“You are surrounded by people who encourage collaboration, so instead of creating something good as individuals, we create extraordinary things together. ”
In the mid ‘80s, Silicon Valley was experiencing a downturn. As workforce reductions hit the small high tech company Jo-Ann Cuevas worked for, she took the advice of a friend and applied for a job at Stanford. That turned out to be one of the best career moves she ever made.
“Stanford is an awesome place to work,” she says. “You are surrounded by people who encourage collaboration, so instead of creating something good as individuals, we create extraordinary things together.”
Jo-Ann has held a number of positions in both academic and business departments during her more than 25 years at Stanford. She says that with each new job her skills and knowledge increase, allowing her to advance into roles that fit her strengths—like her “knack” for teaching—while still giving her an opportunity to grow.
“I started as an administrative assistant in the communication department,” she says. “When we moved from paper to an electronic financial system, I adapted quickly and was soon considered a local expert. People came to me and asked for help and I found myself training them to use the new application. It taught me to love teaching technology to others and opened a new career path.”
Helping others learn has continued to be a theme in all of Jo-Ann’s work at Stanford, including her current role of campus readiness specialist in IT Services. She’s a go-to person for software and systems rollouts that require staff to learn how to use new applications and technology to do their work.
“I love that moment when you hear ‘oooos’ and ‘ahhhs’ from the audience, and you know they ‘get it,’” she says. “Stanford not only promotes an environment of lifelong learning for staff, but also encourages you to help and inspire others to continually improve.”