Precisely Women in Technology: Meet Cecily
At Precisely, recognizing individuality is a key value of our organization. This week, we’re introducing you to Cecily Herzig who manages Operations for Spectrum on Demand. Cecily has built a 23-year-career in technology and is a member of our Precisely Women in Technology program.
How did you get into the technology field?
My dad is a pharmacist — he also has a plumber’s license. He always said that you should pick up any practical skill you could. When I went to college I intended to go into theater or art. My first theater professor was so horrible I never took another theater class again, and I couldn’t get into any of the art classes. In the end, my dad’s practical advice won, and I graduated college with a degree in Environmental Studies [with a focus in Geography (with a focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS)], and a heavy course load of studio art mixed in. GIS was a perfect fit for me — a mix of science and art. When I graduated, I managed to get hired for two part time jobs: one at the Montshire Museum of Science, the other at Geographic Data Technology (GDT), now TomTom. The GIS work stuck, and I’ve been working in technology ever since.
Who has had the greatest impact on your career?
Steve Zuckerman. He was one of the founders of Maponics. We crossed paths briefly at GDT and again when I came to work at Maponics. I worked hard, and Steve always believed in me. He was encouraging and provided me with several key growth opportunities. He was also down to earth — it didn’t matter that he was the founder of the company; he still watered all the plants in the office every week and cared for them like children — a task he passed onto me when he retired.
What do you love most about technology?
I love its potential and ability to connect people and allow us to see each other and the world in ever expanding ways.
How have you managed to create work/life balance throughout your career?
I’m an introvert (no one I work with believes me when I say that though). I need my quiet home life to support my bold and opiniated work life. Before the pandemic I was generally good at using my commute to shift from one mindset to another. I make a conscious effort to put down technology when watching TV or spending time with family. I’m also a big believer in taking vacation and being gone (someone always knows how to reach me in case of a real emergency, but that time to really unplug is important).
Finding this balance right now is especially difficult with the pandemic. All the boundaries have been softened. The workday bookends of driving to and from the office have gone away. My 17-year-old son is no longer in school five days a week. My home is no longer a place primarily for family — it has become my office, my son’s school, my partner’s office, our vacation place. When I walk away from my computer, it’s still on the new desk in the dining room, so it’s easy to turn on as I have my morning coffee. When my child gets up and there’s no school, he’s often lounging in the room I’m working in. In some ways there’s a beauty to this intermixing, and in some ways it’s harder to find those different sides of myself that I need. To help me make the shift from work to home these days I’ve started taking a photo at the end of each day. Creating something that’s a visual reminder of something that happened helps me shift from my serious work brain to my “it’s just me and I’m home” side.
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What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Always advocate for yourself — no one else is better suited to speak up for you than you are. Even if you are afraid to raise your hand, ask for what you want or say what you think. And, offer solutions. We can all point out problems, but offering thoughts on ways to solve or improve it — that’s a very appealing quality and one that will set you up for success.
What are your hopes for other women in the technology field?
I hope they keep showing up and get noticed for their hard work, skills and talent.
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