As a graduate student in 2019, Allison Hamilton came across an open role at Syndio and immediately knew it was a perfect fit for her interests.
“My capstone project in grad school used cognitive machine learning to determine the coded gender of Google image searches. I was eager to apply my skills for a company that was working toward those same passions.”
She included an eye-catching detail in her cover letter for a data scientist role that summarized Syndio’s mission in an unconventional way: “I mentioned that I was a strong believer in pizza rolls, not gender roles.”
Syndio’s team noticed. The startup works with companies around the world to offer both software and consulting services focused on shrinking the gender and racial pay gaps and building greater workplace equity — and the leaders knew Hamilton would be a great fit.
But as the hiring process continued, Hamilton found herself nervous that she’d taken too big a leap. “I was so overwhelmed with imposter syndrome that I actually rescinded my application,” she said.
Even so, Syndio founder Zev Eigen didn’t let it slip through the cracks. According to Hamilton, Eigen put the company’s ethos to work and called her to talk about imposter syndrome, emphasizing the value he’d seen in her skills.
That interaction set the tone for Hamilton, who now works as a manager of research and analytics at Syndio, previously their first data science hire. “Syndio sees the potential in employees based on action, not their current job title,” she said.
“Syndio sees the potential in employees based on action, not their current job title.”
For Hamilton, Syndio’s work pushes her to continue to grow, and the company’s culture supports her at every step of the way.
“I am passionate about the Syndio mission to close pay gaps and create fairness in the workplace, and I get excited knowing that every morning when I open my laptop the work that I am doing contributes to just that,” she said.
What they do
Syndio helps customers build a fair and diverse workplace through software that analyzes pay and representation in order to identify opportunities to increase equity and close pay gaps. The company also offers expert consulting to help customers find actionable solutions.
Give us a snapshot of your career so far. Briefly, what has been your path to this point?
I jokingly say that I have worked in all parts of the software development lifecycle. I started my career as an IT analyst, and held positions in software development, systems analysis, QA and data science before my current management position in the data space. I continuously strive to learn new skills and technologies, and that has been reflected in my career path to date.
What makes Syndio a unique place to work from a professional development perspective?
Syndio recognizes that people are more than just an employee number. We bring different strengths to the table regardless of our role. As a small and collaborative company, Syndio encourages employees to try new skills and to flex different strengths. When I first started at Syndio, I sat with the engineering team. I realized that linear algebra and fine tuning machine learning models was not my career calling — I do love math, but I have a limit. I wanted to be more deeply involved in research projects and creative data analysis. After voicing this desire, I was able to work with the Syndio management team to build a personal development path that better suited my strengths.
How have you grown professionally at Syndio? What skills have you learned?
I have watched my career grow over the past three and half years at Syndio from being an individual contributor to senior IC to manager, and I’ve felt supported by Syndio at each step of the way. I was very nervous about taking the step from IC to manager and expressed that I wanted training. Syndio delivered with a great manager training framework that I love and feel so supported by. Syndio also has helped me grow in my confidence to fail and not be afraid to make mistakes, but rather to iterate quickly and learn from them. This has allowed me to take chances in my career and work in an environment that I feel comfortable in and has taught me how to foster that environment for my working team as well.
What professional development tools and resources, informal or formal, have you utilized?
Syndio offers a great management training framework, and I try to take at least one course a week, then try to implement at least one commitment. I also look for conferences or meet ups that match my passions with a little bit of math or a little bit of data science. I really enjoy going to local conferences that are focused on Women in STEM or reading books that talk about bias in data. In graduate school I participated as a mentee in an industry-focused mentorship program. Now I have the opportunity to be a mentor in that same program, passing on the tips and tricks of how to become a data scientist, especially if pivoting in your career.