For our next installment of “Techie of the Month,” we are excited to present our “Ms. November,” Marissa Shuchat of Howard Beach.
Marissa currently serves as a Digital Operations Specialist for StoryCorp, a 2015 TED Prize winning, media non-profit that collects and shares the everyday stories of ordinary Americans, from all over the country. Having started her career in tech when she encountered StoryCorp at her colleges career fair, she was soon offered a position as an intern, and as you can imagine was asked to stay on. She has now been with StoryCorp, and in the industry for over 3 years. Marissa holds 2 Degrees, one in Computer Science and the other in Philosophy. Marissa also participated as a panelist at this years Grace Hopper Conference, where she spoke on the value of, and how to be successful in an internship.
Everyone loves a nice title. But it’s still important to know, what a “Digital Operations Specialist” actually does. In layman’s terms, Marissa describes her role as being a Utility In-fielder. In baseball, the Utility Infielder doesn’t have one set job. They plug-in wherever they’re needed. The same goes for Marissa as her role is a hybrid one, consisted of development, technical support and troubleshooting, along with system administrator tasks, mixed with project management, analytics and reporting, finance and anything else involved with keeping the digital team moving, and on track. With all the different directions she can be pulled in, “It definitely keeps the day interesting.”
When asked what she loves about her job, she could barely contain her excitement, she explained that she loved everything about her job. The variety, challenge, impact, and people, everyone including the Director, CEO, Founder and even the Executive Board. I really love working for an organization that is attempting to advance humanity. I love that there are so many learning opportunities available and am excited that I get to be a part of, and to our digital growth, as we spread the message and reach under represented groups. The only challenge for my job is not having enough time in the day. The key to not getting overwhelmed is prioritizing, and taking on one thing at a time. Everything will get completed. You just have to make it on a realistic timeline. A shortage of resources (operational, financial, and personnel) is a reality of working for a non-profit. The bright side is that it also gives everyone on the team an opportunity to rise to a new challenge. So there is always room to grow and develop.
All women in tech face challenges, for Marissa, that challenge was the feeling of being left out of the boys club. She shared an all too familiar story: “When I was working part-time as support. All of the staff would go into the main office to get our assignments but then I realized that the guys were never around. Later on, I found out that there was a basement office that they would all go to, and hang out, through little parties for birthdays or fair wells, just any chance to be social. And no one ever said anything to me. I know that they were staff and I was just a student, so I can’t really say if it was all that intentional. But to find out that those things were happening and I wasn’t included was really hurtful. But, I have also been really lucky, because I have had some really great experiences and bosses since then.”
With that challenge behind her, one of the highlights of her career, was winning her first ever Hackathon, while still in school, along with a small group of other students. The project outline for the hackathon was anything that would help Downtown Brooklyn. Their winning idea was called “Wi-Move,” a wi-fi repeater, that could be carried around and used to connect with and amplify the free wi-fi signal that Downtown Brooklyn already provides. They built a prototype, and made a video of street interviews with locals to gauge reaction to the idea.
When asked about the best advice, both to given to her and her to pass along for herself, the answers were two sides to the same coin: The best advice given to her, was to “always try new things, even if you don’t get it right at first. Your persistence will be rewarded, because even if you fail, you’ve learned something.” and in giving advice, she echoes the previous statement, but adds that “the fear of imperfection can be overcome, easier said than done, but definitely worth it.” Keeping with the theme of trying new things, Marissa is currently working towards a few goals, the first is to become a Salesforce Certified Administrator sometime in early 2018, as well as completing a WordPress Course.
When asked the question, “Who inspires you and why?” Marissa’s response was enthusiastic and without hesitation: “My boss. Dean Haddock, Managing Director, Digital & Technical Innovation at StoryCorps. I admire both his Technical and Design sensibility, but also his soft skills. His coach likemanagement style, is very supportive and makes it very easy to talk to him.”
Fun Facts about Marissa:
Describe yourself (5 words or less):
Funny, Focused, Fit, Friendly, Frugal
What are you passionate about outside of tech?
Outdoors, Travel, Food
What is your guilty pleasure comfort food?
Anything chocolate, with NO guilty what-so-ever.
How can people get in touch with you?
[Marissa] You can connect with me on LinkedIN !
I loved getting insight from Marissa in this installment of “Techie of the Month”. Want to be next month’s pick or know someone who should be? Fill out this form and let us know!