How many years have you been in tech?
Tell me about your background. What were your early years like?
In college I wanted to take the route of becoming a doctor or veterinarian, but I will just pause and say that did not work out as I would not be here today writing about my journey to tech. However, I was an Agriculture Science, Biology and Chemistry geek that thought if I could make my way through college without a computer class, I was golden…and I did. I did make my way through the brutality of Calculus and the classes of its liking and thought that maybe, engineering was a pathway I would enjoy, but that was junior year, so I stayed the science course and here I am.
My first job out of college was working at a cattle feedyard managing daily feed consumption and health of cattle through a different computer program. These programs were advanced for its time, but I have seen technology kick off in agriculture as one of the largest use cases for data science and little did I know technology was inching its way into my career. My background is biology and microbiology and I spent the early years of my career in food science working a lot with regulatory agencies to ensure the safety of food products from the laboratory spaces for a short time to finally include the manufacturing spaces in which the food is packaged and processed. Little did I know that statistical analysis I did for feed consumption, grain usage and health progress would be so much more automated in the future and web based technology I could access from my mobile device.
How were you exposed to tech?
My background is biology and microbiology and I spent the early years of my career in food science working a lot with regulatory agencies to ensure the safety of food products from the laboratory spaces for a short time to finally include the manufacturing spaces in which the food is packaged and processed.
My first true introduction into tech spaces was through my introduction to lean manufacturing, manufacturing automation, and the software engines that ran the quality control systems. Many of the automation systems brought into the manufacturing process at places I worked like Nestle’ Purina and ConAgra Foods were to lean the canning process of pet food processing, the thermal process for canned foods and finally the automation process for consumer goods – packaged food. The goal was not only the cost decreased in the foods that were being produced, but you could produce more with less running through multiple shifts. From a microbiological perspective, it meant more food safety intervention…more intervention if a machine broke due to stress and metal fillings were found, or plastic was missing from sanitation inspection. Initially it made my job very difficult as more automation was implemented, it meant less human interactions, but more justification from a food safety perspective to what if it broke…and the job I was doing was value added, but when you are part of Quality Control and Assurance in food safety in a plant and you stop the line. If production stops, you better be able to justify why.
The supervisory and managerial roles in Quality Assurance and Control not fulfilling my long term goals. I was lucky that at ConAgra foods there was a large multi million dollar ERP (enterprise resource planning) project underway to implement SAP in all the consumer food manufacturing plants and they were looking for individuals who had business and manufacturing experience to work as subject matter experts to facilitate the implementation process from as – is to the program many know today as SAP. I did that for 4 years.
I then moved to Monsanto as a Product Manager and worked on field and logistical applications for aspects of breeding, Chemistry, Agronomy, field planting and collection and my favorite was the large Greenhouse project I worked. Agriculture and technology came full circle.
What is your current role?
Solutions Analyst Lead for CSG international working with Charter Communications as a consultant.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest moment is understanding and learning my strengths and weaknesses. Applying my strengths and learning to surround myself with others who are NOT like me to succeed. Owning my career path and investing time to make it what I want. I cannot rely on others to make the path or give me directions. Learning to reflect continuously on what I expect to get from my career. That knowing your personal brand, and what it is you offer is unique and yours.
“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Tell us about a time that this applied to you.
I am putting on my pantsuit to start a new business. I grew up in an environment that was often close-minded to the world around it. I striving for diversity to assist other of a different class, culture or ethnicity will not hurt me, it will help me persevere where others will not venture to drift.
What are you learning right now?
I am trying to start a business and learning how to do web design applying the skills I have learned for others in tech and as a product manager.
What was the last fear that you faced? How did you feel after you conquered it?
Public Speaking at a conference. Great.
What advice do you wish someone had given to you? What advice would you give to others starting out?
That I own my career. I drifted for years without a mentor or someone taking me under their wing, and I struggled and disliked my work due to the scrutiny I often found myself in. Own your career, find a mentor
What are your hobbies?
Cycling and sports, infographics and web UX nerd, and really amateur photographer.
What do you like about St. Louis? The midwest? Why do you live here?
It’s a small city with an epicenter of things I am interested. Science and Technology.
Who inspires you?
My mother and my partner.