Andrea Rodriguez Miller, Customer Success Leader at Intuit talked with us about her 22 years at Intuit, the advantages of being a multiethnic woman and how she connects some hispanic values with the Intuit culture.
Those values have helped her understand the unique needs of their self-employed and Latino customers and drive improvements in the end-to-end strategy that reflects in Intuit products and services.
Spotlight Partner: Intuit / Hispanic Heritage Month
Featured Talent: Drea Rodriguez Miller
Tell us a bit about yourself, where you are from, and tell us about your family.
My name is Andrea Rodriguez Miller and I go by Drea. I am a proud Tucson native. I grew up not too far from the Intuit office in Tucson with my parents and my younger brother and sister. I was very lucky to have many of my extended family in my life throughout my childhood. My Abuela and Nana were actually my caretakers when we were young.
I am multi-ethnic, my father is of German descent coming from Wyoming and my mother is of Mexican descent. My dad was actually the first anglo person to marry into our family. I was very lucky to have a very inspirational family who stressed the importance of education. My Nana, Maria de Los Angeles Rodrigues (or Nana Geli as she was known) did not have the opportunity to complete her education when she was younger, but she took night classes in her late 30s to get her GED because she wanted her grandchildren to know how important it was to have an education. My mother was the first person in her family to attend college and obtained both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arizona. My mother worked in the Public Library system in Tucson for over 20 years and continued her career in public service when she transitioned to the City Manager’s office, retiring as the Deputy City Manager for the City of Tucson. My father was a firefighter and paramedic when I was young, and returned to college when I was in high school to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems before returning to the fire department and eventually retiring as a battalion chief. I am married and have a five-year-old son starting kindergarten this year.
Now that we are celebrating Hispanic heritage month, what is something you admire about our culture?
The thing I most admire about our Latino culture is the deep-rooted connection to family and community. As I mentioned before, “I was very blessed to have a large extended family here in Tucson”. We would regularly have twenty to thirty people at my Abuela’s home on holidays sharing food and watching football with cousins of all ages running around the yard. There were never strangers in our homes, people were welcomed into the family immediately. The same went for our neighbors, the people we attended school and church with, there was always someone willing to help or to answer questions. The sense of being connected through a shared language and heritage is something that I’ve experienced throughout my life and is such an integral part of our Hispanic culture.
Can you share more with us about your background, and how did you get to where you are today? And how do you feel having worked 22 years at Intuit? What inspired you to continue a career in the tech industry?
I started in the contact center industry in the mid-90s while I was in college and had the opportunity to join Intuit in 1999 as a frontline supervisor supporting the TurboTax product. Prior to Intuit, I hadn’t had a great deal of exposure to the tech industry, and to be honest, it was a little intimidating. The best part of being at Intuit was the opportunities it allowed me to learn about the tech industry. I’ve had opportunities to attend customer focus groups and learn how to translate needs into business requirements. I’ve worked alongside developers and engineers testing products and features to bring a customer viewpoint into design functionality. I’ve had the chance to partner with marketing teams on crafting messages to connect with customer needs and to communicate the values of our products and services. Above all, through my work in Customer Success supporting both our TurboTax and Quickbooks customers, I’ve been able to be a part of Intuit’s mission to power prosperity around the world by assisting customers to unlock the power of our products to solve significant problems in their lives. It’s been an incredible journey over the last 22 years and I continue to learn every day.
How do you think these values reflect on your personal and/or professional life? Could you share with us your own description of each one?
The family is at the center of our Hispanic culture and our lives. When good things happen, they are the first people you want to tell, When things are difficult, they are the first people you go to for advice and empathy. The connection to family extends beyond blood relations. It extends to the people who are closest to us in our lives, our trusted circles, and our chosen family. I’ve been very fortunate to find those deep connections in my time at Intuit, whether it be in the teams I’m part of or in the Employee Resource Group (ERG) community of the Intuit Latinos Network. That ability to make deep, meaningful connections where each person can truly be themselves and value each person for who they are and what they bring to the table has been a key part of why I’ve stayed with Intuit for so long.
Hispanic culture is deeply rooted in our communities. We care about our neighborhoods, our cities; the people we see every day. We take great pride in our connection to other Latinos and in our shared language and heritage. We actively seek out ways to improve the well-being of our local communities. I see this manifest in my work with the Intuit Latinos Network. Even though we’ve been primarily virtual throughout the past few years, each of our local chapters around the world has continued to support their own communities while also finding ways to create that sense of community virtually. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see our network expand internationally even during a pandemic (adding chapters in London and Mexico) and connect our employees from around the world in a celebration of our shared heritage.
“There’s always a way” is something that my Nana would tell me when I was growing up. Things don’t always come easily or go according to plan. When faced with a challenge, it’s an opportunity to step back and reassess. My mother gave me some great advice as I was progressing in my career, she calls it “my best thinking”. It’s when you know you don’t have all the answers, but you unpack your thinking and invite others to help you find the best course of action. This is something that has served me well in both my personal and professional life.
One of the traits I’ve learned from my family is the value of hard work. My great-grandmother came to this country from Mexico and had to support her six children alone when she lost my grandfather at an early age. Each of her children entered the workforce early to help care for the family. My own parents worked incredibly hard to provide for our family and to make our community stronger through their work in public service. Now it’s our generation’s turn to build upon those foundations and work hard to provide for our families and our communities. I personally am never one to shy away from a challenge and I give credit for my strength and fortitude to the example that my family laid for me.
Latinos have such a strong sense of family and community and, at the heart of that connection is the deep empathy for our fellow people. I grew up with such strong role models who, despite not always having the easiest paths in life, always made it a point to be there for others. The opportunity to connect with others, find ways to understand their situation, and identify opportunities to help is central to who we are as Latinos. I do my best every day to not only understand the challenge before me, but to also connect with the people I’m working with to address those challenges because I find that you can go further, and faster when you are truly connected with those along the journey with you.
In your day-to-day life, what keeps you connected to your Hispanic roots?
As I mentioned before, I am very blessed to be surrounded by my family here in Tucson and speak with them several times a week. In addition, my son is five and my husband and I are working with him to teach him Spanish as he enters school. My husband was born in Mexico and is much more fluent than I am, so it’s a great opportunity for me to brush up on my skills as we pass our language to our son. In our home, we work to keep our family traditions alive which includes, in a large part, traditions of faith. We keep a candle lit in our home at all times to symbolize those we keep in our prayers and special intentions. And during Dia De Los Muertos, as a family, we build a large ofrenda to remember our loved ones who have come before us and helped us become who we are today.
As the Customer Success Leader at Intuit, what have been some of the most memorable and impactful projects you’ve worked on so far?
One of the best experiences I’ve had so far in my career was when I had the opportunity to join a cross-functional team focusing on underserved markets within our TurboTax ecosystem. This was my first chance to work on an end-to-end strategy to understand the unique needs of our self-employed and Latino customers and find the best ways that our consumer products and services could work for this customer base. It was incredibly exciting to immerse myself in this customer base and understand the unmet needs of each. I had the opportunity to drive improvements in the way that we supported our bi-lingual TurboTax customers both in the product and in our support channels. That first year, we offered the ability to toggle our mobile product between Spanish and English language and we increased our bi-lingual phone support to include Tax Advice as well as product support. We also trained our AI models to understand Spanish, allowing us to synthesize customer feedback which we used to improve our offerings. It was amazing to work alongside a team with such a laser focus on improving the way we served our Latino community.
What’s one piece of career advice you’ll give to another Latina to grow in the tech industry?
My best advice to Latinas in the tech industry is to show no fear. Nothing is outside of your reach. If you’re interested in a project or a new initiative, it never hurts to ask to learn more. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know something, ask! People are passionate about their work and recognize and appreciate that passion in others. ¡Echale con ganas! (Give it your all!)
One other thing I would share is to always recognize the ways others have helped you in your career and to pay it forward. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us and we have an opportunity and an obligation to lend a hand to others along the way. There is a powerful quote from humanitarian and journalist, Edith Auslander which always brings tears to my eyes, “Our grandparents carried green cards so we can carry business cards.” It’s up to all of us to do more and make meaningful progress for a more equal world for not only our generation but for generations to come.