A culture of empowerment: An interview with Kristy McGrath, Dejero’s Director of Web and Cloud Development

Emily A. Caister
March 8, 2022

At Dejero, we offer employees an opportunity to solve complex problems, exercise their creativity, and contribute to the development of incredible technology. As Director, Web and Cloud Development at Dejero, Kristy McGrath knows this firsthand.

Todd Schneider photo

“Kristy is a strong leader with deep technical expertise who is an expert in Agile methodologies,” said Todd Schneider, Chief Technology Officer. “She embodies Dejero’s core values and is known for her innovative use of tools and approaches to enhance collaboration; her focus on doing the right (and usually agile) thing for customers; and her infectious sense of fun.”

Asha Ramji photo

"Kristy is not only a fantastic leader but she is also a compassionate, supportive and understanding person,” said Asha Ramji, Senior Web Application Developer. “She always puts in the time and effort to ensure she is doing everything she can to help you be the best you can be. It has been a true pleasure being on her team these last few years."

Kristy has spent her career working in the tech industry, and we met with her to hear her story.

Why are you proud to be a leader at Dejero?

Kristy McGrath photo

It’s all about the people. I am surrounded by a diverse team of talented, dedicated, fun colleagues who keep me inspired and motivated. I am proud to be a part of a company that puts its employees first by supporting a healthy work-life balance and diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Dejero has built a culture where I feel empowered to bring my best, authentic self to work as a leader. I truly cannot imagine working in a more supportive environment. As someone that values empathy, listening, and being open to new ideas and change, I try to demonstrate these qualities in my actions and communications.

What inspired you to go into a career in software and web development?

I was attending McMaster University completing a Science degree and decided to try a computer programming course in my third year. It turned out to be the best decision, as I realized that working towards a career in software development would allow me to apply my strengths in problem-solving with the ability to create programs/apps/services that could deliver value. I immediately changed my major in my third year and took extra evening courses and summer school to graduate with a Computer Science degree. At the time, I was really concerned that my career inspiration was coming late compared to my peers, but I am grateful I did not let this hold me back.

Tell us about your career journey - how did you get to where you are today?

It’s sometimes difficult to remember the person I was when my career began. I have changed and grown immensely over the years with the support and encouragement from family, friends, and colleagues.

I started my career as a software developer at a tech company where I stayed for almost 15 years. Several of these years felt very challenging with having three small children and trying to establish myself and my career path at the company. As my technical knowledge and confidence progressed over the years as a software developer, I was able to take on leadership opportunities for projects where I learned the importance of a collaborative work environment.

Accepting a position at Dejero as a software developer in a new industry after only working at one other company was a big step, a little scary, and a huge change for myself and my family. I am grateful I was up for the challenge because the opportunities I am given here allow me to leverage my strengths and continue to grow in my career with a company that I am proud to be a part of.

What advice do you have for women looking to start a career in tech?

Everyone has different goals and values in life, and if yours is a tech career, then strive for what you want and have confidence and passion in your abilities. Do not let your barrier to success be a lack of self-confidence or self-promotion—say yes, put your hand up for things and know that you do not have to be perfect. Imperfection is not failure.

Everyone will have setbacks but make sure you use these as learning opportunities. Be forgiving of yourself and learn from your mistakes as it is from these mistakes that you learn and grow. When you find something that you love to do, measure your success through your happiness.

What's something that you're proud of that you don't often get the chance to talk about?

My family. I am fortunate to have grown up with supportive parents and three younger brothers. I am proud and grateful for the life that I have. We are one of many hockey families in our community, and along with my three children and husband, I also play. It makes for a hectic schedule involving support from grandparents and friends, but seeing the benefits from a physical and mental perspective far outweigh the hours spent in cold arenas.

What are your passions outside of work?

I have played sports and enjoyed being active my entire life. I continue to make time for fitness, whether playing hockey, running, walking or heading to the gym with friends. Over the years, I have found that taking this time for myself allows me to perform better at work and be more present at home.

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