I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I always got 100% on my calculus tests. I loved math so I chose to make it my major. In that program, you had to take a couple of computer science classes and it was then that I realized I wanted to do something in the field of technology as my career. When I was in college, a degree in computer science was not even offered at my school.
For me, the transition was tough. I was born and raised a New Yorker and as a child, dreamed I would find my home in Manhattan. After 10 years of working in the city, it was hard to imagine giving it up. I moved here to take the job at SIG and after the initial “shock to the system,” I came to find my home here in Philadelphia. I met people and formed friendships within SIG and outside SIG. And, I also found myself centrally located between all my siblings so my home has become the hub, which is wonderful.
When I started at SIG, I was a Software Developer in the options space. Over the years, I developed systems for many different product domains solving many different problems. I was eventually given the opportunity to oversee small teams of technologists and over time those teams grew. When the opportunity to lead the technology organization became available, I wasn’t sure I was ready. While an external recruiting search was conducted, I was asked to be the interim Head of Technology. Over time, I recognized that I had the skills needed to lead the team. I talked to the owners and explained why I thought I was capable of the job. I have been Head of Technology now for a little over 10 years and I am still excited and challenged every day.
While I don’t do the same thing every day, I have certain main focus areas. I work on key projects for SIG’s businesses and make strategic decisions about how to evolve our technical stack, all while building a team of talented technologists and keeping them challenged and engaged. We are a high-functioning team built on collaboration, respect, experimentation, and excellence. We are a no-blame culture that is always willing to celebrate successes and equally willing to learn from failures. It’s also my job to ensure our technology team is focused on the efforts that can yield the greatest results. I closely track the things we do well, along with what we can learn when challenges arise or things don’t go as planned. There are always opportunities to learn and improve. Finally, I’m a connector. In my role, I am aware of efforts in almost every business area. I help connect business and technology teams and find synergies.
I care a lot about transparency. I hold technology town hall meetings a few times a year to have technologists hear me as “just me” and to ensure that every technologist can see the big picture and see their impact on our businesses. For this same reason, I sit in on post-mortems. These discussions give me a chance to listen to technologists solving problems and to share some of the bigger, firm-wide technology initiatives and decisions.
I also hold new hire lunches several times a year. These lunches allow me to get to know the new technologists joining our teams and to present a picture of why we work the way we do – collaboratively across disciplines. I like to share the themes that guide our technology and business success. I believe this type of communication helps to build trust and transparency across and within our teams.
Exercising, yoga, reading and spending time with my family at the beach and at our cabin in upstate New York. Oh yeah, and shoes!
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