Lauren's Success Story
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Lauren was a year into getting her doctorate when she had a change of heart. Feeling dissatisfied with her graduate school experience, she left the program. Instead, Lauren took on a role in medical debt collections to give her time to regroup and decide on a new career path. She knew she wanted something more challenging, where she could learn new skills and work with people in a meaningful way. Moreover, she needed more than repetitive, transactional tasks to energize her.
A new option
Lauren’s husband suggested that she might enjoy being a scrum master. She connected with Dan Greenleaf, who encouraged her to pursue technical project leadership. Lauren was hesitant at first.
“I tried to talk him out of it – I had no idea what a scrum master was beyond what was on Google. We talked about my experience interacting with patients, executing research studies, scheduling, training team members, coding research, analyzing data, and reading and writing articles. He said, ‘Well, that sounds perfect.’”
Lauren had developed a wide range of seemingly unconnected skills and experience over her career and can apply them directly to success in the technology space. One of Lauren’s most essential skills came from an unlikely source. She’s uniquely able to take analytical or technical ideas and articulate them in different ways, catering her speech and solutions to her audience. That’s actually from her time working at a science museum when she needed to explain the technical details of bioacoustics and linguistics to visitors ranging from toddlers to grandparents. She developed strong negotiation skills and empathetic listening from being a debt collector – understanding barriers and offering solutions.
After training and mentoring, Lauren entered the tech space as a project coordinator for a prominent women’s retail organization. As she demonstrated how she could apply her skills and abilities, she quickly advanced to project manager, then to marketing technology lead.
Showing the world what she can do
Two years later, Lauren’s salary is more than double what she was making before. More importantly, she loves what she does. With her new track record of success in technology, colleagues now turn to her for help and guidance. She currently manages a team and is working to create a welcoming culture where people want to participate. Not everything went as she expected, however:
“What surprised me is how much I love it. I didn’t realize how much collaboration and teamwork is involved – when I thought of technology, I pictured a person sitting alone at a computer. It blew my mind how much I could learn about it and enjoy the tech field. I can see myself staying with it long-term.”
Lauren has become an advocate, introducing underrepresented groups to the possibilities in tech careers. In addition, she’s passionate about breaking down barriers to technology and other STEM fields. All this goes to show; sometimes, the unexpected path can be the most rewarding.