Welcome to our interview series with women leaders at Kurtosys, covering their experiences in the Financial Services and Technology industries.
Today we meet Emily Kennedy, a Business Analyst based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Having been one of our Raleigh office’s earliest members, Emily describes how she has helped to build the Kurtosys brand in NC, and details why it has become one of the USA’s nascent technology hubs, as well as her passions throughout her working career and what she enjoys in her spare time.
Emily, would you be able to tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
If our professional lives are the culmination of our previous experiences, then I would say that my background is almost as unique as I am. Prior to joining Kurtosys, I developed a strong data and statistical background through the completion of a Master’s degree in Quantitative Genetics. My research focused on identifying genetic strategies to improve the production efficiency of swine operations. In other words, finding ways to make bacon better and cheaper – a research topic that any true meat lover can get behind!
Prior to joining Kurtosys, I acted as the Project Coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Science International Programs at North Carolina State University where I worked with government agencies to develop training programs for international professionals. This position afforded me the opportunity to develop a passion for client services and experience in international collaboration.
What drew you towards your profession and to Kurtosys? How did you get to where you are today?
I enjoy my work as a business analyst because it affords me the opportunity to work with clients to use data to help solve problems.
I joined Kurtosys when the Raleigh office was essentially a team of one. I was excited about the opportunity to help grow and define the office moving forward. Throughout the interview process, every person I spoke with was passionate about what they do and enthusiastic about where they work, so I knew that Kurtosys was the perfect fit for me both culturally and professionally.
I have been privileged to have had some phenomenal mentors in my life, and I credit their guidance and support in helping me achieve my professional goals. I am fortunate to have found a fantastic mentor within the Kurtosys organization to continue to help me grow in my current role.
Can you describe your current role at Kurtosys?
If I could use one word to describe my role as a business analyst at Kurtosys it would be “facilitator.” My role exists at the intersection of client interaction and internal team interactions. I work with our clients to develop a blueprint outlining how they can utilize our product to address their business needs. I then pass along that specification to our internal teams for them to work their magic and transform that blueprint into a fully functioning solution, with myself acting as a technical liaison between our team and the client.
You are based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The state has seen a huge rise in its status as a technology and research hub. Why do you think this is so, and what are your personal favourite things about NC?
Raleigh, along with Chapel Hill and Durham, makes up what is known as the Research Triangle Park (RTP) which some individuals refer to as the Silicon Valley of the East Coast. When you look at the academic institutions and the business which make up of the triangle, it is little wonder why!
RTP is home to three top research universities (N.C. State, Duke University, and UNC at Chapel Hill) which creates an excellent technically minded talent pool for companies to recruit. It is also home to a nice mix of well established, larger companies such as Cisco and IBM as well as several startups which has helped cement RTP as an innovative and exciting area.
One of my favorite things about Raleigh is its central location both within the state and along the east coast. Raleigh is only 90 minutes from the beach and only three hours from the mountains! As an avid Pittsburgh sports enthusiast (Here We Go Steelers!), I can easily drive up to catch some games!
What would your advice be to other woman in finance or technology to help them grow their career?
My recommendation is to be confident, take initiative, and to always seek out and take advantage of opportunities to learn. Our industry is continuously evolving, so being proactive in acquiring new skill sets and assertively demonstrating your value will not only silence detractors but also highlight your brilliance and determination to both peers and superiors.
If you had to name three role models, who would they be and why?
Without a doubt, my mom has had the greatest influence on my life. From the example she set, I learned the value of hard work and dedication, to always give back to others, and how to never let them see you sweat when faced with adversity.
My brother comes in as a close second. He has always approached life with a sense of humor and has taught me to never take myself too seriously. He also tried to teach me that I’m not always right, but he was just fundamentally wrong about that so the lesson never stuck.
And not to end things on a cringeworthy note, but for my third choice I have to say my Kurtosys peers. I am inspired and motivated by my colleague’s dedication, hard work, and commitment to excellence. Our organization is filled with positive and upbeat individuals which is infectious and makes me look forward to coming to work every day.
Quick fire round:
Fried chicken or Hushpuppies?
HUSHPUPPIESSSSSSSSS NOM NOM NOM
Favourite tourist destination?
The City of Champions (aka – Pittsburgh, PA), with Vail being a close runner up.
Ru Paul’s Drag Race or Real Housewives…?
Oh Kitty Girl, obviously RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Best thing about working at Kurtosys?
Without a doubt, the people. Runner up is pwning Pieter in Overwatch.
Thanks Emily! We’ll be back next time with another member of our Kurtosys team with more insights into their career as a woman within fintech. You can follow Emily on LinkedIn.
Be sure to check back soon for more interviews with our team!
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