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Angel Di Legge Kokoszka on Project Autonomy and Startup Energy

From the time she was young, Angel Di Legge Kokoszka wanted to pursue a career in medicine. 

“It was my dream,” says Angel, “but when I got older, I had a severe accident that really set me back, and medical school just wasn’t an option. I had to figure out something else to do.” 

A Chicago native, Angel attended DePaul University, initially concentrating on a finance curriculum. 

“My parents are in finance and accounting, and that seemed like a natural direction to go,” Angel says. “But DePaul offered an entrepreneurship program that really intrigued me, so I went for that.” 

Startup Energy

Chicago is the Midwest’s startup capital, and Angel made broad connections among the entrepreneurial community. And as she networked, her connections went beyond mere compatibility with the people developing, pitching, and securing funding in the Windy City’s incubators and accelerators; she found her soul mates. 

“I loved that environment,” she recalls. “The ideas, the excitement, the energy, the new companies and products – I was enthralled.” 

When Angel graduated, she landed a position at one of those cutting-edge companies: Fibroblast, a Chicago-based firm that markets a cloud-based practice management tool for online patient self-scheduling and cross-referrals.  

“It was kind of uncanny that I started out with a company in healthcare,” says Angel. “Subconsciously, I was still drawn to medicine.” 

At Fibroblast, Angel worked to improve organizational workflow, conduct industry research, shape marketing campaign strategy, and build pipeline. Soon, a family friend joined Customertimes from a former position at Abbott Laboratories, and he reached out to Angel.  

“I had a family friend who worked for Abbott, ultimately leaving the company to join Customertimes, and he contacted me to see if I wanted to work for CT,” Angel says. “This was 2015, and CT was in the process of moving their headquarters from Europe to the U.S. I met with some of the founders, executives, and partners; we got along really well, and they offered me a job as a business analyst. I accepted and haven’t looked back.” 

A Project Management Natural

Angel excelled in her position, and ultimately moved on to project management. 

“I’ve really enjoyed the breadth of experience that project management provides,” Angel says. “At this point I’ve worked as an architect, a trainer, a tester – the only position I haven’t held on a project is developer.” 

At CT, competence assures promotion, and Angel is now the delivery head for North America and Latin America. 

“Most of my work at the moment is collaborating with one of our partners on a patient support program we’re implementing and maintaining for one of their pharmaceutical clients.” says Angel. “It’s specifically designed for patients with devastating diseases who need really comprehensive care to maintain their treatment. The program grew really quickly, so now we’re focusing on refining the organizational structure.” 

Much of Angel’s work remains grounded in health care, life sciences, and pharmaceuticals. 

“That makes sense from the company’s perspective, because those are major verticals for CT,” she observes, “but it’s also personally gratifying because my projects are keeping me close to my original passion for medicine. I’m not a physician. I’m not caring directly for patients. But I’m contributing directly to improving the quality of life and outcomes for thousands of patients, and that means a lot to me.” 

As a Dreamforce attendee, Angel is looking forward to meeting her counterparts in person to discuss patient engagement trends and technologies. 

“Face-to-face meetings were impossible to arrange during COVID, of course, so this is going to be a great opportunity to deepen our partnership,” Angel says. “I’m really looking forward to it.” 

A Balancing Act

Like many young, talented, and ambitious technologists, Angel is no stranger to working long days. But a couple of years ago she looked up from her computer and realized she was logging 100-hour weeks. 

“My life was completely out of balance,” she says. “I just wasn’t taking care of myself, and I knew that could ultimately impact my health, as well as my job. So I’ve taken steps to change that. 

“I plan my days with both work and personal tasks to better achieve a work/life balance, and I make a point to consistently start and end my day around the same time. At the end of each day, I head straight to the gym, which is especially helpful since I work from home. I also make a point to be active, whether that’s working out, playing volleyball, hiking, or spending time with my fiancé and my friends.  

“These things help me reset, and when I have a good balance, I do my best work.”  

She also got that ultimate stress reliever: a friendly dog. 

“He’s an English cream golden retriever,” she says. “That sweet, mellow golden retriever vibe is really nice! He’s still a pup, really, so I spend a lot of time training, walking, playing, and giving belly rubs.” 

 

Autonomy & Experience

It’s pro forma for members of the tech community to jump ship as opportunities warrant – and there is usually no shortage of opportunities. But Angel has been with CT for seven years, and she has no intention of going elsewhere. 

“I’ve seen what’s out there,” she says, “and I know that I’d be siloed at most other companies. That’s generally how it works. But CT actively resists restricting people to limited roles. I’ve had tremendous autonomy since I’ve been here, and I’ve been able to hold multiple positions. You get to develop varied areas of expertise at CT and put them all into practice. And most important to me – I have a voice. When you speak here, people listen to you.” 

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges, of course. 

“Like a lot of people in digital technology, I’m constantly pressed for time,” she says. “I mentioned that to one customer, saying I wish I could clone myself. But then he said something that made me feel better – ‘We wish we could clone you too!’”

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