A Woman in Tech Profile: Miray Vu
On the top of Miray’s list of priorities was to learn English. But Miray was a chemist living in Turkey with few opportunities to study the language how she wants — from native speakers.
She worked in the pharmaceuticals industry but felt something missing from her career. She went looking for change.
While she learned some English during her childhood, nothing would sharpen those skills like taking the massive leap of traveling to the United States to learn English among native speakers. Even as child, Miray recognized the value of learning different languages and growing her skills.
She spoke with her parents and prepared to leave Turkey in pursuit of this learning adventure. Miray had to leave her job, family, friends, and the only place she knew as her home. What drove her was a strong appetite for learning and growing her skill set.
“I always think that learning is unlimited,” she said. “You need to learn. And in order to do a good job, you need to keep learning. And I'm lucky enough that I always loved learning.”
Just like any learning or growth experience, Miray’s journey was not without its challenges. Yet, even in the face of these obstacles, Miray persisted and learned many important lessons about having the courage to look for new opportunities, even if they call for moving across the world.
It’s Okay To Be Fearful In The Face Of Change
While embarking on her journey to a completely different country, Miray handled the fear and uncertainty by focusing on her goals and what life she was trying to create for herself.
“I remember at the airport I asked for the bathroom, but my pronunciation is like ‘bedroom,’ and a lot of people were looking at me like, ‘Why is she asking for the bedroom?’” she said. “It was a tough time, but it really, really taught me so much.”
Miray held a lot of open dialogue among people from different walks of life. She did this in order to improve her English while also learning about the cultures and people around her.
In the US, she lived near a Turkish community but spent most of her time speaking with native English speakers. She made this choice to elevate her learning experience.
Miray was here to learn English. She kept that goal with her always and it led her to new people, new opportunities, and even a new career.
Challenging Times Can Create Opportunities
While practicing her English and studying for her MBA, Miray lived with two roommates that worked in the advertising business. These two people brought marketing to her attention. The information they shared with her was just the beginning.
Despite having a background in chemistry, she worked hard and leveraged some transferrable skills to land a job in advertising. She used her previous experience and the learning opportunities to get a career she wanted.
“I try to keep up to date with the very new technologies or whatever is changing,” she said. “The best part of being a part of the marketing and advertising community is that it gives you opportunities to learn new stuff from other people’s experiences.”
Find Mentors Or Inspiration Within Your Inner Circle
Miray had several goals and future accomplishments in mind, but she knew that she needed help to get there, especially with limited marketing experience.
She voiced her aspirations to leaders at her job, who then guided Miray toward that career path. She told them that she wanted to work in marketing operations and tech. As a result, they helped her make those dreams a reality step by step.
In order to develop the leaders of tomorrow and a future-fit workplace, strong training, learning opportunities, and mentoring and coaching must be options for everyone.
The Lessons Learned From Miray’s Journey
Miray loves to learn and improve her skills, which helped her find her current role at Skillsoft. She thrives on competing against herself and broadening her knowledge.
Miray took her learning experiences and opportunities into her own hands by changing the environment she was in. As a result, she accomplished her career and personal goals on top of creating a beautiful family.
Like many other women in tech, Miray wanted more fulfillment and ways to develop her skills. As outlined in the Women In Tech Report, more than half of the women in IT and tech roles seek and crave more learning and growth opportunities, but oftentimes their organizations do not give them to opportunity to do so. Professional development and training opportunities are among the biggest challenges that women in tech face.
If there is any message to take away from Miray’s story, it’s to not be afraid of seeking new opportunities and put your professional development and training first.
Goals can Change
Miray’s move to the US wasn’t permanent. She planned to learn English in the US, move back to Turkey, and secure a position as a Product Manager in the chemistry field.
She arrived in the US not knowing anyone. But shortly after making her move, she received an opportunity to earn her MBA. During this time, she also met her future husband.
Today, she’s a wife, a mother of two little girls and works in a career she loves.
Miray understood that sometimes plans deviate from what we initially thought, and that’s perfectly okay. But, just like Miray showed, we pivot, learn, and grow into our new purpose. Because in the end, those changes lead to the most extraordinary thing that Miray is proud of, which is being a mother to her two daughters.