Woman Wednesday: Alysha

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.  


 

 

“Don’t look at someone’s life and think you should be doing what they’re doing – you should do what makes you happy and what you are passionate about. I think life is too short not to live in a way that makes you approach each and every day with a full sense of joy and enthusiasm. There is always something to be grateful for and that can bring a smile to your face.” -Alysha 

 

 

Q and A with Alysha, Berks County, Pennsylvania 

Connect with Alysha:  

Blog: https://alyshathekitchenologist.com/

Instagram

LinkedIn

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Q: What are you passionate about?

A: In a broad sense, I am very passionate about helping individuals. More specifically, I have always believed that information is power. I knew that I wanted to work in a career that provided individuals with information so they could make the best well-informed decisions for themselves and their lives. This definitely intermingles with two things career-wise I am involved in: working as a clinical writer for a nonprofit organization in the healthcare field and as a recipe developer/food photographer for various projects that fall under my blog: The Kitchenologist©.

 

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Read and see more at  The Kitchenologist©.

 

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As a food recipe developer /photographer, I love showing people what to do with a “mystery vegetable” they may have or how to make a dish they love in a healthier version. I believe if you are able to educate someone or expose someone to something they have never done before, it could change the way they think and affect the way they act, which may ultimately influence their lives as a whole in a potentially positive way. In regards to food, maybe someone could make a healthier diet change at home by cooking more now that they have some recipes they enjoy versus grabbing fast food or eating out. I was inspired by the impact nutrition can have on your life after taking a class entitled “Sustainable Food Systems” in college where I had the opportunity to read food system research and work in our community garden, in addition to living abroad in Australia for a semester where I ate a lot of very simplistic, fresh foods. I felt a completely new appreciation for food, where it comes from and how it affects our lives as a whole after these experiences. There are so many information gaps that exist in our world today, whether it be healthcare or food, and I love being able to help bridge some of those gaps through what I work in.

 

 

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As a clinical writer, my career allows me to break down dense scientific information into key facts and data individuals can grasp and understand. I view what I do as “scientific translation” in a sense, and I love knowing the work I do helps individuals make better decisions for their hospitals and patients. I credit a speech I gave my sophomore year of college at Susquehanna University for the Honors Program as the reason why I was drawn to scientific translation and presentation. The speech was entitled: “Vaccines and the Childhood Autism Scare: Solely a Media-Generated Correlation.” A community member from the audience came up to me after the speech and thanked me,because she believed that she had given her son autism because she chose to vaccinate him and now knew that the facts proved otherwise. I later went on to work with Johns Hopkins Medicine on a research project looking at supplement manufacturer claims and was blown away by the evidence gaps existing. I have been incredibly excited to attend a few conferences for work this summer, allowing me to interact with a wider audience on these types of topics and facilitate these types of informative discussions.

 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in a very loving and nurturing environment. My parents really balanced each other out when I grew up, with my dad really encouraging my younger brother and I to do well in school and my mom always asking us if we were happy (and making sure we were) in addition to fostering other passions like reading and drawing. In retrospect, having both of those perspectives was incredibly important to where I am today,because I have realized how important it is to work hard to be able to succeed. However, I also know that happiness is truly the key to everything. And if you aren’t happy, nothing else really seems to matter.

 

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My parents also made large decisions in regards to their careers before they started a family. My mom decided to leave her management job to raise a family full time, and my dad found a different executive position that would allow him to spend time with his family and not work 24/7. I did not realize how impactful that was in my life until I got older. My parents were at every soccer match, swim meet, softball game, honors ceremony, chorus concert, etc. I knew if I would look out in the stands, they would be there enthusiastically cheering me on. That really taught me the importance of supporting individuals you love. I have really strived to do that in my adult years by always making the trip to see a friend, visiting with family, sending out a check-in text or mailing off a snail mail letter. It truly means the world to know you have people who care about you and want to make that time to be with you and care about you.

 

 

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I also would like to credit my parents for always showing my younger brother and I that money is not everything. My younger brother and I were incredibly fortunate to grow up in a home where we never needed for anything, but my parents were also not quick to buy us that “new thing.” Instead, they really emphasized the value of experiences by going on trips and going out to meals. As an adult, I find that I want to spend my money on travel and seeing the world. I would rather spend my money and time experiencing things and meeting new people versus getting a fancy car or new outfit. These experiences I find have made me grow and look at the world in ways I never thought I would, and it is a really beautiful and empowering thing.

 

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Moraine Lake in Banff, Canada

 

Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?

A: The first thing I have learned is don’t be afraid of not living up to other’s expectations – at the end of the day, you should only be living up to your own. Especially in your 20s, I just find there are a lot of things being thrown at you question-wise from a variety of people or what you see on social media in regards to topics like getting married, having kids, buying a house, going back to school, switching careers, earning more money, etc. All I can say is to do what makes you happy! Don’t look at someone’s life and think you should be doing what they’re doing – you should do what makes you happy and what you are passionate about. I think life is too short not to live in a way that makes you approach each and every day with a full sense of joy and enthusiasm.

 

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The second thing I have learned is to always try to understand and help people. People will have opposing views from you, different life stories, varying backgrounds, etc. but you should never miss out on the opportunity to have a conversation with someone who has different views than you or looks at something through a different perspective. Conversation and understanding is an opportunity to grow. Additionally, if someone needs a helping hand and you can provide it, don’t be afraid to pitch in and offer help. Doesn’t matter how simple it is. It could be just running to grab extra napkins for a coworker who spilled there coffee everywhere or helping to pick up someone’s spilledchange at the grocery store. Try to put out in the world what you want to receive back. I am always game for putting more goodout there.

 

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Q: What would you like others to learn from your story?

A: I truly believe you attract the people and things you are supposed to in life through your actions and words. And I think that if you are doing what you love, you will attract the rightopportunities. I believe if you are a good friend, you will also attract great friends in your life. And I believe if you give love, you will receive it. I always think of this concept when I am having a really bad day. I always try to put positivity out there through my actions and words despite how bad things are. And I really do believe this has served me well in life. I know that it is definitely easier said than done, but I really have felt it has made such a huge impact on my life by acting in this fashion. Every day isn’t good, but I have always believed there is a piece of good in every day. And on days when it feels like absolutely nothing is going right, I am always thankful for my family, boyfriend, friends, pets and the good experiences I have had. There is always something to be grateful for and that can bring a smile to your face.

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Woman Wednesday: Kidron

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.


 

 

Q and A with Kidron, Baltimore County, Maryland

WATCH KIDRON HERE VIA A SHORT VIDEO CLIP.

 

 “I was born in a very modest household, the daughter of a Financial Planner and a Phlebotomist (chemistry nerd). In many ways, I reflect characteristics of my parents, but I am very much like my father. I have always been told that I am “very bright,” but it wasn’t until I entered the world of finance that I felt I had finally found my place. I worked long hours…for less-than-ideal pay, applied myself to learn as much as I could, and over the years, I finally began to progress up the corporate ladder.

 

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Q: Tell us about your younger years.

A: I grew up in a small town in Pikesville, Maryland. I was scrawny, spunky, had a knack for making up bad jokes (that I thought were great), and I was good with my hands. According to  my mom, I spent a good deal of time “taking things apart” when I was younger, but also often putting them back together. The kids in the neighborhood also considered me a sort of “connoisseur” of the monkey bars, and a master of broken bicycle chains. My mom interpreted these inclinations as signs of a future “Mechanical Engineer.”

 

 

Q: What was high school like for you?

A: To put things eloquently, I struggled like everyone else. I was pretty awkward, didn’t fit in any particular social circles, and didn’t seem to have a natural gift for any of my classes. With the exception of two subjects: honors pre-calculus and a technology glass, I was pretty status- quo. I would not really characterize myself as a “math-kid” either. I loved algebra, and other studies, to which I could attribute logical flow akin to building Legos. Otherwise, high school was a time I would never assign as “pleasant”.

 

 

Q: What was the next step for you after high school?

A: My first “Big-Girl” job was working at as a Digital Life Sales specialist at age 17 for a big-name electronics store (shout out to my mom for encouraging me to apply for that job). Believe it or not, I’ve always had a “knack”, or natural proclivity, towards computer technology—as long as I can remember.

 

As shy as I was, I actually ended up being quite the strong salesperson. I knew hardware, software, operating systems, and cell phones like the back of my hand. I knew the products, I was charming, and I recommended practical solutions without over-selling. I was willing to teach the customers to help them make an educated decision about their purchase. I began to thrive, and before long I was promoted to “team lead,” in a full-time employment capacity.

 

This was also the time in my life when I was supposed to be in college. I graduated high school (barely) on time, and enrolled at a private liberal arts school, with the intention of becoming an Interior designer. I thought I could make a decent living on interior decoration, and I had enough demonstrable math skills to comply with the calculation-aspects of the job.

 

However, once I got to school, it wasn’t long before I started to realize I wasn’t that great at being an artist; and that making a comfortable living would probably require an advanced degree, and years before the salary was commiserate with my experience. I also started to advance more and more in my baby-career as a salesperson. I enjoyed it, seemed to have grasped some form of popularity never previously experienced, and I did well for a kid out of high school.

 

It wasn’t long before I was promoted at work, and the allure of obtaining that Bachelor’s Degree in Arts faded away; during the same time, footing the tuition bill for that full-time private education became something my parents couldn’t afford. I became disinterested enough to drop out.

 

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Q: Do you believe dropping out of college was the best decision for you?

A: I would not necessarily say that I “regret” dropping out of school then, but returning to continue my education further on in life certainly has not been any easier than when I was a relatively careless 19-year old. Thankfully, the skillsets that I had acquired and developed working as a salesperson had universal application in the finance world. In the fall, I was recruited to start my first professional position, working an accounts receivable role for a company in the Baltimore area. I still didn’t have a degree, but I was good with numbers, excellent with spreadsheets, and learned financial concepts easily. Working for this company helped me develop critical thinking and analysis skills, that were unsatisfied by the collections-oriented position. I spent about 18 months with that company before I moved on to other opportunities.

 

I knew that tenure and consistency is important for advancement in the world of finance. I sacrificed for these positions. I worked long hours… for less-than-ideal pay, applied myself to learn as much as I could, and over the years, I finally began to progress up the corporate ladder.

 

There is an invisible line between the “associate” and “analyst” experience leveled position (which generally required a Bachelor’s Degree of some sort) that was rapidly approaching, and I it knew would be challenging to cross. In order to move beyond billing and collections, I had to be able to prove I had the skills required to be an analyst. I knew that would be difficult without a 4-year degree, but I also learned that sometimes, those 3-day long training sessions for Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint skills carried weight in the eyes of managers and employers—because experience is also valuable. I signed up for company-sponsored, industry-approved classes, I did IT hardware and software certifications through our employer’s online training center as often as I could; and I kept a running list of everything I did. I also amassed a number of training hours that qualified for “Continuing Professional Education” credits, which is a huge plus. No matter how long I worked at any contact position, I made sure I had some form of evidence to show what skills I learned and what I achieved. I also learned on the job, sitting behind computer monitors. I learned to identify, explain, and resolve account variances. I read lengthy sales agreements, servicing agreements, tax publications, and experience in multiple aspects of the finance industry. I learned how to implement short term and long-term solutions through the use of process automation.

 

I also taught myself how to program, predominantly in Visual Basic for Application. It’s a scripting language that’s often used to display data or calculate data and automate processes or routine tasks. That was one of the skills I learned over the years, and programming was an effective tool I could use to gain a deeper understanding of the finance world. It was also a fun way to build things.

Eventually, I went back to school. I decided to change routes a little from my original Arts-direction, to pursuing an Accounting Major.

School is still an ongoing struggle for me, but I am happy to say that I am finally about to obtain my first Degree in Business Accounting (Certificate), have surpassed the Analyst experience level, and have become an intermediate-level Developer/Programmer/Financial Modeler in the finance industry. I am also enrolled in another University to resume my path to my Bachelor’s Degree, with a Master’s Certificate in Data Analysis on the side.

 

I landed my dream job as an “Engineer” like my mom thought I would be, except I build financial models for structured finance deals on a digital platform.

 

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Q: What do you want others to take from your story?

A: I’ve realized that in my life, for me to overcome what holds me back, and to be happy, I have to let some things rest in the shadows. If they don’t contribute to the betterment of myself and/ or humanity, they probably aren’t worth holding onto. I decided I had to push forward for what I wanted (and deserved) if I had to be the Little Engineer who Coded.

Work hard and persevere.

 

 

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Pockets & Comfort: Utility: The New Fashion Trend

What’s the next biggest fashion trend for women you may ask? 

Three words:

Pockets. Comfort. Utility. 

The real question is: Why has it taken so long for women’s clothes to be designed the way men’s clothing have been for decades (for comfort and utility)? 

Women have finally had enough and are now rebelling against large manufacturers for pockets, comfortable clothing, and utility (real, deep pockets, zippers that actually work, and real buttons- not just the decorative garbage on a lot of women’s clothing).

Women want clothing that has deep pockets, made of light/airy material–like 100% cotton, comfortable loungewear, and clothing that incorporates all of these elements, but that they can still feel fashionable in.

Where can you get all of this all in one place? 

My Lilianas is offering women 100% cotton shorts with deep pockets and fashionable patterns online soon! It is a small business that will be launching online this August, first on Kickstarter, then again–an online storefront via Shopify at www.mylilianas.com.

To get exclusive rewards when My Lilianas launches, updates, and more information, check out the Krowdster Prelaunch page and send your email.

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