Finding balance for my family
August 2023 will mark my tenth anniversary at Pariveda. At my previous company, I traveled 60-70% of the time. My wife was also working full-time, and we had two little kids, both in elementary school. It was a challenge for everyone – especially for my wife because she was taking the brunt of trying to balance it all. So, when I had the opportunity to work at Pariveda and maintain a local presence at home in Dallas, that was a win-win for me. I’ve worked at a lot of different companies. I’ve seen the good. I’ve seen the bad. I’ve seen the ugly. Pariveda is hands above. My dad worked for a large technology company. We moved around quite a bit. I was the youngest of four, and I didn’t see my dad much except for the weekends because he was always working. It’s not that my dad didn’t care and didn’t want to spend time with us. He was just trying to do what was best for the family. He was the sole provider. His strong work ethic had a tremendous impact on how I am today.
My wife also has a full-time career, and I do everything I can to support her. I want her to be able to attain the career level she wants. It’s not all about me. It’s about what is best for the family. Pariveda has given me the flexibility and understanding to make that work. I have the life balance that allows me to be there for my kids and prepare them for the world they’re going into. They know that my wife and I will always be there—just a phone call away. We can’t save them from everything because that’s not how life is. But we can provide the tools they need to solve their own problems. That’s reflected in my relationships with my mentees here at Pariveda, too. Provide them with the tools and guidance to push themselves to their goals in life.
Accessibility for all
It’s my job to give my mentees the opportunity to grow and expand while letting them know that I’m just a quick phone call, Slack, or email away. I’ve developed tools and resources in my life, and my mentees have access to them. These are topics as varied as UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience), accessibility, preparing for dynamic meetings, workshop facilitation, how to talk to clients, and more. It’s all about giving them the tools to go out and succeed.
I have a unique skill set within Pariveda itself, mainly focusing on UX. I was the first person hired by Pariveda to have a user experience skillset. When I was hired, I was asked to help provide guidance and leadership within that realm, and I’ve been a part of the effort to affect the understanding of what UX is and how Pariveda can tackle it. I’ve been interested in accessibility since college when I met my best friend, who is confined to a wheelchair due to rheumatoid arthritis. We all face challenges in this world. I’ve got a form of dyslexia that has been a struggle to overcome. My son has Tourette’s, ADHD, and is color blind. How do we make sure that what we’re building works for everyone? Having that “accessibility-for-all” philosophy and trying to build that into systems is very important to me.
I got started with our Fins with Disabilities employee resource group a little over a year ago. My original intention was to help drive accessibility standards in our client’s work. But then we stopped and reevaluated. It really came down to something you hear when you get on airplanes. You have to take care of your own oxygen mask before you can help someone else. So, we pivoted to think more about our own people and how we could highlight available resources for everyone to thrive. We want to help our people and then spread that goodness outward. We still have our clients in mind, of course. When I start on a project, I focus on ensuring that what we’re building is inclusive and supports people’s challenges.
Advocating and making progress
Understanding this work’s importance hasn’t always been the case. There was a lack of awareness as well as a lack of clarity of what it means to design an application that is accessible. Initially, there was resistance, but as accessibility has become more widely understood, the tide has begun to change. People are starting to understand this way of approaching code and why it is essential.
It’s a give-and-take opportunity for learning here. We have open communication. For me, the culture within Pariveda is one where everyone is there to pull you up. It is a place where you can push boundaries at work and create new ways of thinking. And it is also a place where you have the balance of being present and at home with your family. It’s an overall philosophy of everyone here together.