Anna Zaslavskaya

How many years have you been in tech?

Almost 6 years!

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

I was born in Moscow, Russia and came to the United States when I was three years old. I grew up fortunate enough to have parents that never discouraged me from any goal or professional decision. They were happy I was a bit of a book-worm and spent my time questioning what was taught in high school and college; however, they never really pressured me to excel. I’m not quite sure where my love for knowledge or determination came from, but even as a child I was always extremely studious. For the first two years of my university journey, I had a strange double major combination of Psychology and Information Systems. Due to the nature of the IS course work, I was always looking for internship and/or job opportunities in the field. Thanks to networking (and possibly a bit of over-determination), I was able to land a job in the technical helpdesk realm which quickly evolved into a system analyst role. Thus, I began juggling a full-time “career” and a full-time student workload. I felt like the early years involved a lot of “fast-paced” learning to say the least. However, it all paid off in the long-run for my career and my own self-perception. (If I could do this, I wouldn’t have any problems tackling any other goals!)

How were you exposed to tech?

I grew up with tech in my daily life. Maybe I always had “nerdy” friends as a child, but I have a lot of memories of Napster, modding/making MySpace background templates, LAN parties and hoarding proxies to access social media sites on school computers. While I can’t really condone most of the above anymore (or maybe ever), I did teach myself some valuable lessons. Technical “problems” are not scary, irreparable things and they can easily be bypassed with enough willpower and Googling.

What is your current role?

Quality Advocate at Asynchrony Labs

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Surviving four years as a full-time honor-roll student and as a young professional with a full-time “career” while battling consistent sleep deprivation.

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

To broadly answer, I don’t like taking explanations at face-value if the explanation doesn’t logically make sense to me. In the past, I’m sure I’ve annoyed a few with my curious nature and my stubbornness to continue until I take the time to go down some research black-holes. I believe everyone should be allowed the time to learn in whichever way works best for them (unless a release deadline is looming, of course 🙂 ).

What are you learning right now?

I’m presently learning the art of retro facilitation, the processing and configuration of Google Analytics and always on the look out to keep my automated testing skills sharp.

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

I wish someone would have told me there are a lot of other alternatives when it comes to workplace culture. While I love to work hard, I spent too many years in a strict, corporate culture that just wasn’t for me. (However, I will say this makes me really appreciate Asynchrony’s culture even more!) I would tell others starting out to keep their heads up, network hard, take calculated risks, and never allow anyone in a workplace setting (or any other setting) make you feel less than.

What are your hobbies?

Reading, scuba diving, traveling, pinball, trying out new bars/restaurants.

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

I think STL has a lot to offer. I love that there are so many cultures in such a small Midwestern city. Going to the Hill or Cherokee Street can become a full day adventure if planned out correctly. In addition, we’re extremely spoiled with all the free events being held throughout the city. There’s just so much to do.

Who inspires you?

I’m a firm believer and advocate for women supporting women. I love hearing stories of women succeeding in the face of injustice. I would say all women who work in a predominantly male industry inspire me and give me hope for a future in which discrimination is eradicated from the workplace. We’re slowly but surely encouraging more women to join STEM professions and breaking down stereotypes together!

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