Technology is of great importance to SAGE—not only our meals, but also our tools, are made from scratch. We invest in building custom, state-of-the-art technological solutions for our clients, from the ground up.
Meet Senior Software Engineer Leela Sedaghat—violinist, fashionista, and ping-pong player extraordinaire—a Renaissance woman whose easy eloquence and big-picture sensibility fly in the face of the one-dimensional "techie" stereotype.
How did you become interested in software engineering?
I’d always been interested in computers and coding, but I’d never considered it as a potential career. I actually audited my first computer science course. When I got a perfect score on the midterm, the professor approached me and said, “You may want to rethink this audit thing.” I took his advice and got an A. I genuinely loved what I was learning, so I just kept going after that.
What kinds of projects does the Software Development Team work on, and what role do you play as a Senior Developer?
We design and build the tools Team Members need to do their jobs—whether it’s the software that Food Service Directors use to plan diverse menus or the application that Human Resources and Managers use to hire the best talent. We also create tools, like our online menus and allergen filter, that give parents, students, and faculty the ability to plan safe, healthy meals. By having an in-house development team rather than outsourcing or buying out-of-the-box software solutions, SAGE can provide the most customized tools for clients and Team Members. As a Senior Developer, I've been able to contribute to and help lead some of the most exciting tech projects at SAGE.
What makes SAGE a unique and desirable place to work as a developer?
The first thing that comes to mind is the sheer breadth of the projects we work on. We build full-stack applications that touch virtually every aspect of the business operations, and we see firsthand the impact of our work. For example, if I’m developing software for people just down the hall, I can talk with them during the process to build the best possible product. After its release, I can see how it’s improving their daily workflow and helping the business operate more efficiently. It brings a level of satisfaction that you can't find anywhere else as a developer.
You work on so many different projects—is there a common factor in your approach to each?
I'm always thinking about the user (whether that’s a Team Member, a parent, or a student). Every step of the way, I ask myself how I can create the most efficient and positive experience for that person.
If you had to sum it all up, what defines a fulfilling work life for you?
It's important for me to always be learning, to work on challenging projects, and to have the ability to take ideas from concept to creation. I’ve been able to experience all of these at SAGE.
Lastly, could you share something fun we might not know about you?
I have an insatiable love for fashion. It's not uncommon to see the latest issue of Vogue or Harpers Bazaar on my nightstand next to a book on Bayesian analysis or data warehouse design.
Look out for our next Q&A, which will move out from the Home Office and into the field!