XO Women | Roxy Olivas
The main purpose for my relaunch of XO is to share stories of inspiring women – a series I’m entitling XO Women. I wanted to start showcasing awesome women I’ve come across, but a good friend said to me, “How can you share other women’s stories if you can’t share your own?” — talk about conviction! I’m constantly falling into this negative mindset that my story isn’t good enough or that I’m nothing special, but those are all lies. Every story matters. Your story matters. Mine should, too. So here we go, with the first of many XO Women posts.
I first fell in love with technology playing Super Mario Bros. on a hand me down Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Our relationship blossomed when I taught myself how to build websites with basic HTML – I guess you could say that’s when things started getting serious. I’ve pounded my head on the wall trying to understand it; I’ve felt ecstatic when I finally do. We have laughed, we have cried, we have almost broken up, but through it all, it’s pretty clear – we were meant to be together.
Today, I am an experienced IT professional currently working in the Healthcare industry as a Project Manager. I’ve dabbled in different aspects of technology from programming, working at an IT Help Desk, as a business analyst, a software tester, and a project manager. My passion lies in being able to understand the technical details about a system and how it serves the greater good.
WHO IS ROXY?
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i to Filipino immigrant parents, I was a shy, awkward little girl growing up. I preferred staying in playing Nintendo or messing around with the computer over playing sports or being outdoors. I was painfully shy and felt like an ugly duckling that didn’t really belong. I was lucky to have parents who always encouraged and supported me, but I never felt like I had strong women influencers in my life. I harbored a lot of insecurities and I didn’t really feel comfortable with myself until I was halfway through college.
I’d say I have a unique way of looking at the world – I grew up in the diverse melting pot of Honolulu, have all the characteristics of an astrological Pisces, and can have extreme empathy towards people. I am definitely a Briggs Myers INFP. I love understanding how and why people see the world the way they do, but this empathy can sometimes be my downfall. I love structure, stability and the corporate world, but I’m generally a Type-B go with the flow kind of person. I love vacations and travel – but I need a home base to be anchored to. I take a lot of pride in my career, mostly because I worked hard to get where I am. I don’t believe in entitlement, I believe in working hard and doing what you have to do to take care of business – especially when things don’t go according to plan. Above everything else, I think that everything happens as it should, according to God’s plan.
WHAT WAS YOUR DREAM JOB GROWING UP?
I’ve known that I wanted to be in tech since I was in middle school. Like I said earlier, Super Mario Brothers really is the reason I wanted to be an engineer. At one point I wanted to be a video game tester, but I thought it would take all the fun out of gaming. As a little kid I briefly wanted to be a teacher, but that got shot down. Even though I always wanted to be in tech, I really didn’t figure out that I wanted to be a Project Manager until I got into the workforce.
WHATS YOUR CURRENT DREAM?
Right now, I can honestly say I’m content in where I am in my career. I didn’t think I’d get my ‘dream job’ as quickly as I did, but my new pipe dream is to one day be a C-level executive. I wouldn’t be crushed if I never make it, but if you’re going to dream, dream big, right? 😉
WHO/WHAT EVENTS HELPED SHAPE YOU?
When I was growing up, my parents used to tell me that they could never give me anything and my only way out was an education. They talked a lot about how hard it was for them growing up in the Philippines and how they wanted a better life for me and my sister. It definitely had a huge influence on my life. They did everything they could to put me through college and it’s something that I’ll always be grateful for. My senior year of college, I went through some really tough, emotional personal experiences that were so hard for me that I almost flunked out of engineering school. I really just wanted to give up and quit. But literally, by the grace of God, I graduated and started a great career. Looking back, I think I would have never made it without the few people who believed in me and told me I could do it.
WHATS YOUR MOTIVATION?
The next generation of young women. I’ve learned a lot about myself the past few years, but I think what surprises me most is that I’m passionate about other women doing well. I wished that there were more examples of smart, strong, beautiful women for me, but luckily I found a few inspiring and supportive friends in college. I volunteered for a school year with middle school girls at my old church in Arizona and I always saw a little piece of awkward, Coke bottle glasses Roxy in each one of them. I wanted them so much to know how loved and worthy they are. Especially with all the negative stories about women’s experiences in tech, the world needs more positive stories and I don’t think it’s an accident that I am in the position that I’m in.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED?
“Never take a job that you know how to do – take something you can learn and grow in.”
WOULD 16 YEAR OLD ROXY BE PROUD OF YOU?
Absolutely, yes. A lot of times I take a mental step back and am just in awe of where I am and how far I’ve come – I never thought a little island girl from Hawai’i would end up living the dream 3500+ miles away from home. Believe me, I am so far from perfect, but if 16 year old Roxy knew where she’d end up, she might not have been so insecure.
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