Tell me about how you grew up?
I was born and raised in upstate New York, and I have one sister who’s three years older than me. Kids nowadays are always thinking about technology, but when I was growing up, we were always outside playing. Education was important to my family too, though, so before I could go outside and play, I had to read two to three chapters in a book. I remember that if I didn’t pronounce a word correctly, my dad would tell me to go to the dictionary and figure out how to sound it out, and if we got in trouble, our punishment was to go read the dictionary and write down a word 10 times. As a kid you think that’s boring, but I realize now how important it was.
What did you do before joining Blueprint?
I worked at McDonald’s in high school, and then I went to Job Corps and was trained as a Certified Nursing Assistant. I did an internship at the nursing home where my great-grandmother was staying, so I got to see her a lot and that was wonderful. I worked as a CNA for two years. I loved working in nursing homes and talking with everyone. I have a big heart, and I love to hear everyone’s story. When I moved to North Carolina, I did a few different things. I worked in retail, I did collections, I did car repossessions and I worked at a health insurance company. But I had been interested in computers since my sophomore year of high school, so I decided to get into the technology field.
Bianca and her son De’Sheyon.
What was your entry into that field?
I was able to get a job as a contractor for a large technology company, and for four years I was a duty manager in customer support. Customers would submit tickets for issues with different software programs, and my job was to look at what was going on and ensure it was directed to the correct team for support. I then proceeded to get them connected with an engineer based on availability. After that, I transitioned to another role for the same company but in the workforce management space. I created schedules for engineers and managers globally. I did a lot of forecasting to make sure everything was staffed; I’d check how much PTO people were taking; I created schedules for on-call engineers.
How did you end up at Blueprint?
I am adamant about learning. I kept hearing engineers and managers on calls, and I asked them what their role entailed. They were helping customers enable a suite of programs, and I wanted to know how to get in. They told me to brush up on the company’s products and apply. I was nervous – talking to customers was going to be very different, and I had not been in a customer-facing role in quite a while. We are often our own biggest critics, though, so I decided to go for it. I read all about Blueprint and saw all the cool stuff they were doing, and thought it sounded like a great company. When I got the job and started training, it was information overload, but I was eager to understand the process. I questioned if I could handle it, but Blueprint provides fantastic training and has a great support team to prepare you. Because I am very religious, I prayed about it. And in the end, I knew He wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle.
Was it as scary as you had worked it up to be?
No! One of my mentors was on my first call with me, and I didn’t even read from the script. I customized my interaction to deliver the details about the services offered. It really impressed him. I did a lot of research, so I could confidently speak about the products as if I were a customer. You have to put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Once you do that, and they understand you are there for them, it builds that relationship of trust. Now I manage a team in North Carolina. A Senior Operations Lead’s role is project management on steroids. I create metrics, process documents, onboard new hires and manage expectations with the clients, making sure our employees have everything they need to meet those expectations and be successful in their roles.
How do you think your previous experience set you up for success at Blueprint?
I’ve worked in a lot of fields and have learned to educate myself and properly communicate and deliver information to an audience. I’ve learned over the years that people have different experiences, and you have to be able to communicate with them in different ways. My son has a learning difference and a speech impairment. I’m his biggest advocate when it comes to getting him the help that he needs and corresponding with his school because I think education is so important. My son helps me better communicate with people. When someone tells me they don’t understand, I can take a step back and provide context and remove technical words for them, so they better understand what is being communicated. Sometimes that means sending a follow-up email with a summary in written form because some people have a hard time understanding verbally over the phone and understand better when they can visualize it.
Any big life events happening for you?
I got engaged on Christmas to a wonderful man, who also has an almost 16-year-old son. We’ll be getting married on April 23, 2022, after the pandemic when our two big families can get together.
Bianca, her fiancé Jonathan and their two sons, JaShawn and De’Sheyon.
What do you do outside of work?
I love to spend time with my family. It can be the simplest thing – having movie night together or cooking together. We try to go camping in Chincoteague, Virginia every year. It is so much fun because we can also go deep-sea fishing out there and crabbing – I love that.
If you could go back in time and give yourself career advice, what would it be?
I would tell myself not to give up on going to college. There was so much I could have accomplished that I missed. I could have a master’s degree; I could have had my own business; I could have been an entrepreneur. I did have intentions of going to school, but I had my son at 19 years old, and I wanted to focus on being a mother. I wanted to dedicate my time to my son, being a mother and growing with him, so that’s what I did. Because of my son’s learning difference, I have been really focused on his education. I still find time to educate myself – the internet is a wonderful tool – but, looking back, I would have told myself to take a little break, but to keep going because there is so much more to learn. It isn’t a regret – I don’t regret anything. But I also know that it is never too late. I am looking at getting my PMP (project management professional) certification. I told myself when my son graduates, I’m going to go for it all because he’ll be ready and better able to advocate for himself.