I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, went to school at Auburn University and moved back to Atlanta after graduation. A year after I graduated I got an exciting new job working at the Weather Channel as an analyst. Quickly into my time at Weather Channel I got the news that I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lymphoma and needed to start chemo. I chose to continue to work as I went through treatment, and powered through the diagnosis with my amazing boyfriend, family, and friends by my side. In March of 2015, I was told I was clear, my boyfriend and I vowed to say yes to every adventure from that point forward. A year later we were engaged, and a week before our wedding I accepted an amazing opportunity to move to Seattle and work for Amazon Web Services! We got married, packed up all of our things and headed to the other side of the country!
Since moving to Seattle and starting my new job I have gotten promoted and now am building out a team of people to support my original role. I get to work with AWS’ large global and strategic customers it is an amazing opportunity. I come into these large customers and am a subject matter expert to teach our customers how to be more efficient and optimize their environments on AWS. I travel globally to be face to face with customers, as well as evangelize internally at AWS different best practices around optimization. In February, despite what many doctors had told us was not possible after my chemo treatment, my husband and I got the surprise that we were expecting our first child! A boy due in October!
I have learned through my past experiences that you never know what is coming along your path. I try to stay away from too many long term plans, if I had followed my long term plans I wouldn’t be here in Seattle, pregnant with a baby boy, working an amazing job. I am excited to see what comes in the future and I hope it continues along the path I am on. I hope I get the opportunity to continue to grow and mentor the team I am building and our impact on customers continues to increase.
How she’s redefining women who work:
It’s all about the balance, and I feel like there is a preconceived idea that women can’t do it all and have to pick. For me, I have realized that it is about prioritizing and simplifying as much as possible, and making it the normal for women in the workplace.
Her biggest challenge:
The most challenging part of my job is being there for everyone. I am pulled in a lot of different directions and I rarely slow down. I try to be the go-to person for too many people, including family, friends, and work. When I got this new job on of the biggest things I learned was no one was going to tell me/force me to slow down, that I had to manage my time myself.
Her secret to a work/life balance:
I wish there was a secret! I am most successful in work/life balance when I put myself and my health first. I have a history of running running running until I burn out, but when I got sick a few years ago I hit a brick wall. I had always been there for everyone in a professional and personal sense, and all of a sudden I needed people to be there for me. Going through treatment taught me if I’m not putting myself first I can’t be successful. I “try” to do this today by working in personal development time for myself, leaving my desk for lunch and lots and lots of to-do lists.
What she wishes she knew 5 years ago:
To advocate for myself. Someone told me once that women will only apply to jobs that they match up directly with the job description, when in reality you should only know 50-60% of a new job to truly advance your career and knowledge base. I have learned similar to this belief that you only get what you ask for. There were plenty of times that I could have easily taken the risk and advocated for myself but I held back.
Never pass up a chance to network. Even if you think a networking event or a person has nothing to do with where you want your career to go, don’t pass up the chance. The more you get your name out there, the more opportunity you have. It is all about who you know and who you can learn from.
Why she uses Armoire:
I signed up for a couple of reasons! First is I moved to a one-bedroom Seattle apartment from a house in Atlanta. My closet size drastically changed. We got rid of a lot of stuff when we moved, and I have no idea how my husband and I shared the tiny closet in our apartment. In my new job I was working with large global customers and traveling a lot. What I would wear to a meeting in San Francisco vs. a meeting in London was drastically different. My varying meetings, travel and small closet made Armoire the perfect solution for me. I was able to get clothes that matched up with my needs for the week, didn’t have to worry about dry cleaning and took up a very small part of our closet.
Her favorite part:
From a clothes perspective, it pushes me outside my comfort zone. My body has changed a lot in the past 5 years. I went from in shape and very active to losing a ton of weight during chemo, to gaining a lot of weight with steroids post-chemo, to getting my body wedding-ready to now 8 months pregnant. Since my body has changed so much I have stayed in my comfort zone clothing-wise. Armoire gives me great quality clothing, that pushes me beyond my comfort zone and teaches me what looks good on me. Outside of a clothes perspective, I love the people. Everyone is so responsive at Armoire and has worked with me no matter what the need. It makes the service so easy to use.
Boss Lady Go-To:
Such a tricky question! There have been a couple that have made me feel like I rule the room. I would say the one I reference the most is a Tom Ford skirt that I wore to an all-day event in London.
On Armoire for Maternity:
Pregnancy has not been easy for me. After my chemotherapy, I was told that I couldn’t naturally get pregnant, so this was a HUGE surprise (a good surprise but still a surprise). It took me some time to realize it was okay to be scared and overwhelmed by pregnancy. I think since it was such a surprise and against the odds, I felt bad saying my changing body was really hard on me mentally. Armoire has helped me build my confidence back up while pregnant. Showing me I can still wear amazing clothes even with a changing body. When my bump really started to grow and my confidence really tanked, I went into the Armoire office and tried on as much maternity clothing as possible. I left the office feeling so much better, I was ready to walk into the office with confidence even with my growing stomach.
A peek inside Alex’s closet
A Pea in the Pod