What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
While working as a Pittsburgh police officer, I realized I would be able to retire after 20 years and shift to a new career. But, after eight years on the police force, technology attracted me because of its diversity, ever-changing environment, longevity, and several challenging focus areas. I went back to school to get another degree, but, this time, in technology. While attending school, I met a then-professor and now UPMC senior vice president in IT, who hired me after graduation. While I did not plan to leave the police force early, I could not delay the amazing opportunity to join the technology field, especially at one of the country’s leading academic medical centers.
What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Challenging, enlightening, and indescribable.
What is your personal mantra?
When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t.
Describe the 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).
The highest point of my career was within a three-month period, when I was selected as a Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA nominee and promoted to a senior manager. This came at a very trying time in my life. My husband had not lived with us for 18 months due to being actively deployed, and I was working full time while raising our infant as a single parent. During this period, I was implementing innovative changes at work, pursuing my passion of mentoring/coaching, supporting the families of deployed U.S. Navy sailors in my husband’s mobilization, supporting as many women in the IT field as possible — and suffering and healing from PTSD, anxiety, and a miscarriage. Oftentimes, I felt like a failure inside, that I was not enough, and many more negative thoughts. These two achievements made me realize that no matter how broken I felt, I was still making a real difference — not only in my field but also in many peoples’ lives.
What is your most admirable quality?
Being supportive. All of those in my life — whether friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances — know they can come to me and receive a supporting ear, validation of their feelings, and a positive outlook. Reality is based on your perception, and only you are able to change that view.