Gina Bendel, a Dev Ops Software Engineering, Manager has been an associate at The Home Depot for three years. Gina specializes in Development Operations for The Home Depot – (Home Services organization) and is responsible for Production Support and SRE teams. She has 20 years of experience in Technology including working for several Fortune 500 companies like AMD and General Motors. Today, Gina resides in Austin, TX, and is a proud mother of three children.
1. Tell us about yourself. How did you get to where you are today?
In college, I worked as a receptionist for an IT Consulting firm. Whenever they were short-staffed, I would offer to assist. As a result, I picked up some skills here and there on jobs. I became very interested in IT by that point and begun taking classes to obtain several certificates since I did not have hands-on experience. Once I had multiple certifications under my belt, I was promoted from a Receptionist to a Consultant, and I have worked in IT ever since. Today, I am a mom of three in Austin, TX. I have been an associate at The Home Depot for three years and currently work as a Dev Ops Manager.
2. What inspired you to pursue a career in the tech industry, specifically software engineering?
The fast pace and dynamic nature of the work is always interesting. There are constantly new challenges to solve, and you don’t ever have the same day twice.
3. You’re at the world’s largest home improvement retailer. What stands out about working as a technologist in retail? Why does retail offer a great opportunity to build your career?
To be relevant in today’s marketplace as a retailer, you need to adapt quickly to changing customer needs. COVID was a great example of changes that required immediate attention to support new consumer spending trends. At The Home Depot we focused on virtual selling and that was a shift that we had to make quickly since customers were understandably reluctant to have people in their homes.
Retail offers excellent career opportunities because technology must evolve quickly to remain competitive, so there are continuous learning and growth opportunities.
4. Working at The Home Depot, what have been some of the most memorable and impactful projects you’ve worked on so far?
I work in Operations, so I see the impact production outages cause for our business and customers. Knowing I play a role in reinstating service and preventing future problems for our organization is very rewarding.
5. What would you say is your superpower or unique strength?
The ability to start from a concept in my head to driving results on an implementation. It is always exciting to see a positive impact in your organization as a result of your hard work.
6. Shifting gears, a little bit – How has your culture shaped you as a leader (and a manager)?
I believe my culture places importance on working hard regardless of the type of work performed. I would hire a person who is willing to work hard and go above and beyond over someone with all the right skills just looking to do the bare minimum.
7. Does your company provide resources for Latinx talent?
We engage associates and support an inclusive culture through our Associate Resource Groups (ARGs). INSPIRA is one of seven ARGS, specifically focused on our Hispanic and Latino/a/x talent and promoting inclusion through professional development, awareness activities and community outreach.
8. What is one piece of advice you would give someone trying to enter the tech field?
Be adaptable. Adaptability is a crucial skill in fast-paced environments, and employers are willing to hire people who adapt quickly over those who do not. Technologies can be learned, but the ability to shift gears rapidly may help get you in the door.
9. Are there any podcasts, books, or blog recommendations for people who want to learn more about software engineering?
There are so many online resources, but I would recommend finding a mentor doing the work you want you to do. They can explain the technologies they work with and any additional soft skills you may need to develop. I have a mentor at The Home Depot who has been extremely helpful with career development.
10. Is there anyone you’d like to shout out for their support along your career journey?
My director in a previous role had great confidence in me and provided opportunities to expand my skillset into areas I had not previously managed. I would not be in my current position without his support and efforts to continue delivering growth opportunities.
11. Looking to the future, what inspires you, and what initiatives are you most excited about right now?
As a homeowner, initiatives focused on simplifying customer interactions while providing the added benefit of convenience. I believe we will continue to emphasize virtual selling, and customers expect technology to support this demand. The Home Depot is investing heavily in cutting-edge technology to remain competitive.