Meet The Role Models is a technology community series which highlights the stories of The Ada Lovelace Initiative role models. The success of the Ada Lovelace Initiative depends on the participation of technology professionals across Ireland & since September 2015, The Ada Lovelace Initiative voluntary speakers have reached over 4000 secondary school students between them.
Meet The Role Models offers you the opportunity to learn more about the role models who make these school visits possible. In our last instalment of Meet The Role Models, we had the opportunity to speak to Mary Browne who works as a Solutions Analyst Lead with Citi, the global bank, about her experience visiting Loreto Secondary School in Clonmel Co. Tipperary.
Meet Caroline Hynes
Today’s interview is the 17th instalment of Meet The Role Models and features Caroline Hynes who is the Director of Product Operations at Intercom. Caroline volunteered to take part in The Ada Lovelace Initiative this year and she visited the Transition Year pupils in her old school, Mercy College in Coolock Co. Dublin.
Hi Caroline! How would you describe your current role?
My current role is Director of Product Operations at Intercom. My role focuses primarily on program management of strategic programs for the Product org, working directly with the VP of Product at Intercom. These are generally initiatives that are orientated around processes, how we work, how we scale the organisation and optimising our ability to ship product as fast as possible.
What attracted you to this type of work in the beginning of your career?
What attracted me to this type of work was the variety of work that program management allows me to be involved in. The fact that the programs can be focused on product delivery, change management or process improvement is really interesting to me.
The role also requires me to work cross functionally within the organisation giving me the opportunity to learn about other parts of the company and help join the dots for all the work that is happening. It is a role that enables me to continuously learn and grow.
What would you say is the best part of your work?
I love working cross functionally within the organisation and leveraging all of our collective experiences to drive a positive outcome for the company and our customers.
What would you say is a common misconception about your role type?
A common misconception is that we spend our days moving dates in MS project and sending status reports rather than actually talking with people, problem solving and driving results.
What motivated you to get involved with The Ada Lovelace Initiative?
I am passionate about helping deconstructing the myths around working in technology, the type of jobs in the field and the opportunities available.
I am interested in encouraging young girls to be more curious and open to a career in STEM rather than shutting it down immediately because of some incorrect assumptions i.e. that you have to have Computer Science degree to work in tech.
How would you describe your school visit for A.L.I. – My Story?
I loved my experience of visiting my school but it feels like the start of a conversation with the girls rather than the end. I would love to have another opportunity to speak with the 4th years and I have been asked to speak to the 5th years also.
Did you feel differently before and after your visit?
I was certainly nervous beforehand, I didn’t want to seem condescending, I was really keen to be relevant and interesting. I feel like I achieved that.
Now that you have completed your school visit, would you have any tips for other role models?
The audience can be a little slow to ask questions so it might be worth sharing some question ideas with the teacher in advance or asking the teacher to prepare questions with the girls in advance. This students can then ask the question(s) or the presenter could take the list and ask & answer the questions.
Check the tech too! Make sure you bring connectors for Mac if using that, share the presentation with the teacher in advance in case of any technical issues so you can run it off the school computer if needed.
Who is your own role model, and why?
I have many role models all of which have a common theme – they are brave and have courage. They have a goal, an idea or a drive and despite all the things that could possibly go wrong they give it a go, learn and try again.
We would like to thank Caroline Hynes for sharing her story on Meet The Role Models and also for visiting the pupils of Mercy College in Coolock, Co. Dublin. If you would like to learn more about The Ada Lovelace Initiative, please visit our A.L.I page.
We are looking for role models from every county, if you would like more information about visiting a school on our waiting list or your old school, please fill out our form here and we will be in touch shortly.