Why Waiting For This 1 Thing Could Be Your Biggest Career Mistake

Photo courtesy of Capital One

Sponsored by Capital One

Hillary McTigue

Photo courtesy of Capital One

June 15, 2024 at 8:23PM UTC
When Hillary joined Capital One, she’d already spent more than 20 years in Information Technology, an arena with a reputation for solitary, screen-based work. Yet, the culture she found at Capital One didn’t mesh with this trope at all — far from it.
Today working as a Director of Data Engineering, McTigue says that “collaboration sessions” make up a major part of her day-to-day life, and that the “solid relationships with folks all throughout the organization” she’s been able to build help make this position her “most rewarding” yet.

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 Hillary opened up to Fairygodboss about the many benefits of working in a community-centric tech space — as well as her No. 1 piece of career advice to women.
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I’ve been in my current role for just about 2 years. Prior to my role at Capital One, I lead several large-scale enterprise wide data warehousing and business intelligence efforts. I’ve also spent some time in corporate tech strategy.
What’s the first (and/or last) thing you do at work every day?
The first thing I do, besides get a cup of coffee, is check my email. I usually take a look first thing to see if anything has come up that needs my urgent attention. Meetings and collaboration sessions are a big part of my day, as well, and are often the first and / or last thing I do!
What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of your job or company?
The most interesting part of my job and our tech organization is our focus on being a tech forward and innovation company. We encourage innovation, collaboration, and contributing to the tech community as a whole.
What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about your company that you think they should?
I don’t think that people outside of Capital One realize how important our Women in Tech initiative is.  
What’s something you’re especially good at at work?
I pride myself on being able to build solid relationships with folks all throughout the organization.  I also love to tackle wide-reaching problems and work with various organizations to find solutions.
What are you trying to improve on?
I am always looking for ways to improve…whether it’s learning new tech or following industry trends. I recently received my AWS Solutions Architect Certification.
What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of?
Taking on my current role. It’s by far the most challenging and most rewarding as well.
What do you love most about your job or your company?
By far my favorite thing about Capital One is the culture and spirit of the people who work here!
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now? 
Just be yourself — and don’t be afraid to highlight all of your accomplishments. Talk to people you have worked with in the past, and my guess is that they will bring up great things you have done in the past that you don’t even remember. Be your own greatest cheerleader and really hone in on what you’re passionate about.
Who is/was the most influential person in your life and why?
Definitely my parents. They are amazing, phenomenal, kind, smart, and hard working. I couldn’t have asked for better role models.
What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?
A former VP once advised me to “empower yourself. Don’t wait for others to empower you.” I really take that to heart.
What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had?
Giving you the chance to fly and providing growth and learning opportunities along the way.
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