The Maverick Engineer: Amanda Dinstel’s Lessons Learned from Leaps of Faith
NeuroID’s Trailblazing Women Profile Series: Amanda Dinstel , Director, Implementation Engineering at NeuroID
Amanda Dinstel’s unofficial motto is “Let’s see if this works out.” It’s how she got her start at NeuroID, as a contractor test-driving if a new implementation role was needed, transitioning later to a full-time employee. “I primarily came in to help our customers overlay data collection and the product onto websites and apps,” explains Amanda. “We found there was a much better possibility of success if someone from the implementation team was supporting, instead of throwing customers in the deep end.” The irony was that Amanda thrived most in the deep end: as the primary contact for customers during implementation, she had to be comfortable solving problems quickly and answering questions on the fly.
This experimenting and deep-end-diving doesn’t always come easy to people with Amanda’s in-depth web developer and software engineering background, who are more commonly known for preferring the solid ground of coding rules to the rolling waves of adventure.
“I’ve always been pretty risk tolerant,” says Amanda. So, what brought a risk-taking, fast-thinking, software engineering maverick to the world of digital identity verification? It all started when she quit her job at NeuroID.
The Prodigal Programmer
Amanda worked at NeuroID for a year before being “enticed by an opportunity to work on web developing again.” While she trusts her gut to lead her in the right direction, Amanda says she “regretted it almost immediately. It happened right as COVID started: boring company, deeply isolating role, bad corporate culture, while the whole universe was shrinking in the pandemic. I knew I’d made a mistake in leaving NeuroID.”
Amanda is used to working through the discomfort of change and coming out the other side with no regrets, which made it harder to recognize that she truly couldn’t make her new job what she needed it to be. “I’d made this leap and I needed to figure out how to like this job. And it took me a while to realize it just sucks,” she says, laughing about it now. She reached out to Courtney Laabs, NeuroID COO, to see if any bridges had been burned.
“Talking to Courtney was like a wake up call,” says Amanda. “It reminded me of what I was missing.” NeuroID also was missing Amanda’s energy and expertise, and happily made a job offer to bring her back on as the implementation manager and build that team up to scale with the company’s growth. Today, Amanda is the Director of Implementation Engineering, with a full team reporting to her, helping ensure that NeuroID customers have a seamless onboarding experience.
“I attribute a lot of my success to the women champions of NeuroID.”
While Amanda says the stark contrast of her other company and the NeuroID was clear almost immediately, the glow of support upon her return to NeuroID has only grown stronger.
“I attribute a lot of my success to the women champions of NeuroID,” says Amanda. “Courtney has been a supporter of mine my entire career. And it has built up more as we’ve grown. Kathleen is a huge advocate for female leaders and both empowerment and accountability. The Women’s ERG has helped that evolve organically, and Jacky has empowered others to help create a safe space for this all to happen. I have all these examples of support and enablement from NeuroID, and none outside of NeuroID. It’s a very special place.”
With other adventures that include co-founding a brewery and traveling the country, Amanda has followed a life roadmap embraces the unknown. But she balances that independence with a high-regard for community. “If you’re within a company and you feel like you’re an outsider, that’s not a great culture,” she says. “I am in a position now where I interview people, and no matter how they identify, I look for an inclusive mentality. I’ve learned from my female role models at NeuroID and I feel a new layer of responsibility now. I don’t just care about technical when we bring someone into the NeuroID environment. Everyone deserves to feel a sense of belonging and that they can take a leap of faith here.”
This is the second post in NeuroID’s Trailblazing Women Profile Series. For the first post, check out 3 Principles for Women Disruptors: The Rebel Lawyer’s Guide to Success