Why I Never Left My First Job After College
These days, it’s a rarity to meet someone who’s been at the same company since landing a full-time job out of college. But that’s exactly what Gabriella Baum did at CapTech because, frankly, she never had a reason to leave.
In her almost 12 years at the consulting firm, Baum has gotten to work on different projects and learn from coworkers and mentors, all of which led her to her current role as CapTech’s Managing Director of Data & Analytics. “For over a decade, I’ve felt supported, yet challenged in every step of my career journey and that’s thanks to my coworkers,” she says. “I attribute my technical knowledge, consulting acumen, and general professional development to others at CapTech and the experiences I have been given at CapTech.”
Here, Baum talks about learning to balance work and being a new mom, how she’s helping shape the next generation of leaders at CapTech, and what she looks for in candidates to join her team.
Tell us about your career journey, and what inspired you to pursue a career in data and analytics.
Honestly, it was by accident. I thought I wanted to be a business analyst, but I was staffed as a data analyst on my first consulting project out of college. That project was my first professional exposure to data and analytics, and it showed me how much I love data. I enjoy problem solving and each data project feels like a difficult problem that I get to use data to solve.
From a bigger picture standpoint, I like empowering my clients to use their data to make more informed and grounded business decisions. There’s something exciting to me about drawing meaningful, impactful, and strategic insights from data. This can take a lot of different forms—it could influence an organization’s strategy, such as defining a marketing approach based on customer segmentation, or provide a social impact, such as improving a care plan for patients based on having more accurate, accessible, and timely data. Data is at the center of everything and that’s where I want to be!
You’ve been at CapTech for more than a decade. What’s kept you there for so long?
A few things come to mind, but first and foremost is the people. CapTech is such a collaborative organization where the people around you want to support and lift up one another. Whenever I’ve needed technical or career advice, there have been multiple team members at CapTech who’ve made themselves available to answer my questions, share their perspectives, and provide a second opinion. For over a decade, I’ve felt supported, yet challenged in every step of my career journey and that’s thanks to my coworkers. Additionally, there are so many opportunities at CapTech for self-driven development—you own your career and that’s something I want and need in a company.
What are you responsible for as the Managing Director of Data & Analytics, and what are some unique challenges to your job?
My time is split between client delivery and data & analytics practice area leadership. How I split my time between these two areas varies month to month based on client demands, but about 70% of my time is typically focused on client work.
On the client side, I’m responsible for leading CapTech teams to deliver complex solutions that enable our clients to leverage their data in more meaningful ways. I’m currently working on a project with a Fortune 500 client on a cloud migration for one of its largest customer-facing applications. On the practice area leadership side, I co-lead our 200-person data practice. This includes responsibilities across recruiting, staffing, business development, training, and much more.
Why does the work you’re doing at CapTech excite and inspire you?
No two projects are ever the same. I’m constantly learning something new, whether it’s a new business industry or a new technology, or both at the same time! Every day I feel challenged in a different way, and while at times that can be stressful, it excites and motivates me.
You’ve been promoted several times since joining CapTech. How has the company helped you grow and develop?
Without question the people at CapTech have mentored and coached me to where I am today in my career. I joined CapTech out of college—it was my first full-time job and has been my only full-time job. I attribute my technical knowledge, consulting acumen, and general professional development to others at CapTech and the experiences I have been given at CapTech. Although I have received formal training throughout my career, I attribute most of my professional and technical development to being put in stretch roles to push myself harder or in a different way than I had before. This was done while being provided support from a CapTech mentor or SME to ensure I was successful in that new challenge.
What is your leadership style like? How do you think it’s helped you succeed in your career?
My goal as a leader is to foster a collaborative, open team dynamic where everyone feels valued, heard, and empowered. I want everyone on my team to feel like their ideas can be shared and considered—a team of ideas will always lead to a better end solution. I also try to lead by example: I would never ask my team to do something I wouldn’t do and haven’t done myself. I try to maintain a coaching leadership style by asking questions instead of prescribing answers. I feel my leadership style has led to the emergence of new leaders at CapTech, who can in turn develop others around them to become successful leaders.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
The one that comes to mind is a challenge that I’m currently facing, which is trying to strike the right balance between work and life. As a new mom, I am still working through how to balance having a successful career and being a great mom. My office and my family home are one and the same in this virtual setting, and as such it is hard to disconnect at times. I can’t say I’ve fully overcome this challenge and I don’t know that I ever will, but I am trying to be intentional in setting boundaries between the two and reserving set hours for family time. I appreciate that CapTech gives me the flexibility and freedom I need to find a balance between the two.
What has been the key to your success working in an industry where women are often underrepresented?
I try not to think of myself as a female in a male dominated industry—I think of myself as a leader in a technology industry. I do not let my gender define me or restrict me from what I want to or believe I can achieve. In my opinion, success begins with believing in yourself. I think my viewpoint coupled with my work ethic and ambition have been my keys to success.
What types of roles are you hiring for? And what are you looking for in candidates?
Data engineers and data architects are in the highest demand for us right now within the Data & Analytics team. Across both roles, and really all roles at CapTech, we are looking for people who are passionate about technology, intellectually curious, and flexible. Technology is constantly changing so we aren’t looking for experts in a specific technology but people with diverse technical experience, an interest to learn new technologies, and a willingness to do different things and play multiple roles based on client needs.
What advice do you have for other women who are striving to achieve leadership roles?
You must believe in yourself. If you do not believe that you are as good as your peers, nobody else will. If you believe in yourself, recognize what you want and put in the work, and you will achieve it.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
As someone who tends to overcommit, the best advice I have gotten is a reminder (which I constantly try to remind myself) that it is okay to say “no.”As a leader, I want to see my team, my company, my clients, and myself be successful, but that doesn’t mean I have to always be in the middle of it. It is important to be aware of your capacity and know your limits. Be your own advocate and feel empowered to say no when you need to.