The Next Generation:
Whether it's a new grad just starting out, a dedicated mid-career-er changing paths or leaders looking to advance, we are committed to helping the next generation of talent reach their goals. Many of our team members have created unique career paths at Jonathan Louis, and in this series, we celebrate their stories and growth. Interested in a similar opportunity? We always have our door open for future talent—check out our Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor for availabilities.
This week, we talk to Karina Rodriguez, IT Project Coordinator, who started working with us in 2014 during her summer and winter breaks while studying at UC Davis. She transitioned to full-time at Jonathan Louis after graduating in 2018 with a degree in Biological Sciences. This is her experience so far:
Throwback to 2015!
What did you want to do when you grew up?
Growing up, I wanted to be a teacher. School to me was always so fun; I loved school and the environment, so I think this developed into a fun career choice for me. Eventually this changed–as I grew older, I realized I didn’t want to be surrounded by kids all day. But all jokes aside, deep down I still think I would really enjoy being a teacher.
How did you come to work in JL?
I started coming to JL with my sister, Sonia–she would bring me in on Saturdays to help with filing and other small clerical tasks. I was always so excited to come in with her because being a teenager at the time, I was happy to make some money! During college, I began working with her as an Accounts Payable assistant during my winter and summer breaks. This time at JL built my foundation for the friendships I have today.
Starting out on my JL journey
What type of things do you normally work on at JL?
My daily work is different from one day to another, but there are two things I do consistently. I normally keep an eye on incoming support tickets, and anything that is considered a project, gets transferred over to me. I review these requests and add them to my master projects list. This ongoing projects list is something I work on everyday, updating project statuses, estimated completion dates, removing completed projects as well as adding the new ones. In addition to this, I constantly work with developers both in-house and outsourced to complete new programming or fixes to operational needs. Recently, I have been more hands-on with testing new development, troubleshooting issues with the IT team, and deploying new modifications to users.
Did you have a mentor (at JL or elsewhere)?
A person who has played a big role in my development here has been my leader, Abel. Even though I didn’t have any previous experience in data or with the system, he had enough faith in me and my work ethic to bring me onto his team to assist with the cleansing of data for the implementation of the new ERP system. I started on his team as a Data Management Specialist, and over time, he trusted me with a new position in the company, as an IT Project Coordinator, assisting him with managing and prioritizing company IT projects. Together, we have worked to streamline the IT projects process and we are trying to improve every day. His trust in me has allowed me to grow, learn, and step outside of my comfort zone.
What's your essential if you're stuck on an island?
If you had a time machine, which part of history would you revisit and why?
What song can you listen to on repeat?
"No Se Va" by Grupo Frontera
If you could be fluent in any other language which would it be?
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
Describe yourself in one word.
What’s something people take seriously but shouldn’t?
Other people's opinions
Who’s your role model?
What have you accomplished here that you’re most proud of?
Data cleansing (a process of fixing or removing incorrectly formatted, incomplete, duplicate, or corrupted data) for the implementation of the new ERP system is something I’m extremely proud of. Along with my team member, Yvette, we were able to clean up conflicting data from different departments, and we coordinated discussions to help streamline processes and data structures that are still in place today. I am proud of this because of the sheer amount of data that we validated in a short amount of time, and that this contributed to the success of the implementation.
What kinds of opportunities to grow, learn, and develop have you gotten at JL?
A very cool opportunity I took advantage of was attending the Syteline User Network Conference last year in Orlando, FL. This three-day conference happens every year. By attending this conference, our development team had the opportunity to network with other Syteline (our ERP) users, discuss upcoming upgrades, and learn new functionalities within Syteline.
Out of this world!
How would you describe the company culture? How does management support the employees?
Company culture has shifted over the last few years, but I think it has been for the better. In the beginning it was definitely scary, as things were changing fast, but now that things have calmed down, I’ve noticed good progress. One thing that has helped us assimilate to this change has been the launch of the JL Social Club. This club, which I am part of, has helped bring old and new people together. New friendships have been created, and socialization between different departments has increased. One of our main goals was to bring people together, and I think we are accomplishing that goal.
Do you take advantage of any of the benefits offered by JL?
The gym is something I have taken advantage of for about 4 years now. I’ve been with our trainer since the beginning! Definitely a huge perk having the gym downstairs and not having to drive elsewhere, it’s so easy to get a quick workout in and head home for the night. The snack program is also a plus–can’t go wrong with a morning breakfast burrito or an afternoon Celsius drink for a nice pick-me-up!
What are you doing outside of JL to move forward on your career path?
Currently, I am taking a Project Management Google certification, which will help me learn how to manage projects, create project documentation, and strengthen my communication skills. I will also be taking a few other courses to learn Microsoft Power BI and SQL programming.
What has your experience been at JL?
My experience here at JL has been great, I have developed a lot of great connections and friendships along the way. JL has always felt like a nice, big family and as the years go by, those connections stay strong and new connections are established. I am surrounded by a large group of people that have allowed me to learn and grow, and supported me in my development, something I will always be grateful for.
It's always a laugh