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Employee Spotlight: Mary Beth Burch, Software Engineer at Sendwave

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

Mary Beth Burch is a software engineer at Sendwave. We caught up with her about her career so far and life at the money transfer service.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE CAREER JOURNEY THAT BROUGHT YOU TO SENDWAVE.

I started working as a software engineer in 2015. Prior to that, I worked as an educator in a variety of different roles, and always at places where I believed in the mission and felt like my role and my organisation were having a positive impact on the lives of the students with whom I worked. When I switched careers, I knew that eventually I wanted to end up back at a company that I really believed in, and was nervous that I’d find that in the tech world.

Prior to coming to Sendwave, I worked as a software engineer at a few other companies where I found strong teams, and good mentorship, and was able to grow my skills, but the larger mission was missing for me. I actually stumbled across Sendwave in a random job posting about four years ago, and after interviewing and meeting the team, I knew it was a place I wanted to be. In addition to the work seeming really interesting, and the fact that I was looking for a company that did remote work well, everyone I met was so invested in the mission and what they were building together.

WHAT APPEALED TO YOU THE MOST ABOUT SENDWAVE’S MISSION AND VALUES?

Mary Beth on gravel bike

As far as Sendwave’s mission, I appreciate that we’re always thinking about how we are keeping ourselves affordable and easy to use for our customers. We’ve grown a lot since I started, but we’ve grown in intentional ways, and in places where it feels we can have a positive impact and provide a service that will help customers and their families.

As far as our values go, the value of ‘embracing embarrassing honesty’ is one that has always resonated with me. Sendwave is a very transparent organisation by default, and it feels like we’re all working together to help each other grow and lift the quality of the work we’re doing so we can build the best product for our users. I work with a bunch of smart and driven people who are also very humble, willing to help, take ownership, and learn from mistakes.

HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOU’RE KEEPING UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST CODING LANGUAGES AND FEATURES?

This is a timely question, as I’m currently trying to relearn JavaScript after a lot of time away. I’ve been very backend and data focused since being at Sendwave, and diving back into some frontend has been intimidating. Honestly, I spend much less time outside of work on technical learning than I used to, but I feel like I learn a bunch from the people I work with. I’ve learned that it’s always okay to ask a lot of questions and admit what I don’t know.

I have a manager that encourages my growth and makes sure I stay challenged, and I’m thankful for that. Most folks on our engineering team are also great about sharing resources or new learning that they’ve found, and I do my best to take advantage of that and join our semi-regular tech talks to stay in the loop with what other teams are working on.

WHAT ONE THING ABOUT SENDWAVE’S APPROACH TO DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION STANDS OUT MOST TO YOU?

On a broader company level, I think we don’t shy away from conversations that can be difficult. In order to make things better, we need to be talking about how we go about making our company more inclusive whether through examining hiring pipelines, looking at the makeup of our leadership team, or providing opportunities for internal growth.

These are all things that have come up since I’ve been here. On a personal level, as a queer woman, a parent, and someone who came to tech through a non-traditional path, I don’t feel like I have to hide any parts of who I am at Sendwave. There are a lot of allies here.

WHAT TANGIBLE IMPACT DOES YOUR WORK AS AN ENGINEER HAVE ON THE BUSINESS AND ITS CUSTOMERS?

In my current role on the risk team, most of what I do is around fraud prevention. We work hard to make data driven decisions, and work closely with our data and support teams to make sure that we’re finding the balance between preventing fraud and also providing a positive experience for our customers. The engineering work we do helps keep our customer’s money safe, and the tools we build also hopefully help to make the jobs of our internal support team easier.

DURING YOUR TIME AT SENDWAVE, WHICH PROJECT/PIECE OF WORK ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Mary Beth with family skiing

That’s a tough question! I would say what stands out isn’t necessarily a particular project or piece of work, but what’s come out of some pretty awesome opportunities for collaboration. Compared to other jobs I’ve held, Sendwave is unique in that I’ve had more communication with non-engineers than I have in other places, and I’ve loved the challenge of coming together with accountants, data scientists, support reps, etc. to build things.

Prior to moving to the risk team at the beginning of 2022, I spent three years on our finance team which was made up of mostly non-engineers. I spent a bunch of time working with one accountant, in particular, to build out a revenue dashboard that the company had wanted to be completed for a while. Neither of us probably could have done it on our own, but we figured out how to share our engineering and finance knowledge to do it together. I feel like I always grow as an engineer when I make the time to explain myself in a non-technical way and ensure that what I’m building is serving the purpose for which it was intended.

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