“One of the secrets to staying young is to always do things you don’t know how to do, to keep learning.” – Ruth Reichl
Happy Friday Reigners – hope you are as excited for the long weekend as we are! I first spoke with Kira last year as we share interests in further diversifying STEM. Kira is the Hiring Program Manager for Hack Reactor Core where students graduate as full-stack software engineers and iOS app developers. Read on about her international adventures, how she’s been categorized but went on with her bold self anyway, and how she relates to Kelis being a BOSS!
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I was born and raised in Upstate New York, amidst a lot of farms and cold winters. After studying Spanish and Anthropology at state college there, I decided I needed a change of pace and moved to Santiago, Chile where I had studied abroad during my junior year. This was where I first gained exposure to immersive education, working in sales and program development in a Spanish language school that offered Spanish-only immersion classes for 4 hours per day, 7 days a week. I saw hundreds of students go from “no hablo espanol” to conversational competency in a matter of weeks, and complete fluency in just a couple of months! The efficacy of this educational model inspired me.
A couple of years after returning stateside, I got restless in NY again and moved to San Francisco. Shortly thereafter, I learned about Hack Reactor Core, another immersive educational program, but this time for software engineering. I was intrigued, and applied for a job there. Nearly 2 years later, here I am! Immersive education is awesome and I love it.
Fun fact: I am an excellent cook, and few things in life bring me as much joy as watching my loved ones eat the food that I made for them.
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
I’m going to have to go with Google, because my brain bounces around so much that I rarely spend too much time in one place, and Google always has what I need.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
I am deeply inspired by my mother, who taught me that while kindness is not always the easiest path, it usually makes you and everyone else feel better once you offer it. I have also had some wonderful women in my life as college professors and mentors. One in particular, Dr. Aida Torres-Horwitt, taught us that our imaginations are just as important and fulfilling as our realities, and so to never let go of them. She taught me to truly love literature and to lose myself in the endless beauty of my own mind.
Song that makes you want to dance:
Wine up on Me by Zoelah. It’s a Soca song from like 2009 that just popped up on Spotify one day, but trust me, it’s amazing.
One place in the world that I’d love to visit and why:
The Caribbean. The Americas have a rich cultural history on all of their shores, but the Caribbean has such unique characteristics and incredible landscapes. I also want to dance at Carnival!
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
You don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to do, and speak up if you aren’t getting what you need. This goes for work, relationships, trips to the supermarket, everything.
Due to my transparent and direct style of communication, I’ve often been called sassy, bossy, intense — you name it. Occasionally this has bothered me, but most of the time I take into stride. I know that by speaking up for myself and making sure I get what I need to succeed and thrive, I am positively affecting the situation at hand. It’s much harder to make a positive contribution if you aren’t being treated fairly, so demand fairness and then give it all you got.
As Kelis once said, “You don’t have to love me, you don’t even have to like me, but you will respect me. You know why? Cause I’m a boss.”