79. Andrea Krueger – Director, People & Culture Initiatives: PGH Tech Council

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I like being able to use my skills, passion, and influence to make a difference for the women and girls in my circle of influence, and for those who come behind me.

How long have you been in the tech industry?
Well, that’s a bit of a story! I’ve been in the tech industry for 9 years however these were not consecutive years. My entree into tech was as an IT recruiter in 1998 during the dot com boom…then bust! My second tech role was as a business development manager for the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC). This first (tech) chapter of my career lasted from the late 90’s – mid 2000’s. Chapter two of my career was an 11-year hiatus from tech, from 2005-2016. During this season, I pursued a career as a Sales Director in a fashion (jewelry) multi-level marketing business named Silpada Designs. That business closed in 2016 which catapulted me back onto the job market for the first time in over a decade. I returned to tech, and the Pittsburgh Technology Council, 2+ years ago which began chapter three of my career. My initial role when I returned was as a Membership Engagement Manager. In March 2018 I moved into a new role and am currently serving as our Director of People & Culture Initiatives.
Tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you.
A typical day involves multi-tasking and lots of variety! As Director of People & Culture Initiatives for the PTC, my role involves the following activities…
• Event planning and logistics of educational & networking events
• Program topic and speaker identification and coordination
• Member engagement meetings
• Talent/Culture consulting
• Business development activities
• Networking at business events
How do you stay passionate in your career?
I’m a connector with a passion for people so my job lends itself perfectly to this! I am thrilled to be a part of a such a special time in Pittsburgh’s history. To work in the same space as so many talented entrepreneurs and businesswomen/men is exciting. As Pittsburgh’s reputation as a tech hub grows, the joy and pride in Pittsburgh’s rebirth grows as well. I enjoy helping individuals/companies hire and retain talent and grow their businesses in this booming time!
Did you have a traditional path into tech (i.e.: CS/IT degree transitioned into tech job)?
Definitely not! I have a Sociology/Anthropology degree from Allegheny College. Tech wasn’t on my radar until I was recruited to be a tech recruiter!

Are there any apps, software, or tools you cannot live without?

Facebook, LinkedIn, Park Mobile, WordSwag, Audible Garmin Connect, Amazon Music, Alexa, Slack, Microsoft Office, Bitmoji, Insta
It’s common knowledge that women often face obstacles in the tech industry based on their gender. Have you ever had to deal with this type of experience and if so how did you handle it?
I personally have not, however I am fully aware that so many in my midst have and continue to face these obstacles.
What’s your favorite thing about being a woman in tech?
I like being able to use my skills, passion, and influence to make a difference for the women and girls in my circle of influence, and for those who come behind me. There is still not gender parity for women in tech (and in general) so there is a lot of work to be done to bridge the opportunity, confidence, and pay gap that so many women face today.
How have you given back to the WIT community?
I lead an initiative of the PTC called the EDGE Women’s Leadership Program which we run in partnership with Align Leadership. EDGE is a program for mid-career women in tech who are looking to take their career to the next level. I am responsible for recruitment of women into the program and many of the of the logistical details. As an EDGE program graduate myself, I have experienced both personal and professional transformation as a result of this program. My heart’s desire and honor is to share this opportunity with as many women as possible!
What is a piece of advice you would give to others wanting to or currently pursuing a career in tech?
Tech is where the jobs of the present and future are so this is where you need to be! I have a 4-year-old daughter and you better believe I’m going to encourage her towards STEM careers!!! In addition, my husband is changing careers (formerly in retail store management) and beginning a 14-week coding bootcamp this month. Tech skills = Job security!
Tell us about a time you felt extremely accomplished in the past year.
This past year I experienced tremendous personal and professional growth. In March I was promoted into my current role and it has stretched me beyond my comfort level skillset and has enlarged my horizons in general. The past 2 years in general I have learned a lot about myself.
After the loss of my jewelry business, and during the time that I transitioned back into tech, I had a mid-life crisis. I had to reinvent myself in my early 40’s and the process was challenging and painful. Simultaneously, I started to fight back against a 20+ year old eating disorder/mental illness and my inner critic who held my thoughts captive since my formative years. I rebuilt my personal and professional brand and once again gained the confidence that I had temporary lost after the closing of Silpada. It was one of the hardest times of my life, however I’m happy to say that I have emerged victorious. I even completed my 1st ever triathlon this past summer. Now, the sky’s the limit!
“Never, Never, Never Give Up!”
―Winston Churchill