Lily Ochoa is LegitScript's Talent and Culture Recruiter. In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month, she shares about obstacles she has faced in her career and advice she would give to folks entering the corporate world.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at LegitScript.
My name is Lily Ochoa and I go by she/her/hers pronouns. I am the Recruiter on the Talent and Culture team and I have been at LegitScript since December of 2020.
What obstacles have you encountered in your career and how have you overcome them?
I have always been a nervous and worried person. When I was a teenager, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. This has made things difficult in my personal and professional life. In my professional life, my anxiety shows up as thinking of every possible scenario of a situation before it happens. I usually can’t sleep when I have an offer extended to a candidate because I am consistently worrying about the outcome. I am constantly worried that I will disappoint someone and make me a failure. I am always worried about making mistakes.
One thing that has helped me ease my anxiety is to try to talk to myself the way a friend would talk to me if I had made a mistake. If I were talking to a friend they would position it as a learning opportunity. Another thing I am starting to accept is that there are so many external factors to my job that I cannot control. If I worry about every scenario, I will not be able to do the next task — or sleep!
LegitScript is the first place I feel accepted because of my mental illnesses. I feel I have the support here to have a heavy panic day and for people to not judge me based on that. I feel that I have the work-life balance to be able to step away when I am having a panic attack and take care of myself. The worst thing about mental illness is that for some people it never goes away. It can be treated, but it will always be there. That is why it is so important to not be ashamed of it and take care of yourself or whoever is suffering from it.
What piece of advice would you give to someone beginning their journey into the corporate world?
You have something to learn from everyone you interact with. If you find someone who inspires you, ask them to formally or informally mentor you. I have so many mentors around the Portland area that have helped with everything from finding a job to getting a peek into what life will be like as a working mother.
What’s a quirky work habit that you have?
Since my fiancé physically goes to work and I work from home by myself, I always need some background noise. Outside of meetings when I am doing administrative work, I watch reality TV just to have something in the background. Some of my favorites include: Real Housewives of New Jersey, Vanderpump Rules, and Shahs of Sunset (basically anything on Bravo). However, you will NEVER find me watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians! Also, my desk always has to have at least two or three beverages: water, sparkling water and caffeine-free Diet Coke.
What is one thing you’ve done at LegitScript that you’re really proud of?
I am really proud and excited about some of the initiatives I have brought into the recruiting function surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. I have changed the way we write job descriptions to make them more inclusive and I am posting them on job boards for underrepresented communities. For our Analyst positions, we now do blind screening exercises so the candidate is evaluated on the quality of their work — no matter their background, education level, gender, ethnicity or any other factors that could cause bias. The candidate is only revealed to the hiring manager once they have been invited for a final interview. I have also started partnering with universities and organizations that support initiatives for underrepresented communities. As a person of color, I am so proud that I can be part of the change.
What’s one thing LegitScripters may not know about you?
I did not always know I was going to be a recruiter! Right out of high school, I went to pastry school! I was a professional baker and cake decorator. I started working in a small cupcake shop while I was in pastry school, then worked as a cake decorator at a fancy grocery store. I also baked and decorated cakes on the side. I remember being so nervous about the first wedding cake I made because it was five tiers with hand piped flowers. My mom and I had to drive it about an hour away to a vineyard along windy roads — that was the most nerve-wracking drive!
Who’s someone you admire at LegitScript and why?
We have many many amazing people here but there are a few people that jump to mind immediately. Kristen Zervis, VP of Talent and Culture (and my amazing boss), who has really empowered me to be the best version of myself in the workplace and helped me gain confidence. Michal Conley, VP of Analyst Operations, is a powerhouse! She started here as an Analyst and rose to a VP; I definitely need to learn some things from her. Smita Menon, VP of Product Management, is such an inspiring leader. She has shared some wisdom on what it means to be a leader, mother, and woman. Imelda Khoo, VP of Marketing, is so intelligent and graceful in the way that she leads people. She helps me discover different ways of approaching solutions.
All of these women are true role models to me because they are so powerful, intelligent, and have true grit. I know I have so much to learn from them and I am excited about what lies ahead. I am very proud to work at a company that has so many amazing women in leadership so that people starting their careers, like myself, have role models and help along the way.
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