Vanessa Reilly, the Vice President of Development at TempDev, is a straight-up nerd and proud of it. In addition to liking pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, she spends her time eating all the delicious snacks, training in Muay Thai, and dropping random quotes from obscure movies. Vanessa, considered by some to be a NextGen wunderkind, started her love affair with technology in college. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science from New York University (NYU). Like many college students, Vanessa was not sure about her major, switching from undeclared to theater to nursing, before deciding on computer science after a well-meaning and unintentionally backhanded quip from a friend changed her course forever. “While discussing our future career paths, I mentioned to a friend that I might take up his major of computer science. He promptly told me that computers weren’t really my ‘thing’ – whatever that means,” Vanessa explained. “I decided that it would be a challenge and so I went for it. Despite a rocky start, I excelled and ended up outperforming him in the same classes, including SQL database design and programming in assembly, both of which were brutal!”
It wasn’t until she met Laura Miller, the founder of TempDev, that Vanessa found her true calling. In true meet-cute fashion, Vanessa was working the help desk for a company in the healthcare space when Laura called needing something to be fixed. Pretty soon, whenever Laura needed something from that company, she would just go directly to Vanessa. After getting to know each other during their many calls, Laura sensed that Vanessa was whip-smart and very kindly asked why she was troubleshooting printers when she had an actual computer science degree. Laura then made Vanessa an offer she couldn’t refuse – and Vanessa came on board with TempDev as the company’s first hire.
That friend from college could not have been more wrong because Vanessa is a natural computer programmer who always rises to the occasion. She started her tenure with TempDev as a template developer and worked her way up the ranks, going from Development Manager to Senior Development Manager, and eventually becoming the Vice President of Development, where she is now. She is Mirth-certified and a NextGen Certified Professional (NCP) in EHR, EPM, Document Management, and SCT. People often notice that Vanessa is incredibly detail-oriented – some may even say that her attention to detail is her superpower. She is known for thinking through every project with such thoroughness and precision that nothing ever falls through the cracks.
Vanessa specializes in implementing complex projects with an emphasis in template development, SQL development, Mirth development, data migration/warehouse design, and Microsoft PowerBI. Never one to shrink from an honest challenge, Vanessa loves to make the impossible possible. “Clients often ask us, ‘Hey, can you do this absolutely bonkers thing that everyone else has said cannot be done?’ and our response is always, ‘Let us think about what we can do for you.’ Because if it was not clear before, I will outright state that I love a challenge. That is who I am at my core. It is why I am here at TempDev. I work with an innovative team of people that always, always finds a way to make some magic happen. We stop, we collaborate, we listen, we rock, we roll, we implement, and – most importantly – we make sure the client is 100% satisfied.”
It is no surprise then, that Vanessa works on the projects with the highest stakes, often designing sophisticated solutions from start to finish. “There was this one recent project for a huge organization where we had to combine multiple disparate systems of financial data, flatten the data, and present everything to end-users as a single normalized system for reporting and analysis purposes. It needed to be seamless to end-users despite the back-ends being wildly different. Hashtag no pressure! Three of us – myself, Laura, and another coworker – worked fast and furious to complete this behemoth of project. That said, we met all our deadlines, we had a successful rollout, and it is has been running smoothly ever since. It was truly a labor of love and we learned so, so much.”
Vanessa’s favorite part of the job is her TempDev coworkers. “All of the people at TempDev – I love everybody I work with. I cannot think of a single person on our team that I wouldn’t go have a beer with, to the point where I have taken multiple vacations with Laura. She may be my boss but also one of my best friends.” In her ample spare time, Vanessa also manages the senior development team, using her extensive expertise and experience to ensure things run efficiently and smoothly. She is responsible for ensuring TempDev’s rigorous development standards for coding, performance, QA, and documentation are being adhered to – and improved upon, when possible. “The TempDev mascot is the unicorn – Twinkie – because we make magic happen. Fostering tight bonds with clients is a goal of ours, but we also try to do build strong relationships internally which enables us to solve difficult problems together. The longer we work together, the more we understand everyone’s shared history, without being involved in any office politics. It is probably (definitely) the movie nerd in me, but I really like to think of us as being like the Avengers. Everyone on the team is valuable and brings their own superpower to the team. I get to be Thor, though.”
Outside of work, Vanessa has three true loves – the gym, the movies, and her dog. “I love to powerlift when I can, and I actually used to compete in meets. A couple of my closest friends are nationally ranked powerlifters. My latest obsession is practicing Muay Thai. There is something exhilarating about learning a martial art. Plus, as someone who works from home and is at a desk most of the time, I think it is crucial to schedule activities outside. Otherwise, I’ll just keep working.” A huge movie buff, Vanessa minored in cinema studies and loves going to see movies in. Her top movie picks of all time – Aliens, Hackers, Jurassic Park, Pride and Prejudice – all feature strong women making their own way in the world. “Should I ever have a daughter, I fully intend on naming her Ripley.” Her furry buddy Odin – an interesting mix of Australian Shepherd and Chihuahua – was named as a sort of homage to her favorite Avenger. “I named him Odin because he’s got party-eyes. One eye is part blue and the other is both blue and brown but diagonally sliced down the center, so he looks like he’s wearing a little eye patch. When I first met Odin, he instantly reminded me of Odin from the first Thor movie and the rest is history.”
If you ask Vanessa what inspires her, she will immediately say her mother. “Everything I have learned about how to be successful in my life and my career, I learned from my mother. She is a Mexican immigrant and has a very realistic take on life that she always shared with me. I was not told that I could be whatever I wanted to be, but I was always told that I capable of success. She taught me to be a good person, to stay curious, and to understand that some sacrifices must be made in order to be successful. She instilled a work ethic in me that is virtually unmatched. As such, I take a brute-force approach to life in that I am usually the first one in and last one out. I am here until the job is done. If I fail, I pick myself and try again because failure is how we learn.”
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