ITA Spotlight: Andy Santos, People Analytics & Program Manager, Backstop Solutions
Friday, May 31, 2019
Posted by: Kaylin Berg
Andy Santos, People Analytics and Program Manager, Backstop Solutions
Ever heard of an established start-up? We’re a global leader but are still trying to prove ourselves. Backstop fosters a collaborative community of unique personalities who love to have fun! We embrace curiosity and learning, which translates into our award-winning suite of productivity solutions for the institutional investment industry.
Andy is also on the Leadership Team of Out in Tech Chicago.
If you relocated, what brought you to Chicago?
I grew up in the Philippines and moved to Chicago because of family.
What do you like most about what you do?
I LOVE puzzles and my current role as People Analytics and Program Manager at Backstop allows me to find puzzle pieces through research, strategize based on analytics, and work with various departments to put together process improvement solutions guided by overall company goals.
What’s your outlook on the local tech industry?
The Chicago tech industry is a very welcoming community! We have a growing number of organizations and MeetUp groups that promote learning and development for everyone, including people who want to get into tech. With our growing community, it’s not surprising that a lot of tech companies have been increasing their hiring in Chicago.
What do you think are the top issues facing the Illinois tech community?
There is a lot more work to be done when it comes to promoting diversity within the Illinois Tech Community. Unfortunately, there is a lack of diversity at the executive leadership level for many tech companies in Illinois. It would be nice to see more companies have people of color and women represented at those levels.
What did you want to be when you were in kindergarten?
I wanted to be a priest! My great grandma would always take us to church and I loved listening to our priest’s stories during mass. I always admired the way he spoke with kindness and how he was able to bring a sense of comfort to everyone who attended Sunday mass.
What is the hardest challenge that you’ve faced on your professional journey?
This is a tough question because when I’m challenged is usually when I learn something new so I don’t really look at how hard a project is, but how much learning and development I need to achieve in order to get to a number of viable solutions. A notable challenge was when I hit a wall in my career because although I was performing well in talent acquisition, my role was becoming less challenging and repetitive. I have a creative background in addition to my HR experience so talent branding became a natural expansion of my role, and later on, I was able to switch toward a more strategic role doing data analytics and putting together programs that are geared toward improvement within various parts of the organization.
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received?
If you want something you’ve never had, then be willing to do something you’ve never done.
What success are you most proud of?
As an immigrant who moved to Chicago with my family and knowing that most of what we had was determination, faith, and trust that we will make it in the US together, I am proud that I was able to get a degree, have a great career, buy a house, and provide a better life for my family.
What kind of technology could you not live without?
At this point in my life, it would be tough to not have access to the Internet. I do a lot of research work, not just for data gathering, but also for talent acquisition purposes.
What is the coolest thing you’ve developed or project you’ve worked on?
There are so many to list, but one of the coolest projects that I’ve been on is putting together a global expansion proposal and plan for a software consulting company that I used to work for. I ended up traveling to and living in the Philippines for almost a year to build an office from the ground up. I negotiated with and managed vendors, recruited and hired every employee, and read a whole book about Philippine Labor Law. I worked a crazy amount of hours every week, but it was such a great learning experience.