Skip to main content

Anna Nguyen's Relaunch Success Story

Anna Nguyen headshot

Relauncher of the Month

April 2021

Anna is a proud transgender woman, and currently works as an Advisory Engineer at IBM after joining IBM through the 2018 cohort of IBM's Tech Re-Entry Program. Anna has a Bachelor's degree focused in Mathematics and Computer Science from New York University.

Anna took a 3 year career break to explore a personal lifelong passion: fashion, working as a pattern maker for an up-and-coming fashion designer, and modeling in Fashion Weeks in New York City, London, Los Angeles and Kochi, India.

To hear Anna's personal account of her unique career break and successful relaunch, read on below...

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 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.