My referral success story
- Posted on January 5, 2022
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Hola! My name is Maria Merritt. I was born and raised in Mexico City, and currently live in Atlanta, GA. I have worked in IT for over 15 years. I still remember my first job at Microsoft, back in Mexico, as a Technical Account Manager. I’m sure everyone remembers that feeling of starting their first job. You feel empowered, like you can conquer the world! My career has grown since then. I have achieved several IT certifications, held different technical positions, changed companies and lead projects with different clients. The financial sector being one of my favorites.
Technology has always fascinated me. However, when I became a mom of two wonderful kids, I decided to take a sabbatical that lasted six years. During that time, I saw my family grow and create precious memories. I volunteered in my community and organized fundraisers, but as my kids got older, I knew it was time for me to resume my career. I was impatient to get back into the thick of IT.
You would think that rejoining the workforce after a six-year career break would not be so difficult for someone bilingual with over 15 years of proven international IT experience and several certifications. Even with that background, it was very difficult for me to land an opportunity. For several months I had already been looking to restart my career in corporate. I had several interviews, many of which went very well with positive feedback. However, the answer was always the same: “you have been out of the workforce for too long” or ‘’we need someone who can ramp up quickly.” Rather than seeing the benefit of my experience and potential, they only focused on the ‘gap’ on my resume.
After several applications, networking groups and interviews, I was making little progress towards my goal. Then, while searching on LinkedIn one day, I saw a post for the Adelante Careers in Consulting panel, showcasing the Avanade event for the Latinx Employee Network. I must admit that I had no idea who Avanade was and had never heard of the company, but I clicked on the post and was intrigued by what I read. I immediately researched Avanade and was impressed by the size of the company, the innovation and the background learning that it was a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture. I felt like Avanade could be a great fit for me, and I wanted to learn more. I attended the event and was very impressed with the panelists’ knowledge, their journey at Avanade and the growth that Avanade could offer. The fact that the event was geared towards the Latinx community was also fitting, being Latina myself.
After the career event, I applied for some positions at Avanade that I believed would be a good fit for me, based on my experience and background. I also sent a thank you invitation to the panelists. After following up and corresponding with Chuy Cazares, Adelante’s executive sponsor, I asked him for his advice and guidance regarding my situation and asked him what I could be doing differently with my job search. We had a great conversation, and he saw the potential in me and how eager I was to be a part of Avanade.
After a few conversations and informal interviews, Chuy decided to take a chance on me and refer me for a Delivery Manager position. He mentioned that the process wouldn’t be easy and there would be a lot of tough questions. I spent so much time preparing that by the end, I knew Avanade would be the right place for me. With each successful interview, I felt my confidence growing. The day finally came on August 2nd, 2021. I received a call that Avanade wanted to make a formal offer as a Delivery Manager! I was so thrilled! After a six-year break, I was finally returning to the thing I was most passionate about. It’s been a little bit over three months since I’ve joined Avanade, and I have loved every minute of it! My team has been amazing, and the Adelante members have become like family for me. I’m very excited to continue this journey with Avanade and see what the future unfolds.