try to tackle.

[00:17:25] Leslie: As director of the Internet Integrity Program, it's a question of, yeah, so there are still some pretty major cyber security threats facing the internet, and problems that no individual network operator or infrastructure operator can tackle on their own, right? No single network operator can tackle them.

[00:17:41] Leslie: really solve their routing security problem because they're dependent on everybody else, right? So you really, in order to solve a problem like routing security, you need to get network operators to play together and agree to things that they're going to change. There are other problems like that. I mean, domain abuse is not entirely a different problem.

[00:18:00] Leslie: and a different challenge insofar as no one registry can really decide what they're going to start throwing out of their registry in terms of, you know, trying to protect people against criminals who are registering domain names for the purposes of carrying out, you know, phishing or other, other attacks.

[00:18:20] Leslie: But really, there has to be an industry level agreement about what it is that are rational next steps to take to address these problems that are running rampant. So first step, figure out, you know, get attention on here is the problem. Second step, get the industry to agree on what is it that we can do about it, what are the steps that we can take.

[00:18:38] Leslie: Which is really the blueprint that the MANRS program started with, right? I mean, that's, that's exactly what Andrei Robachevsky did with it when he was at the Internet Society. And how the now 10 year old manners program grew up. 

[00:18:52] Chris: Yeah, that makes sense. And it's something that, you know, just the internet ecosystem in general has always fascinated me because of that kind of coopetition, right?

[00:19:00] Chris: The fact that you've got these organizations that are either running networks or running services for the networks that are privately owned and are out in business to go make a profit, but also like are completely and utterly reliant on each other. You know, because the internet itself doesn't work without the networks connecting to each other, which is, you know, it just, I don't know many other corollaries, um, where there's that kind of, you really can't stand on your own.

[00:19:25] Leslie: Yeah. Not ones that are still operated as a collective ecosystem. Right. I mean, you can't really do air travel on your own either, but the solution that was brought to bear there was, you know, global control and regulation for which we're all very thankful. Yeah. But, you know, the, the constant question. The question is, can the internet continue to be something that is as independent and engageable as it always has been?

[00:19:51] Leslie: And if it is going to do that, then, then these problems need to be addressed. And the other piece to add to what you just described is that sometimes the solutions are ones that require going against an existing business model. Example in domain names, taking domain names out of the registry, um, means loss of business.

[00:20:10] Leslie: And, you know, it's not like these companies want to piss off their, their customers, right? So, it's an interesting challenge to get the, the, the, the, the interests aligned, the actions identified, the interests aligned, and the movement made on all of these things. So, to come back to your question of what, what does it mean to be the director of the Internet Integrity Program, it means looking at all of these problems and saying, you know, what are things that we can do To help move the needle on these problems.

[00:20:40] Leslie: And because we are a small organization, the whole organization is on the order of 30 people. And the internet integrity program is only half of it. Um, it's, it's really a question of how can we work with other organizations and how can we, you know, raise awareness, get interest and then make a difference.

[00:20:56] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. Which that has all of its own little thorns and things. I mean, that's a really interesting practice, I think, to. To try and do that, keeping egos and things out of it is one really hard part. I think there, you know, I've seen in my experiences along similar lines and they kind of not invented here problem.

[00:21:12] Chris: And if people kind of set out to solve a problem, they want to solve it or unwilling to let someone else solve it and push it that way and things like that. So that level of coordination and, and as you said, kind of the, you know, bringing the logic and troubleshooting of maybe network engineering and network design into working with people, I can see that corollary you draw there very well, for sure.

[00:21:30] Leslie: Yeah. And it's, it's also, you know, I always. Maintain the threat that someday I'm going to brush off my programming skills and just go back to being an introvert engineer. 

[00:21:37] Chris: Yes. Although this way, I don't know if I want to go and program. I think I want to just go like farm or something, but that's a long ways off still.

[00:21:43] Chris: So, 

[00:21:44] Leslie: yeah, well, you know, it's true. And, and I have in fact, gone back and done some programming. I did some programming in my six years of wandering around and doing whatever. And it's just, you know, I'm, I'm kind of. I'm too impatient now. It's like, you know, what do you mean? I have to write, write that whole function out again, you know, it's like with minor variations.

[00:22:02] Leslie: Oh, this is just driving me nuts. So we aren't farming. We did move from the Virginia area to Vermont a few years ago, and a large part because yeah, you know, unplugging and getting to somewhere that's a little less. You know, technical technology centric is, is increasingly appealing, but I have a no livestock rule.

[00:22:24] Chris: So fair enough. Yeah. Yeah. That's good. And so along these same lines of, you know, internetworking through collaboration, I know you had, uh, or have this tech arc project. Is that, is it kind of all your focus going to, to the GCA now, or are you still working on tech arc? And maybe you can talk a little bit about what that is.

[00:22:42] Leslie: Yeah, it's, yeah, most, mostly focused on GCA, TechArg. I mean, TechArg was what I was working on, you know, between the Internet Society and, and GCA. There's still a few projects that sort of pop up there. And it's, you know, I, I, I have a habit of not taking the, um, taking down old ideas and, and I sort of keep working on them in the background.

[00:23:02] Leslie: So there are a few things still going on within tech arc, but mostly, mostly it's GCA and tech sequences, the podcast these days. 

[00:23:08] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. And then, but you're also the chair of the board at, uh, at Nanog, the North American network operators group. 

[00:23:14] Leslie: Yes, because I love fun. Um, yeah. So, you know, part of the thing of.

[00:23:21] Leslie: Keeping network operators engaged in solving problems is making sure that we continue to have healthy and well functioning network operator groups, right? So I think that NANOG and LACNOG and RIPE and APRICOT and all of the associated NICs and the smaller NOGs as well are actually vitally important to reminding us all that, you know, this is a collaborative endeavor and, you know, that we need to continue to share information about the state of the world and where we should go next.

[00:23:51] Leslie: So, putting some time in to help ensure that NANOG continues to be A useful and well functioning organization seemed like a logical step. 

[00:24:01] Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, I think, I mean, big chunks of my career, if not, you know, kind of the whole thing is due to relationships and things I learned at these operator groups.

[00:24:10] Chris: Now, I mean, the first one, because that's, you know, here where I live. Um, and then the other ones as well that you mentioned, um, across all the different continents and things. Those were, yeah, I totally agree. I've learned so much and met so many people that have helped in so many ways that, uh, I, I, I do hope all of that continues to stay out there and stay relevant and, and, and bring folks in.

[00:24:29] Chris: Cause you know, you can, you can learn a lot of stuff on like YouTube videos and things like that now, but I think those, those human kind of connections, those mentors that you kind of come along the path and that hallway track you talked about is invaluable. 

[00:24:40] Leslie: Yeah. I mean, You know, I can go back to my first experiences, my first IETF meeting, where it was just sort of like a bunch of geeks getting together and talking about topics of mutual interest.

[00:24:48] Leslie: And it's like with low barrier to entry, right? I mean, people had a lot of patience for somebody who was a newcomer, newcomer and, and, you know, the ad hoc discussions and, and the stuff you learned along the way, you just, you know, it, it was invaluable. Um, and the same thing in the, in the network operator groups and.

[00:25:07] Leslie: As you say, you, you can supplement with YouTube and whatnot, but you can't replace. And one of the challenges that, you know, an organization like Nanog faces is it, it derives pretty much all of its revenue from meetings, which is great until the pandemic comes along and then you don't have meetings for over a year.

[00:25:25] Leslie: So, you know, it's an open question now, but how can an organization like NANOG broaden its, like, diversify its efforts so that it's, you know, got revenue streams that are not quite so dependent on the whole meeting track thing, when we all know that a large part of the value is, is that FaceTime, is that getting people together and, and, you know, having those ad hoc moments.

[00:25:48] Leslie: And how do you communicate to um, you know, as travel becomes increasingly difficult to justify in commercial organizations, how do you pitch the value of sending your engineers to these meetings so that it doesn't sound like they're just off to either go shopping for more network hardware that you don't want to buy or shopping for their next job, right?

[00:26:09] Leslie: You know, there's, there is a lot more to those environments than both of those things, but it can be a little bit hard to explain. Outside the context of the, of the meetings. 

[00:26:19] Chris: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I mean, especially with, you know, yeah, it's really hard to quantify, right. There's no dollars and cents.

[00:26:25] Chris: You're not coming back with leads or something like that as an engineer. Uh, hopefully you're coming back with ideas and relationships that'll help. Um, but yeah, quantifying that and explaining that is perhaps increasingly hard these days. You know, looking back over this kind of pretty illustrious career, I would say, what would you say is the biggest challenge you've faced kind of through your career, through the years?

[00:26:46] Chris: Is there one thing that stands out as something you really had to overcome in any way? 

[00:26:50] Leslie: Wow. I'm trying to sift through the thoughts because there's so many different things that can bring up a greater or lesser importance. You know, I think in a large part, some of the challenges really are always about figuring out how to get, understand that If you're trying to get somebody to do something, you need to frame the problem.

[00:27:08] Leslie: in ways that matter to them. And when you're talking about sort of large scale problems, it can sound like they're, you know, nice to haves, not need to haves. I guess, I guess maybe that's part of the challenge, right? Figuring out how to take these problems and, and making people see that they're not nice to have.

[00:27:25] Leslie: That yes, we really do need to deploy IPv6. I know you think you've got to solve, but you really don't, is an ongoing challenge. Um, I think in terms of personal challenges, You know, the, you may have experiences too. The further you get away from having had your hands on, on the keyboard or on the CLI, the more time you have to spend convincing people that you actually know what you're talking about, or you fear you have to do that, which is a slightly different problem, but still real.

[00:27:54] Chris: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then that comes back to kind of the name of the show, the imposter syndrome, that's part of where that title comes from for sure is that these, all these transitions, right. And whether it's, you know, maybe you were working at a juniper shop and you moved to a Cisco shop and, and you've kind of got to, you know, get, whether you, whether you feel it, or you actually have to prove that you now can do this other thing, or, you know, like it's moving into management, moving into, you know, technical marketing, all those shifts.

[00:28:18] Chris: I think come along with that a little bit of having to, to some degree, having to fake it until you make it, right? You've got, you've got to have, have a confidence because if you tell somebody you have no idea what you're doing, it's hard for them to give you the reins and let you try it. But sometimes you have to do that, right?

[00:28:31] Chris: You have to go in and do something you don't know about to be able to learn how to do it. 

[00:28:33] Leslie: Yeah. And I think that the best, the best approach there, I think it actually, I'm sort of mentally reviewing some of those conversations I've had with people not in sort of recent moments. I think the best thing to do is, is again, to demonstrate that.

[00:28:46] Leslie: You're willing to try and you know how to back out of it. If things go sideways, because I don't mind people trying things and making a bit of a mess, as long as they know how to clean up the mess, you know, whether that's completely trashing out the notion database or, or, you know, in a customer call, you know, people understand maybe more since the pandemic.

[00:29:07] Leslie: I think people understand that we're all human and, you know, life is life. 

[00:29:13] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. It seems that that's one positive aspect of kind of the pandemic is that this, this idea of mental health and checking in on each other and understanding that there are humans on the other sides of all these conversations, it seems to be more front and center now than ever, at least, you know, at least in my life.

[00:29:28] Chris: I don't know, which is a good thing for sure. 

[00:29:30] Leslie: Yeah, I think so. Yep. Absolutely. 

[00:29:33] Chris: On the flip side of that. If you had to pick out one thing, could, could you identify what you would say is your greatest achievement in your career so far? I know you have many things left to do, but, uh, but so far, and this could be measured in any way, right?

[00:29:47] Chris: And I don't know. 

[00:29:47] Leslie: It is maybe a little challenging because I mean, so much of it is. It's, it's hard to tease out what was me versus what was the people I was working with, which is a good thing because it means I'm working with people. Right. I think that my answer to your question would still have to be the work that we did to put the IETF on a firm footing in its own administrative setting, which was, you know, around 2005 when it was.

[00:30:14] Leslie: Still being, too much of it was still being operated by, you know, an organization contributing stuff and too much of a black box. So it was, it was tense times. It was probably the most stressful times that I can remember in my career. We, we achieved it. So that was pretty exciting. 

[00:30:31] Chris: Yeah. And it's funny how those things kind of tend to go together.

[00:30:34] Chris: Yes. At least for me that the stress and the anxiety and the kind of dark moments often are tied to those, those bigger achievements that feel great afterwards. I don't know if it's because of or in spite of, but they tend to be linked. 

[00:30:46] Leslie: Well, it's true. And so you, you really don't want to find yourself at a point in your life where you're just, you know, everything is so easy that you don't need to stress about it.

[00:30:53] Leslie: Because if that's where you are, you're probably also bored out of your gourd. 

[00:30:56] Chris: Yeah. Hence why the farming is still far off for me. I don't know any of those challenges for now. Well, unfortunately, that is all the time we have today. Leslie, is there any other, any projects or causes, something we did talk about or didn't that you want to highlight?

[00:31:10] Chris: Maybe the podcast or, or specific work you're doing. 

[00:31:13] Leslie: Yeah, so two things I would bring up, I think. One, the podcast Techsequences, which I started with my good friend, Alexa Rod, um, also started just about when the pandemic started, which focuses on sort of what are some of the, the, the consequences of all of these technologies that we've built with the internet, you know, some of them are expected consequences, and some of them are sort of unexpected consequences.

[00:31:34] Leslie: So we talked to a variety of guests about, you know, their views on different aspects of things from AI to disinformation to other things. And it's a lot of fun. And then in terms of projects, I mentioned the Manners project that Andrej Ravicheski started at the Internet Society. And it was pretty exciting last year when the Internet Society decided that It was time for it to move on.

[00:31:56] Leslie: And, uh, the global cyber reliance was the organization that picked it up to continue supporting it. So we're pretty excited about continuing with that. 

[00:32:03] Chris: Yeah, that's awesome. And it's, it's cool that, you know, kind of fostered that, that project and then they're able to kind of catch it now and help it grow from, from here.

[00:32:10] Leslie: Yeah. It's. Feels like I'm playing a really long game. 

[00:32:14] Chris: Leslie, thank you so much for sharing your story with the imposter syndrome network. And thank you to all of our listeners for your time, your attention, and your support. If you found this episode insightful or interesting, or even just entertaining, please consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on.

[00:32:32] Chris: Before we close out completely, Leslie, I am curious, is there a singular or maybe even a couple, but if there's one, that'd be great. Is there a lesson that That's maybe like the biggest or most important lesson that's helped you through your career. 

[00:32:44] Leslie: Just keep trying. That's all there is to it. Because you never know, right?

[00:32:48] Leslie: You may think you're not making any progress, and then you turn a corner and there it is. 

[00:32:52] Chris: Yeah. Yeah, that is a fun phenomenon when it happens right. And again, back to those kind of stressful, you know, stressful moments leading to kind of the greatest achievements. What is, what's the phrase? It's always darkest before the dawn.

[00:33:03] Chris: It definitely seems like right when you're about to give up, usually if you just keep going a little bit, something breaks and you're coming around that corner and stuff. So I love that. That's great advice. We'll be back next week.