Aparna forged a new path for herself at ITHAKA. “I have a journalism degree! That’s my background. To see how far I’ve come, from new-hire-without-a-computer-science-degree to senior-level engineer, is pretty crazy when you think about it.”

Along the way, while working on a small side project, Aparna tried Agile coaching. “That was really fun. I like doing things that help people. And doing things like that — playing around in different areas of work, trying new things — is supported and encouraged here. I had not worked in an Agile environment before, and seeing that come to fruition at the end of a sprint was like, ‘We have this thing that we deliver! That is so cool!’”

She says, “It can be scary to meet with your supervisor and say, ‘I’m not sure I want to do coding forever.’ But here, managers want to know what your interests are, how they can help you. They are very supportive in that way. Being able to have open, honest conversations really leads to trust.”

After eleven years, Aparna is still excited to go to work everyday. “There’s always something to figure out. There’s always something we’re trying to do better. I don’t know of any other organizations that welcome, say, reaching out to its president to share your thoughts on something. Here, I know that if I emailed Kevin, he would read it, take it seriously, and open up a conversation about it. I never feel lost on projects because of that transparency around what we’re all trying to achieve and how we all work to get there.”