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Avant Alumni: Meet Sara from the Data Management Team

Sarah smiling next to the Avant logo on a bright blue background
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Even after they’ve moved on to new opportunities, every Avantee leaves their mark on our culture. Sara, we’re proud of everything we did together and we know you’ll keep thriving! You’re in the Avant Alumni Club for life.


Sara McCarthy

Former Manager on the Data Management Team

With Avant 2018-2023

What’s it like to work @Avant? We asked Sara for her take on our culture, and here’s what she said:

1. How would you describe Avant’s culture?

Sara sitting on a stairwell, smiling

Three words come to mind: learning, teaching, and respect. From day one, learning was everywhere, from lunch-and-learns and Demo Days to knowledge sharing on individual teams. I think that’s great. It fosters a lot of creativity and collaboration, regardless of your position or your title. If you want to learn something, you can learn it. If you have something to teach, you can teach it. That helps create a culture of respect for people’s ideas and contributions.

When I started at Avant, I was shocked by how intelligent everyone was. Like, one of the guys on my team has a PhD in astrophysics. These are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met. I was a little intimidated by that! Then I realized that there’s very little ego. We approach projects with the perspective that everyone’s ideas matter, instead of a top-down, “I have this idea and you will execute it” approach. We’re all just trying to do the best we can. Leaving ego out of the equation is one of the things I love about the Data team. I think it makes it easy to respect each other.

2. Why are you happy/successful here?

I came to Avant right out of grad school, and I was definitely a bit of a perfectionist, afraid to make mistakes. But I quickly learned that that’s no way to survive or grow in a role, and that has really helped me. I had mentorship from the beginning, and when I struggled, it was less about “why can’t you do this?” and more about “what can we do to help you succeed?” Having that approach modeled really helped me open up and be okay with making mistakes and learning, and then, in turn, teaching. I think I’ve really been successful here because of the people.

3. What’s your favorite thing about the way your specific job role works?

Ever since I started as a senior analyst, I had a lot of flexibility to determine how my day flowed and how I tackled problems. Like, I have these tasks, and how I get them done is up to me. I really appreciate that flexibility and trust. Having managers trust you to do what they hired you to do allows you to flourish. It’s helped me take ownership over my work. That’s one of my favorite things about Avant.

One of the reasons I stay here is because I get to tackle new, complex projects. There is plenty of interesting work to go around, and at another company, I don’t think I would have had opportunities to take the initiative that I’ve had here.

4. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a first grader, I wanted to be a lawyer. Probably because of some TV show. Lots of Law & Order growing up in the ‘90s. And I actually did work at a law firm during grad school! I was very happy that I did not pursue law 😉

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