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Top 6 Leadership Behaviors You Need to Thrive in Tech

Whether it’s staying connected to the bird’s-eye view or taking time to build trust with your team, Cloud Engineer, Kevin Roberts, shares the top leadership behaviors you need to thrive in the tech industry, no matter your experience level.

Kevin Roberts
Cloud Engineer
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Keep learning

Whether it’s going after an architecture certification or getting an MBA, continuous learning is imperative to leadership success. While it’s easy to become stubborn and stick to “what works,” the rapid rate at which tech evolves, makes following the status quo a disadvantage. What works now won’t necessarily work a month from now. Listening and adjusting to new ideas is critical skills in an ever-changing world.

An open-minded love for change led me to apply to my current role in cloud engineering at Discover. I enjoy picking up challenging projects, presenting ideas to other teams and pursuing further education and certifications.

I earned my architecture certification because I wanted to better understand all cloud services, not just the ones my team works with. The certification is a prerequisite for most cloud engineering and architecture jobs. I liked learning how to integrate and design efficient software architectures. Learning these new skills will help me stay up-to-date on the latest tech advances, thus building my skillset as a successful engineer, architect and leader.

I’m pursuing an MBA to learn a larger array of soft skills, including communicating more effectively. Business and tech have always been a powerful combination. I believe success comes not just from doing your work well, but from being well-spoken too.

Balance planning and accountability

In tech, the project roadmap is difficult to predict because of the level of detail required for each task. One error can lead to hours, days or weeks of additional debugging, testing and reconfiguration. When accepting a project, confirming that all the boxes are checked is highly tedious. So, we have to find the right balance between planning resources and holding engineers accountable to complete work correctly and on time.

As leaders, we need to do our best to make sure all stakeholders and team-members have spoken and all open questions are answered upfront. Re-iterate ideas to promote discussion around the acceptance criteria and design decisions. These practices help mitigate issues down the line by planning for accountability and encouraging ownership.

Influence intentionally

People in positions of power—whether they’re directors, managers, or even project leads— have a level of responsibility to leverage their influence for positive outcomes. I believe good leadership is determined by the ability to effectively, and positively influence the team.

At Discover, we emphasize the team’s success over the individual’s. When the team succeeds, we all succeed. Even without a leadership title, I feel a responsibility to my team to motivate, excite and inspire. I try my best to make sure the work I do is beneficial to the company, the individual and society. I’ve even taken on several official and unofficial mentees. I value honesty and try to provide my mentees with all the information they need to take their next steps.

Build trust

I recognized early on that to take on more responsibility, I had to build trust with my team.  As a newcomer, it took a few successful projects before I earned my team’s trust. Through those initial projects, I demonstrated good technical skills and communicated effectively. In turn, that gave me the confidence to speak up more and gave my team the confidence in my abilities.

Reflect often

After every sprint, we hold a “retro meeting.” A retro meeting is a designated time to reflect on the sprint and identify improvements. In order to hold an effective retro meeting, our team has to trust each other. We have to establish openness and vulnerability. We have to reflect on the sprint as a learning experience rather than a failure. Otherwise, looking honestly at a gap can feel like an attack.

When we change our mindset as a team, we create a more open and honest environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their perspective. So, we deliver feedback alongside solutions. We communicate our ideas effectively, outline our points and reiterate next steps. We encourage as much feedback as possible, as often as possible, to improve and ultimately, innovate.

Hold onto the big picture

In the past, I’ve worked with managers, project owners and architects who don’t take the time to think about the big picture. Pausing to take input from the right people can drastically improve a project. Without the right input early on, projects become poorly designed and require costly re-designs later on.

Yet, as engineers we’re taught to complete the task in front of us. We aren’t taught how to distill the bigger picture down into its interconnected parts. The architect on a project is often the primary person responsible for keeping the big picture close. But ultimately, every engineer should be operating with the big picture in mind.

I encourage everyone on my team to ask questions, share knowledge, improve processes, think about the big picture and promote a positive work environment so that we’re motivated as a team to work efficiently.

 

Inspired to join the Discover team? Explore careers with us.

 

 

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Discover MBA Scholarship Winners Share Their Top Tips for Success

At Discover, we’re committed to advancing our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives through our continued partnerships with Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) and the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA). Through those partnerships, in 2020 we awarded 8 MBA students with scholarships. This year, the scholarship recipients shared their sage advice, future aspirations and business school insights with us. Read their stories below to learn why we’re incredibly proud to continue to support these national diversity organizations and their members.

Donteria Evans

I’ve wanted to pursue an MBA since filing my first provisional patent in 2016. However, due to a lack of financial support, I was unable to pursue an MBA until now. I’m currently pursuing an MBA to further my business acumen and gain valuable experience as a career switcher.

Throughout my educational career, I’ve learned that there will always be a distraction. However, the prize is in how you handle every distraction you’ll encounter. As the first person in my family to graduate, I know first-hand how hard it is to accomplish something you’ve never seen or without a mentor. It is a lot easier to get distracted when the destination is unknown to you and all you have is a goal.

I would tell my younger self to stay focused. I’d reassure her that not everyone will understand or support her dreams, and that is okay. I would tell her this because she expects that she needs the support and confirmation of others, but she doesn’t.

Lawrence Montalvo

I don’t fit the traditional MBA background. At the start of quarantine in 2020, I embarked on a spiritual journey and I realized that don’t have to conform in order to succeed in my field. After graduating, I plan on leveraging my MBA and experience by working in the cosmetics industry. I hope to start a new venture to center the queer and trans makeup experience and provide equity by involving our communities in the development and reinvestment phase. My goal is to have hiring power so that I can recruit LGBTQ and POC colleagues into marketing roles.

I’m a life planner and tend to expect certain outcomes to materialize in a desired timeframe. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that there is a larger meaning to everyone’s life at play and what we all desire may not happen at the “right time.” So, for those starting their career, going back to school, putting in hours to start a new business, just remember to enjoy the moment and the small wins that come with it and be proud of each step you take to get to your next chapter. Be patient and stand in your truth.

Andrew Varnau

After feeling stagnated at my previous position as an analyst in specialty retail, I knew it was time to challenge myself again by exploring other positions and industries. My goal after graduation is to land at a company where I have impact in the work that I do and the communities around me. I hope that I can act as a leader and give back to the communities I’m part of.

Three major values have served me well throughout my life. Firstly, I’ve surrounded myself with friends who are supportive, accepting and trustworthy. These friends have had a larger impact on my life than I’d have ever imagined. Secondly, I’ve felt free to be as authentic as possible with who I am in all facets of life. Finally, I’ve remembered that while pursuing academics is extremely important and shouldn’t be neglected, having fun and developing quality relationships along the way is important too.

I am extremely grateful that Discover Financial Services has decided to support the LGBTQ+ community through Reaching Out MBA. Doing so demonstrates a true commitment to supporting diversity in the communities that Discover serves as a business.

Jordon Rose

Business is often tasked with the sole role of generating money. While that outlook serves shareholders, it doesn’t help the world. I pursued an MBA so I could help reimagine how we think of business. I want to create a business that generates money and generates a difference.

This MBA marks the moment I go hard, or go home. My next step will mix my background in psychology, business and art. By the time I graduate, I’m hoping to build a start-up that uses psychology to train professionals to be less prejudiced.

My advice to my younger self would be to think less about how people judge and more about what feels right. Mozart was only truly appreciated after time helped the world understand him. Be your crazy self now and give the people in your environment time to figure you out. And if they don’t figure you out, good! Who doesn’t love a mystery!?

 

 

Interested in joining the Discover team? Explore careers with us.

 

 

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Growing Up in Cuba: How I Learned to Code Without a Computer

Ronny Rodriguez
Senior Cloud Engineer
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Leaving the small town in Cuba where Senior Cloud Engineer, Ronny Rodriguez, grew up meant major culture shock. Learn how he ultimately launched his career in tech— despite never touching a computer.

I learned to code without a computer. I wrote programs with a ballpoint pen, on notebook paper. This was the reality of being born and raised in Cuba. The Cuban government heavily restricted our access to technology. I learned early on that resiliency and determination weren’t just beneficial life skills, they’re imperative survival tools. Now, as a Senior Cloud Engineer at Discover, there’s very little that intimidates me. I’ve spent a lifetime learning to adapt.

I was first exposed to computer science in 4th grade. I used a computer that was already a decade old for its time. The basic system used audio cassettes to load programs. In 10th grade, I learned MSX-Basic. We didn’t have computers at school, so we did all of our development with pen and paper. I hand wrote line upon line of code, never experiencing the moment when code transforms from letters and symbols into frantic activity. I’d finish an assignment, stare at the page and strain to imagine the results.

When I started university in 2001, I received a proposal to work for the university’s development team. I’d still never coded on an actual computer. I took the role based on the pure challenge, combined with an odd need to prove how boring and awful programming was. I paid a friend for 4, one hour sessions to learn Visual Basic 5. The Cuban government strictly forbid personal computers, cellphones and internet access until 2008, so learning on my own wasn’t an option. I joined the development team with just 4 hours of programming experience on an actual computer.

On my first project, we developed a physics simulator based on mathematical models. I spent many nights at the university accessing the highly restricted and exceedingly slow internet. Although Linux wasn’t widely known at the university, I ran my machine with Debian Linux 3. I taught myself to configure different services like Webservers, DNS and DHCP. I learned new languages like C++, Delphi and basic BASH. Rather than proving that programming was boring, I saw for the first time how exhilarating it could be. I spent 6 years of studying, working as a developer and teaching math at the university before deciding to move out of Cuba, to Mexico.

Mexico was a whole new world for me. I had to learn too many things all over again. Not only was technology heavily restricted in Cuba, but I was also from a small town. I’d moved to Mexico City, a city of over 20 million people, and experienced uncensored internet for the very first time. Just reading the news felt scary, having grown up with all international news sites forbidden. I spent countless nights in Mexico teaching myself new programming languages like PHP, Java and SQL. I began learning virtualization and had to soak in decades of information and technological advancement.

After 4 years, I moved to Miami, Florida with a passion for code and servers. I took a new job, which required some web development and used a programming languages I’d never encountered before: ASP and ASP.NET. I enrolled in several online educational platforms and pursued new cloud and redhat administration certifications to build my knowledge. I understood then that learning never ends.

My current role at Discover moves fast, the environment is like a startup. Though we have the security and processes of a big company, we innovate quickly. I frequently still use online video sites to visually understand new tech, learn what it does, how it works and evaluate if it’s worth pursuing further. If I’m captivated, and I often am, I’ll find as much documentation I can to better understand it. I still rely on online education platforms to fully understand new tech.

I always find ways to use new tech at work or home to improve processes, make things run faster and more efficiently. My process is: watch, learn, apply, explain to others. The moment I’m able to explain it to someone else is when I know I’ve truly gained deep knowledge.

After every year ends, I ask myself: What did I learn this year? That question keeps me motivated to grow. Despite all the challenges in 2020, it’s been a strong year for learning. I’ve had the chance not only to learn new things, but to apply my new knowledge in my job.

 

Interested in joining the Discover team? Explore careers with us.

 

 

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The Truths I’ve Learned from Deployment

Hear from Shanta, Senior Principal Human Resources Consultant, military veteran and member of the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group. She shares how deploying to Iraq shaped her values, evolved her skills and pivoted her priorities.

Shanta Haney
Senior Principal Human Resources Consultant
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

When I think of my younger self, I picture a go-getter. I was very ambitious and wanted a lot out of life, quickly. I always had dreams of being part of something big that would affect change in a positive way. If I could give my younger self advice, I would tell her to be kind to herself. To know her worth. To be brave and bold—take risks outside her comfort zone. I’d tell her to stay true to herself and not to worry if she looks different, or feels she looks different, from other people. There is much more to her than what others see on the surface.

The moment I deployed to Iraq while serving in the military had the biggest impact on my life today. The effects of this moment extend far beyond the deployment. I went through a range of emotions and experiences— fear, worry, feeling overwhelmed, learning new skills, relying on family to take care of my finances and son.

The combat zone is an intense place, where things can move very quickly one moment and drag painfully slowly the next. “Hurry up and wait” is not just a phrase, but is a reality of life in a war zone. Service members move quickly to prepare for a mission and find themselves waiting for minutes or hours as plans change, intelligence is gathered, and leaders adjust decisions.

Adrenaline pumps as service members gear up, load their weapons, and mount their vehicles, and then, without warning, they’re told to stand down. This constant feeling of having one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake is exhausting and physically demanding, especially for troops who operate on minimum levels of sleep.

As I reflect on these moments, this is where I learned to remain calm, adapt and be flexible to change in any given situation. I learned loyalty, respect, honor and integrity. Personal courage and selfless service are some of the values that have had the greatest impact on me, both then and now.

Pushing myself to evolve is an on-going process for me. I challenge myself to explore new experiences by setting goals to meet my individual needs. I seek out networking to learn from others. And remind myself to be patient. Timing is everything.

Over the course of my career, I’ve particularly learned that protecting my time is critical. I can’t afford to be involved in everything or care about everything. I simply don’t have time. My experience in the military has also put things in perspective as it relates to my family, career, and life. So I try to live, love and laugh more.

 

Learn more about Discover’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group.

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Finding My Voice to Reject a Toxic Work Environment

Jenise, Senior Acceptance Consultant and member of the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group, shares how the journey to finding her voice started with standing up to a toxic work environment.

Jenise Spears
Senior Consultant Acceptance
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

My first job out of college was as an assistant manager at a retailer. The management there was openly racist and discriminatory. At the time I felt that the comments they made were just part of the job.  I thought staying silent about their treatment was expected— just the “norm” to keeping my job.  Boy, was I wrong. That experience taught me not to sacrifice what’s right. It helped me to find my voice and never to accept a toxic environment like that as a norm.

I’m a perfectionist and I hold myself to too high of a standard. I’ve had to learn how to take constructive feedback as just that— constructive and not personal. I now leverage feedback to grow and evolve. Failure is not final. It’s learning opportunity to grow from.

A hard truth I’ve learned over the course of my career is that you can’t expect your hard work to speak for itself and just get noticed. I do my job well, but if I don’t advocate, network and highlight what I’m capable of, others won’t know my impact and drive.

My advice for my younger self? 1. Stay curious and keep evolving. Try new things, even if you think you won’t like them. 2. Find joy in any situation. 3. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Lastly, take time for yourself.

 

Learn more about Discover’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group.

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Twice as Hard: Owning My Identity as a Black Woman

Katherine, Lead Channel Specialist, Queen, and member of the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group, shares why her identity as a Black woman means she has to work twice as hard. Read her journey— from transferring to a predominantly white school as a child, to starting therapy— to learn how she continually claims space for herself and will never stop wearing her crown.

Katherine Summers
Lead Channel Specialist, US Cards
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

In the 4th grade, I transferred to a Catholic school in the South Suburbs of Chicago. I was one of 10 black students in the entire school. Before transferring, I was at a predominately Black school. The culture shock at such a young age was one that I cannot forget. I felt out of place and not “cool” enough to be there.

A few years later, an incident happened with a group of kids at school. The details of what happened don’t matter now. But what I still reflect on is how the principal called me into the office to ask me about the situation. He called me in not to punish me, but because he trusted me and knew I would tell the truth. And from that point on, my experience at the school changed. I gained respect from the staff and the other students. They looked at me differently because a person in a position of power demonstrated his trust in me. I’ve grown as a person, but in many ways, I’m still that 4th grader that will always tell the truth, no matter what.

I’m going to therapy and working on listening to evolve myself and continue to thrive in the future. It took me a while to get here, but I now listen to what the people closest to me are saying. I realized that being a Black woman, we deal with so much more than any other race or gender. We’re expected to be superwoman, fix what’s broken, and not show weakness or our feelings. Because if we do show those feelings, we’re labeled the “Angry Black Woman.” I now understand the importance of expressing myself as a Black woman.

By listening to my family, friends and therapist, I can channel my emotions differently. I no longer have to be mute. I can now speak up on what I know I deserve in my professional and personal life. And these tactics are setting the stage for success.

I also recognize that I’ve entered my career two steps behind everyone else. Those two steps are: I am Black, and I am a woman. Although my Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and other qualifications speak for themselves, those alone are not enough. I’ve learned that I have to work twice as hard as my counterparts, to gain the respect I demand. I have to work twice as hard to gain the acknowledgement I deserve. I have to work twice as hard to gain anything that my counterparts get, just by being a different race or gender.

I now walk in the room with my head held high. Why? Because I deserve to be there. I’ve worked just as hard, if not harder, and I will not let the color of my skin nor my gender to ever be a setback again. I am a Queen and will wear my crown until the day I physically leave this Earth.

 

Learn more about Discover’s culture, benefits and employee resource groups like BOLD, the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover employee resource group.

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Acknowledging Our Past, Embracing Our Now, Innovating Our Future

We’re kicking down doors, filling in spaces and rearranging seats at the table. Hear from three members of the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group as they share how they’re leveraging their pasts to innovate their futures.

I’Mone Slater
Fraud Specialist
New Albany, OH
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

When I was in high school, I went to a predominantly white school in the suburbs. I was so upset when my mom made the switch. For the first year, I didn’t fit in at all. I was called racial slurs every day. I had completely lost my identity. It came to the point where I completely conformed to how I thought I should act or look.

It wasn’t until my junior year that I met my first black teacher. I thought, “There’s finally someone who looks like me and can relate to me.” She taught me how powerful I was. She taught me that my experience in life was unique. From then on, I thought that maybe I could be that person for someone else.

Since starting at Discover, my goal was to use what I’ve been taught to show everyone that it’s okay to speak up. In order to make someone feel comfortable, you have to show them that it is okay to be you. Individuality is important because not everyone has walked the same path. We all bring something different to the table. There’s always someone who can benefit from your quirk.

 

Saroyan Hill
Principal Project Manager
Phoenix, AZ
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

To me, being BOLD means having the courage to show up as my authentic self, regardless of the table I’m sitting at. It means having an unwavering belief in myself and my abilities. And lastly, but certainly not least, it means not being afraid to take the road less traveled. In other words, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

 

Brenda Wabomnor
Lead Digital Infrastructure Specialist
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

I will never forget the moment I found my voice at work. It still feels surreal. Following the racial unrest last summer, I felt extremely conflicted at work. I was torn within the trauma the country was facing. I couldn’t shake the feeling of “I should be doing more right now.”

It was extremely difficult to focus at work, especially because I live next to a police station. Every day, right outside my window, I could see and hear the protestors passionately advocating for equality. I sat in meetings, listening to colleagues laugh and talk about the weather, as if a social crisis was not happening right in front of me. At that time, work felt so trivial in comparison to the pain the country was facing. I found it impossible to bridge the dissonance between my corporate identity and my reality of being a Black woman in America, experiencing a largescale shared traumatic event.

But that dissonance was what empowered me to merge my two identities for the first time in my six years at Discover. I approached my leadership team and expressed my concerns about the lack of acknowledgement at a team and department level regarding the recent events. Furthermore, I expressed how I had a desire to bring awareness to these issues at a department level. From there, my leadership team fully supported me in spearheading a committee within my business unit to spread the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) message at a department level, as well as provide an open space for employees like myself to discuss what we were and still are feeling.

This was such a monumental moment for me in my corporate career. For the first time it didn’t feel like I was being forced to choose between my ethnic identity and my corporate identity. Both were being fully accepted, acknowledged and supported.

The best part of it all— I’m just getting started.

 

Learn more about Discover’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group.

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We Hired You for a Reason: Owning Your Individuality

Hear from Khari, a Principal Account Executive, an individual and a member of the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group. Read his story to learn how he’s made it through 20 years of promotions, why he’s celebrating individuality and how he continually gathers the confidence to speak up.

Khari Towns
Principal Account Executive
Phoenix, AZ
Pronouns: He/Him/His

I’ve always known that I have a strong voice. In the past, I may not have always used my voice, in favor of deferring to leadership or out of fear of agitating an environment. I truly discovered my voice once I recognized that I add value and was told to speak up.  Even though I felt confident, it took encouragement from others to speak up. I still often have to remind myself of the value I bring. When I see others are reluctant to speak up, I try to encourage them to help them share their voice and let them know they’re valued.

I’m fortunate to have been at Discover for over 20 years now. I’ve associated with many types of leaders in our organization. I’ve known key leaders who have advocated on my behalf and helped me work on unique and important initiatives within the organization. Those experiences led to promotions. In each instance, I had a close working relationship with other partners where I was able to demonstrate my skillset and ability to learn. I’ve taken little pieces from each leader and project to form my own working style and impart that information to others.

Letting people express themselves freely not only helps retain employees by keeping them happy, but also spotlights their unique viewpoint. Highlighting their perspective can help the overall business. Celebrating individuality fosters diversity. Diverse thought is key to continuing to push through the everyday challenges we’re faced with.

If you struggle to bring your authentic self to work, remember that we hired you for a reason. You demonstrated capabilities in your skillset that we need. We need you. If you’re not able to be your authentic self, you won’t be fully happy. You need to do you!

Each day, distractions can take away from keeping the main thing, “the main thing.” I’ve always tried to take time to focus and reflect. Through my internal reflection, I’m able to realize my unique qualities and how those can be added to the team. For example, I’m known for being cool, calm and collected with an ability to speak well. At Discover, those qualities allow me to create and facilitate presentations for client engagements, participate in industry events and speak on behalf of our organization.

As a Black professional, I’m excited for the possibility for continued growth and change for the better in 2021 and beyond. People are starting to gain a better understanding of the challenges we still have to overcome. We have come far, but there’s still much more to the journey ahead.

 

Learn more about Discover’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group.

 

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How to “Run Your Race”: Lessons in Ego and Empowerment

Hear from Allan, Department Manager, retired athlete and member of the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group. He shares his insights on ego, empowerment and planting the seeds of intention.

Allan Glover
Department Manager 
Phoenix, AZ
Pronouns: He/Him/His

My senior year of high school, I ran the 400M in the state finals. I remember it like it was yesterday. I walked from the bleachers to the track, my Coach saying, “Run your race.” In the moment, I thought like most foolish kids do, be quiet. I thought, I’m ready and no one can beat me. The starters pistol fired, and I left the blocks stronger than ever before. Midway through the back stretch, I had the lead and it felt great. But because I started so strong, I didn’t have my normal closing speed, which I was known for. Needless to say, I got caught at the line and came in second place. I didn’t run the way I prepared all season. Why? Ego and the choice not to listen. Always prepare and trust your preparation. Run the race that you trained for and remain coachable.

I heard this statement shared once, “Pain is temporary, it may last for a minute, an hour, a day or even a year, but it will subside and something will eventually take its place.” Feel empowered to prepare for that moment. Pay attention to what you feed yourself, because the secret of change is focusing your energy, not on the old, but building your new. Our strength and growth comes from these struggles.

I’m a ferocious reader and surround myself with people that look different, and think different.  It creates a universe of self-reflection, which is integral to personal growth.

Over the course of my career, a hard truth I’ve learned is to create the highest, grandest vision for my life. No matter where I am right now, I can have the future that I want. But I know I have to plant seeds of intention. Athletes talk about visualization and subscribe to it. I ask myself, what’s my blueprint? After all, we are only born with two fears: loud noises and falling. Everything else is learned.

 

Learn more about Discover’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group.

 

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Folashade: Lead Scrum Master in the UK

Name: Folashade A.
Job Title: Lead Scrum Master, Global Operations Network Authorizations

Continuous evolution

I support two development teams on the Enterprise Payments Platform (EPP) team. Both teams work on the Network Authorizations Agile Release Train (NAART). The Agile Release Train is a system of developers on a “train,” who work together on end to end development. In NAART, we create and enhance highly available solutions to process over 700 card transactions per second with sub-second response times. As the payments landscape evolves, we’re evolving the platform to integrate with digital payment services and modernize our architecture without causing any impact on our clients. I drive operational excellence, foster continuous learning and contribute to the scrum master community of practice.

Mentor and mentee

Mentorship has played a critical role in my career. I both mentor new scrum masters and am mentored by one of our solution train engineers. I mentor new scrum masters in other agile release trains to help them settle their new teams. They shadow my day-to-day work to learn up close how I operate. On a broader scale, I’ve taught other teams about agile and agile framework best practices— I helped create standardized content for all scrum masters. Being on both sides of mentorship, both mentoring and being mentored, is so crucial to developing careers.

Tapping senior leadership

I once helped facilitate new innovation days with other scrum masters. When planning the innovation days, we struggled with promoting the event to employees. I got more leadership involved in the event publicity and recorded info sessions about the innovation day to use before and during the event.

Community of women

I helped create the the ‘Women in Tech’ (WIT) community of practice. We meet up once a week to have lunch, ‘rob minds’ on different tech topics, and share how we help our local communities. We’re all passionate about inspiring young girls to get into tech. We’re such a diverse group– I’ve enjoyed even just meeting up to share recipes from our diverse cultural backgrounds. We’ve truly built a community of women in leadership.

Turning weakness into strength

In my experience, it’s rare for an employer to encourage both leveraging your strengths and developing weaknesses. So at Discover, the sky is the limit. My business knowledge on network payment authorizations has grown massively. I’ve used Discover’s training courses to drive process improvements, productivity and improve my agile competency. When I work hard, I’m acknowledged and recognized. I truly believe that only I am my own limitation.

Motherhood and leadership

Being a wife and a mother, it’s important to me to have a work-life balance. Discover puts ‘employee wellness’ at our core. This value set allows me to take the time off if I need to attend to my family’s needs.

Developer perks

We have an employee recognition tool called Bravo. I love knowing I’ll be recognized with prizes and gift cards just for doing my normal job. We can also take educational leaves. I also took a course to become certified in a specific agile framework. The course itself took a week, and after the course ended I used a few of my ‘annual study leave’ days to take the professional exam. I passed! I’m really proud of this achievement and that Discover trusted me to take on the certification.

Look no further

If you want a place where you can grow your career while feeling valued, respected, appreciated and invested in, then look no further. Discover is a dream come true for me— a really nice place to work and grow at the same time.