Abigail Bernhardt Talks Mentorship, Leadership, and Meaningful Work
After interviewing with a couple of passionate AnaVators, Abby Bernhardt decided to accept a summer internship at AnaVation in 2019. As the only non-computer science focused intern, she was a bit nervous about what her experience would be, but those fears were soon squashed. “When I walked in on day one, I quickly learned I would be a Business Analyst (BA) supporting two teams of technical interns. The summer ended up being fantastic and in my BA role I was able to meet and connect with almost all AnaVation leadership,” she said.
During her summer internship, Bernhardt felt incredibly supported by her mentor. Her mentor took her to lunch every month to talk about the internship, personal aims, and professional goals. “[My mentor] was the greatest gift that summer and when I started full-time with AnaVation, she became my manager. Even though I [have since] lost her as a mentor, she greatly valued mentoring and quickly found another incredible woman to take her place. Almost three years later, I still talk with my mentor every month.”
After completing a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of Mary Washington, Bernhardt started as a full-time Business Analyst employee in June of 2020. Since then, she has held several titles. “When I started, I had no idea that I would eventually want to be a manager or that I even had the professional leadership skills required for the position. I had no idea that my college education would really just be the foundation for my knowledge base and that I would have the potential to be proficient in many disciplines learned on the job.”
Bernhardt has also appreciated AnaVation’s investment in her personal life. “AnaVation has supported my personal life in many ways. One being financially when I was completing my Master of Science in Data Science at the University of Virginia. AnaVation values continued education and provides means to make it happen for all interested employees,” she said.
Bernhardt’s athletic passions have received support from AnaVation as well. “Last year I decided to randomly signup for an Ironman event in California. AnaVation leadership found out that I was training for this triathlon and was all in. They sponsored me throughout this time and even did extensive research on gear, coaches, and training regimens. I was incredibly appreciative of these efforts, especially when I crossed the finish line at the end of a long 140.6 miles!”, explained Bernhardt.
Time at AnaVation has changed Bernhardt’s perspective on meaningful vocation. “I think my perspective has changed because I used to think a job was just that, but I realized that if I can make even the smallest impact on my peers, the company, and most importantly the customer’s mission, it makes it all rewarding. Positive impacts are easier to put effort into when the work is meaningful.”