Meet the Splunktern: Adrienne Villena

Welcome to the next installment of our 'Meet the Splunktern' blog series. This week, we're introducing Adrienne Villena, who was our DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Project Coordinator and recently started her full-time role as a coordinator on the Talent+ team. Adrienne joined Splunk through our partnership with Year Up ensuring young adults equitable access to economic opportunity, education, and justice for all regardless of background, income, or zip code. To date, Splunk has hosted over 80 interns on various teams including Quality Assurance, Cloud Sales, Release Engineering, HR and the IT Service Desk.

See Adrienne’s take on her experience as a virtual intern with Splunk below.

February 2021 was when my Year Up journey took off! I had just quit my full-time job to focus on investing in my future. At that point, we had already been a year into the pandemic. Luckily, I was already accustomed to working and learning remotely, thanks to the Year Up staff and my close colleagues who helped me along the way.

In August of 2021, Year Up matched me for an internship with Splunk as DEI Project Coordinator. DEI is something that I am passionate about but knew very little of, so I was curious to start learning. Thankfully I was managed by Julian Green, who genuinely wanted to see me win and supported me throughout my internship experience. I worked with Julian on a few projects that involved heavy research, analyzing, and monitoring diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics with a focus on education and employee engagement. I coordinated weekly updates for the DEI and ERG (Employee Resource Group) calendar, and developed engaging DEI content for Splunk’s intranet for 7,000+ employees to access. I also supported various ERG programs and partnership initiatives to build and strengthen inclusion and allyship company-wide.

Read about the importance of using inclusive language in technology environments

Apart from supporting the ERGs, I also worked with the wonderful Kristina Blehm on event planning for booths at ERG networking and recruitment conferences such as oSTEM, Grace Hopper Celebration(GHC), BitCon, AfroTech, SWE, and much more. Through those networking events, I got the chance to speak with many young professionals looking to apply for internships. When they asked me about my internship, I was able to provide them with my real-time experience. Lifting as I climb is something that brings me joy, so any opportunity I get to help someone out, I do so. 

Because I identified with the Pilipinx ERG, I knew I wanted to get more involved within the community. Eventually, I gained the opportunity to co-facilitate our Halo Halo Ween event in October, which closed out with two awesome DJs sets. It turned out to be such a fun time for everyone!

In December of 2021, Splunk celebrated the DEI and ERG amplification month. It is a month-long celebration that highlights all the great work the DEI team, along with the nine ERGs, have made throughout the year. I was presented the opportunity to introduce the panelist for our virtual Opening Fireside chat on Embracing Cultural Equity: A Discussion on Race & Allyship as well as introducing our Closing Keynote presenter: Njeri Watkins. Both events held highly fruitful conversations, which I am confident everyone was able to take away from.

I realized that DEI work is a tough uphill battle that you must be passionate about. I truly believe in all the work the DEI department does and hope to be back there again in the future. 

On Saturday, January 29th, 2022, I officially graduated from the Year Up Program. I can't help but reflect on my entire Year Up journey. I didn't know what to expect, from sleepless nights battling imposter syndrome to being pushed out of my comfort zone, gaining confidence, and meeting great people during the process. This past year was the most challenging, yet the most rewarding year of my life thus far. My virtual internship has been nothing less of a blessing filled with many unforgettable moments and lessons I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.

I can finally say that I've started my career with Splunk as the new Talent+ Program Management Operation Coordinator. I sincerely want to thank the entire Year Up staff for placing me at Splunk and allowing me to become a better version of myself. I also want to thank my Year Up coach, John Navarra, for believing in me, as well as Julian Green and Kristina Blehm for building me up and supporting me. Lastly, I'd like to thank my mentor, Whitney Westmoreland, for helping me with my interview process. I am excited to start my career with Splunk. I have so much to learn, and I look forward to getting started!

Katia Ratkovich
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Katia Ratkovich

Katia is Splunk’s Global University Recruiting Manager. She is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to attract and retain top university graduates to create a diverse, global workforce. Additionally, she focuses on how university recruiting plays a critical role in achieving a diverse and inclusive environment and co-leads the planning some of Splunk's major diversity initiatives. Katia is a member of Splunk’s Women in Technology group and sits on the D&I counsel. 

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