Eva Reid ’96, senior IT data manager and agency data officer for DC Health, the District of Columbia’s health department, describes her role as both strategic and practical. With millions of labs coming in each day on reportable diseases, Reid’s team ensures that the data can be properly submitted and maintained, analyzed, and then shared with epidemiologists and others for public outreach.
But there is much more to Reid. After Macalester, she earned a master’s of public administration from Arizona State University, and she has thirty years of experience in geospatial technology and data management. Prior to her current role, the entrepreneurial geography major was a senior GIS analyst with the Office of the Chief Technology Officer in DC for fourteen years. (Geographic information systems are computer-based tools used to store, visualize, analyze, and interpret geographic data.) She’s also owner and CEO of Eva Reid Consulting, LLC—which provides professional development workshops and career coaching for women in tech and other fields where women are underrepresented—as well as a keynote speaker, a writer, a certified yoga instructor, and an avid kayaker. Here Reid draws on lessons learned from all spheres of her life.
Earlier in my career I knew there were other women doing technology work, but I wasn’t seeing them because they weren’t in my office, or they were on another floor, or in another agency. I started hosting happy hours for women in tech to meet. I already had a side business doing wellness support for women, and a lot of my clients were women in fields where women are underrepresented. That ended up morphing into what my consulting business is now.
Learn to brag better.
I just finished reading, for the second time, a book called Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion by Meredith Fineman. I’ve had to train myself to put myself forward and tell people why they should care what I have to say. In my previous job I managed a big citywide project.
When the final report was released, there was no mention of my name. Two things could have happened. Former Eva would’ve said, “Okay, whatever,” and been mad about it, but just let it go. More recent Eva decided that I had to say something. I took the report to my boss, and I said, “This is not okay.” Speak up for yourself, number one. Number two: do a better job of not necessarily bragging—but bragging.
Build community that matters.
I have this tagline and hashtag that I use on LinkedIn a lot called Building Community That Matters. It’s the name of a workshop that I did, but it’s also a philosophy. I’m not just connecting so that I can get the next greatest thing or the next greatest job. I’m building a network because that is my community. I’m extremely passionate about creating that network and using it for good. I don’t see how as human beings we can do our business without it. It’s all the same, whether you’re looking for an electrician or looking for data.
I wasn’t good at kayaking right away. I really enjoy it, but there are some things I’m not great at. I wasn’t the best in my class, and I wasn’t the success that I can see in other parts of my life. It was very humbling. In kayaking and in yoga, you learn from that space of not being great at something, and you just have to sit with it. I think learning humility is good for all of us at times.
Saying “I’m good at this” is not making waves. When someone says, “You’re making waves,” or “You’re intimidating”—because I’ve gotten that before, too—that’s not about me. That’s them feeling uncomfortable with women speaking up for themselves. Doing that self-advocacy helps us do better in our careers because no one else is going to do it for us.
Explore the Mac ecosystem.
Mac has been a very good model in a lot of ways for my own personal beliefs about community and how we build our networks. I think we have a lot in common despite our extremely different backgrounds and interests. There’s this Macalester ecosystem that I cannot explain. It’s been really interesting interacting with other people from my class through Facebook. I’ve connected with so many people that I knew at Mac, but didn’t really know at Mac.
November 1 2023Back to top