IT Analyst's Hobby a Piece of Cake

Cake decorating provides creative outlet for Debrah Suggs

In her spare time, Debrah Suggs decorates cakes such as this wedding cake. Photo courtesy of Suggs photography.
In her spare time, Debrah Suggs decorates cakes such as this wedding cake. Photo courtesy of Suggs photography.

Name:  Debrah Suggs

Position:  Senior Analyst, IT

Years at Duke: 24

What I do at Duke:  I provide support for the University SharePoint service. I also support functions for Identity Management, Exchange, Personal Home Directories, and other services provided by OIT. 

If I had $5 million, I would: Spread it around and do good for those I love. And maybe open a cake decorating shop.

Cakes decorated by Debrah Suggs
Cakes decorated by Debrah Suggs

My first ever job: Teaching 1st grade. I got a blister on my finger the first day from sharpening pencils and was so stern that I made one little girl cry - which made me feel awful. I walked around Northgate Mall that night shell-shocked until I could finally laugh about how badly that first day went.  It did get better and I taught for three years until changing careers. 

My dream job: Decorating cakes. I love having this outlet for my artistic and creative side. 

To start a conversation with me ask about: My family, movies and baking!

The best advice I ever received: You may have to quit something multiple times before you finally control your behavior. This advice came from someone who was trying to quit smoking - again. I realized it applied to me and my attempts to lose weight. I tried again and was successful. 

What I love about Duke: In my job, I have the opportunity to support some really interesting and important services and participate in bringing new offerings to the Duke user community. 

When I'm not at work, I like to: Work on projects that produce tangible results. I like to crochet hats for The Ships Project which is an organization that provides knitted and crocheted hats for the Armed Forces. Some of the soldiers in active combat even call them their "lucky" hats. 

If I could have one superpower, it would be: To fly.  Birds fascinate me. 

Something most people don't know about me: I play the piano and direct the choir at my church. 

A memorable day at work for me: A day when a server room lost power. Although it was a stressful experience, it was also energizing as everyone had to quickly come up with solutions and verify that services had recovered. 

The skills I bring to my work:  I enjoy troubleshooting. I like hunting for the answers to problems. 

A Movie I like: I love so many movies. That said, if "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" is on TV, I have to watch it. "May I take your trident, sir?"

My favorite book: I have always loved "Jane Eyre."  For more current authors, I love Justin Cronin's books "The Passage" and "The Twelve" and can't wait for him to complete the trilogy.