Employees at A-LIGN take many different paths – that’s why we spent time sitting down with Manager of Quality and Training, Deirdre Smith, to talk about how her path from intern turned into a management role.
Where are you from and how did you get involved with A-LIGN?
I’m originally from New York City and went to the University of Tampa (UT) for college. I studied Mathematical Programming, and during my senior year, I decided to take a Cybersecurity course as an elective. During that time, my professor encouraged me to apply for a new Master of Cybersecurity program at the University of South Florida (USF). I originally started in the Digital Forensics concentration and wanted to pursue a career in law. However, after working at an organization with a law firm, I realized that I wanted to switch career tracks. So, I applied to work at A-LIGN as an intern in the Service Delivery department. Within the first three months, I transitioned into a full-time role as a SOC auditor while continuing with the master’s program at USF. About two years later, I was promoted to Manager of Quality and Training.
As Manager of Quality and Training, what do you do?
I’m currently focused on our accreditation and peer review process from our governing bodies such as ANAB, AICPA, A2LA and PCI SSC. Without these accreditations, we wouldn’t be able to offer services to our clients. I also oversee the Reporting and QA department. At A-LIGN, creating quality reporting and improving our processes is what has made us so successful.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome to be successful in your role?
Being enrolled in a full-time master’s program at USF and working full-time at A-LIGN is one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever encountered. After working a full day at work, I would still have more work to do for school at night. Doing both taught me I can really can accomplish anything I put my mind to.
What motivates you to get up and come to work every day?
The culture and the people that work at A-LIGN are what makes it so special. We collaborate quite a bit with our team and during that experience, I’ve made some of my greatest friends. In addition to friends, we have so many experienced team members that have acted as mentors and helped guide me and have encouraged me throughout my career. Our entire leadership team makes themselves accessible to me with any questions that may arise.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I just received my ancestry test results back and I was even surprised to find out that I’m 100% Irish. Some may not think this is surprising, but it’s so rare you hear of someone being 100% anything. After doing more research, I learned that my great grandparents came to the United States from Ireland.
A-LIGN is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, what’s one of your favorite memories working at A-LIGN?
Our annual companywide event, CLIMB holds so many amazing memories. Last year, I won a value award for ‘Innovate Constantly’ and that meant so much to me. I love that our leadership team encourages us to innovate constantly, whether that’s giving us new opportunities to move up or create new ideas that impact the company.
CLIMB is one of my favorite parts about working at A-LIGN. It’s a great chance to see everyone from all over the globe come together for a few days for teambuilding and training. Each year, I get to meet new team members and their families. It’s great to see and experience their first year at CLIMB.
What is something you wish other people knew about A-LIGN?
The opportunity to grow with a high-growth company is exciting. I’ve grown my career significantly from an intern and I really enjoy what I do and the people that work alongside me. Our benefits are amazing! The paid-vacation bonus is excellent, and I love that A-LIGN really believes in taking time to ‘Be All In’ at work – and ‘Be All In’ away on vacation with friends and family.
What is your motto/personal mantra?
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou
Have questions about Deirdre Smith or joining the A-LIGN team? Contact us at [email protected] for more information!