Meet Mili, a woman of many talents. She’s a Front-end developer who can also be found whipping up a delicious meal in her kitchen.
In her episode, she shares how she came to love cooking and baking and how they helped shape her career path.
She told us about her upbringing, what she wanted to be, how she manages to do so many things simultaneously, her advice for people starting their careers, and much more.
One of the biggest takeaways from Mili’s story is the answer to the question: “what do you do when you have more than one passion?” Well, you pursue them all, of course!
Keep reading to know more about her.
- As a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Better to ask me, "what didn't you want to do"! I wanted to be a princess, but when I realized that was never going to happen, I wanted to be a fashion designer; you should have seen the collection of dresses I made for my Barbie dolls, serious couture there!
Then I wanted to be a guitar player but discovered that I'm too clumsy to play instruments. Later, when I was 13, I discovered computers, and I knew that I wanted to work with those weird boxes capable of magical things. I imagined that I would own a big computer company one day. Well, kind of ended up starting a business, just in a different field ;)
- Tell us about your career story.
I started in high school, we had one subject related to computers, and I didn't have one, but one of my best friends did. Nevertheless, she didn't know how to even turn it on. So I went to her house and played with it until I discovered that we needed one of those 5 1/4 discs with an OS to boot it. It was a magical moment seeing it come to life. So that was it for me. I was hooked.
I've moved away and had to change schools, so I argued with my grandpa -a lot- because I wanted to go to a programming school and -believe it or not- he thought: "that is a boy's thing, you should study to be a secretary." So I stood my ground and told him, "is this or nothing "...so I got away with mine, and here I am!
I started working in this field almost by chance. I started doing some designs for a gaming community in Argentina; then, I wanted to learn HTML and CSS. Then I moved to develop sites and managing forums (oh god, I'm THAT old! like a Jurassic community manager).
Then I did some freelancing until I started working at a big digital marketing company in Buenos Aires, and that's where I grew the most. Started as a Jr. developer and ended up training Jr. developers (around the world! Can you imagine that?).
To be honest, I was about to start a well-deserved sabbatical year when Pia from People Care reached out to me with a proposal to work in a company that seemed "too good to be true", and to my surprise, it was even better, all that I ever dreamed about a work environment made real, and I continue to grow and learn every day!
- What is the best thing about the place where you live?
I love almost everything about my city, Buenos Aires, the fact that you can have a different plan every day and never get bored. There will always be a new restaurant, bar, or place to discover. The city's architecture is stunning, and we don't pay enough attention to the beauty of our city. It's also very green with nice parks and places to take your kids to play and drink some mate while you watch them have fun.
- What are your interests outside of work?
Well, baking, obviously! I really enjoy the creation process, the investigation that goes on in the kitchen before the final product comes to light, and the food-pairing science is a passion for me. I'm currently reading a book called "Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World's Smells" by Harold McGee.
It describes the science behind smells and how we perceive them. I'm starting an important collection of baking books. I love everything about them. Of course, the recipes are important, but also the techniques, the photos, and the stories behind the raw materials. I could "nerd" about it for hours!
I also LOVE photography and food styling. I've been practicing and even assisting in productions for big brands. I could say that everything that goes with design and "beautiful" things will catch my eye, and I will have an interest in it.
- You have quite the resume: chef, baker, a former hacker, and now, web developer. What would you take from each world?
Well, first, I wouldn't say a "hacker" I discovered an important bug on an online game by accident and made friends with one, let's get things straight.
They all have one thing in common: being creative, curious, and resilient.
From baking/being a chef: I would take organization, timing, and prepping things ahead of time, so you have everything you need to start (which is also fundamental in web development). There is also a big quota of not giving up. I would say definitely this is the most important.
One of my favorite things about being a pastry chef is being able to create my own recipes, which comes with a LOT of experimentation. You're like a mad scientist playing with chemistry and physics. Lots of variables, temperature, time, mixing, ingredients quality, balancing the recipe, every detail can make or break a recipe, and with that comes -very often- the frustration of not getting the expected results, but you get up, eat the failed experiments, and try again, and again, and again until you have the holy grail that you were looking for.
And being close to the hacker community, my piece of advice would be if you're into that stuff: cover your a**-I mean tracks- xD.
- We're interested in hearing about your journey, how you became a chef and baker, and what's kept you in it?
Baking is rooted very deeply in the good memories of my childhood. I cannot think of a happy moment in my life without remembering the delicious aroma of a "pasta frolla" fresh out of the oven or fried apple buns or upside-down apple cakes that my grandma used to make every now and then. Tea and baked goods, that was our thing.
Later in life, out of necessity -during the 2001 economic debacle in Argentina- I had to bake bread and trade it for other goods because I had a child coming and me, and my partner had lost our jobs at the same time. So my days started with kneading large amounts of bread dough and going to the trade posts in the city to get what I needed for my kid.
After that, when things started to look better, I began baking for my daughter's birthdays because that's what my mom used to do for me.
After my grandma passed away, I had a rough time in my life, so I started to bake again in 2008 as some sort of therapy and a way to connect with her creating beautiful moments. Then I discovered cupcakes, and it changed my world.
I was fascinated by that small delicious treat that could have tons of different flavors, so I started baking like a crazy person until a friend of mine told me, "you should sell these!". That's when I started my own business, went to pastry school, and got the best grade on my final (yes, I'm bragging!).
Then I learned about marketing, social media, food styling, and food photography, creating my own workshop to teach others how to bake and make a business of it. Because life's like that: you share what you know so we can all be better.
- How do you balance being such an enthusiastic baker with your web development work?
I think both "jobs" complement each other really well.
In web development, you are using 100% of the analytical side of your brain, everything you produce is intangible, but in the baking world, you're using the most creative side of your brain and your hands to produce something tangible (and edible too!). You get to smell, touch and taste what you have worked on.
I'm lucky (and worked hard) enough to have my own baking studio that is a dreamy place for any baker: it has a pastry oven, stands, mixers, tools, molds, ingredients, books, food styling props, etc. Everything that a baker needs to let their imagination fly and get creative. So that's my little escape whenever I feel the need to bake or create something new. And most importantly: it's all pink, and I love it!
- Being a Hacker is not a typical role. What can you tell us about your Hacker experience? What kind of hacking did you use to do?
Ohh, I would rather not go into details. I could get into trouble here! But let's say that we had one of the biggest "pirate" gaming communities in Latin America in the early 2000s, and it was an awesome experience.
I've got to learn about web vulnerabilities, DB management, and design, and my days were filled with adrenaline and the joy of discovering new things every day. It kind of kicked off my passion for web development to another level.
Also, I've learned a key concept in web development: never trust the user! haha.
- What have been your main challenges working as an AEM Frontend Developer?
I've always been obsessed with doing things the "simplest way possible," and working with a huge platform like AEM was a shock at first.
I was used to working with custom-made sites in PHP and MySQL databases, and that was it. The front end was straightforward, and I could get my hands dirty with the BE or DB if I needed. On the other hand, AEM had a different approach to the FE and BE side of things.
I have to say that having worked with different CMS now, I really appreciate how AEM is built as a system, even if sometimes it is not as simple as I would like.
- How do you describe to your friends and family what you do for a living?
Most of my friends work or understand the digital world, so it's very easy to talk to them about it, but my family keeps asking if I can fix their printer or hack a Facebook account. Yup.
- What's something that's surprised you about your career path?
Well, something that surprised me has to do with the fact that I suffer from impostor syndrome. I'm always thinking that I don't know enough, yet I've taught many people new skills and been recognized for it.
I've never seen myself as a leader, and for the past year, I've been leading FE teams on different projects, and I've enjoyed the experience: trying to be the leader I would have loved to have in the past.
Because we work with people, not resources, and people want to feel valued, cared for, and respected, and when you do that, then people respond with commitment and empathy and bring out the best of them for the team, plus. I'm always joking; you can never be too serious around me.
Also, a couple of days ago, I got an inbox from a former co-worker I trained to enter a project. One year later, he still remembered how I helped him grow and made the path easier for him and how that allowed him to help his team do a better job. That, to me, is precious: how little do we know about how we can change someone else's life by being passionate and dedicated in the workplace.
- Marketing trends and customers' needs move so fast. In your opinion, what's the most interesting or most exciting trend happening right now?
One of the big trends coming strong this year -and I think about the future as well- as social commerce. Now you get to follow what you like and buy it, simple as that. The ability to have something that you see and want in a seamless process will be a huge change in the way consumers get their needs and desires fulfilled.
The metaverse concept doesn't get me that excited, I mean, I've been a gamer in the past, and we have been doing this thing in MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing games) for a long time now. It's just going mainstream, in my opinion.
One thing that gets me curious is the way that we're gonna improve the customer's experience in a world without cookies ;)
- What advice do you have for someone starting their career?
Make sure you're passionate about what you're doing. Don't go into a career because of money, because you will have to deal with day-to-day problems -people problems- and you will need all the love and passion for your work to not lose your mind!
And Never.Stop.Learning, and with this, I'm not saying, "go like a hunting dog behind every new tech." Go deeper, get to know the basics like it was the alphabet, and then build from that with a better understanding of what goes on under the hood.
- If you could pick up a new skill instantly, what would it be?
I always struggled with math, so I would like to be a math genius, also play guitars and sing.
- Singer/Band: Corey Taylor / Kiss
- Food: Gnocchi alla bolognese!
- Book: Little Women/Lord of The Rings
- Favorite Instagram accounts:
- The most interesting internet discovery you made recently
I discovered this last year and joined beta as soon as I could. I think it's amazing: copilot.github.com/ (and probably in the future will leave me without a job lol). Also, even though 200,000 copies of Action Comics #1 (Superman) were printed in 1938, only 100 are known to have survived. The value of a copy is now $3.5 million dollars. Shocking!
Could you share your favorite recipe with us? You can mention it and share a link if it's already on your IG account :)
One of the most delicious and simple sweets that you can make at home with just 3 ingredients: the "marroc", a sweet combination of chocolate and peanut butter that will melt in your mouth. I love having a small-ish batch of these to eat as a late snack, specially during cold nights!
- - -
Our Conexio Talent Series is a space to share more about our talented team, get to know their skills and interests, explore their career path, and overall, hear their story. At Conexio, we love bringing the smarts and the heart to everything we do. If you’re interested in discovering new career opportunities, learn more about our open positions.