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NewsAug 15, 2018

My Credera: From Undergrad to Professional Consultant

Tom Kelm

If you told me nine months ago that I would be working at a place where I felt I was truly making a difference less than a year out of college, I would have thought you were crazy. To my surprise, Credera has been exactly that. It has been the perfect place for me to grow personally and professionally while also making an impact in many capacities. I’ve been able to work on several projects across multiple industries, attend various trainings (both virtually and in person), and give back to a city that means so much to me through Service Day 2018.

Since starting with Credera at the beginning of this year, I have had many great experiences and hit several milestones. As I approach my six-month anniversary, I wanted to reflect on the “firsts” I have experienced in order to give some insight into our culture and why it means so much to me.

first impression

My very first interaction with Credera was at the spring 2016 Engineering Career Fair at Texas A&M. I was a junior at the time, and I was looking for an internship. I was walking around Reed Arena, where the career fair is held, and one of the firm partners, Scott Covington, stopped me and asked how my day was going. We ended up talking for a while, just like we were old friends catching up. He told me I was a great candidate for the firm, but I had missed the intern hiring cycle.

Between that experience and fall 2017, a few of my peers worked for Credera and they only had great things to say about their experience and the way they were treated. While at the fall 2017 career fair, I was able to reconnect with Scott again. However, this time was different because it was just after Hurricane Harvey and we spent the majority of our conversation talking about how much it had impacted the state, my family, and the Credera Houston office. After a thorough interview process, I accepted a full-time offer at Credera. I enjoyed the entire experience, but my interactions with Scott made the most significant impact because I could tell he was sincerely interested in getting to know me.

first month

Like many recent graduates, I wrestled with imposter syndrome, especially during my first month on the job. I was constantly convincing myself that I wasn’t good enough or smart enough to be here at my dream job. On my first day, I was incredibly excited and overwhelmed, but eager to get the ball rolling. Every person I met was genuinely supportive and helped me quickly acclimate to the Credera family. I was introduced to my mentor and my on-boarding peer (mentorship is a big part of what makes Credera so special), who have both been here to help me when I have questions—no matter how silly.

In the first week, I met one-on-one with my mentor, Ashley Alston, and we discussed all the various things relevant to our group at Credera, the Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI) Practice, from how the underlying systems work to all of the different tools you can use to move, visualize, and analyze data. Through our conversation, I quickly understood what our practice does and how I would fit into the grand scheme of things. This allowed me to find my purpose within a company with so many moving parts while helping me understand how much everyone genuinely cared about me.

first recognition

During my first project, I was creating a custom Power BI dashboard and building the underlying database tables that would be used to pull data. Many of the tools I was using were new to me and there was definitely a learning curve. A few weeks into the project, I was finally starting to get the hang of things and making serious headway on the project. My project manager, Amanda Dearman, took notice and decided to send an email out to several different people letting them know how great of a job I was doing on the project. Most notably, she included the leader of our practice, the officer in charge of the client, and a senior manager in the firm.

At first, I was shocked. My previous corporate experience was at an organization where everyone watched out for themselves; something like a public email of acknowledgment would have never happened there. Then I realized how consistent Amanda’s actions were in light of what I had been told about the Credera culture throughout the recruiting process. Credera team members are constantly looking out for each other and eager to celebrate one another’s wins.

first failure

My most recent project was a data migration project. With any data migration undertaking, a large portion of time is spent inserting and updating data into various tables. In my first week on the project, I noticed that I had incorrectly inserted a field and would need to update it. To correct the issue, I wrote a quick update statement. Unfortunately, a portion of the statement was cut off on my screen and without thinking I ran the statement and went to check my changes. To my surprise, I had not only updated that one row but the entire table.

Full panic mode set in. To my horror, I realized my changes were final and there wasn’t any way to undo what I had done. I called my project manager, Phil Shon, and told him I goofed up and wasn’t sure what steps to take to correct it. Instead of being upset at me or blaming me, he encouraged me and explained how we should be able to recover everything from the QA environment. He took the time to guide me through how to recover all of the data. Going through this process illustrated the genuine willingness of senior leaders in the firm to coach and grow young team members.

first six months

I would never have thought I would be so excited to go to work every day. Even six months later, I am just as eager to go to work as I was on my first day. I’m getting to explore and learn so many different technologies and am excited to continue learning. My favorite thing about Credera has been the incredible intelligence and work ethic of my coworkers. It is refreshing to come to work where everyone else is just as excited to be there as I am.

Coming from Texas A&M, a school built on core values, I really wanted to find a workplace where I would be able to continue living by those values. I believe Credera is a perfect fit for me because we also have a set of core values (excellence, integrity, humility, and professionalism) and we try to live them out every day. Credera has pushed me to realize so much about who I am as a person and a professional in the short time that I have been here. I have been challenged with every task assigned, but I have found comfort in knowing that the people who surround me here are willing to step in and support me in every way possible.

final thoughts

Through my many firsts here at Credera, the unsettling doubts that I had coming fresh out of college have been subdued because of the culture that is within this company. The vetting process that I went through, and new hires continue to go through, is something so meaningful and its worth is truly shown through the people who work for Credera. Being a part of this family has eased any worries and has made this transition from undergrad to full-blown adult a smooth and easy process. I am so thankful for this company who has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I’m looking forward to many more “firsts” in the future.

my credera

Culture is something that is experienced in a variety of different ways. We’re sharing the many ways Crederians experience our culture in a series called My Credera. The heart behind this series is for our company, employees, clients, and friends to have an inside look at the Credera culture by reading about our employees’ “My Credera” moments. In this series, we are talking about our core values, personal and professional growth, mentorship, community involvement, favorite Credera memories, life after college, and what it looks like to create a career at Credera.

At Credera, we love to celebrate every achievement, milestone, and moments of growth. We are excited to open up and invite you in to experience those celebrations with us. If you’d like to learn more about joining the Credera family, we invite you to visit our careers page.