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What I Learned Shadowing Billy Bosworth for a Day

For some people it takes a village. For me, it took at least a town or a small city along with my very determined mother, who immigrated from Japan to raise me. I saw her work as many as three jobs at a time, and her determination to ensure I wouldn’t suffer from the hardships she experienced influenced me to strive for excellence and nothing short of it.

During high school I grew as an “independent dependent”, meaning I took responsibility for my actions while making sure to reach out and optimize every resource, which allowed me eventually become a recipient of the Coca Cola Scholarship to Columbia University, as well as have the opportunity to shadow DataStax CEO Billy Bosworth for a day.  

In January, thanks to an introduction via my mentor Noah Addy, a software developer at T-Mobile whom I met at a University of Washington Foster School of Business program, I was given the opportunity to shadow Billy to gain a deeper perspective of what makes a company and a career successful.

Upon arrival I met Elisa Chapa, head of the DataStax Intern Program and the woman who had set up the shadow day. She handed me a printed itinerary along with some Datastax SWAG, then asked me if I was hungry. My answer: “I am always hungry”.

After raiding the company kitchen and receiving a personal tour from Elisa, I was introduced to Billy. I was taken aback by his casual yet humble manner. He is a really cool guy with a subdued charisma that commands not only respect from his colleagues but leads them to enjoy being in his presence, joking around and being comfortable around him.

As a person of color (Black and Asian), I came in fearing I would be used as a token to illustrate “diversity” in a homogenous environment. However, to my delight, I was proven completely wrong when I actually set foot in the office and met the people that make DataStax a successful and functioning establishment.

As someone who grew up in a culture where hard work, responsibility, and respect for others regardless of differing beliefs or race are imperative, I very much appreciated the working community DataStax has been able to create.

At DataStax, I met people who I could relate to and appreciate. These are people who actually care about making a positive and long-lasting impact. DataStax is more than just a “company”, it’s a “community” composed of various people from humbling backgrounds. Over the course of the day, Billy and I discussed our own personal histories, which had some surprising similarities, as well as how our families molded us into the people we are today.

What really touches me is how kind Billy is, not because his “niceness” towards others will somehow benefit him in the future, but because he genuinely cares about the goodwill of the people around him.

My shadow day ended at five o’clock but my relationship with my new coworkers didn’t. Elisa and Lillie Lopez, Billy's executive administrative manager, were kind enough to take me to dinner. I loved how much they considered each other not only as coworkers but as friends, which is something to consider if you have to spend half of your waking life with them.

DataStax fed me (physically and metaphorically) with the utmost kindness and knowledge, and fueled my aspirations to join and influence the corporate world to positively impact its workers as well as the citizens which make it thrive.

I wanted to write this article to show my appreciation for everything DataStax has done for me. Shadowing Billy gave me a better understanding of who and what I aspire to become in the future and taught me to be patient with the process of reaching various life goals.

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