Adora Lee Works in Risk — Her Advice to Women in Tech May Surprise You

Adora Lee deals in risk. In fact, she’s Senior Director, Technology Operations & Risk at Moody’s Corporation. So her advice for women in tech (and elsewhere) might surprise you. Adora says: “Just try it – what have you got to lose?” As you may have discerned, she’s a big believer in taking risks, and she has some smart observations about how women handle themselves in the workplace and why they should have more confidence in their abilities and ideas. Adora says, “I wish they could see themselves the way I see them.” Her work at the global integrated risk assessment firm includes managing teams in DevOps and CloudOps, as well as sponsoring the Women’s Business Resource Group in San Francisco and serving on the Culture Committee. Despite her many responsibilities, Adora recently found time to talk to Fairygodboss about her work and why Moody’s is a great place for women to grow their career.

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Fairygodboss
April 15, 2024 at 9:58PM UTC

Adora Lee deals in risk. In fact, she’s Senior Director, Technology Operations & Risk at Moody’s Corporation. So her advice for women in tech (and elsewhere) might surprise you. Adora says: “Just try it – what have you got to lose?” As you may have discerned, she’s a big believer in taking risks, and she has some smart observations about how women handle themselves in the workplace and why they should have more confidence in their abilities and ideas. Adora says, “I wish they could see themselves the way I see them.” 

Her work at the global integrated risk assessment firm includes managing teams in DevOps and CloudOps, as well as sponsoring the Women’s Business Resource Group in San Francisco and serving on the Culture Committee. Despite her many responsibilities, Adora recently found time to talk to Fairygodboss about her work and why Moody’s is a great place for women to grow their career.

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s your current role and how long have you been in this role?

I’ve been in this role for almost two years, pivoting from a different part of the business. I manage teams in the DevOps and CloudOps space, operating both multi-tenant and single tenant SaaS products and productivity tools, as well as Risk Management and Program Management functions. My day-to-day covers topics ranging from resourcing strategies to incident resolution to contract negotiations. As with my previous roles, I find working with an amazing team of partners who share a common goal to do the right thing for the business is a motivating factor for me.

I also serve as an executive sponsor for the Women’s Business Resource Group in San Francisco as well as participate on our Culture Committee. Both groups have a mission to enhance the employee experience and increase our sense of belonging, leading to better business outcomes.

What first got you interested in pursuing a career in tech? 

I didn’t specifically choose a career in tech; rather, I majored in a subject in which I had interest and proficiency. That subject was Mathematics applied to Computer Science. The logic, the precision, and surprisingly, the creativity, because there is always more than one way to solve a problem, is what drew me to that field. I can’t overlook the role that faith, persistence and networking has played, especially in landing my first full time role writing automated test suites for a mobile OS.

What projects or programs are you currently working on? What about this type of work most excites you? 

I recently gained exposure to Enterprise Risk Management. I’ve learned a more formal and structured way to approach risk, including the concepts of internal gap analysis, external assessments, controls, and mitigation techniques. This goes hand-in-hand with overseeing DevOps and CloudOps teams, as many of the controls are in those areas. It also dovetails with a newer role I have in advising on contract negotiations.

Does Moody’s provide any resources or programs to support women in your field?

There’s a group of us who attended a company executive program who’ve found ways to give back to women in the firm. Moody’s has a Senior Women’s Leadership Development Program (SWLDP) and a Talent and Organizational Development team who design and implement programs to support and develop women at all levels. We also have a technology rotation program which isn’t targeted at women specifically but has been a source of female talent. Additionally, Moody’s has the Re-IGNITE program that identifies and recruits professionals who have been out of the workforce for two-plus years, but have relevant experience. 

What is something you’re especially good at at work?

I’m a  thoughtful listener and lead with a balanced dose of empathy and reality. I find these qualities often lead me to find better solutions to problems. 

What are you trying to improve on? 

I am trying to avoid overthinking emails – I want to have a perfect answer before I reply, but that takes extra time and I end up with a backlog of messages. It would serve my team and myself better to respond quickly and briefly and have a call if further discussion is warranted.

What is the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?

Just try it – what have you got to lose?

What advice do you have for other women who are beginning a career in tech?

This advice goes for anyone — more than just for careers in tech. Educated risk-taking is an undervalued skill. Develop and hone that skill by practicing it. Smart risk-taking won’t lead to 100% success, be okay with that. I’ve noticed many women don’t realize how good they are and what they’re capable of achieving. They question themselves and wonder why they approach a problem differently than anyone else in the room, when in fact that is exactly the value they bring! But instead of seeing it that way, they often feel they are on the wrong track and won’t speak up. I wish they could see themselves the way I see them. What’s one way to overcome this lack of confidence? Take more educated risks, gain successes (sometimes failures, and that’s okay!) which lead to more confidence, rinse and repeat. Just try it – you probably have less to lose, and more upside to gain, than what first comes to mind. 

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