You’ve been with Fíonta for almost a year now…what first attracted you to Fíonta?
I had just finished my MBA and was looking for a way to combine what I just spent two years learning with wanting to make the world a better place. I saw an opening at Fíonta through Linkedin and I applied. The values of the company, the clientele, and my conversations with Sarah (who is one of the best HR people I had the pleasure of working with) attracted me to Fíonta.
What were you doing before you came to Fíonta?
Before joining Fíonta, I served as the Director of Council on Residency Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG) at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). I got to manage a portfolio of projects and meetings that improved residency education in ob-gyn.
You may have been the last employee we hired before the DC office shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. What was that experience like?
I started on a Wednesday and went home on Friday being told we are working from home on Monday to test things out. On Tuesday, I was told we will be working remotely indefinitely. It was an adjustment, but everyone was so amazing that honestly, it did not impact me as much as I thought it would. Plus I think Slack is such a great tool to get to know everyone!
Tell me about a project that you’ve been a part of here at Fíonta that has been particularly meaningful to you? Why?
One project that stands out to me is Lever for Change (LFC). They match philanthropists with problem solvers to accelerate social change. Our team is helping LFC to design their Salesforce instance to help them do what they do more efficiently. How cool is that? Also, everyone we have met at LFC is just a gem of a human and it makes every interaction with them so lovely. I love when we work with clients who do amazing things but are also just amazing people.
Which Fíonta core value is the most meaningful to you?
Always be improving. It’s our family motto. We were exiled from my home country when I was 11 years old. I remember focusing on all the things I left behind – toys, friends, etc. My father would say – life can take everything away but you can always rebuild if you continue learning and continue improving. When I saw the “Always be improving” listed as a value, I knew I had found my work home.
Your current role is Manager of the Project Management Office – tell me about some of the process improvements you’ve put into place since you took over the PMO.
This improvement has just begun but I am so excited to be working with David on implementing a new PMO tool. We are going through the discovery process and it has been a fun journey getting to understand what everyone at Fíonta does. I also want to give our Execution Team shout out. I really love what we are doing at Fíonta and cannot imagine a better group of people to be on the journey of process improvement.
Let’s pretend COVID doesn’t exist – what are your favorite outside of work activities?
Hosting dinner parties! We love to cook and entertain. Before you ask, my all-time favorite was my murder mystery birthday party we hosted. The menu took us over a month to plan and it was glorious.
In general, I love anything that involves trying something new – trying a new restaurant, traveling to a destination I have never been to, meeting new people… the idea of trying new things led me to some of the best experiences of my life… Like that time I got the opportunity to volunteer in New Orleans with the International School of Louisiana helping them rebuild schools post-Katrina. And that other time I ended up participating in the Kanaval Ball with the Krewe which was started by a lead singer of a Canadian indie rock band (ask me more about this when we meet). Or how I ended up touring McDonald’s Hamburger University in Chicago! Yes… that is a real place that exists and it’s magical! Life is fun when you say YES to new experiences!
Aquarium or zoo?
Zoo – specifically DC Zoo – and more specifically pandas – and even more specifically Red Pandas! [Editor’s note: love the specificity here!]
Introvert or extrovert?
Omnivert – aka introverted extrovert.
Black or pinto beans?
Neither – but I do love corn – any form.
Bound book or e-book?
Bound books! Fun fact, my father had built a children’s library for me because I began reading at age of 4.5.
Favorite nut butter?
Does Nutella count? If not, and I had to choose because there is nothing else left to eat and all I have is nut butter choices – than almond butter but only if I can have it with bread and honey. Otherwise, I would rather starve. [Editor’s note: we cannot have Gale starve so yes, Nutella counts.]