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shifting the conversation

Women’s history month: Shifting the conversation with Suzie Brown

Suzie shares defining moments throughout her life that made her the engineer she is today

At Sabre, we are committed to embracing and celebrating our diversity. In this inclusion & engagement series, Shifting the Conversation, our people share their stories to engage in open dialog and shed light on their broad, rich and unique perspectives. In celebration of Women’s History Month, Suzie Brown, an active member of the Women in Technology (WiT) inclusion group, shares defining moments throughout her life that made her the engineer she is today. WiT is dedicated to building a community to attract, engage, develop and retain women in technology positions at Sabre.

As a child sitting on my grandpa’s computer chair in the 1980s, programming a turtle to move across the screen in BASIC programming language, I had no idea that I was actually experiencing a moment that would define my future career. I was just having fun moving the turtle (perhaps shifting it) around the screen.

My family had always been technology savvy – my grandpa was a Systems Engineer for a U.S. defense contractor and my mother was an Electrical Engineer at an aerospace company. My older brother also obtained a degree in astronomy and is now working as a Data Solutions Architect, consulting for NASA. It’s fair to say that growing up, computers were all around me. 

Fast forward 15 years to college, after switching my major from political science to business to English, I decided to get a degree in computer science. I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed solving the coding challenges and tests my professors assigned. I can still remember the joy and confidence I felt when I pinpointed an error in one line of code – maybe a misplaced “>” instead of “>>” – I made a quick change, and watched as the code compiled and executed successfully! That moment in the computer lab marked a pivotal moment in my career. From then on, I would always be chasing that “Eureka!” feeling I get when solving a hard problem.  

My first job out of college was with a U.S. defense contractor. I worked in a closed environment as a Java and C++ software developer on a top secret project – we didn’t have access to our phones or to the public internet while at work. There was no searching Google or StackOverflow for quick answers to our software engineering problems. My coworkers and I had to rely on each other, books that we brought in and never brought out, and documentation handed down over time to understand our systems and applications. Operating in a bubble gave us the ability to really get to know and trust each other, and made us all very proud of one another and the work that we were doing. This might be where I first learned how to win together. When I was nominated by my peers to receive a Technical Honors award that only a small percentage of employees receive, which came with three years of “With Honors” designation on my job title, I knew I was in the midst of a milestone moment.

Joining Sabre more than eight years ago marked another defining moment in my career. Shifting my mindset from working inside a closed environment to working on the global TripCase mobile app opened doors to new opportunities. I was able to learn, grow and work with a variety of technologies that I hadn’t previously. When I became the Director of Software Development for the Digital Experience (DX) Hospitality team, I found that I really enjoyed working through the complex cybersecurity challenges that the SynXis team faces. Even in my current role as the Business Information Security Officer for Hospitality Solutions, I still get that same feeling of joy and pride when I have a breakthrough in a tough problem, much like when I was learning coding in college. Sabre has given me the opportunity to work with extremely talented team members to solve challenging, complex problems on a wide variety of modern technologies.

All of these defining moments, and many more not listed here, have made me the engineer that I am today. I take pride in following in my family’s footsteps. Over time, I’ve learned to love the challenge, trust the people and experts around me, and be open to a shift in mindset because it will often bring a world of new opportunities!

Sabre is shifting the conversation with stories from passionate and bold inclusion group members. At the heart of our inclusion & engagement efforts, our eight inclusion groups, and counting, aim to amplify the voices of our team members and create a sense of belonging for all. Together, we celebrate diversity, applaud individuality and embrace unique perspectives to empower our global team members to bring their true selves to work every day. Learn more about our inclusion & engagement mission.

about the author

Suzie Brown is a proud member of the Women in Technology (WiT) inclusion group at Sabre. The defining moments throughout her life have led her to be the Business Information Security Officer for Hospitality Solutions.

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