How many years have you been in tech?
Tell me about your background. What were your early years like?
I received my undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. After college, I worked at a non-profit where my job encompassed everything from payroll to HR benefits, grant-writing and IT support for the office. The job was incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, but also difficult. We were chronically understaffed to assist the large population we were serving. Automation and office management tools were critical to balancing the workload.
I quickly realized how valuable technology was in improving the efficiency, outreach, and impact of our organization and decided to go back to school to get my MBA (with a focus on technology), to ultimately go back into non-profit management. Saint Louis University’s MBA program was a perfect balance of learning business acumen with a humanitarian grounding.
I moved from California to St. Louis and was hired by World Wide Technology out of my MBA program and have been here ever since. It’s been a wonderful working environment to apply my analytical background while gaining technical acumen. Though I was initially brought in as a business analyst, I’ve been provided the environment to broaden my skills into programming.
How were you exposed to tech?
My family was a very “techie” family. I remember building my first computer with my father in the 6th grade. My brothers and I attended a magnet program where we learned basic coding in high school. Though my strongest skills are in analysis, I’ve always had a familiarity with technology and was happy to share those skills in every internship or job I’ve had. Over time, those skills grew and my desire to improve them has also grown.
What is your current role?
I work as IT Business Analyst at World Wide Technology for the IT Sales, CRM & Marketing Team. We predominately support the Salesforce platform and all its integrations at World Wide Technology.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment was being selected and completing my internship in Washington, D.C at the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Tell us about a time that this applied to you.
Sexism can be subtle. It can even be well meaning and exist in your own family. I was raised to know I could learn anything that my brothers could and achieve anything they could. However, to this day I am still constantly warned to be home before dark, to never be alone, and to always be wary and afraid when being outside because molesters and rapists target women. I was taught to stay home, keep my head down, don’t bring attention to myself, and constantly be scared in order to protect myself.
However, I also have an innate curiosity about the world and a desire to positively impact it. In order to better understand the world around me, I’ve pushed myself as far as I could out of my comfort zone. In doing so, I’ve worked and volunteered thousands of hours at a dozen non-profits. I have lived alone, and worked in Berlin, Tokyo, Washington D.C, and Manila. I learned to communicate proficiently in 4 languages and independently navigate foreign countries; gathering experiences that have deepened my knowledge and allowed me to provide unique and innovative solutions to my workplace and community.
What are you learning right now?
Currently I am learning to program in Apex (Salesforce’s programming language), Angular, and Node j.s. I’m also learning woodworking.
Describe a time where you solved a problem in a creative way. For example, did something in your personal life trigger a solution to a problem at work?
When I was a sophomore in college, I was helping out in a kitchen and the chef gave me the advice to “look at a tool and use it for the way it was designed” (she was talking about a spatula).
When I was working at my first job in a non-profit, we had to provide payroll reporting for our grants on a monthly basis. The process used to take 3 days to complete each month. However, I realized that our payroll software was being underutilized and had the reporting capabilities we needed. We weren’t using that tool the way it was designed.
After spending a day learning the software, I created an automated reporting process within the payroll system which decreased the payroll reports generation time from 3 days to 15 seconds.
What was the last fear that you faced? How did you feel after you conquered it?
I’ve always been intimidated by programming. Though I’ve always known the basics of programming, I was intimidated by my friends, classmates, and coworkers who are brilliantly talented at it. I was always worried that I just didn’t have that talent or that I wasn’t “good enough”.
However, I learned that everyone learns differently and that programming is just problem solving and it takes practice. I also learned that I’m surrounded by people who willing to help me learn and numerous opportunities to practice coding.
After over-coming my apprehensions, I feel empowered to grow my skills and use them to help others!
What advice do you wish someone had given to you? What advice would you give to others starting out?
I’ve gotten tons of great advice in my life, but some advice I wish I was given when I was younger is: There is no magic switch that turns you from a child to an adult. There are some adults that are a little childish and there are some children that are wise beyond their years. You’re never too young to make a meaningful impact in the world and you’re never too old to play on a swing set.
What are your hobbies?
Traveling, programming, woodworking, board games
What do you like about St. Louis? The midwest? Why do you live here?
I love the history around St. Louis, from Cahokia to the World’s Fair to the Gateway to the West. It has a great number of large companies in the area, as well as start-ups. St. Louis is also the best town in baseball and you can always find a friend in fellow Cardinals fans! The food is outstanding and Bogarts is the best BBQ in the country.
I live here because this is the place were I see people grow the best and most profoundly. It is both complicated in some ways, simple in others. Work life balance is amazing in the Midwest and the opportunity to do good and grow is phenomenal.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the good I see in the people around me.