My first coach was my grandmother. Her work ethic inspired me to push hard to achieve my goals, from competitive swimming starting when I was 8 years old to putting myself through college. Over the years, I have been blessed to benefit from the guidance of many mentors. Even my husband and two small children are coaches in their own way, keeping me grounded and focused on the right priorities.
My compass is always pointing towards the next goal. Self-learning web development as a kid, becoming the first college graduate in my family, my passion today for mountaineering — I never stop exploring. There is always a more challenging summit to reach, so I like to push myself further and further in all aspects of life.
I love learning about the origins of language and how it shapes the world. Reading the work of people from all different backgrounds provides unlimited perspectives and opportunities to grow. In college, I took every type of literature, writing, linguistics, grammar, and editing course that I possibly could.
I have always been interested in making, building, or fixing something. This interest led to a variety of summer jobs as I was working through school — from bartending to renovating houses. Each experience served me later on as a product manager. My favorite though, was my summer job working as a ferryman on the Helford River in Cornwall, England. It turned out this role had many parallels to product management.
I have always known that the pursuit of money for money’s sake will ultimately result in unhappiness. My parents taught me these values. The messages were clear — if you value something, work hard, and make informed choices, then you will create opportunities that deliver intrinsic value.
Embrace the unexpected. I suppose my parents instilled this trait in me. In the early 1990s, they moved our family from Poland to the U.S. — sight unseen. I cannot imagine how scary that must have been for them to leave their comfort zone, immerse themselves in a new culture and language, and just roll with it.
Marketing agencies get a bad rap. It can be said that they foster ruthless work environments aimed at one thing: racking up the biggest client spend bill possible. Well, I’m happy to provide a counter to that impression. My agency experience was nothing like that at all.
My first job as a programmer was working with a legacy Visual Basic 6 application. Although VB has always been looked down upon as a programming language, it delivered a fundamental lesson for me.
I was inspired by my parents. Whether they were delivering food after a life event or shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor, helping those in need was part of their daily routine. The example they set led to my lifelong passion for volunteering and mentorship — a passion that led me to Aha!
Building things is my favorite way to learn. Even better when I can build things with people who I can learn a lot from. I took my first programming course in college, which lead to my first Ruby on Rails internship at an analytics aggregation company. That summer, I spent every waking hour learning Rails.
“Do you have any hobbies?” This is a hard question. Over the years, my curious nature has led to paddleboarding, knitting, gardening, speaking Italian, and most recently, the ukulele. Of course, not every hobby becomes a lifelong passion. But I am always up for a new challenge. Read more…
I was dreaming about Aha! long before I knew it existed. Let me explain. It was a cold night in December 2014. I was at a cookie party — you know the kind, where you bake dozens of treats and swap with other guests. I was in the kitchen chatting with a childhood friend of the hostess. We were talking about her job as well as mine.
It all started with Mensa and math. As a kid, I loved to solve Mensa puzzles with my dad. I enjoyed the pattern recognition and problem-solving games. So when a high school math teacher introduced me to programming, I knew I had found an entirely new type of puzzle. And I could not wait to solve it.
I was always told I could do anything I set my mind to. And so I did. Growing up in a small town outside of Athens, Georgia, I tried just about every extracurricular activity you can imagine. Musical theater. Class president. Playing volleyball. Showing dairy heifers.
I love discovering new things. As a kid, I taught myself to program text-based adventure games on a TI-99/4A in BASIC. They were simple clones of games I enjoyed, such as “Colossal Cave Adventure” or “Zork.” Those countless hours of writing, debugging, and (don’t forget!) playing, taught me the foundations of programming.