“Be diligent in everything you do” and “Strive for a life of impact” — These two statements have been instrumental in framing my life's goals. With this framework as a lens, my journey has led me to be a part of many impactful teams, including, today, at Shield AI.
Serving a higher purpose has always been a prime motivator for me. While I was studying for my undergraduate degree, I read an account of a small group of Special Operators and learned of the differences they were making overseas. I was instantly inspired and knew my next steps. After graduation, I joined the Navy. My military experiences strengthened my belief in the importance of teamwork and facilitated my professional growth. Regardless of the miserable conditions and physical toll of training, sharing these tests and times with my teammates provided some of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Leaving the small community that had such a profound influence in my life was a difficult decision -- a step into the unknown. I wondered whether there were organizations setting out to accomplish audacious goals which matched my values? And what immediate impact could I make as a new employee?
I knew I’d thrive in a fast-paced, high learning, team- and mission-focused environment. But would I find it? To increase my chances of finding a company that met my goals, I attended the University of Southern California in pursuit of a graduate degree in business. While studying I screened companies across a whole slew of industries. Nothing seemed to fit what I sought from a company.
During my job screening, I reconnected with Shield AI Co-Founder and COO, Brandon Tseng. Soon after that, I visited the Shield AI offices. It was clear the culture instilled at Shield AI shared a great deal with the one I had just left. The employees were laser-focused on the mission: to protect service members and innocent civilians with artificially intelligent systems. Everyone was motivated and driven to solve complex problems. The success of the team was the focus. Shield AI offered everything I wanted in a company. I did not have to be convinced to apply.
During the interview process, I met several different team members. They had different backgrounds and experiences, but each person's enthusiasm at being a part of this organization was evident. The team was full of brilliant people solving important and challenging technical problems. I could tell they had a passion for their work. Without hesitation, I joined Shield AI shortly after my interview and have been on a growth trajectory since. Every day is a learning experience as we build state-of-the-art technology. This environment fosters excitement and inspires us each day.
At Shield AI each person holds themselves to a high standard. Pushing your limits is both the expectation and the norm. This highly motivated mindset is contagious. Every individual is a leader committed to what is right rather than who is right. The focus is on the success of your peers and the effort it takes to achieve greatness as a team. The amount of responsibility on each person's shoulders is motivating. All of these traits can be summed up in one sentence for me: Our team is passionate about building a product that will help protect people I know personally.
Shifting careers was not an easy decision. Or one I took lightly. I was unsure whether I would find another mission-driven community mirroring my own values and framework. I am grateful to have found an organization that matches my criteria for success. Working at Shield AI has offered me a path to continue to serve and to do work which is meaningful. Our mission and culture make Shield AI a place second to none.