Nekisha Ladd

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How many years have you been in tech?

7 years

Tell me about your background. What were your early years like?

I grew up with a single mom in the military. We lived in many different countries and states, I got to see and explore the world and experience different cultures. As a child I loved to play outside.

How were you exposed to tech?

I was exposed to Tech as a kid because my mom would only buy me educational toys. I had very basic computerized toys that would teach you Math and English when I was 5 yrs old. My grandmother worked in the computer lab at the school I attended in for 3rd grade, I helped her and other students in the lab. My first computer when I was 10, it was a radio shack computer that you had to use the “run” command to get it to do something. When I was 11 I got my first video game, Super Mario Bro on Nintendo. I learned basic computer programming in 8th grade in school. In the beginning of college, I was interested in computer graphics and did well in those classes.

What is your current role?

My current role at Asynchrony is a Technical Project Manager/ Business analyst. My current role in my military job is NetOps/DevOps Project Manager

What is your proudest accomplishment?

I don’t think I can pick just one accomplishment because I am thankful for every opportunity given to me that allowed me to learn and excel.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Tell us about a time that this applied to you.

After college I joined the military on active duty, my career was military personnel. While I was on active duty I attended graduate school, I initially started with Computer Information as my major because I was still interested in computers and tech, however, I did not grasp the material and was failing. So I switched my major to Human Resources since it was more in line with my military career. I completed my master’s degree, separated from active duty, and worked in the Human Resources career field.

I was in the career for about ten years, but I was unhappy. I was thinking of changing careers to IT. I talked to a few people who questioned why I would change after ten years, why I would want to start over, and how I would learn how to do IT stuff because it is so different from HR stuff. It became hard to explain why I wanted to change and even harder to have the faith that I would succeed since I failed when trying to get my master’s degree in Computer Information.

I took a chance and took a military job in the reserves working in the IT directorate of the US Transportation Command. I was willing to learn anything, and I did, I worked there for three years in different branches and learned every day. I enjoyed my job and looked forward to going to work. Working there gave me the courage to go back to graduate school, the degree program changed from the time I originally attended and it was now called Information Technology Management. This time around the classes did not seem so hard. I completed my degree and when my military job ended I was offered a job at Asynchrony, a Software development company.

So even though people doubted I would be successful in such a drastic career change, and I even doubted myself at times, I was determined to create my own destiny. Now I know I can learn anything I put my mind to.

What are you learning right now?

Right now I am learning about NetOps/DevOps and how it can be used in government

What was the last fear that you faced? How did you feel after you conquered it?

One of my biggest fears is that I am not technical enough to do the jobs that I am given the opportunity to do. The last fear I faced was when I was on a software development project and I was asked to be the product owner. I was terrified I would not gather enough information or not know what information I needed to help the team. They were relying on me to translate the customer requirements into something they could work on.

I was so fortunate that I was on a team that understood that we succeed and fail as a team. Everyone wanted to succeed and was willing to help me in any way they could. I paired with my tech lead so I could learn what was important to the team and how to get what we need from the customer.

I knew I conquered this fear when I no longer needed to pair with my tech lead and I provided value to the team and the customer on my own. The feedback I received from the team made me feel like if I can succeed at this I can learn something even more technical.

My current fear is my new role as the NetOps/DevOps project manager. I have high confidence that I can learn this as well and I have great people I can reach back to ask questions.

What advice do you wish someone had given to you? What advice would you give to others starting out?

You are the only one holding you back. Once you believe you can do something, you can.

What are your hobbies?

I like so many things, some of the things I like to do are: working out, spending time with my family and dogs, trying new foods, trying new things, traveling, and learning new things.

What do you like about St. Louis? The midwest? Why do you live here?

I like that St. Louis has a diverse population, as well as if you want to be in a city you can and if you want to get away you don’t have to go far to get away from the city.

This was my first duty station when I was active duty, I had never really thought about living here, I was used to being near an ocean growing up in overseas countries. I never thought I would like it here.

St Louis has become home for me, I met my husband here, got married and am starting my family here.

Who inspires you?

There are many people who inspire me, but I would say my mom inspires me the most. Being a young single mom, in the military in a maintenance career field, I know it was not easy for her. She instilled in me that education is the most important thing you can do for yourself. I watched her excel at her job and go back to school and get her bachelor’s and master’s degree after I was an adult, she never let anything stop her. She encourages me to keep moving forward and never give up on my dreams.

Anything else you’d like to add?

As women we must encourage each other and celebrate the successes of other women. It is like a team, we succeed or fail together. There are so many people who judge us, we need not judge each other but uplift and rejoice in each other’s success.

3 thoughts on “Nekisha Ladd

  1. Outstanding interview!! So proud of my niece and her accomplishments. You make men and women believe that anything is possible. Keep doing what you do! Love you-Uncle Ronnie

    Like

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