Pronounced as: Ahna-Leesa Mohder
Howdy, I'm Anna Liisa. That's pronounced 'Ahna-Leesa' and I prefer to be addressed by my entire name.
My pronouns are she/her.
I'm located in South Lake Tahoe, CA, so I operate in Pacific Time.
I was born and raised in Europe to two Dutch parents, and moved to the US in middle school. I speak Dutch, German and Spanish, all fluently at one time, tho they're pretty rusty from lack of use right now.
My first career was in counseling and coaching, applying my MA in Psychology to help people untangle intra- and inter-personal problems. A few years ago I decided to pivot into Software Engineering, and fell in love with solving technical problems. I especially appreciate the breadth of focus that Infrastructure Engineering requires, with a systems-level viewpoint yet still very detail oriented.
Now I'm excited to combine my technical and people skills to support the Reliability Team as an Engineering Manager.
These map to many of GitLab's values and subvalues, but using my own words and expression:
- Dive in: I have a tendency to dive in with two feet into the deep end of the pool.
- See it, Fix it: I believe in addressing problems as I see them whenever possible.
- Speak up, Speak out: if I see a problem that I can't fix, I will speak up about it. This includes things like organization level dysfunction and/or lack of diversity and inclusion.
- Team work makes the dream work: I prefer to work in collaboration. I believe strongly in the benefits of pair programming.
- Process in service of Results: My mind tends to look for processes to improve the way we work. But that is always in service of results. Process for the sake of process is no good.
- Life long learning: I have so much to learn, and a never-ending curiosity about the world.
- Psychological Safety is key: we do our best work when we feel safe to be fully ourselves.
- Life is short, so enjoy it: I am a hedonist at heart, and humor is not optional. (Laughing at my jokes, however, is absolutely optional!)
- Direct and actionable feedback about how my actions affect them and others so I can improve.
- Guidance on internal politics (For example, I need to know when I'm pushing too hard or not enough, pissing people off, or caring about the wrong things).
- Help setting measurable goals.
- Clarifying expectations.
- Direct and actionable feedback about how my actions affect them so I can improve.
- this includes technical feedback - I want to hear when there's a better way to do something, and why.
- Thoughtfulness around communication style.
- Direct and actionable feedback about how my actions affect you so I can improve.
- Communication when you are struggling, unhappy or disengaged.
- I am here in service to you. So please let me know how I can help!
- Direct communication about where we are and where we want to go.
- Acknowledgement of areas of growth, both personally and for the department/company.
- Leading by example.
- Sincerely inviting feedback.
- I work in PST time zone
- I am not a morning person but will get up early if it's important to the team
- I tend to be at my best mental acuity between 10am and 2pm PST
- I have a grade-school child that will require my attention now and then
- I have two puppies that demand my attention now and then, as well two cats, one of whom you will likely meet in a zoom call.
- I tend to err on the side of over-communication vs under. I believe strongly that most conversations should happen out in the open, even at the risk of cluttering up slack channels. This is doubly true for fully distributed teams, and triply true for mistakes (even if it makes me very uncomfortable on the inside to own up to making them).
- You may have picked up on a theme around feedback. I always welcome feedback. I prefer that it be actionable and specific, and delivered as soon as possible, but I appreciate any effort at all to provide feedback. I consider it a gift and an act of generosity, and strive to provide it as much as I receive it.
- For critical/constructive feedback, I prefer private communication vs in a group setting. But I prefer a group setting over withholding feedback altogether.
- I believe that everyone, at all times, is doing the best they can given the resources they have. I aim to remember that when communicating, tho I don't always succeed. Reminders are always welcome and appreciated.
- I appreciate direct, forthright communication and try to offer the same.
- I also like to have a sense of humor. I try to be sensitive to the fact that there are times when humor is not called for.
- There's a reason I'm not a professional actor/poker player - My face is an open book. So I don't even try to lie or dissemble, even when it may be politically expedient to do so.
- I believe meetings with one person responsible for facilitating said meeting, taking on time management and getting through an agenda makes for much more effective and productive meetings.
- I would describe my natural management style a collaborative, coaching style. While there may be occasions where I need to relay direct "orders", I prefer to explore together, and ask good questions that will remind who I'm speaking with of the solutions they probably already had in them all along.
In an effort to normalize chronic illness and mental neurodiversity at work, I'm including these sections here.
I have had a lengthy, ongoing struggle with chronic illness in the form of vague auoimmune disorders. For me that primarily involves:
- migrating body pain
- frequent migraines/headaches
- frequent nausea
- brain fog and word recall issues
- bouts of insomnia
- chronic fatigue
These symptoms are often cyclic in nature, with periods of feeling better and periods of feeling worse. I am doing what I can to address this, and while well-meaning, suggestions of treatments/remedies are not generally helpful. I do appreciate understanding for not being at my best at times, and needing to take some time for self-care and doctors' appointments now and then.
- I'm an introvert with a form of social anxiety that has me replay social interactions after the fact and pick apart my behavior (often in the middle of the night). It's one of the reason why feedback is so important to me, because it gives me a reality check and often will decrease my anxiety.
- Crowds/large groups are especially difficult. Spending all day in an office surrounded by people is deeply exhausting, which is why remote work is such a great fit for me.
- I have ADD. I am taking medication to address this, but when combined with days of brain fog due to my autoimmune disorder, focus can be a challenge.
- True to ADD, I can also become hyperfocused at times, which can cause me to lose track of priorities.
- Accountability structures can be a helpful tool to get back on track.
- Ride, work or care for my horse, Sir Kay - a young 17hh Westfalen gelding.
- Get out in nature with my family and puppies.
- Snowboard badly.
- Get a little obsessed with learning about something. Past obsessions include:
- wine and winemaking
- bee keeping and apitherapy