Ikna Shillingford is a graduate of DS4A/ Empowerment and the Anaplan for All program. She is from Wichita, Kansas and studied at Purdue and Northwestern University. She is currently a Design Engineer at Koch-Glitsch, and through Data Science for All she recently became a certified Anaplan Model Builder.
(Note that since this piece was originally published on the Correlation One blog, the Anaplan for All program has grown and changed considerably. To learn more about it today—including how to apply, please visit the official Anaplan for All page.)
Throughout my college and professional career I have always sought out mentorship. I valued the relationship between a mentor and mentee. My freshman year of college I joined an engineering sorority. It was the upperclassmen in this community that encouraged me to keep trying when I felt like quitting, gave me advice, and shared their experiences. Freshman year was very difficult for me. My senior mentor was the one to sit me down and ask me what I wanted, who I wanted to be, and helped me make connections with the resources on campus that could help me accomplish my goals. When I became that senior, I paid it forward and actively shared guidance with my juniors. Even though at that point I was mentoring people below me, I would still seek out mentors in the alumni group to discuss career goals and entering the workforce.
My first role out of college was as a rotational engineer. In this role I was moving every 6 months to a new location and job. It was hard to network and form working relationships. It was during my second rotation that I met a mentor that would start me on my data science journey. My second rotation manager pushed me out of my comfort zone but also presented many opportunities to discuss my aspirations and interests. He not only focused on my professional life but also showed interest my personal life. He encouraged me to take every opportunity given to me. This led me to apply to Data Science for All, and then again to apply to Anaplan for All when it was presented.
Over the past few months, I had the opportunity to foster and build a new mentor relationship with my Anaplan for All mentor. Sophia Moradian is a Senior Program Manager at Anaplan. She currently works in Customer Experience and elected to take time to mentor me. During our weekly meetings we discussed my career goals, shared networking opportunities and talked about our experiences. I looked forward to logging on with Sophie and discussing how our week has been going and being able to ask advice. If Sophie was not able to answer a question, she would connect me with someone who could. I appreciated her willingness to share her resources and connect not just professionally but personally. Having someone that you can reach out to when you are just starting out gives me confidence that I am prepared to continue on in my data science journey.
Sophia Moradian is a Sr. Program Manager at Anaplan. She has a passion for learning, mentoring, and loves to do yoga and swim as much as possible.
She participated as a mentor in the first cohort of the Correlation One Anaplan for All program.
Every key milestone in my professional life has involved some sort of mentoring. Starting with my parents while applying to college, then with professors and upper classmen in college and graduate school, to career mentors, I have always valued the power of mentoring. In particular, when I was applying for consulting jobs out of graduate school, I sought out mentors to help me with case studies, prepare for competence exams, and even practice behavioral interviews.
Importantly, I’ve sought to give back, which is why I was excited about participating in the Correlation One Anaplan for All program as a mentor. I was paired with Ikna Shillingford as my mentee and knew from our first conversation that Ikna was going to be successful. Often times in mentoring relationships, I’ve found the lines between a mentor and mentee blur: knowledge transfer is not just a one-way progression. Working with Ikna, this could not be more true.
We set up weekly check-ins, where we discussed Ikna’s progression in her Anaplan training, her interest in Anaplan related career opportunities, and how her job application process. Ikna always came prepared with thoughtful questions and goals for each meeting. Even though we met for only 30 minutes each week, I noticed Ikna’s tenacity, desire to learn, and curiosity about different job opportunities. I wasn’t surprised when Ikna received an offer to join a leading boutique consulting firm as an Anaplan model builder, and I could not be happier for her.
I know from my own experience that mentoring doesn’t stop when you land a new job, but becomes even more critical as you start a new career. I have been honored to work with Ikna and look forward to hearing about what she’ll accomplish in her next adventure as an Anaplan Consultant!