What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
I never started out with the intention of pursuing a career in technology. Prior to my current career, I was an accountant for a third-party bookkeeper for municipalities. I was miserable and needed change. My personal passion was teaching people to take care of themselves and their families. This led to me returning to school to earn a master’s in homeland security. My goal was to take something I was passionate about and focus it to more of my community.
Pref-Tech gave me that opportunity. Through technology, we are able to provide safer communities all across the state. The security industry and technology go hand in hand. Some of the greatest advances in the security industry come in the forms of customized programming and analytics.
I am proud to be associated with a company that embraces the title of “trusted advisor” to our customers regarding new and emerging technologies, updating their existing systems, or custom designing solutions to their individual pain points.
What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Challenging — helping to use technology to create efficiencies that will benefit the entire company.
Flexible — the ability to triage issues and create solutions quickly has served me in my career.
Exciting — many opportunities for the company’s growth.
What is your personal mantra?
Our family lives by three rules:
We believe every decision in life can be traced back to those three rules.
I’ve been blessed with a job that allows me to do those three things on a daily basis, especially the last. I get to be a part of protecting my coworkers, our customers, and our communities.
Describe highest point in your career so far and how you got there, including all the hurdles you had to jump (and the ones you tripped over too).
My journey with Pref-Tech began while I was still in my master's program at Sam Houston State University. Two gentlemen from Pref-Tech, one being the owner, came in to give a presentation to our security management class. The presentation led me to create a long list of questions; which, in turn, led to an offer of a summer internship.
During the four-month internship, I got to work in every department. The department I was able to assist with the most, though, was sales. At that time, the team consisted of six people. Each team member was maxed out on bandwidth, and opportunities were still steadily increasing. There was too much opportunity and not enough people. The team had to grow.
In the fall of 2018, at the completion of my education, I was offered a job as a sales and design professional with Pref-Tech. I came into the industry as “green” as possible and was incredibly underprepared. The complexities of each project’s parts and pieces, proposals, and customer management were not coming to me easily. As an incredibly analytical and introverted person, I was feeling defeated and incompetent. I was failing, and it was bleeding over into my home life. It was after a sales training course that I finally admitted I wasn’t in the right seat on the bus and took my concerns to my supervisor.
The vice president of sales had no clue where to put me, so he created a position for me — strategic planning analyst. I was assigned special projects, tasked to build a marketing department from scratch, assisted with onboarding new employees, and so much more. In slightly over a year, I was given my own team to lead and manage. I created a custom onboarding program for new hires that is capable of tracking objectives, schedules, standards, and accountability. It has enabled us to track how new employees are advancing. It also quickly identifies new hires that cannot keep up with company core values and expectations, thus saving time and money.
The technology I used to build the onboarding training was all new to me. We utilize Microsoft D365, and I had the opportunity to teach myself many programs within that platform and how to link them all together.
My greatest achievement thus far is being able to directly improve processes and procedures to enhance the people on our team to best serve our customers and communities.
What is your most admirable quality?
Grit, which is defined as passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals. It is the ability to persist in something I feel passionate about and persevere when I face obstacles. Grit is also one of the company’s five core values. The most important achievements in life are the ones a person must fight for. Facing challenges test the determination and dedication to goals.
I have not placed a goal in front of myself that has not been met yet. If I don't achieve it on the first try, I refuse to quit until I do. One of the goals I am still working on is marketing. I have no skills in this field, so I am having to learn about marketing, test different software platforms, and discern best practices for a completely virtual world.