In 2015, I decided to take a break from my job at Spiceworks to pursue ideas in areas related to my lifelong passion of all things fashion: design, garment construction, etc. I had come by an opportunity to acquire a small company that makes an application that home sewists use to produce custom-fit patterns for sewing. It was a great opportunity as it marries two of my passions: all things geeky :) and sewing.
A couple of years later, as I was working on relaunching that company, a fledging fashion designer asked me to come help them with pattern making and with managing her sewing operations. I jumped at the chance. It was an amazing opportunity. I saw and learned so much about the fashion industry. I also got to apply my pattern drafting knowledge and skills.
As luck would have it, the designer asked me to be one of her models and so I found msyelf on the runway in her shows in Fashion Weeks in NYC, London, L.A. and even Kochi, India! It was a little surreal sharing the runway with models less than half my age!
In early 2018, I heard about IBM's Tech Re-Entry program via a post in a women-in-tech meetup.com group. I applied, interviewed with an IBM Research group, and was offered a position as a Software Engineer Apprentice, a try-before-you-buy opportunity for both sides. After about six months, I was offered a permanent position as an Advisory Software Engineer, a position a couple of steps above an entry-level position. The rest is ongoing history.
Click here for a profile of Anna and to learn what she wishes she could change about how career breaks are perceived.