Back in December, we introduced you to Darlene Johnston, a Rung member who was entering a new career in Geospatial. Since that time, Darlene will soon be entering her first full year of employment with Rung Employer Network Partner Maxar as a 3D Production Technician and has grown by leaps and bounds personally and professionally.

We wanted to update you on Darlene’s story and let you know what she has been up to since last year. Below is our interview with her.

How has your life changed since being a Rung member?

Since I have become a Rung Member, my life has changed in how I view my future.  I no longer view struggles as something to beat me down, but more as a challenge to learn from.  I have more confidence to reach out for help if needed or to reach into my personal toolbox and use skills I learned during my Rung journey.  Additionally, my relationships with my children are growing to be more communicable and healthy, especially with my daughter.

You are approaching your one-year anniversary at Maxar (one of Rung’s Employer Network partners). How would you describe this journey?

I was unsure about changing careers.  I worked in an office environment before.  I left an office environment because I didn’t have the degrees to make good money and felt like I was not going anywhere. I then worked for over 6 years in a production environment, and I was afraid if I went back to an office environment, I would encounter the same experience as before.  I thought that too much time had passed for me.  Maxar has proved to me that the culture of an office environment has changed.  Maxar has given me the opportunity to expand my skills, learn new things, and create an environment of growth and opportunity that I have been so grateful to be a part of.   I’m already starting to learn a new role (advancing up the ladder) and mentoring others for the very first time! 

How has the coaching and training at Rung helped you in your current role?

The coaching at Rung has given me a “starter kit”  on how I perceive, pursue, and plan; the confidence to know that if I fail, to accept the failure as a learned opportunity instead of a personal defeat; and a resource to help guide me through my new journey at Maxar and in life.  Advanced Professional Skills (APS, now Professional Power Skills or ProPS) helped me learn about myself in specific situations and how to handle difficult situations.  It allowed me to practice using tools to better understand how to communicate in a professional environment and how to actively listen and respond for better overall communication. 

You are currently a participant in Rung’s Member Success Network. What do you like most about MSN?

All of it!  It’s like the total package.  Career coaching helps me learn about my traits, my values, and how to leverage those traits and values for my future.  The workshops, speakers, and networking events have been fun, sometimes intense, and inspiring!  You can learn something new about yourself, try something new with a group, and hear from as well as mingle with professionals in various career paths.  Peer group meetings allow me to know that I am not alone–to be open to others’ views and to learn from that.  The financial coaching allows me to think about and plan an achievable financial future that I want for myself and my family.   Wellness coaching helps me be accountable for my health, to try new things to achieve my mental and physical well-being, and to allow myself to take care of myself.  

You’ve also been a tech support volunteer for current Rung members in our Geospatial program. How has it felt helping other Rung members?

I was scared at first.  I didn’t think I would actually have any kind of impact, but as the last days came about I could see how much more confident they were in using the GIS software and the questions asked were getting more advanced each session.  I hope I helped them feel more at ease in asking questions and knowing that it’s okay to not know the answers right away.  We can find the answers together. 

How has your role in geospatial improved your life?

My role in geospatial has improved my life by allowing me to make more money now than I have ever before in my life!  I have flexibility if need be to take care of my family in a way that I never could have before.  I feel empowered to learn more about the industry and feel like I truly am making a difference even if in a small way.   

Darlene’s ascension is an inspiration to us all. We are proud to call her one of Rung’s very own.

Editor’s Note: Rung’s Member Success Network (MSN) is a network for Rung members who have completed our program and have mastered all of the areas needed to be invited into this phase. Continued professional development and networking are provided.