Next on our employee spotlight is Rae Ciarlante, a local to Louisville, KY. Rae worked with General Assembly, then was hired by Interapt to work on a project with GE. After that project, Rae held numerous roles with Interapt before her current position as a Jr. Software Developer with Merck. We are extremely appreciative of Rae’s commitment to Interapt as well as her spirit of innovation and creativity!
Q: What were you doing before Interapt?
A: Before Interapt, I had just graduated from college with my Associates in Dynamic Web Design from Sullivan University. I was working as an Associate Instructor on a three month contract for General Assembly in 2019.
Q: What brought you to Interapt?
A: I was an Associate Instructor with General Assembly in 2019. It was a contract position and at the end of the cohort, the students were being hired by Interapt to work on a project with GE. I approached Interapt to see if they had any openings for Software Developers. They didn’t, but they did have an opening for an Office Manager position. Since my former career was in Business Administration, I hoped that by taking the job as Office Manager, I would be able to transition into a coding role.
Q: What do you like about working at Interapt?
A: I feel so grateful that Interapt has allowed me to grow and take on new responsibilities. They have allowed me to be inquisitive and proactive and take on new projects. I feel like I am heard and that my opinions matter. When offered the role to be an Apprentice at Merck, I jumped at the opportunity. This has allowed me to finally be able to transition into the coding career I have dreamed of.
Q: How has your career grown since starting at Interapt? Feel free to add any projects you are proud to have been a part of or skills you have gained since joining.
A: I was hired by Interapt in January of 2020 as the Office Manager, and soon after, COVID hit. Right at the beginning of Covid, Interapt signed a contract with Humana and I oversaw all of the onboarding for the new Cutsomer Service Department At the time, we were onboarding over 50 new employees a week. During that time, I also oversaw the transition of payroll being handled by a third party to payroll to being brought in house. I processed payroll for Interapt for about a year, along with my Office Manager and Onboarding duties. I was promoted to Program Coordinator around 2021 and worked with Marnix Warren who was the Director of Skills at that time. My roles as Program Coordinator were to Spin up, market, and organize all Training Cohorts, I also put together the wiki for the Skills department on protocals on how to run and Manage a Cohort. When we transitioned from Google to Outlook, I organized porting over all of the Skills Department’s files to Sharepoint and put together and managed the Skills Sharepoint website. When Mel Trass was promoted to VP and given responsibility over the Skills Department, she promoted me to Talent Success Manager. I continued in my role as Program Coordinator and took on the responsibility of coaching 37 apprentices. I also took on the role of overseeing Interapt’s apprenticeship program which we have registered with the state of KY.
I have been an apprentice for 10 months now and it has been a new challenge to say the least. I went from being in a position I felt confident about, to coding in new scenarios I knew nothing about. My team at Merck has been very supportive and constantly challenges me with new tasks. My team members have been very patient and encouraging. My skills in React, TypeScript, and Node.JS have improved considerably. I oversaw a project that was responsible for logging the current activity of users who visit the website. These logs allow the team to know which applications are being most used. For that project, I used my PM skills and was able to add logs to the Code base that tracks the users performance. Along with small projects like debugging and adding new features, I have worked on projects with collegues that allow the user to build their own website without coding. Kind of like SquareSpace, but in house. I have worked with colleagues on projects that allowed me to code new landing pages. This taught me how to work with the database. In my time at Merck, I have finished more than 80 tasks/projects.
Q: What would you share with someone interested in working at Interapt?
A: In my experience, Interapt has an open mind. If you have an idea, talk to someone about it. Most likely, you’ve seen a need that hasn’t been met or have an idea on how to do something better or more efficiently. If your ideas can be implemented, Interapt will work to accommodate your idea. From my unique perspective, I know how invested Interapt is in the Skills program and in each individual apprentice. Interapt really cares about each apprentice’s wellbeing and works hard to train, coach, and build a personal report with everyone on the team.
Q: What is one accomplishment you are really proud of?
A: I take pride in the work I’ve accomplished at Merck and the valuable lessons I’ve gained from my time there. Similarly, I hold a sense of pride in the roles I’ve undertaken at Interapt. Over a two-year period, I had the privilege of being promoted twice, a testament to the trust that Merabeth and Mel placed in my abilities. They recognized my potential and were keen to place me in positions they believed not only filled a need but also ensured my success.
Q: Please share a little about yourself.
A: I am married with three grown daughters. I have been married for 30 years. My girls are 27, 24, and 21. My niece just had a baby, and I consider her my granddaughter.
I like to quilt, knit, sew, and craft. I also refinish (up-cycle) furniture. When given the opportunity, I like to sing professionally at weddings and other events.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice you have received?
A: A valuable piece of advice I received some years ago was to remove emotions from the equation when dealing with issues. When decisions or reactions are driven by emotions, it often requires others to navigate through those emotions before addressing the actual problem. By approaching situations without emotion, it becomes possible to engage in professional discussions and resolve conflicts in a similarly professional manner. I’ve noticed that I can articulate my thoughts more effectively when emotions are set aside.
When confronted with workplace conflicts, it’s advisable not to react immediately. Instead, take some time to contemplate the situation and strive to find a resolution without emotions clouding the process.
Don’t gossip. Keep confidential information confidential. Work with integrity. Come to work with a positive attitude.
Q: What’s one thing on your bucket list?
A: I dream of owning a charming piece of land spanning 20 to 30 acres. On this picturesque property, I envision running a mini farm, complete with a country store. This store will be a hub for selling an array of farm-fresh produce, operating a cozy deli, and showcasing my skills in upcycling, refinishing, and selling unique furniture and crafts.
Q: What, if anything, are you currently binge-watching? Listening to? Or reading?
A: I have been binge watching D&D episodes. Most recently, Critical Role’s Exandria Unlimited and Campaign 3 on YouTube.
Q: What hashtag(s) describe your personality best?