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On the Record with Rose: Sabrina Wilbern

image of Brightspot employee Sabrina Wilbern

Sabrina is a program manager who has been working at Brightspot since March 2018.

Rose's interview series continues with a conversation with Sabrina Wilbern, a program manager who started at Brightspot in 2018. Sabrina shares how her degrees in French and International Relations have proved beneficial in her current role, her professional growth since joining Brightspot, and her love of baking.

Where did you work prior to Brightspot? What brought you here?
I worked at a bunch of very different companies. I worked for a government contractor, a mobile app start up, and a big financial company. Through these different experiences, I knew I wanted to work at a company like Brightspot that was not too big but also not to small, kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears!

Can you tell me more about your role as a program manager? What is a typical day like for you?
I work with the delivery services team. We help manage the day-to-day tasks and overall direction on various projects. I help coordinate between the different internal teams and clients. In my role, I have to be up-to-speed on everything that is happening with each project. In a typical day, I have a couple of meetings with the team to discuss what people are working on and review any challenges or problems they are having. I also meet regularly with clients to give them updates on our progress, demo recent updates, or answer their questions about Brightspot.

In the two years that you've been at Brightspot, you have worked on some really interesting projects. Does one stand out as most memorable?
It's a hard to just pick one. What's great about Brightspot is that there are always new features being added and we bring on clients from all different industries that need Brightspot to work for them in various ways. We've built sites ranging from a searchable directory of doctors for patients to a public radio station to a B2B information site for an industry leader in the energy sector. That's my favorite thing about working here, every project is so different.

I read that you had a unique double major at Virginia Tech in both Internationals Relations & Affairs and French Language & Literature. How did you transition into the technology industry and how do you think your background has helped you in your role?
I never thought I would end up working in IT. I thought I would be a diplomat traveling around the world! At the end of the day the biggest parts of my job are making sure that everyone speaks the same language and that we listen to and hear our client's needs. In a way, my work is like translating and bringing together different people, languages, and countries, but in this case it's designers, developers, clients, etc., working toward a common goal.

What professional skills have you strengthened or developed since coming to Brightspot?
Definitely asking questions. At Brightspot, we are really encouraged to ask questions to better understand the products and what our clients need. This approach allows us to build something great.

How do you think Brightspot best benefits our clients?
Brightspot's flexibility and its ongoing improvements and new capabilities are its greatest strengths. On every project, you learn new ways of how best to implement Brightspot and can then take those learnings and apply them to future projects to come up with the best solutions.

In 2018 you were part of the team that traveled to Seattle to volunteer at the Special Olympics USA Games. What was the highlight of that trip?
Seeing our team come together and really taking on a leadership role was very special. When we first got there, we weren't 100% sure what we were going to be doing. Really quickly, everybody rose to the occasion and worked to make every awards ceremony incredibly meaningful for the athletes and their families. At the end of the day, we were a small part of a very special moment and our team grew so close over that week.

Besides the people, what is your favorite part about working at Brightspot?
The mission work really attracted me to Brightspot initially. A lot of companies and people simply write checks to organizations, which is great, but here we are encouraged to take time to volunteer and be part of our community. Whether its down the street at an elementary school or traveling to the other side of the world to volunteer for Special Olympics, there are so many ways to get involved and give back.

What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of the office?
I love to bake because of the balance of science and art. You get to explore different flavors from around the world and share them with your friends. I also love to work out with friends. It is nice to have someone motivating you to try harder and move faster. Alexa is one of my favorite people to work out with because she is tough!

While we are at home physically distancing, do you have any book, television, or movie recommendations to share?
I just re-read a book called, The Night Circus. It is a really beautiful story about the magic involved in a traveling circus. I've read it a couple times and enjoy diving back into that world to find new details that I didn't catch the first time.


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