In honour of International Women’s Day, it is important to highlight the strong, impressive women in our lives. Vicky definitely falls into that category. From a young age, she has always strived to achieve outstanding results. She never cared about stereotypes and embarked into a journey that allowed her to become the amazing woman she is today.
Vicky has always been a polyvalent worker. She handled anything life would throw at her. Although she started her career as an electrical engineer, she took on web development, application e-learning work, technical documentation for R&D subsidies, and other types of jobs and, simultaneously, contributed to her family business: Ferme G. Pomerleau Inc. She even enhanced her farm knowledge and completed a technical certification specialized in Farm Work at ITA St-Hyacinthe. Vicky was always looking to enrich her vast knowledge which is how her passion for tech came to be. Currently, Vicky is a tech lead at Big Bang ERP, she owns and manages her own farm business, and she takes care of her son, Mark, who is only 2 years old.
Below is the interview that was held to learn more about Vicky Pomerleau.
Why did you decided to go into Tech?
“Initially, I was always great at school and saw an opportunity in science. When it came down to choosing my field of interest for university, I decided to follow my passion for mathematics and enroll in electrical engineering. I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge which included a passion for linguistics. I was naturally inclined to learn languages fast. And eventually, I read a book about languages dying and it demonstrated how learning a complex language can increase your ability to understand concepts better. It led me to perceive software technology as a language. The link between programming and learning languages became so clear to me. There were lots of similarities in terms of the learning process and I treat my tech knowledge as another language I speak. Today, besides programming, I am fluent in French and English, and I have significant knowledge of German and Spanish even though I rarely have the opportunity to practice these languages anymore. I have also begun learning Arabic and sign language. I guess you can say I love to learn languages, and tech was just another one of them.”
What do you love most about your job?
At Big Bang
“Big Bang is one of the best learning experiences I have come across. I started when the company was still at a very early stage which meant that I had a lot of responsibilities. What Big Bang allowed me to do is to push myself to find the solutions and LEARN. I read about the products, I read about the challenges, and informed myself as much as possible. Today, I am a tech lead and people come to me for help when they are stuck on a technical issue. I am a lot more confident with my work and it is all because I was put into a situation where I had no choice but to learn. It even helped me in my farm business as I could see a lot of similar concepts (shared resources, management, etc.).
Another great advantage Big Bang offers is the possibility to work remotely. It is important for me to have this flexibility in order to keep up with my responsibilities. I can live close to my family, friends and my farm business without impacting my ability to do what I love. Not only can I work remotely, but I can also modify my schedule according to my needs. For example, in the summer, besides being required to be with my son for a longer time as the daycare is closed, I have to accommodate my family farm needs, and Big Bang gives me the power to reduce my hours to accommodate my lifestyle.”
As a Farm Manager
“I started working at the farm at a very young age. In fact, the first time I ever milked a cow, I was 7 years old and I got my first “salary” from the farm when I was 9. The best part was being outdoors and interacting with nature. Our lifestyle becomes relatively hectic and we do not always have time to go out and enjoy mother nature, but working on a farm allows me to take in fresh air frequently.”
As a Mom
“This is going to sound a little weird for some, but the best part about being a mom, in my opinion, is seeing my child grow up. Many people told me to enjoy the baby time because it flies away so fast, but seeing my son flying through growing stages is exactly what I enjoy! Observing how he learns and being present when he does something for the first time makes me so proud.”
What challenges do you encounter as a tech lead, an entrepreneur and a mom?
“The biggest challenge is being able to adapt to unexpected changes to your organized schedule. There is no way I could have taken all these responsibilities if I wasn’t organized. For example, my first year at Big Bang, I started with 25 hours and worked 15 hours at the farm. I had to forecast the needs of the farm and make sure it did not intervene with my projects at Big Bang. However, as time went by, I realized It was really hard to plan for everything because emergencies kept occurring from both Big Bang and the farm and it became difficult to follow my proposed schedule. An example of this that would happen often was being needed on a certain project at Big Bang when the soil at the farm was at its optimal. If you miss the optimal state of the soil you tamper with your results, and obviously, if you do not help your clients when they need you, you will impact negatively your credibility and professional career. I tried my best to prepare for the unexpected but, sometimes, it required tough choices and that is the real challenge of working 2 jobs. When the baby came, it became even more challenging. The baby needs constant surveillance. Luckily, I get a lot of help from my family. However, being the only parent available for our son most of the time during the week while working is tough. I have come to embrace my lifestyle and at the end of the day, even though I am tired, I am very satisfied with my accomplishments, and my life, in general.”
For young women
“I guess the key takeaway for all young women out there is: do not fall for the idea that women should not be in tech, or that only “geeks” pursue a career in technology. Beat the stereotypes and follow your true passion! At the end of the day, we are all geeks in our own way.”
For Working Moms
“I know it may sound biased, but find a job that allows you to work on the Cloud. Cloud brings you flexibility and allows you to create your own schedule. Also, do not hesitate to ask your work for some time off to spend it with your children. You’re only gonna live this experience once, and most employers will understand. Just do it with due diligence.”
It’s interesting to get a glimpse into the life of such an inspiring woman. It just goes to show that when you have passion, there is nothing you can’t really do. It’s also important to look for the right job for you that will allow you to do what you love with a certain flexibility.
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