CSI:UK – Fingerprints to Critical Incident Response
“Changing careers can be scary, but it was the best thing I ever did for myself. Don’t underestimate your potential!”
Criminal Minds, CSI, Mindhunter, you name it.
For those who love true crime documentaries and podcasts, you must be familiar with the role of forensic scientist – the person in a white coat analyzing evidence as the detective rushes into the lab to verify if the fingerprints match.
Meet Elaina K., a former Forensic Scientist who took a turn in her career and landed a role at ADP.
Q: Elaina, you worked as a forensic scientist before coming to ADP. How did the journey begin?
A: I worked as a forensic scientist for more than seven years. While the forensics industry is growing in the United Kingdom, it is still very niche compared to other sectors. I reached a point where I pursued everything from analytical skills to leadership experience.
Q: Many are curious about what forensic scientists do. What type of cases have you worked on previously?
A: A part of my daily routine was to analyze and research. My team pieced evidence and helped detectives on closing cases. I remember analyzing 250 kg (about 551.16 lb) of cocaine and heroin in one case!
Q: Wow! How would you describe the turning point from forensic science to working in tech?
A: Growing up, I was always interested in technology. Tracing back to my early teen years, I developed an interest in science and pursued chemistry, biology, and physics. I knew it was time for a new change. In 2016, I saw the opportunity to work as a Technical Services Manager at ADP, and I applied immediately.
Q: Incredible. It’s been six years since you started. Why do you stay?
A: The short answer is I stay for the people. I am now the Manager of Major Incident Response, providing leadership for over 900 applications, products, and services. I wake up every day knowing what I want to deliver at work. The support I receive from my family and the ADP community is beyond imagination. I am proud to work for a company that values diversity in associates’ backgrounds and cultures.
Q: That’s powerful. What does diversity mean to you and your team?
A: As a people leader of color and a female, I value the differences and invite my team to celebrate each other’s achievements in their career journeys. I also encourage my team to mark cultural holidays on their calendars.
Q: As a people leader, what message would you like to highlight?
A: Great emotional awareness of people’s feelings and excellent interpersonal skills are required. This is especially true in management. My team now comprises six associates in the US, one in the UK, one in France, one in Brazil, and three in India. Empowering and valuing every voice is the key. If associates can’t be themselves, how can managers bring the best out of them? As a leader, I ensure they can lean on me for support and guidance.
Q: What are some overlapping qualities between working as a scientist and working as a technical manager?
A: That’s a good question. First is attention to detail. As the team creates products and services, paying attention to every detail is essential as it could impact the result for both clients and associates. The second overlapping area is people management skills. I always take time to understand my team and identify when they need support.
Q: What are some of the rewarding moments?
A: I found my sense of purpose in working and helping both associates and clients at ADP. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the strength to achieve my personal goal, which I’m proud to share – I am now a homeowner!
Q: That’s amazing! Thank you for sharing. What does #ADPTech mean to you?
A: #ADPTech is innovative and cutting-edge. I love how there are always events across Business Resource Groups (BRG) supporting associates across the globe. The culture and people make me look forward to having more diverse conversations with technologists from different industries.
Q: What tech roles do you partner with?
A: So many! From Developers, SREs, SROs, Analysts, Infrastructure engineers and teams, QA Testers, VPs, Product Owners, and Application Support to Tech support teams. We partner with every ADP location from California to Melbourne.
Q: What can incoming associates expect from ADP?
A: I value career progression, and ADP provides the environment for personal growth, including resources and benefit programs. Be prepared to work with teams both in and outside of your country. Supporting one another will keep you motivated and engaged at the time!
Q: Lastly, what is one advice for technologists from a non-traditional background?
A: I am not a developer nor a coder, but I work in tech. There are roles with great opportunities that require interpersonal skills and working with people.
If you are an applicant from a non-traditional tech background, review job descriptions carefully and don’t be afraid of the titles. An opportunity to showcase skills and talents during an interview is always helpful in landing the right role!
As people slowly return to work, Elaina is excited to meet her virtual team in the future and get to know them better outside of work. She also enjoys baking every month and making chocolate cupcakes for her family and friends.