Do you want to play an instrumental role in helping clients complete complex projects on time? Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion to create your own job? Do you have a wide variety of hobbies and interests that keep you busy and happy? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions you can probably learn a lot from the iSchool’s most recent HINDSights program alumni speaker, Devon Goins.
Throughout her visit, Goins spoke to classes and student leaders about her exciting career path after graduation which eventually led her to her current role as a Technical Manager at AITHERAS, LLC. She also provided some tips to students about starting their own entrepreneurial ventures (from what she learned co-founding her own travel agency, GOINS Worldwide) and how to manage a packed schedule while still pursuing your passions.
Her Time at Syracuse
While Goins was a student at the iSchool, she was involved in a variety of student organizations including SU Literacy Corps, Creations Dance Company where she was the Coordinator, the Dance Team and the Iota Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She explained that since she was diving head first into the Information Management & Technology major (uncharted territory for her), she knew she had to keep a balance in her life with activities she already enjoyed. She also wished to “be as impactful as she could be” during her time at the University and joining student organizations was one big way to do that.
When asked if she had an tips for iSchoolers managing busy schedules, she suggests students “find out what their success technique is and respect it.” For her this meant writing down all her appointments to keep track of everything going on.
From Graduation to Technical Manager
Goins began her career Software Engineer right after school but soon realized that the role was not a good fit for her. She then transitioned to a Junior Business Analyst at the same company before switching to a Project Coordinator at a non-profit where she learned a great deal about the healthcare information field.
Her current role involves project management consulting for the military and other clients. Over the past five years, Goins has assisted with projects involving privacy and technology compliance. She’s also enjoyed learning more about the military through this role and values the ability to see the work that the country is doing.
In addition to project management career, Goins also spent three seasons as the Team Captain of Washington Wizard Girls, the official dance team for the NBA’s Washington Wizards. Upon retiring, she was awarded the MVP of the Year award (the only Wizard Girl to receive this honor) and gifted with a retired uniform for her work and dedication to the organization.
In both her time here at the University as well as in her career, Goins has been an avid supporter of women in STEM and has served a mentor for girls interested in pursuing STEM degrees and careers. She encourages the girls she mentors to “find the things that interest them and take advantage of opportunities” that come their way. She also draws on her own experience using tech to jump start her career as inspiration for her mentees to look into a wider variety of fields. Finally, she cites that tech gives people who may not have access to SU level education access to great opportunities, such as through vocational schools or hands-on training.
In addition, she mentors small business owners who are working to become economically independent through entrepreneurship.
Advice to Students
When asked for advice for current iSchool students, Goins said that, “if you have a foundation in tech, you can do anything.” So she believes the trick is to identify the field you want to work in and then start seeking new experiences within that field. She said that the market is in need of the innovation of millennials and anyone who can create.
Going along with her entrepreneurial spirit, she advises that once you get really good at something you should try to do it for yourself, whether that means starting your own company and doing that full time or keeping it as a side hustle. To do this she recommends “finding a mentor in the small business space who can give some guidance when you’re first starting out.”
Her final piece of advice for students was “don’t just graduate and start working, graduate and start working on a plan.” She encourages students to continually explore what opportunities are out there and make sure that they are on the right path for them, even if it might not be what everyone else is doing.