From a young age, Laura liked to open everything, see how it worked, and to fix it if it didn’t.
Laura Palmieri’s mother always said that her baby girl was born with a screwdriver in her hand. From a young age, Laura liked to open everything, see how it worked, and to fix it if it didn’t.
That passion for analyzing and solving led her to pursue a degree in computer engineering–that, and the fact that her father advised her early to work hard first, then play, and to find a path that would lead to a stable career.
But while Laura sought career stability, she also wanted work that would provide satisfaction. How did she reconcile the two? “I found the path by trying to imagine if I would be happy working daily on different careers, and also if I would be happy studying for it.” In the end, computer engineering fit all her requirements.
After graduating, Laura worked as an analyst, contracting with several large technology firms. But being a contractor, she found, wasn’t the same as being a valued member of the team. Two and a half years into working with one firm as a functional analyst, she applied for a new position—only to be told that although she was well qualified, as a contractor, she would not be considered for employment within the company.
“It was crystal clear for me. Nothing would ever change in that company,” she says. But Laura was willing to change, and a friend from her university days recommended VMBC.
“He told me I should come here, that they treat you well, and that even though you will sometimes have to work really hard, they really take care of you. Probably because of it being a small company,” Laura recalls. She was hired as a business analyst, and quickly found that the intimate size of VMBC was quite a change from the large corporations she was used to. At first, she wasn’t sure she liked it.
“I thought to myself, my gosh, did I make the right decision joining such a small company?” she says. But in less than a month at VMBC, she realized she was in the right place. “One of the things I loved here is that you’re not a number. If something happens to you, it’s really great to feel that they’re taking care of you. You’re not just a piece of a machine that makes things happen.”
In addition to the supportive environment, Laura also appreciated the effort and commitment to their work her team members demonstrated. And she appreciated the career opportunities available, even within a small company.
“I found a place here where I can actually make a career. I don’t have to change from one place to another and I really love that” she says.
In 2014, after almost a year and a half as a business analyst, Laura became a product manager for VMBC’s enrollment project, which includes all of the TracFone products. As a product manager, Laura works with the product owner and client, determining what changes and improvements need to be made, how and when. She also supervises the analysts and contributes with the development and quality assurance teams when comes to the administration of their tasks.
Laura’s group of work does a little bit of everything, she says, including product maintenance, improvements, and creation of new features—whatever change will benefit the client, from improving an app’s public interface to making back-end processes faster and more efficient. She thrives in a role that lets her organize projects, interact with internal and external clients, and get things done.
All these years later, metaphorical screwdriver in hand, Laura still loves to take things apart, figure out what’s wrong, and fix it.
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