Rocket Science: Stephanie Guevara

Marathon runner, avocado advocate, iOS Engineer at Twitter.

Favorite place to run?

The Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan. It has the greatest view of Downtown Manhattan, and you get the full view of the Brooklyn Bridge while you’re going over it.

I used to live in Brooklyn and would do that commute every day. It was a great way to start my morning and see the amazing city that I lived in. It was magical.

What’s been the biggest adjustment moving from NYC to San Francisco?

Definitely the size of San Francisco versus New York. New York is gigantic and incredibly dense, there’s just hustle and bustle everywhere. San Francisco is much smaller and quieter, a lot more neighborhoody. Sometimes I miss the crazy density of humans in such a large space. New York will always be home. My parents are there. I grew up there.

San Francisco, though, offers a nice alternative to the crazy. It’s an opportunity to silence a lot of that external noise and really concentrate on what I want. For me it’s focusing on career, running, having fun with my friends … it’s a good place to take advantage of all that.

What do you listen to when you’re training for marathons?

So many podcasts. My co-workers have this ritual every day at standup where I share a fun podcast fact with them.

Right now, I’m into Criminal, which is amazing. A new podcast that I’ve been put on to is Everything is Alive. It’s these short interviews with actors who play inanimate objects. Yesterday I listened to one that was an interview with a painting of President William Howard Taft. It was very funny.

What’s your favorite outdoor space?

This weekend I went for a nice long run and decided to get out of the city, and I think I just found it: the Marin Headlands

It’s a beautiful park of trails and trees. It was absolutely surreal to see all these incredible running trails within this green space. I really didn’t get too far out of the city, it’s right on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. I expect that I’ll be out there much more now that I’ve discovered it.

I don’t have a car here, so I was wondering how much I would be able to get to these beautiful outdoor spaces. I’ve been shocked at how close these things are. I could ride my bike out there. I could ride my bike down south and get to some really beautiful beaches. The entire park system they have here is unreal.

What’s the last good book you’d recommend?

I recently read This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz. I took a really long hiatus from reading books because I felt a lot of guilt not reading technical manuals instead. I spent two or three years just reading coding books and programming books. 

But I finally got back into literature with this book, and it was very meaningful to me. It was just a very well-written, passionate, realistic look on love, I guess.

What’s your best experience at a theme park?

My best experience at a theme park was an “almost” rainy day at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey.

It was kind of drizzling, but they hadn’t turned the rides off. The weather was enough to get people to leave, so we had the run of the place. I rode Nitro four times in a row. Zero lines! It was absolutely incredible.

What game makes you most competitive?

Pretty much every single game makes me extremely competitive. In recent history, I played volleyball a couple of times last summer on the beach and it was not the best version of me. Let’s just say that.

I mean, I think I’m competitive with myself. I’ve learned to not be competitive with others, but I’m definitely competitive with myself, like tracking every workout or run and comparing it to the last one. I’ve been running for 15 years, and I get that way because it’s a very personal journey.

Favorite breakfast food.

Anything with an avocado on it, like avocado toast. Basically, anything with avocado. If you put a slice of avocado on a cardboard piece of paper, I would probably eat it.

Wednesdays at the office are avocado days, and there’s a full avocado-themed food bar! It’s great. Thursdays are acai bowl day, which is a very nice followup.

What’s your superpower at work?

Being able to talk to people. Being personable is a skill that is so undervalued within the developer community. If you’re able to empathize with people and translate your thoughts into bite-size portions, it really makes you stand out in the crowd.

The fact that soft skills aren’t really emphasized for engineers is really unfortunate. Creating more diversity and having new faces and voices will help propel those skills into the culture. That also means having different personality types – including more extroverted people – represented in the workforce.

Follow Stephanie @compilesandruns

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