How did you choose your career?
I’ve always loved math and logic, but it took me a while to decide what I wanted to do. Growing up in Brazil, if you were good at math, the typical path was to become an engineer. One of my brothers became a civil engineer and the other became an electrical engineer, but I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do – it wasn’t the type of math that I liked. It wasn’t until I started my MBA program at Oklahoma University and started taking MIS electives that I found the type of math and logic I wanted to do. It was what I loved, and it came naturally to me. I loved MIS so much that I actually added it as a second master’s program. After graduation, I got a job that involved developing the BI architecture for a startup. It was a hands-on job that gave me experience doing everything from building the data infrastructure and dashboards to creating the analytics and forecasting – it was everything.
How did you learn about Blueprint?
Tina Fu (a Blueprint recruiter) posted a BI engineer position on LinkedIn, and I reached out to her. I had been in roles that focused more on the analytics side of things and building dashboards using data that someone else provided, and I missed working directly with data. I love to work end to end – building, data mining, data visualization and data analysis. Blueprint provided the opportunity to go back to a role with more hands-on operations and building.
What was it like growing up in Brazil?
I moved a lot when I was young – I had moved 3 times by the time I was 4 years old. But my family is all in Votuporanga, so I consider that my hometown. I love it there. It’s considered a small town even though the population is over 90,000, but that is small for Brazil. I loved growing up there – I could play in the streets and walk everywhere by myself. It was a typical Brazilian town with the church at the center of the town and all the shops and the park arranged around the church. It’s not like in the U.S. where you have a bunch of different stores across the city. Everyone goes to the same stores in the center of town. In the summer all the kids get ice cream at the corner shop and then hang out in the park.
How did you end up in Oklahoma?
I was looking for a master’s program in the U.S. When I was researching universities, I was attracted to Oklahoma University because it had the curriculum I wanted – I could work on an MBA while taking MIS electives. I also received a full scholarship and my boyfriend, now husband, was living in Oklahoma at that time. I would visit him over winter break every year, so I knew the area already. I also really like the small towns. I like the countryside and the safety compared to some of the larger cities I had visited: Miami, New York and Las Vegas. In Brazil, I was always part of a community and could walk everywhere, and I wanted that when I moved to the U.S.
Why did you want to move to the U.S.?
I love Brazil, but I needed to get out and challenge myself. I was really shy – I couldn’t talk to people. I knew I had to push myself to get out into the world and do different things. I decided pretty young that I wanted to leave the country and do more with my career and my life. When I was 13, I decided to do a year-long student exchange. My boyfriend was going to be going to Oklahoma. I assumed I would end up there with him eventually, so I wanted to experience a different place. I decided on Denmark. It was amazing and completely out of my comfort zone with a different language and different environment – it was so cold! The choice to go to Denmark really ended up changing my life.
Ana and her husband, Luiz in high school. The two have been together for 20 years.
Why was Denmark so pivotal?
It was the first time I was by myself. I had to stop depending on other people and my parents and learn a new language and culture. While I was there, I realized what I wanted for my life. I decided to move to São Paulo for undergrad and then go to the U.S. for my master’s. I started to come out of my shell more in Denmark. Moving to U.S. was also pivotal – that was when I really found myself and my career path.
How do you think your previous experiences set you up for success at Blueprint?
The other jobs I’ve had were in different industries and had unique challenges that prepared me well for Blueprint, where we work in all industries. I worked for a TV station building their data pipeline and data analytics. There, I learned to talk to people on the business side to better understand what they want, so I would know how best to provide insights. My next job was in e-commerce analytics, which uses different toolsets. I also worked with a quick-service restaurant where I did a lot of marketing and finance-related analytics. At each of these jobs, I worked directly with managers and C-level executives, which really built up my ability to translate between the technical and business sides. Knowing what the client wants and being able to translate that into requirements for the technical side is critical. If the dashboards being built are not delivering the information a business needs to create insights that provide value, there is no point.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
I would say to not be afraid and always ask questions. You should always try to do something amazing – but it’s OK if it doesn’t work out how you anticipated.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
I would live somewhere by the ocean where it’s sunny. I’d love to live in Miami. I did live in California for a year, and I loved it. It was the place where I felt like I belonged, but the cost of living was just too high.
Ana at her college graduation with her mother and father.
Who’s had the biggest influence in your life?
My mom for sure. She passed away six years ago, but she was the most selfless and sweetest person that I’ve ever known. She was always trying to do good and help people; and I’ve always tried to do that as well. Also, my dad, who is my mentor and encouraged me to reach for my dreams and always supported me along the way.