Even after they’ve moved on to new opportunities, every Avantee leaves their mark on our culture. McKinlie, we’re proud of everything we did together and we know you’ll keep thriving! You’re in the Avant Alumni Club for life.
Former Product Strategy Associate for Auto Product Team
With Avant 2017-2023
What’s it like to work @Avant? We asked McKinlie for her take on our culture, and here’s what she said:
1. How would you describe Avant’s culture?
I’d describe Avant’s culture as collaborative, supportive, meritocratic, and a place that rewards people who speak up about where they want their career to go. It’s not about how old you are or how long you’ve been at the company or what your background is, it’s about putting in the effort, learning, and genuinely caring that we all do a good job.
My Avant career started in 2017 in an Originations Strategy role. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to develop more technical skills. I’m passionate about making data valuable for operations, so I let leadership know what I was interested in, and we made it happen! I got to learn a lot of data engineering stuff, I learned Python and improved my SQL skills, and ultimately I got to lead my team and transform it into more of a data analytics function. It was awesome, and I felt very supported in the transition. Even though I was still figuring it out and learning, everyone was very open to collaborate.
Fast forward a few years and I felt ready to do something less technical and more strategic again – so when I was offered a position working on the new auto launch back in January, I made the move. This current role is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever done! It’s really exciting and challenging to build out a new line of business.
Bottom line – there are lots of opportunities to learn and try new things, and people here will be supportive of whatever you want to accomplish in your career. They want to help you make it happen.
2. Why are you happy/successful here?
I love how there are paths for people who want to try things they’ve never done before. I do not want to repeat the same things, I want new challenges! That’s just who I am. I’m grateful that there are paths for someone like me, AND paths for people who want to be subject matter experts at their role. We need both!
Another reason – I’ve loved the managers and mentors I’ve had over the years. Whether I’ve reported to them or not, I’ve found leaders who have been so supportive, shared advice, and cared about whether I feel challenged and happy.
And the number one reason I’m happy here is the people. They genuinely want to do a good job, and want you to do well personally and professionally. We aren’t always going to get things right, but we have a culture of people who really want to do the right thing and grow together.
3. In this moment in your career, why is Avant the right place for you?
I’m in my early career right now, and for someone at this stage, Avant is like a shining beacon because of the way they let you take on responsibility, learn, and grow. At a lot of companies, you’ll have a set career path—like, “you do this role for two years before you can move or advance.” Very linear and programmed. That’s not how Avant is (so if that’s what works for you, then Avant is not going to give you that programmed career path).
Here, you get to choose your own destiny. You’ll find people who invest in you, and who encourage you to challenge yourself. And if you put in the effort, then you’re going to see the growth in your career that you want.
Specific to my current role, we are building a new product—we are doing something completely from scratch. It’s so much learning, testing, and figuring out the best way to go about things, and then in general figuring out how we’re fitting into a huge, pre-existing industry that has a lot of established practices. How do you fit into that industry, but then do it in the Avant way? I love getting to take on this huge challenge and figure out the best way forward.
4. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?