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Marathon Runner Keeps Her Feet on the Ground and Her Hands in the Cloud

Name: Heather M.
Job Title: Senior Manager Cloud Engineering

I would describe my role as a passionate Cloud solutions evangelist, student and enabler. I am keen on identifying efficiencies, targeting cloud capabilities and automation to drive value. Outside of work, I am part of the first Discover onsite MBA cohort, site coordinator and coach for Girls on the Run, lover of running (more than 10 marathons completed, including two Boston Marathons) and almost anything fitness related. I’m also a proud mama of three!


What’s a typical day for you at the office?

We start each day with a short stand-up (i.e. 15 – 30 minute meeting) to review our sprint work for the day. Sprint work is the work we’ve planned in small increments/sections.  Each team member shares what they worked on the day before, plans for today and where they may need help. As a Development Operations team, we build and test the capabilities that will allow consumers to drive desired outcomes with our customers. We are a peer-program, which means we collaborate on ways to fix problems, build new features, or find solutions to give our customers the best experiences. Any given day is split between supporting our platforms, building new capabilities and helping our team mates. Let’s not forget, we constantly talk through future needs driven by our consumers or product roadmaps.  This helps us plan the work into future sprints.


How have you been able to “Be Your True Self” at Discover?

In my current role, I have been empowered to lead, fail and grow each and every day. Failures are perceived as opportunities and we take risks to get better. We band together and truly embody a blameless culture. Without learning to fail, we fail to learn.


Also, my management is understanding of the need for work-life balance and supports the flexibility needed to manage a team in a growing space alongside the demands of raising a family and being an active member in the community. I’m passionate about fighting human-trafficking and have founded a charity 5K run in my town to raise awareness and funds to help restore the lives of victims.


Interested in working in Business Technology?

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This Product Owner Doesn’t Own a Cookie Cutter

Name: Daniel
Job Title: Product Owner

When I was first starting out, I considered many career paths including being a pilot. However, in the end, I chose to study Information Technology, and that’s where I discovered my passion for the latest and greatest technologies.

While in college, I supported the school administration, school board, and president. I then had the opportunity to transfer my skills into developing custom technology solutions for retailers. These leadership interactions and problem-solving experiences allowed me to make the move to Discover and support the executives and board members. Over the last six years, I’ve found that every role has helped prepare me for greater responsibility and success in the next position.

Outside of work, I am a proud dad to a one-year-old daughter, and, in my downtime, I enjoy music, learning how to play new instruments, and watching or listening to Chicago Cubs games (I’ve been a die-hard fan since I was 12-years-old!).

How have you been able to “Be Your True Self” at Discover?

Before joining Discover, I thought the leadership made most decisions in a large company. However, my experience here has been quite the opposite.

There’s truly an open door policy here at Discover.  Employees are encouraged to ask questions, offer input, and voice ideas—it’s ingrained in our culture. From day one, I have been able to voice ideas to leadership all the way up to the executive team.

How do you make a real difference at Discover?

With our new Working Smarter initiative, a program which introduces collaborative tools to help drive productivity and efficiency in our open workspace. I feel we have really hit on something that is making a difference.

For example, I strive to offer technology solutions that provide the best experience possible without impeding the end users ability to get things done. Also, I’m given the flexibility to collaborate with each department to help me understand how each team works. Rather than a cookie-cutter approach, this collaboration allows me to provide unique solutions tailored to each team’s needs. Seeing everyone’s positive reaction gives me confidence that personalized solutions work and are making a real difference at Discover.

What are some of the benefits of working here? Is there anything that surprised you?

The 401k match is extremely competitive. Plus, as a new dad, I was able to take two weeks paid parental leave to adjust to my new family life. Finally, our generous paid time-off policy and our great medical coverage have led me to brag about our company benefits to all my friends!

What would you say to someone who wants to work here?

Discover functions as a large technology company that helps people find financial freedom. I love being part of an organization that is proactive and competitive in the Fintech space. We don’t react to the industry; we are trendsetters and are leading our industry in technology advancements and customer experience.

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Linking machines to learning.

Name: Suvadeep
Job Title: Senior Manager, Data Science

I manage analytics efforts for paid search and media channels for card acquisition. For my PhD dissertation I worked on the big bang machine in Geneva, Switzerland that led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. After working at Fermilab for eight years, I decided to make a career move and join the exciting world of data science. That led me to the position of Data Science Manager in the Supply Chain and Optimization team at Sears Holdings Corp. Two years ago, I was hired at Discover to run a data science team to provide advanced analytical solutions for different businesses.


How has Discover helped you in regards to Professional Development?

The open ambience at Discover fosters collaboration. Working with various business units gave me a broad knowledge about different functions within the Discover ecosystem. After being part of the Analytics Lighthouse leadership team, I started directly interacting with Card Marketing Acquisition and have been involved in determining the long term road-map. Lighthouse has given me the exposure to work directly with senior leadership, which sharpened my communication and conflict management skills, and ability to handle crucial conversations. I consider these to be key elements in shaping my professional development.

Tell us about a great experience you’ve had so far here.

Prior to joining Acquisition, I’ve gotten to work with three different business teams—card operations, credit risk and card member assistance—a highlight of that was a visit to our Lake Park office in Salt Lake City, UT. I went on a live call listening program with a team of analysts from Customer Service & Engagement. I got to see how the field agents handle complex calls with ease. At that time, I was working on a machine-learning model to score customer call qualities using recorded transcripts from historical calls. The live listening and interaction with the field agents offered a fresh perspective to what the business really needs. During the trip, I could connect how the work I was involved in can make a difference in improving our cardmembers’ experience.


How are your work and the work of your department meaningful?

We are constantly pushing boundaries by seeking cutting edge, best in class technology to drive operational efficiency and speed to market. Having adopted the Discover Management System (DMS) principals, our department is building capabilities within teams and empowering members to make key decisions.  My team is playing its part in having an immediate impact towards driving profitable growth through paid digital channels and improving our customers’ journey through personalization.