Meet the Team: Veronica

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Veronica (she/her) is a member of Sparrow’s Hiring team. Let’s get to know Veronica!

How did you get to where you are?

I graduated with a degree in geology in the throes of the 2008 recession, so my career has had a number of twists and unpredictable moments. Highlights have included building maps of Mars to help researchers choose the best landing site for the Curiosity Rover, crushing some of the oldest rocks in the world and making them tell me their secrets, traveling to 5 countries (20+ events total) in one year to speak about the importance of software documentation, and working here at Sparrow on their candidate-approved interview process. Few things make me as happy as hearing a candidate say they’ve enjoyed the interview process, and I’m thrilled to be using skills from many of my past experiences.

What is a fun fact about you?

I trained a former roommate’s cat to walk on a leash. If you think walking a pup has strangers approaching you, imagine the positive response a confident cat with her “excuse me, my human and I are going to the park” attitude gets!

What did your team do to support you in your first month?

At Sparrow, there is no such thing as a silly or useless question. From the first day of training, I was encouraged to share what had been confusing, and I was tickled to see how quickly the team followed up and made adjustments to flesh out those areas. This was my first introduction to Sparrow’s feedback culture, and I ended onboarding feeling assured that I could tell people what I thought and make a difference.

What is your favorite part of working at Sparrow?

The TEAM, hands down. I feel good opening my laptop every morning, not just because I feel good about what Sparrow is doing in the world, but because I get to work with a team of thoughtful, dedicated folks who care for each other.

What do you know now about working at Sparrow that you wish you knew on your first day?

I wish I had understood just how much room there would be to explore and make mistakes (hopefully not too many). I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, and it’s easy to imagine that an idea or message needs to be “perfect” before you ask, propose, or send. Once I started talking about the challenge, it was clear a lot of folks were willing to guide me through the decisions I was struggling with. We also looked for ways to create processes that would lower my cognitive load from decision-making. Now, I know I have the space to evaluate processes, define experiments, and propose changes, and I enjoy my work more and more. As a former researcher, I love working in a role where I can both support a cause I care about and exercise the “always be experimenting” area of my brain.

What are you doing this weekend?

I just moved into a barn in the middle of Upstate NY, so every weekend I do a combination of fairly typical “looking after house” things with a “I live on a farm” twist. I clean my desk, try new furniture combinations, and sing along to the Hamilton soundtrack just like I did in the city. The only thing that has changed is the scenery – I might sit and read or look after my plants in the farm’s greenhouse and occasionally chuckle when I remember I share a bedroom wall with several ~one-ton horses.

What’s the last show you binge-watched?

The Queen’s Gambit. And, yes, I can’t stop thinking about it. For a bit I was playing the soundtrack at the start of standup. The show has quite a fan club here at Sparrow.

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

I travelled to the Czech Republic to speak about Python (programming language) and documentation in programming. The trip was extra-special to me because the region is one of my “homelands,” and I had always hoped to travel there. There were a few challenges - the travel was difficult (4 flights in 2 days!) and during my talk there were A/V problems so I had to go without slides for an uncomfortably long portion of the talk. During both the travel and my talk, I had to rely on my humor and the grace of other folks to overcome my challenges. All told, I am really proud of how well everything came together.

Want to join our team? Check out our careers page and apply!