This month, Utah Business Magazine (UBM) featured Amber Sawaya, our EVP of UX & Product, in this year’s edition of their 40 Under 40 Awards. Success throughout her career has earned Amber this well-deserved recognition and we are proud to have her as a leader at Zorroa.
“I appreciate being recognized by Utah Business Magazine, the 40 Under 40 awards have always interested me—it feels like such a short jump from being in your 20s to thinking ‘I’m going to miss the cut off!’
I was in a restaurant the other day and a guy was making fun of someone and saying, ‘but what can you really do with an art degree?’ and it reminded me that my art degree opened a lot of doors for me, from designer to UX consultant to EVP.”
Below are some insights from Amber’s interview that showcase the values and experience she brings to the Zorroa team.
UBM: What do you enjoy most about your work?
Amber: I love the team I work with. It’s this incredible group of people that have done a lot in their lives and can write their own ticket anywhere they go. Knowing it was the top choice for this many amazing people to create this business together is so exciting.
UBM: Can you tell us something you learned about leadership as you progressed in your career?
Amber: Everyone digests information differently and everyone has different things that drive their job satisfaction. You have to understand these two things about every person on your team so you can keep them happy and moving forward.
UBM: What motivates you to meet and exceed your goals—what gets you out of bed every morning ready to tackle the day’s challenges?
Amber: I have an amazing team that I’m excited to see every morning. We get together remotely and have coffee every morning to kick off the day then rip through a morning stand up to check in and what we are doing and see if anyone needs help that day.
The main thing that attracted me to my company is that I’m in charge of coming up with new ways for people to search and understand their data. Because we use machine learning to automatically extract information from visual assets I have to come up with new ways to search that data that doesn’t rely on old school text search. Trying to map a mental model of what a person is trying to find to innovative search inputs is challenging and fascinating.
UBM: What advice do you have for a younger person just starting out in your industry?
Amber: Get a solid contract and a good accountant. Listen to people who take the time to share advice, but make sure they come from a place of applied knowledge and not just theoretical knowledge. People are more willing to help you as you start out than you think. If you admire someone’s work, let them know. If someone opens a door or gives you a chance take serious responsibility for that trust and outshine their expectations.
Your first customer is the hardest, but in a few years if you are consistently good the phone will ring so often you will be turning down work instead of looking for work. When you can choose who you work with and what projects you take on you will know the sweetest freedom there is.
UBM: How do you hope to impact the future moving forward?
Amber: My company is building a great product that helps corporations harness the power of Artificial Intelligence . It is so cool to be part of helping companies understand their dark data and make sense of millions of pieces of information without manually sorting, tagging, and organizing. My current focus is balancing the best decisions for our company, our employees, our product, our customers, and ultimately helping people make meaningful connections using artificial intelligence.
Visit Zorroa.com to learn more about Amber’s journey with machine learning and AI-driven technology. If you’re passionate about building solutions that bring machine learning to the average person, we want to hear from you! Check out some of our open positions on our Careers Page.