Find out how Dara Raskin, our Senior Director of Application Engineering, spends her workday—starting bright and early at 5:30 AM!
At Unqork, our Application Engineering Group (a part of Professional Services) works together to deliver high-quality, enterprise-grade applications to clients. The Professional Services group works with clients to deliver the application they want, while the Application Engineering Group does all of the configuration for those applications.
While the application engineers are hard at work, Dara Raskin, Senior Director of Application Engineering, makes sure they have everything they need to succeed. She focuses on mentorship, career pathing, resourcing, process optimization, and even does some configuration from time to time. Spend dawn to dusk with Dara and see what she gets up to during the day, starting bright and early at 5:30 AM!
5:30 AM: I wake up! I’m naturally a morning person and I come from a family of morning people, but I do need to use an alarm to get up that early.
6:00 AM: Time for my daily workout. I normally do a 30 minute HIIT workout followed by 30 minutes of more targeted workouts (like abs or arms) from Brrrn. I worked out in their studio daily before the pandemic and their streaming service has been a lifesaver, but I still miss in-person workouts.
6:45 AM: After I check emails, shower, and get dressed, I’m ready for the day.
7:15 AM: I’m at the computer getting work done before my meetings start at 9:00 AM. This morning I’m reviewing resumes for our open positions, writing a to-do list, and working on the framework for a new initiative for our Applications Engineers.
We’re working on improving our onboarding process for our engineers and making sure they have additional training beyond the no-code bootcamp. We've started to make some adjustments to virtual onboarding, but are continuing to learn and adapt this process due to its importance to the success of the team. And with our team growing so fast, we can’t wing it every time! It’s an ongoing process but I’d like to get some of our first initiatives out by the end of the year.
I’m also working on initiatives for the Womxn of Unqork employee resource group. I check which affirmations our Womxn of Unqork group are using today, then I start planning for our next bi-weekly Wine Down by picking our wine and consulting with the group’s treasurer Abbie Szabo on topics.
8:45 AM: Around this time I realize I haven’t eaten breakfast, so I put together a quick breakfast of blueberries, vegan yogurt, and grain-free pumpkin bread. I have a few food allergies and intolerances so I make a lot of my food on Sundays so I’m not struggling during the week to find something to eat. I’m also trying to eat plant-based as much as I can because I feel better when I do.
9:00 AM: Time for my first coaching session! I want to be the best team player and boss I can be, so I work monthly (ish) with a coach to continue to improve my skills.
10:00 AM–11:30 AM: This is my first block of “focus time.” I use this time to focus on important work, map out processes, document what, why, and how the Application Engineers group does things, and work on roadmap items.
11:30 AM–12:00 PM: I do a phone interview for one of the open roles on my team—we have so many exciting new projects going on that we need to grow the team rapidly! We’re hiring at every single level right now, from application engineers all the way up to our directors.
At all levels we’re looking for people who like problem-solving, and as we get to the higher levels we’re looking for people who have worked in development environments before, whether it be code or no-code. We’re also looking for team players! Everything we do is on a project team, so we want to make sure that any potential candidate is willing to learn from people, teach people, and build that community. Lastly, we want people who match our Unqork values — that’s really important.
12:00 PM–12:30 PM: Time for lunch! On Sunday I pre-prepped salads for the week. Today’s salad has lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, and basil and peppers from my window garden. While I eat, I slack with our Womxn of Unqork leadership group to update them on some upcoming events and make sure we are set for our events this month.
12:30 PM–2:00 PM: I have 1:1s with my team and cross-team collaborators. Today this includes chatting with the Extend camp to learn about what they are working on and share my epic excitement about what they're working on next, the Marketplace team on how we can interact together, and the PSO Operations team to strengthen our processes for supporting internal and external requests.
Today this includes chatting with the Extend camp to learn about what they are working on and share my epic excitement about what they're working on next, the Marketplace team on how we can interact together, and the PSO Operations team to strengthen our processes for supporting internal and external requests.
2:00 PM–3:00 PM: I meet with the Applications Engineering leadership team to discuss upcoming items and get feedback on the team members they manage.
3:00 PM–4:00 PM: I meet with the Applications Engineering team to develop our Q4 OKRs. I’m meeting with each Application Engineer at all levels in groups of 7 or 8 to find out what changes will have the biggest impact and discuss how we can all contribute to the Applications Engineering, PSO, and Unqork OKRs. This is only our third meeting and the group already has some amazing ideas!
4:00 PM–4:30 PM: I take a break and grab a quick coffee with an app engineer who lives nearby. Spending time with all of our app engineers is super important to me and it helps me learn more about what the team wants and needs. Plus, it’s always nice to catch up!
4:30 PM: I spend an hour working on our next installment of “What’s New in Unqork.”
5:30 PM: I meet with Production Support about some clients we’re monitoring.
6:00 PM: I respond to emails and squeeze in 30 more minutes of focus time.
6:30 PM: At the end of the day I go for a walk with my husband. I need to get outside each day. I like to walk around one of the parks in my neighborhood—I don’t want to walk around a city street most of the time.
7:15 PM: Time for dinner! Tonight we’re having tofu summer rolls with peanut sauce, cucumbers, peppers and basil from the garden. My Sunday meal prep means I just need to put everything on the table. :)
8:30 PM: I clean up dinner and wind down for the night. Before bed, I like to do my Spanish and Yiddish lessons on Duolingo for 20 minutes, put together a to-do list for tomorrow, and read for 30 minutes. Right now I’m reading Food Saved Me: My Journey of Finding Health and Hope Through the Power of Food by Danielle Walker—it’s a bit dark! The last book I read before that was Why Buildings Fall Down: Why Structures Fail by Matthys Levy, which I found really intriguing because I’m a civil engineer by training. And one of the books I return to regularly is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett—I could reread that a million times and find it engaging every single time.
10:00 PM: Bedtime!