Our “Meet the Team” series spotlights the people behind Emergent Software. This month, we’re featuring Kate Montella, Senior Project Manager.
What’s your professional background?
I started off in my early 20’s working in a generic call center. Having call center experience landed me a job at the Connecticut State Medicaid Office taking calls from providers with billing questions.
I was pretty tech savvy and helped get the state set up to start doing online claims processing. I created training and troubleshooting documentation, assisted with the state-wide launch of software, and updated the state’s website as needed. From there, I went to work for Gerber Technology managing CAD licenses and doing phone tech support. I then went to work for United Healthcare’s helpdesk doing phone tech support, but within a year I was working for the Knowledge Management team, writing helpdesk articles to support the 3,000+ applications used by our staff of over 300,000.
I worked my way up from Knowledge Management to Product Owner; I owned and maintained the helpdesk website and online troubleshooting database. I managed large scale projects that helped increase the helpdesk’s effectiveness. After a few years, I was given a staff of technology interns to create (from the ground up) a chatbot that, once released, wound up obviating about 17% of the total helpdesk call/chat volume.
A lot of my experience is in understanding technical users; how they perceive issues, how they report them, and what the impact is to users when things don’t work correctly or efficiently. I always look at "technology problems" from the lens of the end user. I feel like the skill I most value in myself is being able to sit down with someone while they do their job and really watch and listen. What works well? What are your pain points? If you had a magic wand, how would you make this work? What takes the most time? Finding creative ways to make someone’s job and day-to-day work easier always brings me joy.
What drew you to join Emergent Software?
A former mentor and favorite boss of mine from a previous employer contacted me and told me he had come to work here, loved it, and wanted me to be a part of his team. While I was initially nervous about leaving a huge company, I really value having a boss that listens, cares, and is able to give direct and honest feedback. I had an interview with senior leadership and was immediately sold.
The atmosphere here is so positive and supportive. Everyone cares and listens. Work life balance is a priority, not just a consideration. I’m paid fairly for the job I do and I’m never expected to burn myself out. I have opportunities here I never had at previous jobs. Most importantly, I know I’m valued as an employee and my contributions are recognized.
I can’t stress enough how much coming to work here changed my life. My previous jobs were a means to an end and I regularly felt overwhelmed or disappointing. Here, I feel proud of the work I do and of the company I work for. I know this all sounds corny, but it’s really true.
What was your first job?
I worked at a small Citgo gas station in my town called “Food Bag." That’s not a joke. I worked at “Food Bag."
How do you fill your time outside of work?
I really love to pen pal. I have pen pals all over the world and I think I have sent over 100 art-mail letters in 2023 so far.
I’m also an animal lover, which is pretty time consuming. I have two rescue pit bulls (Bones and Brutus) and three sphinx cats, but only two are hairless (Dracula, Sergeant Doctor Pepper, and Mina).
I have an amazing teenage daughter who is in EVERY sport (volleyball, softball, basketball, and weightlifting), so there’s lots of yelling and cheering. I have a HUGE garden that I tend every summer, where I grow over 30 different fruits, herbs, and vegetables. I love to cook and entertain. I joke that “meatballs are my love language”. If you had my lasagna, you’d understand.
What’s one fun fact about yourself?
I currently volunteer for an animal aide group that assists in providing experimental treatment to cats with a terminal disease called "FIP." The treatment is most of the way through FDA approval, but because it isn’t formally approved yet, we have to find creative ways to help pet parents get this life saving treatment. So…I guess you can add “cat drug smuggler” to my resume? My kitten Mina is in currently in remission from her FIP. Way to go Mina!
What’s your most prized possession?
I feel guilty considering my cats possessions, so I guess I’d have to say after them, my favorite thing would be my first edition boxed set of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (books).
Interested in joining the Emergent Software team? Check out our careers page.
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