Please give a brief background on yourself and your career.
I grew up in New Hampshire, raised by divorcees. My mom, a middle school teacher, kept the house running for me and my little brother as a single mother – something I still marvel at. I took an intro philosophy class in my second semester and I was hooked from day one. By my senior year, I had to petition the college to let me take more philosophy classes as I’d hit the limit of classes you could take in one subject. I was always fascinated by the intersection of feminism, philosophy, and tech.
I currently work at Square, a payments company, working on their Risk team – helping merchants deal with payment disputes, fighting chargebacks, and identifying fraudsters. When I’m not working directly with merchants, I’m managing the production of Risk content for the Square Support Center and for email support.
How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
At Wellesley, I thought I was going to go into the nonprofit space; I did three internships in nonprofit and government work. I thought that was the only way you could do good for the world. I’ve since discovered that if you’re very careful, and you pick a company with amazing vision and values, you can leave an immensely positive mark on the world and work in the for-profit sector.
How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
Wellesley brought me to Northern California for the first time, via a Global Engagement internship. That’s when I fell in love with this part of the country. My major in philosophy has been a great asset – I’m a strong communicator and able to execute with limited, ambiguous or abstract knowledge as a result of my education. I’m currently the Secretary of the Wellesley Club of Northern California and I continue to thrive here with the support of the Wellesley community.
What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
In a typical day at Square, I’ll spend a few hours on the phone with Square merchants who are experiencing payment disputes – helping to explain the process and collect evidence to effectively fight the chargeback. I also spend a lot of time actually putting evidence together and responding to payment disputes on behalf of our merchants. The rest of my day usually goes to more capacity-building projects – e.g., producing content, fine-tuning our system for tracking email support inquiries, or implementing customer satisfaction surveys.
What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
Get comfortable with quantitative thinking. It’s not as hard as it seems in college – when you’re doing it in a highly practical/applied environment, it’s MUCH easier to learn. I didn’t take a single math class at Wellesley and I’ve managed to teach myself a fair bit of stats on the job. Also, spend serious time figuring out which values and beliefs are important to you. Rely on them, stick to them through college and your career. You won’t regret it.
What do you wish you had known as a student?
That everything post-graduation was going to be okay. Seriously. I was so stressed out through college trying to set myself up for success after graduating, and in the end, it’s my random intellectual interest in philosophy of language and technology that has opened up doors and made connections for me. Do well in school to cover your bases, but do whatever you can to find and follow your passions/interests – and don’t stress so much.
If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
Statistics! I’m okay at it now, but I’d love to have a really strong foundation.