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From Teaching to Training: Amy's #MyRichmondFed Story

From Spanish teacher to senior technical and process trainer, Amy Brewer shares her #FedWomenInTech story.

Our Bank has a robust Women in Technology community, which supports the development and advancement of all women currently in or interested in technology roles across the Federal Reserve System.

Today we caught up with Amy Brewer, a senior technical and process trainer, who began her technology career at the Fed five years ago. In our Q&A, Amy shares her career journey and a few lessons learned.

What was your first job out of college?

I worked as an assistant — during graduate school — to the vice president of Human Resources at a bank. She [the VP] was extraordinary and kept me in the loop of everything she did. I learned more from her in nine months than I did in graduate school.

Your academic background is in foreign language, literature and teaching. How did that journey lead you to the Fed?

Young people often think that a career is somehow going to be a linear path, but it’s never that. Instead, careers tend to overlap and run simultaneously in many directions as you learn.

I was lucky enough to reconnect with the VP I mentioned earlier. At the time, she had recently retired and started a consulting firm working with federal contractors around ADA compliance. She needed someone to create eLearning courses for her company, so I taught myself an authoring tool and created a series of courses for her clients. I realized I liked the work and began looking for opportunities to stay in a training environment, but in the corporate space. Then, I ran across a job posting for an operations analyst in the Currency Technology Office and the rest is history.

What non-technical role did you have that helped prepare you for your career in technology? Teaching Spanish! You have to be able to break down the language and show connections in all directions, as well as understand where the gaps are so your students can connect the dots and build on what they learn.

What are some other lessons you learned or skills developed early in your career?

I learned that it’s difficult to train others without being comfortable in front of a group, having a sense of humor [is important], and having the ability to admit when you don’t have all the answers. Middle and high school students are pathologically in tune with teachers’ mishaps, and I learned the easiest way to gain and keep students’ trust was to own my mistakes. The same applies to training adults. Gaining the trust of your group sets them up for the most success in whatever the learning task might be.

Another useful skill I developed was the ability to anticipate the variety of outcomes that an activity might create and plan accordingly. A classroom can go from zero to 200 in half a second — even with adults — so it’s always a good idea to be ready to pivot and to have additional plans in place.

How would you describe your current role to someone unfamiliar with the Currency Technology Office or the Bank?

I train people who work in the Federal Reserve System’s cash operations facilities on how to perform a variety of functions in high-speed cash processing. Our cash community performs a vital role supporting the global economy, and my team and I work to ensure they have all the information and support from a training perspective that is needed to be successful.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Currently, I serve as a training lead and user proxy on the NextGen Program. NextGen is a Federal Reserve Financial Services project to design, develop and deploy a new fleet of currency processing machines and currency sensors that will bring the latest technology to the Federal Reserve’s 28 currency processing locations. I see myself and my team working with cash offices to use the NextGen environment high-speed cash processing machines.

If you’d like your career story to become part of our #MyRichmondFed story, apply to our open positions today!

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