51. Heather Feather – Giant Eagle Program Manager, eCommerce Operations

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“Focus on a skillset or function that you enjoy and let the road lead you in the right direction.”

Tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you.

My days are busy – I spend a lot of time face-to-face or on the phone with our tech teams and business partners defining requirements and goals for upcoming work, reviewing current work, and ideating on how we can solve problems and improve our customer’s online ordering experience.

How do you stay passionate in your career?

It’s easy to be passionate about the products you work on when you’re a customer of them yourself. I see the benefit of everything we do as a customer and am always excited to get feedback and share updates with my friends and family who are also customers. I love to problem-solve and enjoy a good challenge when someone says we “can’t do” something.

Did you have a traditional path into tech (i.e.: CS/IT degree transitioned into tech job)?

No! My undergrad degree is in Chemical Engineering and I started my career in Operations, but quickly discovered my skillset aligned well with the tech teams I was working with. Collaboration, problem-solving, breaking down complex systems – these things all lead me down the tech path. At first it was overwhelming because I didn’t have the technical background, there was a lot of unfamiliar terminology, and I sometimes felt like the outsider in the room – but I realized that I could apply my knowledge and skillsets from other areas to solve technical problems.

Are there any apps, software, or tools you cannot live without?

SnagIt! A screenshot paints a thousand words.

It’s common knowledge that women and femmes often face obstacles in the tech industry based on their gender. Have you ever had to deal with this type of experience and if so how did you handle it?

When I first transitioned into the tech team I felt timid when in group settings – I didn’t always feel like I had a place or a voice to speak up – but that certainly wasn’t because the team wasn’t accepting of me, it was more of an internal blocker in my mind. Once I overcame that and started to find my voice I realized I brought a lot of value to the table.

What’s your favorite thing about being a part of the #womenintech community?

I love reading about the amazing things women are doing in tech – solving real problems that we as women face on a regular basis (i.e. grocery shopping with a young baby – just get your groceries delivered instead!).

If applicable, how have you given back to the WIT community?

Not as much as I would like to!

What is a piece of advice you would give to others wanting to or currently pursuing a career in tech?

Sometimes it’s hard to determine what a future career path will look like or what you’d like to work towards – instead focus on a skillset or function that you enjoy and let the road lead you in the right direction. It’s not about having the technical skills – it’s about having the softskills that you can apply in a new area.

Tell us about a time you felt extremely accomplished in the past year. 

Seeing our Curbside Express business grow over the past year has been incredible – to see the hard work we put into building the platform continue to enable customers to make their lives easier and to benefit from that myself as a customer has been very rewarding. There’s nothing like driving down Route 28 and seeing a billboard talking about Curbside Express and knowing that my work contributed to that!

Favorite quote:

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”

– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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