Everyone has a story. Within tech, we’re often fed a single narrative of “the techie.” Usually, a hoodie-wearing bro, a hacker, and, well, you know the rest. Our Behind the Techie video interview series is a counter narrative, showcasing the array of techies you encounter on a daily basis. Whether it’s your homegirl that works at a top tech startup or a friend that somehow fell into tech in a roundabout way, here are the stories you rarely hear but need to know.
Meet Wadnes Castelly, Account Manager at HYPEBEAST.
Currently, what album are you listening to? Why?
Currently, I’m listening to Jay Z’s 4:44 album. Jay-Z dropped a lot of gems throughout the album, so I feel like it’s almost mandatory for me to listen to it and take notes. I can’t recall a time when someone of Jay-Z’s magnitude dropped direct financial and life advice in an album, so taking notes and applying these lessons is a must!
Stateside or abroad, where is your favorite place to visit? What draws you to that place?
I haven’t traveled much abroad, however, I plan to change that soon with my upcoming trip to the Caribbean. A place that I love to go that gives me solace and peace of mind is Pier 17 in Lower Manhattan. My first internship was in that area and I went there often during my lunch break. So, I love going back there to reflect and enjoy the great scenery and fresh air.
What is your favorite tech product?
Google Chromecast Stick hands down. My friend recommended it to me in college and I’ve been using it ever since. I can cast any tab from my laptop to my TV while still using my computer. A great productivity hack that comes in handy when working on multiple projects.
What's the first word that comes to mind when describing you?
I consider myself a complex person, so this is a tough question, but I think ‘proactive’ would accurately describe me. Simply because I’m not afraid to put myself in uncomfortable situations to get things done.
What's the one thing you can't live without?
Family. I wouldn’t be where I am in life without their love and support. My older sister is like my life coach; she’s pretty dope and gives me great advice, so we’re very close.
People often ask, where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years. Let's bring it to 2018. Where do you see yourself at this point next year?
When forecasting our lives, we tend to focus on the trivial things like ‘when will I get this?’ or ‘by this age I want to achieve this.’ Instead of setting those types of goals, I see myself living up to my ‘why’ -- The ‘why’ refers to who I am as a person and why I do the things I do. When it’s all said and done, no one is going to read off my resume and list my accomplishments. So, for 2018 and the years to come, I see myself constantly improving and continuing to develop into the person I want to be, which is someone of integrity and character because that’s simply something that can’t be taught.
What's one skill you wish you'd learned sooner?
A skill I think a lot of people, including myself, take for granted is understanding how to deal with people we find difficult and just don’t get along with. I think having great people skills is essential to doing anything in life. If you can’t deal with people then you’re doing yourself a great disservice.
What's one skill you plan to learn by the end of the year?
Piggybacking on my previous answer. I’m continuing to develop my management skills. Even though I’m still a rookie in the corporate world, I understand the importance of being able to not only manage myself but others too. A lot of my work is cross-functional and quite collaborative, so being better at managing expectations and personalities can do wonders and is a great skill to have as I continue to secure the bag.
What has been your biggest career challenge thus far? How did you handle it?
The biggest challenge I had to overcome was learning how to accept constructive feedback. When presented with feedback, whether personal or professional, I would often advocate my point of view without considering the perspective of others. I got into a lot of sticky situations when I was younger because of my inability to put my pride aside and accept feedback from others. I learned to welcome feedback from others after one of my exit interviews with my internship supervisor, where he basically schooled me on a lot of things I was neglecting during the course my internship. Receiving feedback from him was truly eye opening because I never saw things from that perspective. I learned a lot about myself from that experience and as a result I now welcome receiving feedback as I use them as opportunities to grow and get better.
Do you prefer to ‘turn up’ or ‘turn down?’
Tough question, but I’m always down for a meeting of the minds with my fellow peers over refreshments and music.
Video by Justin Gomez
Photo by Brittany Allen