Growing up involves a long process of discovering more about ourselves and the world around us. Looking back at our younger selves' decisions and thought processes can leave a sense of laughter, embarrassment, growth or even pride. Thinking about how far you’ve come as a person can be rewarding.

For the fourth post in this women in tech series, we asked five women leaders at SAS what they would say to their younger selves at the beginning of their careers. Read on as we continue highlighting women from diverse backgrounds as they share their experiences in the tech industry.

Claudine Trottman, Principal Domain Specialist

Claudine Trottman attended the University of Waterloo and went on to join a small start-up company in 2000, RiskAdvisory. In 2003, RiskAdvisory joined the SAS family. Trottman started as a business analyst and eventually moved up to become a manager. Later in her career, Trottman advanced to her current role as a product manager in the Risk, Research and Quantitative Solutions division.

Trottman was born in Kingston, Jamaica and moved to Canada at the age of three. She’s traveled a lot and has lived and worked in Toronto, Calgary and Kelowna, BC. She and her husband Charles have two kids, a 13-year-old Wheaten Terrier, a 10-year-old Tabby and a Birman-Ragdoll cat named Binoo. Lately, Trottman’s weekends have been busy golfing with friends, kayaking on the lake and taking tennis lessons.

What would you say to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Trottman: It’s easier said than done to “do what you enjoy and get paid for it.” But, if you figure out what motivates you, that will go a long way in helping you enjoy your job no matter what you end up doing. Whether it’s being surrounded by amazing people, using your strengths, maintaining a good work/life balance, or saving up for that trip you’ve always wanted, everyone is motivated by different things. Keeping that motivation at the forefront of my mind makes any job worthwhile. And if you’re lucky enough to really like your work on top of all that, that’s the cherry on top. Keep in mind, that’s coming from the person who journaled in her fourth year of university: “My three greatest fears: gigantic spiders, being buried alive and working at a desk job.” It turns out desk jobs can be pretty darn awesome!


Sherry Liu, Content Marketing Specialist

Sherry Liu acquired her MBA in Japan and has been marketing in the business-to-business (B2B) IT industry for more than ten years. She is a skilled communicator and speaks Mandarin Chinese, English and Japanese. Liu harnesses a deep understanding of how to shape the content strategy that drives results and always knows how to find the right balance of storytelling, data and creating content that is informative and engaging. She is skilled at managing marketing campaigns that require multi-functional team collaboration. In her free time, Liu enjoys oil painting. She loves combining the colors on different layers, making her feel peaceful and cheerful. She also attends a jazz dance class twice weekly to better connect with herself.

What would you say to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Liu: Don’t doubt yourself or anything you feel like doing – just do it, no matter what others think or say about it. In the past, I spent a lot of time understanding things like internet infrastructure, hybrid cloud strategy, virtualization, industry 4.0/5.0, fintech and new business models. It has been fascinating to explore how AdTech and Martech work. I read books to learn new and interesting topics, even ones that are not necessarily tied to a salary raise or a promotion. All this knowledge allows me to have the confidence to be a proud marketer in the ever-changing tech world.


Nishtha Sachdeva, Senior Finance Operation Specialist

Nishtha currently works as a Senior Finance Operation Specialist in revenue accounting. She oversees accounting, reporting, compliance with AS 606 standards, and any upcoming projects. Her educational background includes becoming a chartered accountant and graduating from Delhi University. Outside of work, Nishtha loves dancing, sketching and traveling. She enjoys social work and has also participated in various programs by the Art of Living Foundation.

What would you say to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Sachdeva: Work on diversifying your skill set, be adaptable and don’t be afraid to take risks. Life is too short to worry, hold grudges or care about what people think. Just be yourself. Work hard, do your best and always be down to earth no matter your title. After all, we are humans and need to be kind, generous and helpful towards each other.



Stephanie Ora, Global Lead for Financial Crimes Analytics

Stephanie Ora is the Global Lead for Financial Crimes Analytics, where she gets to be an ambassador on the whys and hows of adopting advanced analytics and AI to fight financial crime. She has been doing this for more than a decade and has gained experience working in banking operations and consulting before SAS. Ora has worked as an anti-money laundering (AML) compliance officer for global banks where she got first-hand experience understanding what different organizations need to ramp up their anti-financial crime programs. She has also worked as a management consultant where she was involved in global rollouts of AML and fraud management solutions and helped optimize financial crime solutions through analytics.

Ora was born and raised in the Philippines, but her love for travel and new adventures has led her to work and live in Singapore, Thailand, Denmark and now, Sweden (where she hopes to settle down with a family.) If she’s not traveling to a new location or doing something new in a place she’s been to, she is exploring the world through food and drinks.

What would you say to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Ora: Don’t follow other people’s paths, pave your own. Don’t choose a career simply based on what’s popular or what others want for you. However, you do not always need to know the specifics of what you should do with your life. You will evolve and things around you will change, so stick to your core. When you’re not happy with where you are, ask yourself why. Once you’ve identified the issue, talk to the people around you, and don’t be afraid to confront the problem. Saying exactly what you think and feel will often be appreciated; if it’s not, you’re probably not in a healthy environment anyway, so there’s no shame in walking away.


Julia Moreno, Data Scientist

Julia Moreno chose the field of data science and analytics because it allows her to use critical thinking coding skills and rely on facts, not guesses, to tell a story and inform decisions. She also enjoys data science, which utilizes her master’s degree and PhD in linguistics. The field of natural language processing is still relatively new in how it’s used today, and Moreno enjoys pulling out insights from data. When people think of linguistics, they think of multilingual or grammar-loving people, usually women. The area of linguistics Moreno comes from is scientific and programming-based, using elements of physics and inferential and Bayesian statistics. She loves to transfer those elements of her academics to her everyday life.

What would you say to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

Moreno: When I was in high school, coding wasn’t even on my radar beyond editing my MySpace page! When I got to university, I saw people coding but always thought I could never learn that. I’ll never understand that. When I did my PhD, I had to code to do the final statistics for my thesis. I was terrified, but it was surprisingly intuitive. I loved debugging things and solving intricate problems, even though it was usually just a misplaced comma. I think there’s this barrier to coding for women because it’s associated with men in hoodies hunched over a computer, gamers, or the "Hackers" movie from the 1990s. I would definitely tell myself coding is not hard and it’s not just for boys in dimly lit rooms staring at computers. And then I’d enroll myself in a beginner's Python class immediately!

If you’re interested in reading more stories about women in tech and seeing various questions answered, continue reading our women in tech series.


About Author

Olivia Ojeda

Olivia Ojeda is an Associate Communications Specialist on the Thought Leadership, Editorial and Content team at SAS. In 2023, she graduated with a degree in Business Administration/Marketing from North Carolina State University. Day-to-day she helps write and edit collateral and enjoys creating colorful and creative blog posts.

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