As told to Cindy Atoji Keene
1. Katherine Almanzar
Employer: MilliporeSigma, Danvers
Job: Preventative maintenance system administrator
I work on the manufacturing site, helping to make lifesaving products. I started in the assembly area, then transferred to the kitting room, organizing different components for life-science devices. Because of shift scheduling flexibility, I was also able to work weekends and take English classes in the evenings to improve my speaking and writing. This was one of my dreams, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. Now, I’m an administrator for process engineers. This company treats everyone the same, no matter what your background. I came here from Puerto Rico because I wanted a better life and I found it here.
Fun fact: I lost 50 pounds in one year through healthy living and exercise.
2. Tim Carroll
Employer: Danforth Advisors, Waltham
Job: Senior consultant
I suspect there aren’t a lot of people who are both a biotech consultant and a farmer. I own and operate a family-run vegetable farm in the summer months while my full-time job is financial planning and analysis for emerging biotech companies. Danforth gives me the flexibility to do both. Some of my clients call me Farmer Tim. Both passions are very satisfying. People who don’t do spreadsheets for a living ask, “How is that fun?” But it’s intellectually stimulating work that solves unmet medical needs. And cultivating 92 acres is an energizing break, so when I come back to my desk, I’m raring to go.
Fun fact: I’m a rock climber and climb indoors and outdoors every week.
3. Meridith Jones
Employer: NEWPRO, Wilmington
Job: Call center agent
I’m the first vision-impaired employee in the call center. This remodeling company had to install special software so I could operate in my role, but they were totally willing to do the modifications to make the system accessible. Now, I’m a top performer and have developed a skillful way to pitch. I book appointments for home improvement projects and set customers up with a free quote. It’s nice to work for a company that values me and my ability as a person. I’m always coming up with suggestions of how to make things more ADA compliant, and they listen.
Fun fact: My parents owned a service station and I grew up riding motorcycles, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles.
4. Vinit Singh
Employer: The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston
Job: Food and beverage operations manager
I’m a hard-core Fairmont guy. I started my career with the company in Dubai, moved to Bermuda, and finally came to Boston, where I am now in charge of anything food or beverage related at the hotel. It could be as small as cleaning a fingerprint on a glass to managing a banquet. I’m a huge wine enthusiast and have a love for different cuisines, but more than that, I’m proud to have the opportunity to assist guests from all over the world. Even when the hotel was shut down during the pandemic, I helped with the Heartist Meal Program, providing meals for colleagues in need.
Fun fact: I adopted a dog when COVID started and now he sometimes comes to work with me.
5. Mina Fakhory
Employer: The Village Bank, Newton
Job: Staff accountant
I arrived here from Egypt with the hopes of being an accountant. It was difficult to find a position, but I connected with Village Bank and was hired as a teller. Later, I started the training program for management trainees, then COVID hit and I had to go back to my original job. Soon after, a staff accountant position opened up and I was fortunate to get the job. This company seeks to push you forward and make you a better person. All my hopes have been fulfilled, and I’m grateful.
Fun fact: I compose and produce songs, writing lyrics in Arabic. I like to record and sing.
6. Colin Dinnie
Employer: Wistia, Cambridge
Job: Support associate and billing specialist
My position is called a “customer champion” and I also co-host our A Better Workplace podcast. Both of these reflect my passion to make business more human. As a Black man, I’m involved in many candid conversations about what it takes to build a better workplace. That includes creating an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment. Wistia is a video-hosting platform and as a company it understands that workplace happiness is paramount. When this happens, we can create more impactful products and experiences. And even when I’m helping our customers trouble-shoot their implementation of Wistia products, it’s all about having meaningful relationships.
Fun fact: My path has been atypical for someone working in tech. I went to Berklee College of Music and play the stand-up bass.
7. Rebecca Kucera
Employer: New England Biolabs, Ipswich
Job: Principal development scientist
I’ve been a scientist here for 34 years. I work on Golden Gate assembly, a laboratory technique that allows researchers to assemble multiple DNA fragments into a single piece. I’m scientifically curious about whatever is going to solve problems and make life easier. That’s why I’m like a mother hen when it comes to advocating for little tweaks to make things better. This includes playing a role in NEB’s environmental commitment, helping keep migrating turtles safe as they establish nests on the Ipswich campus. And I’m the designated “cake baker,” designing over 60 cakes to honor fellow employees and their milestone events.
Fun fact: I’ve rescued baby birds, frogs, bats, and others. I once had a brain-injured mallard live under my kitchen table.
8. Tammy Choi
Employer: 2Life Communities, Brighton
Job: Director of maintenance
When I returned to the United States from Hong Kong five years ago, I didn’t expect I would be in a managerial role again so soon. But 2Life appreciates my work, and if you work hard and meet their standards, they give you opportunities. As director of maintenance, I support the entire Brighton campus. This is an independent elderly community, and we have about 1,000 tenants in four buildings. I have a lot of satisfaction in my work because I’m helping make people happy in the place where they live. I enjoy getting to know the residents, and I take pride in my leadership role and my team.
Fun fact: I like to cook Cantonese food, especially seafood.
9. Meghan Gauthier
Employer: Prime Automotive Group, Hanover
Job: Service adviser
I came to Prime Automotive after a long stint in the auto industry. I’m a service adviser — I write up cars, figure out what’s going on with them, and translate that to the technician. It’s a lot of project management and there are many moving parts, from outside vendors to arranging for loaner cars. I handle 15 to 20 customers a day, anything from everyday maintenance to emergency situations. As a female LGBTQ+ employee, I’m a founding member of the diversity and equity council here. It’s rare to be a female in the automotive industry, and to be able to be out at work without facing discrimination is cool.
Fun fact: Being a librarian is my backup retirement dream job because my major was in English history and literature.
10. Marcos Elugardo
Employer: Blueport Commerce, Boston
Job: Senior vice president of engineering
I started as a developer and my career has grown since then. I still do a bit of coding but my main focus is to ensure my teams meet their commitments and build for the future. I enjoy solving challenging software and management problems and improving the quality of our software. This is a workplace that encourages decision-making and risk-taking, and because of that, I’ve created a lot of new initiatives. It feels great to make a meaningful impact every day.
Fun fact: My dad is a philosophy professor, and my brother is a yoga teacher in Mexico.
Interviews have been edited and condensed. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.