What do the career path and the day-in-a-life look like for a Program Manager in R&D Engineering at Starry?
We connected with Amelia Hagen to find out!
Also, Starry is hiring! Click here to see all of the company’s openings!
Where did you grow up? What was your favorite childhood memory?
I grew up in a small rural town in New Hampshire called Contoocook. It was always easy to spot out-of-towners by the way they mispronounced the town name. Growing up surrounded by woods, rivers, and animals provided endless entertainment as a kid. My favorite childhood memory was when my brother decided that he wanted to be a chicken farmer, so my parents thought he should start learning the ropes right away (he did not choose this career path, ultimately). Despite the early morning hours feeding the chickens, and the hours spent cleaning the coop, we were always so excited to gather fresh eggs.
What did you study in college and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?
I studied Technical Writing in college and graduated in 2009 - just after the recession started in 2008. Since jobs for new grads were hard to come by (and more so for new grads still trying to decide what to do for a living), I joined AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program in New Hampshire. For about 2 years I volunteered full-time as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault at the Manchester Police Department while working a retail job in the evenings & weekends to make ends meet. I eventually migrated to Massachusetts and fell into formal Project Management after working for a small marketing company in Rhode Island.
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
I’ve had a couple of really great managers in the past who taught me the basics and helped me understand the breadth and direction Project Management can take. Prior to their influence, I wasn’t willing to settle for a position or a place of employment that couldn’t meet my expectations for my long-term career goals. Professional improvement and learning have always been very important to me.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Program Manager at Starry?
I manage programs in Starry’s R&D Engineering group. This ranges from daily project communication, to process improvements, and encompasses working with teams around traditional project constraints such as schedule, risks, availability, quality, and - it wouldn’t be fun without this - project changes based on business or market needs.
Any tips for someone considering a career in Project Management?
A lot of pre-existing experience can be marketed as Project Management - start with that marketing before seeking out certifications or more degrees. Real-world experience in project management is very valuable.
Day in the Life
One cup of scalding black coffee as soon as I wake up, another two cups at work in the morning, and a fourth after lunch.
What time do you get into the office?
Between 8:30 & 9.
What are three things that motivate you in your role?
I am always learning something new
I work with very smart, driven people
Did I mention I am always learning something new?
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
Meetings, brainstorm sessions, hallway conversations, slack messages, and when it’s 4:30/5pm, I get to start my day.
What time do you head out of the office?
Around 6ish, but sometimes I stay later to finish up what I am working on.
Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?
Depending on the week (and whether I’m running out of time for my weekly goals), I’ll log back in. When I do, often it’s after I hit the gym and I’ll work in front of the tube. I try to keep my weekends open, so I don’t mind working late during the week.
Any productivity hacks?
I write a small list of weekly goals every Monday morning and decide if they’re must do, could do, or a stretch goal for the week.
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
I earned my PMP a little over a year ago and was proud that I passed the test the first time I took it. But I’m mostly proud I get to work at Starry, and being a part of team growth & development.
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
I call my brother to bounce ideas off of him since we have somewhat similar jobs. Sometimes, he throws in some free chicken-farming advice.
Images courtesy of Amelia Hagen