Ana Castro always dreamed of moving to a big city to pursue her career goals. A technical analyst at JDA in Monterrey, Mexico, she and her husband moved just one month after they married to invest in their career development. With a passion for learning, leading and persistent growth, it’s no surprise Ana portrays JDA’s core values—results, relentless and teamwork—in life and on her path to success.
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I grew up in a city called Tepic about 20 minutes from the beach in Nayarit, Mexico. In January 2017, my husband and I moved to Monterrey for our careers and we’ve been living there ever since. Fun fact: we moved just a month after our wedding.
Tell me about growing up in Tepic.
I grew up the only daughter of a single mother. We have a unique relationship—nothing is off limits when it comes to trusting each other, but being raised by a single parent was not easy. My mom was always working to provide me with everything I needed but now, as an adult, I understand that growing up with a single parent has many positives. You learn independence at a very young age and grow up a little bit faster. Because of that, I matured quickly and learned things about the world.
What are three key words you would use to describe yourself?
Never stop learning!
What year did you join JDA? What did you do before that?
I joined JDA as a contractor in March 2017, and became a full-time JDA associate just five months later. Prior to JDA, I worked at a software development company in my hometown. In fact, it was my first job after graduation. I worked as an analyst on some projects and a developer on others.
What are your favorite parts of your role?
As a Technical Analyst, it’s necessary to always be proactive in helping customers solve their doubts or issues. My favorite part is when the JDA team is able to help a customer, and when things go smoothly.
A few months back, I had the opportunity to be on-site with a customer. I worked with the customer to approve updates and passed detailed information back to the JDA team. Once the solution was ready, I confirmed with the users that they were back in business and provided daily tips for future incidents. It was a fulfilling experience and the customer truly appreciated our team’s effort.
What are some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career and how did you tackle them?
In a past job, my manager asked me to take the lead on one of the projects. I had to manage meetings with customers, analysis of requirements, the development team and all tasks related to the development of the software. In the beginning, I was a little bit scared. It was a lot of responsibility for a recent graduate, but I never said no. I did my best to meet all of the expectations and completed the task successfully.
Through that opportunity, I realized I really like leading a team and decided I would pursue leadership roles in my career moving forward.
How do you define success?
For me, success is having a job and family that make me happy, and having opportunities to learn and grow. When your team keeps you accountable and you find purpose in and are appreciated for your daily contributions, that’s success.
How do you stay inspired professionally?
I know there is a path I need to follow to reach my career goals and I work every day to improve myself so I’m ready when the right opportunity presents itself.
How has your life experience made you who you are you are today?
I always told my mom I was going to try to move to a bigger city once I started my career. I knew my hometown was not the best place for career development in this industry. At first, she didn’t like the idea but eventually, she realized it was best.
My family always supports me in everything I do. It’s difficult to be far away from them but I’m sure they are proud of me, and I will continue working hard to make them proud.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
I think one of the biggest challenges facing leaders and companies today is how to adapt to new technologies in their business.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
The key to keeping a healthy work/life balance is managing my time.
How do you keep your skills sharp?
With so much new knowledge constantly at our finger tips, staying current can feel overwhelming. For me, it is a must to stay up to date on the latest developments in the technology industry—staying informed about new technologies, business, jargon and more. As I mentioned, I previously worked as a developer so I try to keep coding and learning new methods in that capacity as well.
In addition, my husband works in the technology industry too. We discuss new technologies and try to keep each other updated in our free time.
What advice to you have for young women seeking a career in technology?
Focus on what you love to do and never compare yourself to anyone else!