I always started out wanting to be an engineer and took that through all of my Training. Got through college loved it. Continued on and I’ve evolved ever since.
Hi I’m Marla Reese I’m the VP of IT here at ApiJect and I’ve been here just shy of two years now and I’m enjoying every moment of every day here.
What drew you to IT/engineering?
I’ve always been technically orientated. I’ve been logical and math and science came super easy to me so I’ve always navigated and or drifted towards that.
Women in STEM
Since I am a coach for a volleyball team I actually get to interact with girls on a weekly basis and most of them have been involved in STEM in some way shape or form so I think it is growing. I still think it is underutilized because most of them eventually turn away from it. They drift to other things. I always ask them why and at the end of the day. It comes down to I think a lot about how they’re interacting with other people and how they see that as a career.
I wish it was different. I continue to present the benefits of it because I’m obviously a living example of getting involved in engineering and using it as a career and some of them have changed their minds some of them haven’t but the ones that do change their mind make a smile come to my face because they’ve learned and they always come back to me and say that it was probably one of the best decisions they ever did.
I would say compassion active listening and emotional intelligence because as a
leader and as a team leader you have to be able to listen to what the real problem is because sometimes people have a hard time explaining those words or explaining really what’s going on because they’re so frustrated. And then putting yourself in their shoes to understand why they need help instead of trying to come up with their own solution that they’re actively reaching out and then the compassion for recognizing that because they’re frustrated. Doesn’t mean that they’re unhappy with the job and they just want help so those three skills to me are probably the most crucial and they’re the ones that I continually actively practice and have to get better at because I’m not the best at them yet and I want to continue to improve.
Biggest Challenge of your Career
I would say it’s probably my first job. I was a mechanical engineer in an aerospace company it was owned by two brothers and women never got higher than project managers at their company. To me it was glass ceiling and learning how to navigate that and work around limitations was probably my biggest challenge because I was so young. Being very young it’s hard to remember that people have already done the work and so there’s an expectation of respect with people who’ve been there longer and learning how to navigate that was probably my biggest challenge and still is because you still run in people that have different experience levels. You have to make sure that you continually address the needs.
How do you spend your weekend?
Any given week for me is very different. Some weekends because I’m a coach I am actually coaching in tournaments between January and June. The volleyball season is in full swing at least the Club season so pretty much every other weekend I do that. When I’m not involved in coaching you’ll probably see me grabbing my camera and going somewhere and trying to take pictures of something. It’s a hobby of mine that I’m trying to get better at and continually go out and see new places and force myself to explore places that I’ve never been.
Favorite Vacation Spot
I’ve been asked this so many times and everybody freaks by my answer. I don’t have one. I enjoy everywhere I go wherever it is. It’s for either business, personal or family. If you don’t find something that you like about an area you’re in you’ll hate the entire time. You’ll get frustrated. It’ll eventually resent what you’re doing. I actively look to participate and enjoy and have fun in the moment therefore I remember everywhere I’ve been fondly in some way shape or form no matter where it was.