Meet the Tallizen: Ana
Get to know the people behind the company that’s on a mission to make people less stressed and better off financially.
February 27, 2023
Ana Garcia Jimenez is an Engineering Manager at Tally, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Leading the IT team, she ensures they provide a best-in-class IT experience to all Tallizens (Tally employees), wherever they may be. This includes making sure they have the right hardware and software that they need to build new products and services to help our members pay off their credit card debt for good. In addition to managing the tools and services we have now, the team is constantly thinking ahead on how to more efficiently scale IT support as the company grows with smooth processes, automation and creating a great experience for everyone at Tally.
On her career journey, Ana shares that “From the outside, my career likely looks chaotic, but there’s actually a through line. I have always gravitated towards problem spaces and roles where I could help address real problems for people through technology.” One of the reasons why she joined Tally was the problem space (in addition to the people that she met during the interviewing process). “Financial issues are about money but also about emotions, in many cases stress and anxiety. It’s not often that you see a leadership team that understands how both go together and have to be considered jointly when designing a product, tool or service.”
A Day in the Life of a Tallizen
Walk us through a day in your life. What does a typical workday look like for you?
What an unoriginal thing to say, but there isn't a typical day!
Most days, I spend my time helping my team focus on what's going to have the most impact for Tally. For instance, we collaborate closely with the People Operations team to make sure new hires have a smooth landing at Tally. At the same time, we also work with other engineering and business operations teams to help them procure new software and integrate it into our systems. Another part of the role is to spend time with software and hardware vendors - making sure everyone at Tally has the right tools for their role and responsibilities.
What do you enjoy most about working at Tally?
The people! The group of folks that I get to work with is what keeps me going when things get busy or chaotic, which is why it’s hard to describe a "typical" day. There isn't one.
The challenges! I have been presented with opportunities to step into areas that are unknown to me (like people management) where I am hoping to make an impact by leaving the tech industry a little better than how I found it.
What is one of the most impactful things that you have learned at Tally?
My top two are: empathy and prioritization.
For empathy, there’s a reason why “Change Shoes Often” is one of Tally’s core values. I joined Tally a week before the shelter-in-place order in California started. Moving into a fully-remote routine with no time to prepare wasn't easy. On top of that, everyone was dealing with their own personal situation at home. During this very uneasy and uncertain time, it was really encouraging to see how everyone at Tally was looking out for each other in different ways.
Priorities aren't new to me in my work life, but there is something that happens in smaller companies that you don't get to experience fully elsewhere. There is often so much happening that I found myself asking these questions before taking on a new task: "What problem are we trying to solve?" and "Is this the most impactful thing the team should be doing right now?" This mindset shift has been a big pivot from my previous experiences.
What has been the highlight of your time here at Tally so far?
Back in 2020, I looooved being able to bring my dog to work. We had our routine of walking to our local transit station, BART, then walking to the office in San Francisco. I miss that.
Another highlight is: I was given the opportunity to lead a team. I was originally hired as a Technical Program Manager. However, in 2021 I made a lateral move and took on the IT manager role. It's not often that you get opportunities to put yourself out of your comfort zone like this.
One more! Upon becoming the IT team’s manager, I started going through all our hardware inventory and found quite a few decommissioned laptops. Rather than letting these devices go to the dump, I worked with the IT team to donate these laptops to a non-profit called Restore Her Voice that’s helping Afghan refugees arriving in the US. After we shared this donation with the company at our bi-weekly Town Hall meeting, it was so encouraging to get so many messages from other coworkers saying how great it was that we did this! The team has continued to find opportunities to make an impact, having worked with new partners for laptop donation such as: Nova Ukraine, Bull Terrier Rescue Inc and OK Computers.
If you could switch jobs with anybody else at Tally, who would you switch with and why?
Oh, this is a good one! I think I would choose Mariah, our People Experience Program Coordinator. She gets to have a unique view of how to build the company’s culture that I am always curious about.
Which of Tally’s core values - Don’t Say Nothing, Own the Outcome, Change Shoes Often - resonates most with you and why?
I think Don’t Say Nothing resonates the most for me because it is the foundation to being very good at creating psychological safety at work. If you put together a group of people who are able to disagree productively, you're already ahead of others. This is very hard to get right and I truly admire the commitment I've seen from everyone at Tally on this.
How would you describe Tally in just one word?
Oh no! Just one word? I think I would cheat and use two words: constant opportunity.
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
The last few years have been anything but normal - I’ve spent a lot of time with my now husband Travis and our two dogs Sophie and Harold. We try to go outside as much as we can. I personally spend some of my weekends volunteering at the local shelter, Oakland Animal Services. We have had multiple foster dogs in the last year staying with us before they found their forever humans.
Other things I like to do: I always try to find time to read more. Being able to read library books on a Kindle is really helpful for this! I am currently trying to get back to running longer distances. I ran a half marathon once and even bought a treadmill during the pandemic. I also recently started playing more video games. I particularly enjoy the ones with a good story, for example Carto.
My favourite things right now are chocolate chip cookies recipes (and trying them all out), Wordle and the shows Mythic Quest and The Last of Us.
What’s the next item on your bucket list?
Before the pandemic, I really loved exploring new places. I am sure I would have traveled a lot more if it wasn’t so tricky to do. My current bucket list has grown a lot due to travel restrictions.
Some items that I think I will be able to experience this year: the Virginia Range wild horses in Nevada and also driving to Yellowstone National Park to see bison herds in the wild.
Once it’s safer to travel, I want to go to South Korea.
Tell us about one of your favorite vacations.
After all the travel restrictions and lockdowns were loosened last year, I was finally able to spend time with my parents. We were lucky to be able to "meet" on a small island in western Greece. It was the perfect setting to catch up after being apart for the longest time since I left home (which is in Madrid, Spain).
Tell us something that people would be surprised to know about you.
I only started learning English when I was 11 years old and now it’s all I speak and listen to.
What’s your hidden talent?
I make really great playlists if I may say so.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Music. My dogs. And dogs in general.
Do you have a favorite sport or sports team?
Not really. I used to follow all things Formula One which is very popular in Europe, but watching the races live after I moved to the U.S. became harder due to time differences. But maybe I should get back to it! Or pivot completely to Nascar instead!
Tell us a bit about your hometown and where you’re from.
This is going to be a fiddly one: I was born in Madrid, Spain but spent my childhood in both Zurich, Switzerland and Barcelona, Spain. So while I’d say I’m from Spain, I can also relate to being a kid having grown up in Switzerland. I love going back home to Madrid. Weirdly, that has become "home" even though I've never really lived there for extended periods of time. It was always an "in transit" location for me.
Lightning Round: This or That?
Dogs or Cats
Pizza or Taco
iOS or Android
Netflix or HBO
Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee
Hot coffee, milk, no sugar