Olivia Zanfardino

Olivia Zanfardino

Analyst


The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Milestones

My road in life has taken me all over.
Played with a lot of toy blocks and wanted to be an architect as a kid.
Studied engineering at a community college, didn't graduate.
Landed my first government job drawing electrical maps in AutoCAD (learned at the CC).
Worked for multiple government contractors as an administrative assistant. Learned SAP and finance.
After a few years of military service, developed an interest in water during volunteer traveling.
Realized getting back into the workforce was getting harder so I finished my bachelors degree.
Joined a college water conservation team and sought an internship with the sponsoring company.
Applied everything I had learned over the years to the new environment.

Education

High School
American School (Home School)
Bachelor
Business Administration and Management, General
University of Phoenix-Southern California Campus

Career

Analyst

I help businesses implement technology solutions to meet their needs.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Technology
Government
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

At work I attend government council meetings to learn about water policy and distribution. I listen to large panels of CEOs, professionals, farmers, business owners and city representatives from the state discuss managing the business affairs of water sales. There are a diverse number of classes to attend that help me stay relevant on topics like water science and office tech. I then work on teams to apply data to improving business programs, technology, finances and operations.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Patience is needed to work in government because it operates at a unique pace of time. While it can feel slow to make decisions, it's strength is stability and longevity. Because of this, pride in your work is helpful because the data you present is going to last for years or even lifetimes. Creating a professional persona helps strengthen business relationships and in turn, getting help on projects is easier. As simple as it sounds, good grooming and discipline to be on time are essential.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for professionals

Begin learning how business budgets are calculated, made, and talked about. Basic mathematics tied to understanding of technology is a great combination that helps you read and report a wide variety of business data. You can learn a lot by studying the analytic pages of your social media accounts, US Census reports, and annual reports of any public business. Then practice making charts and pictures that reflect the actual numbers. Accuracy is key to this field.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Business Administration and Management, General

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"Girls should not study engineering. No one is going to hire you if you look different. Education corrupts the mind. You shouldn't live alone or travel. The military is bad. You need me. You don't need me. God doesn't like you IF..."

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Drugs / Addiction
First-Generation College Student