Sandra Cazares fully immerses herself into everything she does. She’s thorough and determined. Her tenacious personality led her to become a programming powerhouse at FocusVision. As one of Decipher’s first female programmers in the company’s Fresno, Calif. office, Sandra celebrates 10 years with FocusVision this month, in her role as FocusVision’s Programming Director.
Computer Programming was a Welcomed Challenge
A more gender-balanced tech workforce is emerging in 2016. However, succeeding as a female in a traditionally male-dominated arena wasn’t so common in the early 2000s. Women like Sandra have moved the needle and demonstrated tenacity in succeeding in the tech space.
She’s never been one to back down from a challenge. Originally from Mexico City, Sandra moved to Fresno with her family when she was 13 years old. Her determination to succeed in a new country, learn computer programming and cultivate a lucrative career in tech speaks wonders about Sandra’s determination.
“Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to work with computers,” said Sandra. “I was interested in the field, not knowing which aspect of computers to pursue, but I’m so glad I landed on programming.”
We’re glad she landed on programming, too.
Early Days in Programming
After earning her degree from Fresno State in Computer Science, Sandra took the initiative to personally email Jayme Plunkett, Decipher’s co-founder, to ask for an interview for a programmer position. After interviewing with Plunkett and Jamin Brazil, now FocusVision’s CEO, she got the job. Sandra joined a team of eight programmers, becoming the second female on the team.
“We did almost 100 percent of the coding back in 2006. As technology has advanced and the industry has grown, we have more functions making it easier to code,” Sandra said. “I’m glad I started working at Decipher when coding was more hands-on. I feel I learned more that way.”
Continued Success in the Tech World
Sandra’s hunger to learn continued to propel her career further. In just two years, Sandra was promoted to Senior Programmer in 2008. In this role, Sandra used her technical background to consult FocusVision’s Account Executives on how their clients could achieve deeper insights via surveys from a tech standpoint.
“In this role, I could really understand the client’s desired end result and adjust my team’s coding to reflect their needs,” Sandra said. “Taking the time to pay careful attention to client’s needs enhanced our work performance overall.”
Sandra was then promoted to Programming Director in 2015, the role in which she currently oversees about 50 programmers. The team is based in FocusVision offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Bulgaria offices. Sandra’s commitment to successfully manage a team of people spanning various continents, languages and skill sets is a true testament to Sandra’s leadership.
Mindful of cultural barriers and keenly aware of the need to connect with her team members to ensure success, Sandra went to great lengths to ensure symbiosis within her team.
“I spent two months in Bulgaria training new hires and learning procedures needed to manage a lucrative team in another country,” Sandra said. “It’s always a learning experience to manage a team of people comprised of different cultures, in different time zones, et cetera, but I’m so glad to have the role,” said Sandra.
Cultivating success and unifying a team comprised of different groups of people doesn’t seem to be an issue for Sandra. “It’s important to expand FocusVision’s influence all over the world,” Sandra said. “We’re a team. It’s a family-like atmosphere at FocusVision.”
Sandra’s Future with FocusVision – The Global Leader In Market Research
Sandra’s loyalty to the FocusVision family is evident. She credits her current supervisor, Braden Johnstone, FocusVision’s SVP of Operations, with mentoring her on merging her coding expertise with client-facing communications.
“We’re programmers. We’re quiet. It’s not too easy to find an outspoken leader on the programming side of things,” said Sandra. “I’m glad to learn from Braden’s client services expertise, which has really helped me do what I do now.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to grow over the years, and that’s due to the great examples and mentors we have at FocusVision,” Sandra said.
Sandra now encourages growth among her team members as Programming Director. Our cultivation of leaders in the tech space continues to position the company as a leader.
Sandra’s success is anything but quiet. Watch Sandra as she continues to enhance FocusVision’s success as Programming Director.