An Interview with Ponemany Yang, Project Manager at Spectra Logic

interview series on suttida yang's blog

For this week’s interview, I reached out to my older sister. She’s been working at her company for what seems like a lifetime, especially when 4.5 years is the average number of years recommended for people to stay at one company.

I met Ponemany when she was 1 years old and I was just this newborn bundle of joy. We’ve grown up together throughout the years, going in our own directions career-wise, and now the biggest thing we have in common? We get to share stories about our kids with each other as we’ve ventured down the path of parenthood — all while balancing and integrating our work.

Without further delay, let’s dive in…

Ponemany’s Bio

Ponemany manages business operations projects for Spectra Logic Corporation.  She has been a part of the Spectra team for 14 years, prior to managing projects she led and supported order management and professional services scheduling to enhance customer support. 

She will earn her BS in Business Administration degree at Regis University in May and continue to work towards her MBA starting in the summer. 

Outside of work and school, she is spending time with her husband Joseph and son Elliot, she enjoys cooking, and is a health and fitness enthusiast. 

ponemany's family

Describe what you do for work.

As a business operations project manager my focus is to collaborate cross-functionally to develop start to end business nurturing workflows and solutions.  I do this by leading and planning organizational projects, putting goals in place and measuring the output as well as results. In addition to this, I help ensure that project team members stay motivated to hit the goals put in place with a shared vision that teamwork makes the dream work.

One of the things I love most about my job is finding more effective, efficient, and productive ways to implement projects we put in place while maintaining quality. It can be easy to get bogged down by the tiny details, which are still important, but then always making sure that the bigger picture is always top of mind, i.e. what we are doing and why it matters to the business, is what drives me.

What do you think is most important for a company to retain its employees?

Trust, communication, and compassion. 

These are generally key for any successful partnership or relationship.  For much of our lives, we spend it working.  Your work family becomes such a big part of your life and at times you spend more time at work than you do at home.

Nowadays with the emergence of tech startups, the word “culture” is thrown around a lot and centered around activities such as happy hour, ping pong, and unlimited vacation. I think it’s more important to focus on what your employees value because these activities aren’t “culture” per se, but sometimes can be used draw in talent rather than truly sustain it.

Having a shared understanding of how the company can align an employee’s personal growth goals with the company’s goals is how an everlasting alliance can be exist. This is a win-win for everyone and can actually positively impact bottom-line objectives.

Being a mom and working full-time isn’t easy. Do you look at it more as an integration or a balance?

I think it depends on the day (ha). In all seriousness, I feel that it’s a mix of both for me and definitely a constant challenge.  It’s really important to me to be fully present and doing well in every aspect of my life. 

Knowing my priorities and planning ahead are key to ensuring that I show up as my best self.  There are definitely weeks where I feel like I’m lacking in one or all aspects but I channel that as indication to give myself the space to recharge and remember to celebrate the little wins along the way too.

I recall reading a quote by Bryan Dyson (who used to be the CEO for Coca-Cola), and he said: “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”

I strive my best to put these things into perspective and personally for me, being a mom has been one the greatest gifts that I’ve ever experienced so no matter what, that’s a top priority for me.

poms and elliot

What is your passion in life that you’d like to start as a side-hustle? If you haven’t started, what’s holding you back?

There’s also a great sense of joy when I know I’ve impacted someone positively and it doesn’t necessarily have to just be professionally, but applies in their personal life too. For me, it’s about adding value where I can.

That said, I really want to help others make a difference for themselves in their lives.  I believe that there is untapped potential in all of us and it would be a dream of mine to help others discover that within themselves.  I’m still working to define what this looks like, however; I envision it being motivational blogging around health, fitness, and life. 

The biggest hold back for me is definitely the fear of failing or not meeting my own expectations of what I feel success should look like. 

What do you think are the most important attributes to being happy at work?

For me, the key to being happy at work is enjoying what I do and building relationships.  It’s so important to be excited and passionate about the work that I’m putting time and effort into.  Equally, it’s also important to build relationships to know and trust the people you’re working with. 

Do you think it’s more important to chase your passion or chase the money?

Chasing passion achieves self-fulfillment and however hard the process may be, I definitely believe that you’re more driven and motivated.  I also believe that when you chase your passion, the money will likely follow. 

Your fave motivational/inspirational quote and why?

“So, what if instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things.  One at a time.  Just let your pile of good things grow.”

Rainbow Rowell, Author

I stumbled upon this many years back and it has really stayed with me.  I have it written on a notecard that is taped to my monitor at work so I see it, read it, and am reminded of it every day.  It serves as a reminder to slow down and focus on the good stuff. 

Wrapping It Up

Because I’m never afraid to embarrass myself or my sister for that matter, here are some childhood pics…

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