How One Volunteer Changed My Career Path: And Why I Volunteer

How One Volunteer Changed My Career Path: And Why I Volunteer

By Q2

6 Dec, 2021

By Maureen “Mo” Slavin, Q2 Software Engineer 

I’m in a technical career that, at one point, I would've told you I wasn't smart enough to succeed in. My journey from dreaming about writing code for a living to becoming a Q2 Software Engineer began in 2015 through my discovery of a Q2 mentor and internship program.

Thanks to that outreach program, I’m in a rewarding career I never envisioned for myself. I would have excluded myself from becoming a software engineer had it not been for that opportunity, championed, by the way, by someone you may have heard of.

Adam Blue, Q2’s Chief Technology Officer, was running Project Renaissance, a competitive program that supported wannabe coders through training and mentorship to become contributing software engineers.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’m gainfully employed and enjoying my role at Q2 when I hear about Code2College from my coworker Casandra. I find out that Code2College teaches computer science skills to students in marginalized communities where high schools may not offer computer science classes. Most students are Black, Hispanic and female. I'm immediately interested.

I go to their workshop, meet the students, and get to know Code2College's CEO and co-founder Matt Stephenson. By the end of that first session, I’m all in. I feel the need to show students that if I can do this kind of thing, they can too. I’ve experienced how important it is to reach back and help others coming up behind you on their journey. I've seen that and experienced that by receiving help from great mentors. It’s really special now to be able to help others.

Mentoring students in computer science has since become my passion. It’s rewarding to pour out knowledge and experience into others just as I received it, but I couldn’t do it on my own. Q2 strongly supports my work with Code2College and other charities, enabling me to mentor a number of Code2College interns here at Q2. Each one has inspired me deeply.

One recent intern, Marlene Mora, is a junior at Georgetown University studying computer science with a minor in education. She interned with us as a data analyst from May – September 2021 and did a fantastic job.

Like many Code2College students, her high school lacked computer science, but she quickly developed a love for coding through the program and opted to study computer science in college. When she started her internship as a data analyst with us, she was quickly exposed to the depth and breadth of the world of data analytics. Despite the unknown territory, she quickly took on the challenge and immersed herself.

What’s remarkable is the confidence she gained during her tenure with Q2. She became comfortable asking questions and being honest about letting us know which skills she still needed to develop. She networked with Q2's women leaders, saw they were managing employees, and discovered they encountered similar hurdles in the real world, but they persevered. When she left Q2 at the completion of her internship, I saw a truly empowered woman who knew she'd get where she wanted to go in her career.

All of us have been helped and mentored along the way in our careers. One of the guiding principles of Code2College is that we really don't achieve things on our own. It’s all about the people helping others on the journey.

My experience volunteering has been so rewarding, it almost doesn’t feel like giving. Code2College recently named me the 2021 Mentor of the Year, but I pass that recognition on to my mentors, including Adam Blue, Lachlan Orr, Tony Flagg, Richard Tam and many others.

During this holiday season, I challenge you to get involved with a community organization if you’re not already actively volunteering. Let today be the day you take your first step. I can tell you from experience that you’ll receive nothing but support from Q2.

My manager Ashley Stone and our other leaders at Q2 genuinely believe in giving back. Whether it’s volunteering with Code2College, teaching technical skills to high school students from marginalized demographics, or organizing an employee-led fundraiser for Austin Humane Society (which we’ve done for the past five years and raised enough money multiple years for a kennel sponsorship),Q2 supports the causes that matter to us.

If you look at the recent launch of Spark, Q2’s corporate social responsibility program, you’ll see how our company is focusing the power of employee philanthropy under a single, unified program. Our workforce is impacting communities all over the globe, and it feels so good to be working for a company that values lifting up others. For every quarter I volunteer withCode2College, Q2 makes a charitable contribution to them. They do that for all employees as a way of honoring the organizations we love.

You know, bad days at work are inevitable but even on the tough days I take solace knowing that our leadership truly cares for us not just as employees, but as real human beings. They don’t have to support the causes and organizations that matter to us, but they choose to. It makes me proud to be part of Q2 and grateful for all of my Q2 coworkers who give their time and talent freely to reach back and help others.

Relevant Resources 

Q2’s Support of Code2College 

Since 2016, Q2 has remained a constant advocate of Code2College, which identifies, recruits, prepares, and places women in tech jobs. Q2 has presented workshops, provided volunteer instructors and mentors, and hosted summer interns to support Code2College’s mission to increase the number of minority and low-income high school students who enter and excel in STEM undergraduate majors. Q2 contributed $100,000 to Code2College’s Vision 2024 campaign, an initiative committed to placing 200 Black and Latinx women into STEM roles by the year 2024.


Written by Q2