Sarah Gerbino – Creating History: Women in Tech & Business Leadership at Athenium Analytics
This March we celebrate Women’s History Month by recognizing some of the fantastic women at Athenium Analytics. Our company is so proud to have so many exceptional women across all of our teams, including meteorology, data science, engineering and product management. These women are making history every day by solving some of the toughest problems in the insurtech world. Karlene Kiskinis, Design & Social Media Manager at Athenium Analytics, will be interviewing women all month long and sharing their stories and insights about their careers in tech.
Meet Sarah Gerbino. She is the Senior Director of Product Management here at Athenium Analytics. Sarah refutes the notion that women of a certain age can’t compete with millennials in today’s digital age. Her love of software development and skill in coding prove otherwise!
Name: Sarah Gerbino
College / Grad School (and Majors): Rivier University, Nashua, NH. BS Information Management and Office Technology
Title: Senior Director, Product Management
Time at Athenium Analytics: 22 months (2 years in May!)
How did you start your career?
Immediately after college, I started working at a large insurance company. I started in the accounts payable unit paying the bills. I then moved into a help desk analyst position supporting the company’s claim tracking software. This is where my love for software development began. Working at a helpdesk, I would get a first-hand account of the enhancements clients were looking for, understanding their frustration with certain features and brainstorming ways to make the application better. During my 20+ years of time spent with that company, I was fortunate to be able to move around and work across many different business units, both within IT and business, mostly on the underwriting side. I can read code, write basic code and do in-depth data analysis, which has proved helpful in troubleshooting system and/or data issues.
What was your very first job?
I worked at a movie theatre concession stand. Popcorn is still my favorite snack!
What was the most challenging part of getting to where you are today?
I think being a woman of a certain age, there is still bias out there that you can’t keep up with technology, are not trainable to learn new things or compete with “millennials.” I think a company’s strongest asset is supporting diversity and inclusion. At Athenium Analytics, we have a diverse group of individuals who work really well together, and a culture that empowers everyone to push themselves to create their best work. I hold my own with our PhD engineers and my younger counterparts. I enjoy our shared comradery, and I LOVE our dog-friendly environment.
What is one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Mistakes are ok! If you make a mistake, take responsibility. I once had a boss tell me, “Don’t worry about messing something up, as long as you learn from it.” I think this was a very important lesson because those mistakes, battle scars as I sometimes say, strengthen you as an individual. You become aware and work to not make the same mistake twice! This advice also encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone because, in turn, you learn something about yourself. I think that is one reason I ended up at Athenium Analytics. I stepped outside of my comfort zone of working within a corporate environment. I’m glad I took that chance because I’ve learned so much during my time here.
What unique skills/experiences were you able to bring at Athenium Analytics?
What I love about my current position at Athenium Analytics is that I have been able to utilize all of the skills I’ve gained throughout my career in one place: Customer Service, Business Analyst, Mentor, QA Analyst, Project Manager and scrum master. Because of my experiences, I feel that I bring a calming presence when situations get tense – as they do at any fast-growing startup.
What has been your greatest success thus far at Athenium Analytics?
My greatest success is the development of our first working prototype for an update of our flagship Gauge application. This was a team effort across product, content, tech and data science. It is one thing to conceptually develop a product through screenshots and written requirements, but is another thing to see all the pieces working together and producing the expected result!
What are your interests/hobbies outside of work?
Spending time with family, friends and reading a good book. My husband and I enjoy visiting craft breweries and escaping to Fort Myers, FL when we can. My guilty pleasure is reality tv shows. I have two daughters, 23 and 18. One of my daughters is a teacher. The other is currently in college studying neuroscience. I have always encouraged them to be strong and independent, so I truly enjoy watching them flourish in today’s world.
Any hidden talents or interesting facts about yourself?
I was a baton twirler in my younger days. I even threw fire batons! I still have my baton and occasionally I go in my back yard and twirl.
Stay tuned for more insights from inspiring women at Athenium Analytics!