Josh Heimendinger, a Western Governors University (WGU) graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, has created a unique and inspiring career that leverages his education, experience and passions. He may also be the only person on the planet who has found success in both Information Security and Improvisational Comedy.
In improv comedy, “yes, and” is a foundational mantra that says performers should not only accept what another performer says as true (“yes”), but should also expand on that line of thinking by adding their own information (“and”). It may also be the secret to career satisfaction.
In 2011, Josh saw the writing on the wall at the company where he was working as a security analyst. His company was slowly downsizing, so Josh began to look for a new job. Although Josh had an associate’s degree and several industry certifications, he realized a bachelor’s degree would greatly increase his chances of gaining new employment. Josh said yes to getting his degree and, after learning of WGU through TechExams.net, set a goal of earning his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology in just one term. Josh’s wife was pregnant and he wanted to make sure he would be able to spend time with his daughter once she arrived.
Josh completed 44 CUs in 5 ½ months and was offered a new job 10 days after he graduated.
Josh gladly accepted a position as an Information Security Consultant at Tevora. Tevora is a management consulting firm specializing in information assurance, governance, and compliance services and solutions. Josh has now been with Tevora for nearly four years. As a consultant working for numerous clients, Josh has significantly expanded his view of what IT security entails. His clients come from various industries including retail, restaurant, healthcare, and finance, and each client has different needs and technologies.
While working at Tevora, Josh also began taking improv classes with Spectacles Improv Engine, the troupe he now performs with several times a month. It was here that Josh learned about the power of saying “yes, and” to new ideas, using the concept as a springboard for communication.
As a PCI QSA (Qualified Security Assessor) at Tevora, Josh specializes in payment card compliance and credit card data protection. Josh credits WGU in providing a strong educational foundation that allows him to speak fluently across many different technologies. He has been able to say yes when understanding his clients’ needs and can offer effective IT security solutions to meet them. Tevora’s company culture and work environment also closely align with WGU’s education model, encouraging autonomy and continuous learning, while providing support when needed.
By embracing “yes, and”, everything has fallen into place for Josh. He is still with Tevora, developing into his new role as Lead Quality Assurance/Document Review Specialist. He is now developing processes, best practices and a QA employee handbook that will be used to build a new quality assurance team. Josh has also developed team building workshops on his own time, where he uses improv fundamentals to teach communication and collaboration skills to businesses through his own company, PlayRight Improv.
Although IT security and improv comedy may seem like two separate worlds, Josh has found that they complement each other brilliantly. Improv has strengthened Josh’s communication skills in his business interactions, and he has applied the same self-study skills and discipline he learned at WGU and Tevora to accelerating his improv career. One day soon you may see Josh at your company—either helping you secure your credit card data or using improv to teach team building and communication skills. In the meantime, consider following Josh’s lead by applying “Yes, and…” to your career!