June 29th, 2018

HDF has been transforming itself to a cloud-based organization, and that would have been impossible without the Innovation department! Today, we chatted with Alena Nayak, Senior Business Line Data Analyst about her role at HDF during our vital transition time. Let’s hear what she says!

What is your role at HDF?
My position is Senior Business Line Data Analyst in the Innovation department. We support all other departments with their Salesforce and reporting needs. In a given day, I typically work on a running list of projects that we have, which is never ending. Some of them are big projects which could take 6 months or a year to finish. Others are small projects such as creating a report for someone. Projects that we did for Development and Communications department are typically related to data for grant reporting. We also help the Lending department with the data that they need to report to external partner banks. We meet with Counseling department on a monthly basis to review the customer portal bugs and fixes as well as to customize Salesforce to their needs such as building forms. In addition, we report to Accounting Department.

Have you always worked in Data Analytics before joining HDF?
No, but I had multiple analytical roles such as a business analyst, a project manager, a quality assurance analyst, a market research analyst, and etc. that prepared me for the data analyst position. My prior experience with data entry, data management, and reporting before joining HDF made this transition easy. I came from the corporate background where my roles were structured and defined so HDF’s culture definitely taught me how to wear multiple hats.

How did you come to work at HDF?
I was moving to Stamford from NYC to move in with my boyfriend at the time, now husband. And with 3 offers to choose from, HDF was an easy choice due to company’s culture. I simply liked people who interviewed me. I got a good impression of the company overall as well as it was a new challenging opportunity that included learning Salesforce.

Could you share about a rewarding experience since working at HDF?
Well, I don’t work with client per se, but I take on new responsibilities and challenges every day as part of my role. The most rewarding experience in my line of work is understanding that of our overall mission to help real people. Through reporting I see number of clients who close every month, moreover I get to read client’s closed survey responses that a lot of times include thank you notes and genially positive quotes. Every closing is a story and even when I work with accumulative numbers, I still remember that each closing is a long achieved goal for a client, so this is my rewarding experience.

Could you name one person at HDF that you really enjoy working with especially people outside your department?
Mary Trent (she was still in the company at the time of the interview). I worked in her department for my first year at HDF. I enjoyed working with her very much because she is very engaging, motivated, and a fast-paced individual. She challenges you and gives you projects that make you grow.

What are your work goals in the next two years and what do you want HDF to become?
We are growing as an organization and we are becoming more efficient every day. The ultimate goal is to have everything working seamlessly as much as possible to provide the best customer service to our clients. My goals include becoming Salesforce certified Admin to take us to a next level with customization and automation of our Salesforce instance and be able to review and evaluate trends analyzing HDF’s data.

Could you share the most important lesson that you have learned from working at HDF?
It’s important to be an active listener. I work with people from different departments who have their unique needs, so it extremely important in my position to be able to see everyone’s point of view when working on cross-departmental projects.

What do you do when you take a break from work?
I usually don’t take a break from work as I prefer home cooked lunches, I stay in my office during brakes usually. Yet, I love going out to lunch places around our office with co-workers as our Stamford office is in the perfect location with many great places to try. In addition, summer time is perfect for the lunch on top of our building that I need to use more often.

Can you talk a little bit about your son?
His name is Yanni. He is about 11 months and full of energy, learning how to walk at the moment. Time truly flies when I’m with him. This summer, I’m looking forward to biking with him, taking swimming lessons, and starting daycare in August.

What’s your favorite animal and why?
Leo! I used to bring him to work on Thursday. He is a tiny Chiweenie – it’s a Chihuahua and a Dachshund mix , very quiet and shy. He used to join us in the large conference room for meetings and would sit there listening quietly. Also, he used to bike with me to work every day in San Francisco and loved it. (see photo attached)

If you have unlimited time and money, what would you want to do?
I love traveling. I would definitely visit Europe again. I’ve only seen Germany, Ireland, and Scandinavian countries, so my goal would be to see the rest. In Russia, where I am from, and in the US many cities are alike. We see chain stores and similar architectures throughout. But in Europe every country is unique, it would be very fun to explore. My husband and I also try to go to New York City as much as possible, to see shows, concerts, or just wonder around the Central Park.

Thanks Alena for sharing her journey at HDF! We thank Alena and the Innovation department for all the positive changes at HDF so far!