Meet Sara Steele-Rogers
Women’s Coding Collective On Finding Your Tribe, Expanding Your Skillset & Taking Risks

Meet Rhiannon Chiacchiaro

rhiannonRhiannon Chiacchiaro spoke all about documentation at our May 2016 event at Wayfair. She is Deep Core Data‘s Director of Marketing and Technical Documentation Services

How (and when) did you get into your current field or company?
I’ve been doing writing and marketing practically my whole life. I was a very young reader and writer, and originally wanted to be a novelist. Professionally, I started with writing and editing website copy and catalogs for my dad’s branding business back when I was only 13. I’ve worked at my college’s alumni department writing articles and interviews about distinguished alums, and did a marketing internship at the Fitchburg Art Museum. I also helped run the front end of a costume and historical clothing shop for a while. It’s funny, because even though I always said I was focused on tech and engineering, I just kept getting drawn to more writing and marketing-focused jobs. When John, our COO, approached me about working for Deep Core Data, it was for my writing skills (he knew me as the secretary of one of the clubs we were in together at WPI, so he saw the email minutes and announcements I put out on a weekly basis). I’m very happy to have since branched out into marketing as well, because it gives me a more creative and extroverted outlet for my skills.

What does a typical day look like for you?
We start every morning with a brief meeting to go over the previous day and what we plan to accomplish that day. Afterwards, I generally have a flurry of emails and social media to go through. Often, I have a lunch meeting, a phone call, or an evening networking event that I attend (or all three!). I spend a lot of time writing new collateral, looking for events to go to, and overseeing client documentation. Sometimes I even get to work on more technical projects, like setting up tech support platforms or generating Google Analytics reports for clients. I also have a technical writer, Andrew, who does a lot of the first drafts for manuals and even writes our blog; it’s great to have him as an asset so I can focus more on outreach and marketing.

What is the favorite part of your day?
I love interacting with people and seeing them interested in our brand. I definitely get a bit of a jolt whenever I see we have new Twitter followers or someone emails me wanting to talk or go out. I love connecting with people and learning more about the really interesting companies out there, so I’m happy any time during the day when I get a chance to interact with clients, potential clients, partners, or just interesting people.

What excites you about working in your industry?
Seeing the ideas people come up with and want to launch businesses from. I’ve seen so many different apps, websites, products, and services that I never thought to create but would absolutely use. I get really excited about some of what I see at events and in coworking spaces I visit. There are some really talented people out there with wonderful solutions to today’s problems, and one of the reasons I enjoy marketing an IT company like Deep Core Data is because I get to be a part of helping those companies succeed.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
I would have to say that the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten actually came from my therapist in college. He told me, “You can’t control your thoughts or feelings, but you can control what you do about them.” I’ve found that statement to be so profound, and to apply to every area of my life. So many people try to either push their feelings and thoughts away, or just completely give up and decide that once they feel something, they have to just react to that and can’t think it over or let it go. It’s absolutely acceptable to be hurt, disappointed, or angry over a situation, and also totally fine to let go of that hurt, disappointment, and anger. You aren’t beholden to your emotions, and you aren’t weak for having them.

What is your favorite part of being a woman in STEM?
I would have to say the people that I get to meet. I think women are really starting to come together and show just how innovative and talented we are when it comes to STEM. I think because we’re already breaking the mold of what a “typical” engineer is, we’re more open to new ideas and applications of technology, which gives us an edge over people who may be in the mindset of “let’s just do what we’ve been doing.” I also love how inclusive the environment is. I have a lot of LGBT friends, and friends who have suffered from mental disorders (myself included on both accounts), and I find that the community of STEM women really understands what it’s like to be in a minority group or feel judged because of who they are, so they are very open and accepting.

What other women inspire you?
That’s a hard list to write. There are so many brilliant engineers, celebrity advocates, professionals, and friends (including a bunch of both working and stay-at-home moms) that I am lucky to either know or know about. I would say in terms of personal impact, though, I have been influenced greatly by Brene Brown and Byron Katie. They both speak about how the stories we tell ourselves end up causing us undue pain and suffering. When we hold ourselves to rigid ideals, and can’t be vulnerable and open to the reality flowing around us, we become scared, defensive, unable to cope, and traumatized. It’s only when we are able to accept that “what is” does not line up with “what should be” (or, really, that there is no “should” outside your own mind), that we can be present in the moment and move on with our lives.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I am actually a singer/songwriter in my spare time and consider music my driving passion. One of my goals in life is to eventually get on a local radio station and sing at coffeehouses. I’m also a major mental health advocate, and I’d like to one day work in music therapy, because of the major impact it has had on my personal healing and growth.

What do you geek out about?
Besides music, I love to knit and crochet and I am a major puzzle nerd. I do the MIT Mystery Hunt every year, and Will Shortz is on Top 10 list of people I want to meet. I’m also a foodie; my partner and I love to cook new dishes, watch cooking shows (he’s recently gotten me into Hell’s Kitchen despite it being a reality show which isn’t generally my thing), and go out to new restaurants to try different flavors and foods.

Free space! Feel free to tell us anything else below
We are always happy at Deep Core Data to talk to people about any technical issues they may be having, including pulling their hair out because they have too many things to do during the day! If you just want to go over your situation with us or ask us questions (we never charge to listen to you!) please feel free to email me at [email protected].