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Chrissy Soulakian
Insight

Discovering My Career Possibilities as a Woman in Technology

Chrissy Soulakian, a Software Engineer in our Chicago office, discusses what led her to become an engineer, how Publicis Sapient has helped pave her way, and what she finds most fulfilling about exploring her place in the STEAM field (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).

I did not always know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I actually had my mind set on joining the military in high school. If I did not go down the path I ultimately chose, I would be in a very different place in life.

My first major in college was bioinformatics – a new program at my university that I knew little about beyond the informational brochure. That major led me to my first Computer Science (CS) class and I was instantly hooked. Due to my wide array of interests, I changed my major a couple of times, but I always stuck with the CS classes. I have an analytical mindset, so programming was logical and straightforward to me.

On the other hand, I am also an empathic person and I feel like I can understand people’s circumstances and what they are going through. As a Software Engineer, I deal with a lot of different people on a day-to-day basis, but I am able to put myself in their shoes to understand their goals and how I can help. If I do not have the answer, I will get the answer – by finding someone who has it or doing the research myself. The majority of what we do as technologists is “Google” things. Nobody has all the answers.

Publicis Sapient has the resources, connections, and opportunities for me to explore different career paths. My team encourages me to be brave, which, to me, means putting yourself out there when you normally would not and being comfortable with who you are as an individual on a team. We speak out, correct each other, and push each other to deliver great work. As a result, our clients see the direct output of what can happen when you put these diverse minds together.

Author

Chrissy Soulakian

Software Engineer

"My team encourages me to be brave, which, to me, means putting yourself out there when you normally would not and being comfortable with who you are as an individual on a team."

Being part of Publicis Sapient is helping me figure out what I want to specialize in. I am working towards the goal of determining what I really want to do in life and what positive impact I can make on others and the world. My advice for those who want to get into software engineering is to make sure it is something you have a passion for. But I would give that advice to anyone, regardless of what field they are in. Seek out mentors to guide you, and when you start networking, be vocal about your interests because you never know who the other people know. They might have connections in an area you are interested in exploring and it might lead you to your next mentor.

When I think about my inspiration, my mom immediately comes to mind. She has been in the corporate world most of her life and has been subject to people telling her she should be at home with her kids. Before she joined the corporate world though, she and her sisters were welders – another traditionally male role. She is a “Rosie the Riveter” in her own way and instilled that drive and passion in me. She is an example that women can succeed. I am thankful to have had that example growing up to show that it is possible.

By seeing women in technology succeed in a male-dominated industry, I see yet another example of how it is possible to get to a higher point than I am today. To see women as C-level executives at companies that are changing the world – which I did not see many examples of growing up – that is mind-blowing and motivating.

 

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