My career path at Pariveda
I started as a Consultant at Pariveda immediately after graduating from DePaul University in 2014. Since then, I have developed into a Senior Manager. Throughout my time here, I’ve worked mostly on custom application development projects, most recently in AWS and data. I had the opportunity to be the Intern Manager for the Chicago internship in 2019, which was an invaluable experience. I led a team of five college Interns in the development of a solution for a local nonprofit here in Chicago. I was a new Manager at the time, and the experience helped me develop the skills and confidence needed to lead a team and run a technology project.
Exploring the opportunity of a lifetime
In 2015, my partner had the opportunity to work on a research project in Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. Commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean near Guam. We were excited at the thought of an adventure like this, but there were also many factors to consider, my job included. I had only been at Pariveda for a little over a year and a half, but we knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we couldn’t say no. Together, we decided that he would take the position, and I would join him on the adventure to the middle of the Pacific. I worked with my Pariveda Mentor and our Office Managing Vice President to discuss different options. Through some collaborative conversations, we all decided that it made the most sense for me to take a Leave of Absence (LOA). I worked with our Care & Support team to get the details all set. I was so relieved to work with people who were understanding and supportive of this experience, which was so important to my partner and me.
Embracing adventure and my role in bird research and rainforest regrowth
Once the time came, I packed my bags and headed out to the island of Saipan where my partner and I would be living. It is a very small island in the Pacific Ocean that I had never heard of before. Over the course of my LOA, I helped on the research project that my partner and his team were working on. The goal of the project was to understand the role that each species of bird on the island played in seed dispersal, ultimately contributing to the regrowth of the rainforest. I developed bird diets for the birds we were working with, retrieved fruits from the field for experiments, maintained plants in the greenhouse, and collected and entered data. Outside of the work we did, we were able to explore the island and all of its beauty. I experienced new foods, new cultures, and met people from all over the world. It was a dream! Once the project concluded, we spent two months traveling through Asia and Europe and then slowly made our way back to Chicago.
Returning to work after a leave of absence
Coming back to work was a seamless transition. I worked with our Care & Support team to decide my return date and coordinated with our Office Managing Vice President in the weeks leading up to my return to understand what project I would be on when I got back and who to reach out to for logistics. Upon returning, my teammates in the office were extremely supportive and excited to hear about my adventures in Saipan. There were both new and familiar faces in the office. It was nice because it made it comfortable to come back to a familiar group of people, but exciting to meet those who had joined the office in my absence. I learned so much in my time away from work. It gave me the confidence to try new things, explore the unknown, and take chances. I would definitely recommend anyone considering a LOA to do it! You will learn so much about yourself and the world we live in. It will help you in your professional and personal life in ways that you could never imagine.