Many women in tech get their start outside of the industry and LaShana Breland is one of them. Starting her career in Sports Medicine, she fell into tech when her boss asked her to solve a problem, and the rest is history. This month, I’m excited to highlight our awesome Director of Social Media, LaShana Breland as our Techie of the Month!
LaShana or Shana for short, heads up all social media marketing for Long Island Women in Tech and has done a tremendous job promoting our events and engaging our network over the past 9 months. By day, Shana is a CRM Administrator at 2U – an Education Technology company in Chelsea (NYC West Side South of MidTown). She has been in the tech industry for 4 years and currently resides in Lindenhurst, NY.
Here’s my interview with Shana:
How did you find your way to the field of technology?
[Shana] Technology has always been a part of my life, even when I was following a different career path. Every job I’ve ever had, I have implemented or been a part of implementing some new technology or information system. Whether it was changing paper filing systems or bringing in entirely new software systems. Technology and Efficiency have always been major tools that I’ve brought with me wherever I went. Back then, it was always just this skill I had, but never really put much energy or focus into. A few years ago, I was working at a company that used Salesforce and my boss had an idea for something he wanted to do but couldn’t quite figure out, so he looked at me and said “you figure it out!” and I did. After that, I dove in head first into this thing called Salesforce and haven’t looked back since.
In basic terms, what does a “CRM Administrator” do?
[Shana] Salesforce.com is the leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform in the industry used by companies globally. 2U uses this platform to manage their customer relationships and I administer that platform for 2U. In basic terms, I manage “all the things”. Everything from the everyday issues caused by user error, to uploading or editing data, and fielding requests for new tools and features, like process automation, or new third party applications to make life easier for different departments. My job is basically to make sure everyone else can easily do theirs.
As a woman in a technology field, what challenges have you observed or experienced?
[Shana] The challenges I face seem to boil down to being underestimated. People will look at me and say to themselves, “She can’t possibly know what she’s talking about.” So it can be very hard to have my voice heard and my opinion taken seriously. And once I do prove that I’m apt and capable, the effect seems to wear off over time and I’m ultimately forced to prove myself all over again. A vicious cycle that I’m sure is not unique to me.
What advice would you impart on someone just starting out?
[Shana] The best advise I can give was given to me when I first started to learn coding, and I feel that it doesn’t just apply to coding, but really rings true to life in general. Whatever the problem is, break it into smaller pieces. The smaller pieces can help to solve each other. Making the problem itself easier to solve, and you get to celebrate more victories. Making it harder to become discouraged.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
[Shana] To always remember that the worst thing anyone can ever say is ‘NO’. And if you get [a NO], it’s your choice whether or not to accept it.
What are you passionate about?
[Shana] Tiny houses and Sustainable Living. I discovered Tiny Houses and the Tiny House Movement years before it was on HGTV and fell in love (became practically obsessed) and have been working towards my goal of owning one ever since.
How can people get in touch with you?
[Shana] You can connect with me on Twitter as @ShanaBreland or LinkedIN or come to one of our Long Island Women in Tech meet ups!
I loved getting insight from Shana for our 2nd installment of “Techie of the Month”. Want to be next month’s pick? Fill out this form and let us know all about you!