How many years have you been in tech?
5.5 years (I really haven’t thought much about this and I assumed it was longer!)
Tell me about your background. What were your early years like?
I’m an Air Force brat, so my early years were spent in a couple of different locations around the US. The multiple moves forced me to get *really* good at making friends quickly and acclimating to new environments, which I have no doubt helps me daily in my role. I was an active and social child. Although I’ve never been good at any sports, I played a lot of them (fun fact, I actually broke my leg when I was younger playing ‘I’m an olympic gymnast’ in my backyard…..did I mention I’ve also always been awkward and generally clumsy?!). I also acted in school plays and played alto saxophone for a number of years. I’ve always found joy in making people laugh and building real, human connections so that’s been the general theme woven through my life no matter what I’m doing.
How were you exposed to tech?
In my early years I honestly didn’t get exposed to tech that much. I mean, I, like many other children of the 90s, grew up trying to quiet the noise of AOL logging on because I was sneaking online after my bedtime, but in general, not a ton. My parents were the type who supported my sister and I in whatever made us happy, and my joys happened to be social ones. I was never a gamer, never a tinkerer, never drawn to how machines worked, but I’ve ALWAYS been fascinated with humans and why they do the things they do.
What is your current role?
My current role is Technical Community Manager at Simple. I’m not sure it’s the ‘perfect’ title, but it works. My job is really all about building culture/safe spaces/love & joy inside and outside of our walls. It encompasses recruitment as well as being involved in technical communities and helping facilitate storytelling (individual employees and Simples overall) wherever it makes sense and through whatever medium folks are most comfortable.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Honestly, my proudest accomplishment in life is my job (is that weird?). Although I think that there is definitely a bit of luck involved in me being here, I also know that I’ve worked *really* hard to get to where I am and have been through some sh*t in the process. A lot of folks assume that because I have a sunny disposition and a perma-smile that it means life has been easy for me, but it’s really that I make a daily effort to glean joy and positivity out of what life serves you ❤
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Tell us about a time that this applied to you.
Being a woman AND not being an engineer in this industry lends itself to me dealing with a lot of bs on the regular. I’ve been told on multiple occasions that I’m only successful because of how I look, or I won’t be accepted in groups because I’m not smart enough to be an engineer and I could never present at technical conferences because I have nothing meaningful to say. Screw all of that, its a battle daily, so overcoming, unfortunately, tends to be just part of the job.
What are you learning right now?
This is completely unrelated to technology, but I’m really intrigued by Buddhism as of late. I think, with the current life/political climate, finding ways to detach and find happiness within yourself is really crucial. These teachings are helping me get there.
What advice do you wish someone had given to you? What advice would you give to others starting out?
I wish someone had told me that engineers aren’t actually mystic, untouchable beings, that they are just regular humans like the rest of us. I spent a good amount of time in my early career trying to win hearts and minds of folks who frankly didn’t deserve it. Giving time and effort to those who see you as a peer (and most importantly a friend) is way more fulfilling.
What are your hobbies?
I love being with my kids (dogs), Noodle & Bean, they are my pride and joy. I enjoy being active and am very committed to my yoga practice. Beyond that, I like spending time with friends and family, learning how to be a better, mostly vegan, chef and bs’ing with my friends on twitter (that might be a sad hobby, lol).
What do you like about St. Louis? The midwest? Why do you live here?
I am excited to be newly back to living in STL! All my family is in this area and I’m the only one who turned into a bit of a nomad and did time in Texas, NYC & Seattle before deciding it was time to come ‘home.’ I love STL and the midwest in general. The folks are kind, we have all 4 seasons, cost of living isn’t insane and STL has so many legit neighborhoods with varying cultures and diverse humans ❤
Who inspires you?
My parents! Not only are they just the most amazing humans, but they just refuse to not love me (trust me, I’ve tempted them). They never give up on me and support me through my weakest moments. It makes me feel *so* good that I really just try to lend that support to others.