New season, new era!!! I’m a HUGE Swiftie (Taylor Swift fan) in case you cannot tell :)! If you follow me on Instagram (follow me @_thepinkchickadee), then you have seen a preview into my brand-new Corporate Queen Era with my new look. Yes, YOU heard that right: I *finally* got my hair done and chopped most of it off and went blonde. Trust me, I feel like the Corporate Queen that I AM!
Before I get into the meat of this blog post, I want to thank my amazing hair stylist Yaleena who I have been trusting with my hair for the past 10+ years and in 3 different salons over the years (my Mom goes to her too!) for doing an AMAZING job on my hair!! You can follow her on Instagram @yaleenahairdesign. A fun fact about Yaleena is that she went to high school with my Aunt Amy in Northern Virginia back in the days. Now, she is currently at a hair salon in gorgeous Old Town Fairfax, Virginia just 20 minutes away from my house. THANK YOU, Yaleena <3
2 years ago, I was about to graduate from college. April 2021, I landed my current position at my incredible company in consulting. I started at my company in July of 2021. I LOVE my company and the culture that they thrive on and share with their employees with pride. My company does incredible connection events for networking (two of which I’ve supported in October and in March) with putting on, allows for their employees to pave their own unique career paths and the flexibility to do so, and extraordinary benefits including support for certifications and graduate school along with employees to create their own schedules and have a strong work-life balance. In July, I went to a Washington Nationals baseball game with a BUNCH of coworkers which was a blast. I have also attended several happy hours with coworkers who are Early Career Professionals (like myself!) and with coworkers of all ages and career levels. I have gained a HUGE passion for networking within my company, too. I admire my company and their values very much. Not only do I LOVE the people that I work with on my team (I am full time in the Health Market in an insurance-focused role), but I also LOVE what I do and the benefits that come with it.
One of the biggest parts of my company work that I LOVE is getting to work in the Health Market full time. Very recently, I moved onto a health insurance-related project that I had been on part time along with another project to a full time role on this project. I LOVE that I get to hone in on my skills within my healthcare project and explore different avenues within it, including management, technical writing, data visualization, coding, and policy. I get to learn a ton of different softwares on this project which is great experience. I truly get a GREAT opportunity to dabble in a TON of different aspects pertaining to my project and further develop my skills and expertise. At the same time, I LOVE my teammates. We are a 30 people+ team and everyone is super friendly. Although I don’t work with everyone on the team on a regular basis, I do get opportunities to see them all virtually weekly and have met many of my teammates in-person. I am also blessed to have developed friendships with a few of my teammates who I work closely with, too. I was told by my friend Lorena that I talk about health insurance A LOT – LOL! Needless to say, I am VERY passionate about the work that I do in the Health Market.
Another strong role that I play in my company is through co-leading my company’s Women in Data Community of Practice (COP). Women in Data is focused on facilitating discussions surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and all things pertaining to women who are working in and with data at my company along with *of course* discussions surrounding all things related to data, whether it be data science, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data visualizations, coding, data analytics, and much more. We also have male employees participate in events and present, too, which I think says a ton about my fellow coworkers and it makes me happy. One of my company’s biggest goals is to increase ALL employees’ digital enablement (DE), including knowledge on different aspects within data, which makes it fun to spread the word. We do several fun events, whether it be Brown Bags, networking events, panels, service activities/awareness, and informal chats. ALL very fun. I recently attended an event to kick off my company’s Disability Affinity Group which was incredible for networking and a group that I will be collaborating with when it comes to the data behind disabilities and the growing awareness and need for accessibility. All in all, I LOVE getting to lead a COP as an early career professional and support and empower others within my organization.
My passion project is promoting equity pertaining to women in STEM and people with disabilities JUST in case you didn’t notice from my social media stories already! Talking about career opportunities in STEM with people who may not feel as if they would succeed in a STEM career despite having interests in STEM is a big passion of mine. Unfortunately, women and people with disabilities are less likely to pursue careers in STEM along with the BIPOC community. STEM For Her, a nonprofit I volunteer with and LOVE is striving to change just that. A highlight for me was doing STEM For Her’s onsite social media at their first-ever STEM For Her Day in December 2022. I am also looking to get involved with The Arc of Northern Virginia, a nonprofit focused on empowering people with disabilities, including participating with Papa in their run/walk 5K in June at a nearby park. I also send out A BUNCH of professional development and networking events to my friends, too. I definitely want to share even more on the blog about this passion of mine, too!
Currently, I am on the leadership track which those I work with fully support. I do not know exactly what leader I would like to be, but I love the opportunities and options that my company has to offer. At the same time, I want to continue to volunteer and maybe serve on a nonprofit board someday. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility is a big interest of mine which I get to see in my project work daily. I plan to get professional certifications, including one in Human-Centered Design this October. In a few years, I have aspirations to get an MBA at a local Washington, DC area program part time while working. I am also looking at programs in leadership focused on young professionals in the near-term future (more to come on this!!). A lot of my free time in the evenings is spent at professional development events, whether with Women in Technology (an AMAZING Washington, DC area-based professional society), STEM For Her volunteering, or other networking events. I definitely see myself staying in the Washington, DC area for my career. My company is headquartered in the DMV, I have many opportunities both personally and professionally in this area, and many of my friends and most of my family are nearby (whether in Delaware just a few hours away, Annapolis in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Philadelphia/New Jersey also a few hours North). Needless to say, I am blessed and lots of great things are to come!
One of the biggest things in my Corporate Queen Era for me will be preventing burnout by setting limits and being more intentional both personally and professionally with my time. It is SO EASY for each of us to get very busy with our work and personal life. We cannot do it all. As much as I dreaded accepting this reality, it is the truth. To be able to accomplish what we set our minds to, we NEED to be able to set limits, make time for our passions, dedicate time to check in with those we love both friends and family, enhance our professional skills and grow in our jobs, seek out new opportunities, and take a vacation on occasion. I have some exciting vacations planned in 2023-2024, including to: San Francisco, Honolulu, Nashville, Boston, Edenton, the Maine coastline, Charlotte, London, Edinburgh, and Dublin! Needless to say, I am very lucky and excited for my Corporate Queen Era AND what is to come!!
XOXO – Katie <3