In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019 and National Women’s History Month, we’re continuing our tradition of highlighting Tech Women at AdRoll Group.
I love reading biographies, but not for the reason you might be thinking. You see, I love origin stories. No two people take the same path through life and it’s those different experiences that shape how we approach our work. That’s why I jumped at the chance to interview several members of Tech Women at AdRoll Group. I had so much fun learning more about my coworkers and am happy to share what I learned with you.
Business Intelligence Engineer
From a young age, Monica wanted to be a journalist. She was inspired by her father, who had an impressive career as a combat cameraman in Vietnam and later worked for CBS News and 60 Minutes. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in political science, she joined her father’s documentary film production company. She and her father made several films and participated in film festivals.
As her father was preparing to retire, Monica looked for new opportunities and challenges. By chance, she was connected with Aaron Bell, founder of AdRoll Group, who was then just building out the company. She was hired to help manage the expansion of the AdRoll Group office. In true startup fashion, Monica also worked the front desk in addition to her other responsibilities. As AdRoll grew, so did Monica’s role, evolving into larger project management duties for the sales team. Through her work with the sales team, she saw a need for and moved her career in the direction of analytical support. Today, Monica works on the Analytics team, providing insights that drive decision making throughout AdRoll Group.
Advice from Monica:
Monica encourages anyone interested in STEM careers to reach out and find a support system. She notes that she was able to find good mentors that went above and beyond their day jobs to provide guidance and support. Prior to that, Monica wasn’t aware of the variety of STEM careers available. Today, Monica participates in Tech Women at AdRoll Group to help others learn and grow in their tech careers.
Senior Solutions Engineer
When she was a kid, Farah wanted to be President of the United States. She would often ask her friends if they’d vote for her (they said yes!). As she grew up, her interests turned toward a career at the FBI. At the University of Maryland, she earned a degree in criminology, with a minor in Arabic. But it wasn’t until she took an Oracle DBA class her senior year that she considered a STEM career.
That class on databases ended up being a key moment in her career. After writing her first SQL statement, she was hooked. After graduating from UMD, she worked as a QA engineer and loved the challenge of breaking software. Farah went on to earn a master’s degree in systems engineering. While working on her master’s degree, she also started working as a systems engineer at Dell EMC, leveraging her interpersonal skills with a systems thinking approach to onboard clients and explain the value of internal tech.
After Dell EMC, Farah started her own clothing line out of a tiny apartment in NYC, and knew she needed to reach more customers to help them find modest fashion wear. Not knowing anything about marketing, some googling led her to find AdRoll. She wanted to combine her SE background with newfound knowledge about small business marketing challenges, helping other clients on their journeys.
Farah now works as a senior solutions engineer at AdRoll Group. At AdRoll, she appreciates not only having mentors but also sponsors, those in power who have advocated for her and given her the chance to try new things. All ideas are entertained, and the resources to execute those ideas made available.
Farah says that solving challenging problems is the most interesting part of her STEM career. “These tough problems keep engineers humble,” she says, “and these problems can range from building scalable processes to serve customers more efficiently to making internal tools more accessible to end users.”
Advice from Farah:
To those interested in STEM careers as engineers, she recommends embracing the imposter syndrome: it means you’re trying new things and growing. A few suggestions from Farah: avoid “analysis paralysis,” go out and do things, and don’t be afraid to get started even if it’s small.
Senior Software Engineer
When she was growing up, Sadie always wanted to be a math teacher. She loved math and was encouraged by her mother, a CPA, to pursue a STEM career. Along the way, she had fantastic teachers and not so fantastic teachers. She saw the difference a great math teacher could have on young minds. She went on to become a math teacher, then ran a tutoring company for several years.
Sadie loved working with her students but yearned for larger challenges. Her then boyfriend, now husband, encouraged her to try some online coding courses. It was an instant hit: Sadie knew she would figure out how to be an engineer. Sadie began by learning SQL and was eventually hired as part of the Business Intelligence team at AdRoll Group. Once on the team, she began to automate parts of her job with Python. Wanting to go further, Sadie took a three-month hiatus from work to attend the Hackbright Academy coding boot camp. After Hackbright, Sadie returned to AdRoll Group as an engineer for several years before leaving to try out another company. Nine months later, Sadie came back to work as an engineer on other systems.
As a working mother, Sadie has found her experience at AdRoll Group to be better than those of her peers at other companies. After returning from maternity leave, Sadie took advantage of flexible hours and was encouraged to leave early for daycare pickup. The message was, “We trust you,” Sadie says. She continues, “AdRoll Group trusted me to get my work done, and in turn, I trusted AdRoll Group to support me while I took care of my family and did my job well.”
Advice from Sadie:
Sadie’s favorite part of her engineering career is that she’s never bored. Working on a variety of projects using a plethora of new technologies keeps her engaged. For those interested in STEM careers, she suggests embracing failure instead of fearing it. Her mother encouraged her to study engineering in college, but the fear of failure kept her from pursuing it. Sadie faces failure every single day and says that it’s from failure that she learns, improves, and grows.
Want more profiles of Tech Women? Read our previous entry.
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