Q&A with Julia Donato

by Danielle Borges - Marketing & Sales Director

Julia Donato lives in Camas, Washington with her husband, and yellow Labrador Retriever. She graduated from Oregon State University – Cascades and is transitioning from software implementation to project management. Julia worked cross-functionally with Sales, Technical Support, Technical Specialists, Product Engineering, and Professional Services teams regarding product initiatives and customer requests. She is eager to learn and be a better advocate for our clients.

Please tell us about your career transition to Project Management.

A few years ago, I would not have guessed that I would pursue my career in project management! In my time recruiting, I staffed for roles in the technology sector. My interest in the industry grew, so I began looking for entry-level positions for tech companies to get my foot in the door and pivot out of recruiting. I was introduced to the implementation role, which set me on the path to where I am now.

I worked in restaurants and tourism while in college. I planned to pursue a Hospitality program at Oregon State University-Cascades in Bend, Oregon, then decided to pivot to Business Administration. I learned many elements of the business world–from entrepreneurship and business operations to marketing and human resources, etc. I enjoyed my program, but I was not certain of my career path. I started in technical recruiting, which was fast-paced and taught me what it meant to work against metrics and drive toward ambitious goals. I transitioned to project management for software migrations and implementations. I enjoyed the switch to working in a product-focused environment where I became a subject matter expert and grew in my skills of partnering with IT teams and delivering successful product setups and customer training. Ultimately, I wanted to grow more in my project management skills. I read about Codence and the role, which aligned with the type of change I was hoping for! 

What are you looking forward at your new role?

Custom software development is inherently creative. I’m excited to partner with developers and customers and understand the ideas, goals, and scope to help drive that vision to reality. This role will also allow me to diversify my work; I’ll be able to manage custom development and internal projects and our apprenticeship program.

What are the top 5 skills you will bring to our Project Management team? 

  1. Stick-to-itiveness
  2. Organization
  3. Commitment to Service Excellence
  4. Team Player
  5. Empathy

– How does one grow confidence when not exactly knowing how to speak geek programming?

I decided early on that I wanted to learn and understand what was happening during the “mysterious” IT meetings. It took time to observe our IT teams work on screen-share. In time, it clicked. I understood the work being done and how to call out action items. Paying attention and having willingness to learn IT processes helped me become a better project manager. In time, everyone involved knew that I had confidence in the process from an IT perspective and trusted my guidance to keep the project moving forward.

What professional advice would you have given yourself 5 years ago? 

Don’t let a bad work day affect life outside of work. Keep taking steps forward. Experiences (positive or negative) have a way of building on one another. They help you learn and grow. 2. Confidence in your work will come with time. Conversations internally and externally will also get easier with expertise! Believe it or not, you’ll get there.

How do you regroup and recover when you have a bad day? 

Talking to my husband, a friend or family member. I like happy TV shows or movies to get my mind off things! Right now, I am enjoying the show, “How I Met Your Mother”.

– As a coffee shop explorer, what are your top 3 favorite coffee shops?

This is so hard. I’ve been to hundreds of coffee shops at this point in life… I’ll pick from three places I’ve lived: 

  1. Good Coffee in Portland, OR
  2. Backporch Coffee in Bend, OR
  3. Fourscore Coffee in Roseville, CA

You like to cook pizza with your family. What is your setup like, and what is your favorite Pizza recipe? 

My husband is the pizza connoisseur in this house. He makes dough and tomato sauce from scratch. We prepare a lot of meat topping options, tomato and basil. My husband has made pesto from our basil plant as well! We invested in an Ooni pizza oven and enjoy opportunities for pizza parties at our house!

What are some of your favorite family memories? 

It’s hard to decide between these three things, but ultimately I just love when we are all together.

  1. Childhood swim parties at my grandparents 
  2. Our big family trip to Oahu in 2019 
  3. Holiday festivities at my aunt and uncle’s

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