YPN5Q is a weekly Q&A series spotlighting the state’s top young business and civic leaders and creative minds — professionals propelling change through entrepreneurship, the arts, public service, social media, and community involvement.
This week, we hear from Erica Mauter, an engineer, arts lover and web nerd. Mauter has been blogging since 2002 and has been an active participant in the Twin Cities blogging community since 2005; she currently publishes at SwirlSpice.com and EricaMauter.com.
Mauter also serves on the boards of the Twin Cities Women’s Choir (in which she sings), the Minnesota Fringe Festival and the Midwest Advisory Council for Family Equality Council.
Name: Erica Mauter
Current job title: Senior Validation Engineer
Current employer: CIMA Labs
1. What is your current state of mind?
It’s a heightened mix of hope and hopelessness.
On the positive side, I’m winding down one career and planning the next. That transition is thrilling in both good and bad ways. Change is exciting! Change is scary!
The opportunity to go back to school and craft a course of study that is interesting and unique to me is more compelling than I expected (as opposed to my highly-structured undergraduate engineering experience).
On the other end of the spectrum, the news of the world is, well, you know. There’s a lot going on and it’s not possible for me to fix it all.
I’m trying to flip this into a positive experience by exploring what I can actually do that will effect tangible change and be fulfilling.
2. Where would like see yourself in five years?
My medium-term goals are more focused on how I’m living than what exactly I’m doing.
I’d like to live a more mindful existence. I want to look back on what I’ve done and see a pattern of thoughtful choices that reflect my values.
I’ve spent a good chunk of this year creating space for this thought process and digging into what those values are, what those choices look like, what that choice-making feels like.
I’m still hopeful that becoming a more authentic me will translate into meaningful work and a means of supporting myself and my family.
That said, I’m angling towards graduate study in some flavor of organizational leadership. I’m eager to see what emerges on the other side of that.
3. What actions, strategies, or professional networks have been most helpful to you in building your career?
First I’ll cop to the fact that I have no interest in climbing a corporate ladder.
I’m not sure if my dream job is at a small company, a nonprofit, self-employment, or what. I do know that I’ve gained a lot simply by showing up for things that interest me.
I’ve had a blogging habit since 2002, so I’ve taken myself to a number of local and national tech conferences and presented at a few.
My primary fun time is spent singing with the Twin Cities Women’s Choir. That has evolved into volunteer opportunities, my first board service opportunity (which has catapulted me on to others) and some incredible networking.
Along the way, I’ve learned things, met people and been inspired.
All these activities are entirely outside my primary career, but they’ve set me up with knowledge, skills, and a network of people to help me move on to the next one.
4. What is always on your to-do list that never gets done?
I have a perpetual list of things I want to try on my websites. They’re either a bit too tech-y for me to do quickly, require a bit of strategy that I haven’t put thought into, or are things I don’t actually have a reason to use but look cool anyway.
There’s also a pile of stuff in our back room that my wife would really like me to clean up.
5. What do you order at a coffee shop?
Dirty chai. That’s a chai latte with an espresso shot.
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