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Dataprise Women in Technology: Meet Danielle

By: Marissa Withers

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About Danielle:

Danielle joined the Dataprise team in early 2016 with over 10 years of experience in the Information Technology field. As a Program Manager, Danielle works with our clients to provide oversight and guidance on the IT Services Dataprise provides. She firmly believes in building strong relationships with our clients to establish Dataprise as their trusted IT advisor. Danielle has fantastic relationships with her clients and as a testament to her abilities, was named All Star of the Month in February 2017. Danielle is currently working on obtaining her ITIL certification and holds a Master’s in Political Studies from the University of Illinois.

Hi Danielle, would you mind telling me about yourself and a little bit about your background?

Sure! I was a military kid, the youngest of four children. My father served in the U.S. Air Force for almost 30 years, so I grew up in a very structured household. My parents always encouraged us to work harder, faster, and stronger than everyone else. They always told us that we could do anything or be anything that we wanted to be, and taught us when to push the envelope and when not to.

How did you originally get involved in the technology field?

I actually fell into technology by accident. I took some time away from my professional career to have children. During that time, I was able to really think about what I wanted, and that’s when I met my husband’s colleague who recognized I had what it took to be successful in IT. She made me aware that I was not fully utilizing my natural talents, that I could be a very strong asset in the technical field, and that I needed to give it a try. So, that’s what I did. That one conversation put me in the trajectory over 10 years ago to pursue a technical career.

Your past interests me: it seems like you didn’t envision yourself having an IT career. What were you doing before you got into the IT field?

I wanted to be a lawyer. I spent a year as a legal clerk clerking for the criminal division, and it turns out that I wasn’t passionate about that. My Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees are actually in Political Science. I always thought I was going to go into politics to be an “Olivia Pope” (from the TV show “Scandal”), but that didn’t work out for me either. I hit roadblocks in my career and tried other things before finding technology.

Tell me a bit about how you landed your first job in IT and what it was like?

I was intimidated. I first worked for an Internet Service Provider, but I couldn’t tell you what a T1 or DS3 was. My husband actually gave me a crash course right before my interview so that I was able to speak the language. I learned a lot about how networks are set up, etc., and got the job of Client-Order Representative. I received requests from companies to set up private networks. At first, I was strictly communicating with the client. However, as time went on, the role developed, and they decided that the Client-Order Representatives should be more hands-on technical. Over time, I began working on company networks, implementations, and really got into the nuts and bolts.

That’s great how you were able to work your way up and learn as you go! Do you currently share about your experiences working in the IT field with young women?

Right now, I am working directly with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop, teaching and exposing them to technology. We just went to the Microsoft store and they learned some coding. I’m trying to encourage girls not only to do computer science, but also engineering. These are opportunities for them, too!

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