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Tiffany Morales started coding back in high school, and “it was something that I thought I’d love and do forever,” she says. Although she continued to code as an undergraduate, during this time, she began to understand that her future may be in a different area. 

“When you’re coding, you spend a lot of time alone, solving problems. I realized that I enjoy working with others to solve problems, so I started moving away from coding before I graduated college,” Morales explains. This realization sparked a change in her career journey.

After she graduated, Morales worked in IT Infrastructure, where she “discovered project management and shifted career paths.” From here, she says that, “I started project-managing IT projects, and that’s what I’ve done ever since.”

Although she had been at her previous company for 13 years, Morales made the difficult decision to leave. “I thought, if I’m ever going to grow in my field, I need to take a risk and leave my comfort zone,” she explains. “I knew I had to spread my wings to grow.”

And grow she did. Morales is now a Senior Manager, Technical Project Management, at UKG, a company that provides HR and workforce management solutions. Here, while Morales doesn’t have to code herself, she is able to empathize with her team as she understands the process of designing, coding, testing, troubleshooting and debugging code.

In this interview, Morales explains more about her job, her work as a co-chair of a diversity network, the importance of allyship and her best leadership and career advice.

Tell me about your role at UKG.

I started with UKG in January 2015 as a project manager, was promoted to program manager and then started managing the Cloud Services Portfolio. In my current role, I work with an amazing team of project and program managers who run projects to keep our data centers and products available for our customers and developers. I’m also responsible for the Enterprise Portfolio, which includes Strategic Initiatives for our CTO.

Tell me about your work with FIRE Up, the Diversity Network for women at UKG.

We have opportunities to do charitable work, mentoring, networking and learning from others. FIRE Up has grown from being Women in Leadership in a few offices to having representation across all UKG locations. I just love that FIRE Up provides great diversity in perspectives — it’s not just one group of people telling us what we should be doing or causes we should be supporting.

What’s your favorite part of being a member of FIRE Up?

Not only do you get to meet amazing people in different roles and career stages, but you also get to learn more about our business through these women — and you get to meet incredible people who are outside of UKG. 

We’ve had people come in to talk about preventing human trafficking or how to better manage your finances. We’ve heard from authors and speakers, even Melissa Stockwell, the first U.S. woman who lost a limb in active combat in Iraq and went on to become a Paralympian. I would never have had an opportunity to meet someone like that and draw from their experiences, strength and courage. That’s priceless!

FIRE Up isn’t just about women. It’s just as much about working alongside our male allies and empowering one another so that we can make UKG even better, together. And I’m not just saying this because I’m a co-chair in the group. Every event I’ve ever gone to, I walk out smiling. I’ve gotten to do so much that you just wouldn’t get to do anywhere else.

How does it feel to be a leader at UKG?

I love what I do. I have an amazing team of eight people, soon to be ten, that I’ve grown and learned from. I have the right amount of support from my direct leaders, and we also have a ton of resources available to us as people leaders. So, not only do I get to work with amazing people, but I have a really good support system.

What’s the best career advice that you’ve ever received?

The advice that I continually remind myself of is: “you have to bet on yourself”. If you know you’re a hard worker, you just have to take a chance, even when something is scary.

Another crucial point to remember is that while work is super important, and it’s important to get the job done and done well, if we’re not taking care of ourselves and our families, we can’t focus on work. 

You have to really prioritize and make sure that you and your family are good, so that you can bring 100% of yourself to work. That’s especially true for mothers and working mothers (I have two kids, an 11-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter). We’re really hard on ourselves. We beat ourselves up if we’re not able to do everything that we think we should be able to do, and sometimes that’s impossible. The most important thing is that we’re taking care of ourselves.

We have to cut ourselves some slack! And that doesn’t just go just for moms. It goes for everyone!

What are you most excited about moving forward?

I’m really excited to see where we go as UKG post-merger. As a company, there are so many exciting things ahead. I’m really excited about my role, our growth as a company and being able to work with new people. I’m looking forward to where we’re going to take our HR and workforce management products. I think with all this amazing talent that we have at UKG, it’s only up from here.

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