How a civil engineering major landed her dream job at The New York Times through Tech Ladies

kelsey_johnson

Hi Kelsey! Can you tell us a little bit about how you found your job on Tech Ladies and what the process was like?

I joined Tech Ladies this summer when I moved back to the East Coast after living in Seattle serving as an AmeriCorps member for the past year. Upon my return, I was determined to transition from my previous careers in civil engineering into the technology sector and began networking in the New York City area. In many of my initial phone calls and coffee meetups with individuals, there was a common theme. I was told I had to get in touch with an amazing woman named Allison Esposito, the founder of Tech Ladies. [ed note: 😊]

Turns out, everyone was right! Allison was extremely responsive and within a couple of weeks I attended my first Tech Ladies event: a meetup in Central Park. After getting to know the other women who attended, I quickly realized how passionate these ladies were about supporting each other and the mission of diversifying the tech workforce. Their encouragement gave me the push I needed to begin reaching out to the job posting contacts on the Tech Ladies website.

When I saw a job opportunity at The New York Times (my all time favorite news source), I reached out to the VP of Operations, a fellow Tech Lady. The evening I sent an intro email to her, she passed my resume along to the Executive Director of Talent Acquisition and I received a phone call from her that same night about coming in for an interview! Within a few weeks, I had gone through the interview process and was offered a job on the NYT Talent Acquisition team.

What kind of work do you do now and how did you get into it?

Now I’m working on the Talent Acquisition team at The New York Times. At The Times, we are shaping the direction of online news and media during a critical juncture for the industry. As a member of the Talent Acquisition team, we continue to seek top and diverse talent who can help us bring our audience the highest quality of journalism, entertainment, education, and ideas. In addition to recruitment, I will be playing integral roles in the NYT Summer Internship program and other side projects which focus on creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce at the company.

My transition into the field of Talent Acquisition is unique. Holding a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, you could say I am an engineer by trade. My experience as a woman working in the construction, design, and consultant engineering industries combined with my love for education and empowering young adults are two factors that led me to Seattle in September 2015. Taking an opportunity to serve as an AmeriCorps member, I worked for the Making Connections (MC) Program, a program started at the UW Women’s Center whose mission is to diversify the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) pipeline. Over the course of a year, I had the opportunity to work with and support a phenomenal group of 100 high school females on a mission to become the first in their families to attend college and pursue their dreams of making a career in the STEM fields.

When I decided to move back to NYC after my AmeriCorps service, my goal was to continue this work and make a difference along all sectors of the STEM pipeline by 1) diversifying the STEM pipeline through accessibility, education, and empowerment, 2) expanding the mindset of company’s hiring processes to recruit diverse and top talent, and 3) creating a more culturally accepting atmosphere inside a corporation. I felt a role in Human Resources would allow me to work towards these goals. Fast forward a few months, and here I am — working in this capacity at The Times. I’m very grateful and excited to be a part of a company whose technology division is growing and is putting a lot of effort into diversity and inclusion.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known earlier in your career?

It’s okay to not know what you want to do for the “rest of your life”. Life is a constant state of transition, and therefore it’s okay (and completely normal) if your career interests change over time. What’s important is that you pursue what you are interested in at the moment and surround yourself with people who believe in your aspirations.