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Meet The Women of The Blockchain: Judy Fainor, Chief Architect at Sparta Systems

“I believe strongly in helping those around you that want to be helped.


“I believe strongly in helping those around you that want to be helped. Just as strong mentors and parent figures have helped in my life, I like to give back. I mentor employees who are interested in taking on more leadership roles; including through leadership. I also mentor young women in STEM. Hearing the enthusiasm in these young ladies as they are about to embark on careers is very rewarding for me. Any guidance I can give or doors I can open for them makes me happy. Recently, I had a conversation with a mentee in one of the New Jersey STEM programs about marketing herself. Forget the technical stuff, she has that. How does she present herself, her speaking/presentation skills, and general soft skills that make a potential employer want to engage? We have a lot of smart people coming out of the universities and in my opinion, it is these soft skills that will open doors sooner as they go through the interview process. I also feel good about my role in the company I currently work for. Providing Quality Management services to the Life Sciences (i.e. Pharma, Med-dev, etc.) truly is about saving lives. It’s about dealing with issues as they arise, getting to a root-cause analysis and putting corrective actions in place that can be measured for effectiveness. It makes me feel good that our software helps bring drive patient and consumer safety as well as compliance federal regulations.”


I had the pleasure to interview Judy Fainor, Chief Architect at Sparta Systems

Thank you so much for joining us. What is your “backstory”?

I’ve been in the IT industry for more than 25 years. I have a passion for technology; watching it evolve and figuring awesome ways to apply it.

I am the Chief Architect for Sparta Systems, a leading provider of Enterprise Quality Management software and services for highly regulated industries. I manage our Innovation Program including our patent portfolio as well as open source contributions.

I started my career as a software developer after earning a B.S. in Computer Science. Over the years I have been there for the immergence of many new technologies including a little thing called the internet. My passion has always been on the front-end of the tech buzz, understanding the technology and how/if we can apply it.

Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?

As part of an Innovation Workshop, I am researching ways blockchain technology can be leveraged to address traceability of all parts of the quality management and audit process associated with FDA and other regulations mandated in the Life Sciences.

There are many initiatives around the use of blockchain technology for Supply Chain Management. Likewise, in the healthcare industry, storage and access to patient data by those requiring access can lead to more efficient diagnosis.

Quality Management systems play a vital role in these industry eco-systems. Understanding where blockchain technology can and will help is my goal; not simply fitting the technology in for technology sake.

Regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Privacy Shield and others, pose some interesting challenges with the use of blockchain technology. Security, scalability, performance, data privacy is all part of the technology evolution.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have been very fortunate throughout my career to have mentors who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and take on more responsibilities and try new things. In particular, I had a manager in the early stages of my career who coached me not only in technology but also encouraged and supported me to take on more outward facing roles (i.e. speaking engagements, mentoring, etc.). I believe this led to some of the leadership instincts and skills I have today.

I started my career in the 80’s. At the time, there were not a lot of women in high profile tech roles. Even in my role as a software developer, it was a male dominated environment. Again, I was fortunate to have a manager who saw past gender lines, recognized the potential in people and gave all equal opportunity.

As I moved up in my career, I always looked to take on more responsibility and worked hard to achieve success. I believe that once you get “comfortable” with little to no challenge, you stop growing. I have tried to offer the same kind of mentoring/coaching as that manager who was so helpful to me early in my career.

If I am being totally honest, I have to give most credit to my parents. They are hard-working, blue-collar people. My Dad is an ex-marine, “good” is great but you can always do better.

What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

I’m most excited about the evolving blockchain foundational technology, including:

1. Private blockchains evolving to address scalability and security.

2. Impact of identifying safety issues closer to the source (i.e. find tainted lettuce before it leaves the farm instead of after it reaches grocery store shelves).

3. Reduction in time and money on endless audit processing, as information is readily available

4. Evolution and merge of IoT with blockchain technology (BoT). Possibility that a network of interconnected devices can start to interact, make decisions without human intervention which is scary but exciting!

5. In my role, I work with many technologists. This technology and the excitement to learn more about it is wide spread. This will open new career opportunities for software engineers.

What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

Because I’m more focused on blockchain, these are the things that worry me about the technology:

1. Adoption. How will we drive all participating parties without government mandate?

2. Salability. Will blockchain scale in the long run?

3. Privacy. How are we addressing GDPR and other privacy-related mandates?

4. Interconnected devices. While exciting that a network of interconnected devices can interact, the scary part is around security.

5. Standardization. I know that standards bodies are forming and working groups are forming however, technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Until it adheres to a standard I believe many will be reluctant to adopt.


How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?

I believe strongly in helping those around you that want to be helped. Just as strong mentors and parent figures have helped in my life, I like to give back. I mentor employees who are interested in taking on more leadership roles; including through leadership.

I also mentor young women in STEM. Hearing the enthusiasm in these young ladies as they are about to embark on careers is very rewarding for me. Any guidance I can give or doors I can open for them makes me happy. Recently, I had a conversation with a mentee in one of the New Jersey STEM programs about marketing herself. Forget the technical stuff, she has that. How does she present herself, her speaking/presentation skills, and general soft skills that make a potential employer want to engage? We have a lot of smart people coming out of the universities and in my opinion, it is these soft skills that will open doors sooner as they go through the interview process.

I also feel good about my role in the company I currently work for. Providing Quality Management services to the Life Sciences (i.e. Pharma, Med-dev, etc.) truly is about saving lives. It’s about dealing with issues as they arise, getting to a root-cause analysis and putting corrective actions in place that can be measured for effectiveness. It makes me feel good that our software helps bring drive patient and consumer safety as well as compliance federal regulations.

What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?

– Work hard. By work hard I also mean work smart. It’s not about the time you put in but about the way you spend the time. Be diligent and thorough, ask for help when needed but do your own upfront work to understand the problem and ways to tackle. People will respect that and be willing to help.

– Own your career. Have pride in what you do and the way you conduct yourself. You should seek help and advice from those you respect but you own making the right career decisions and choices.

– Set goals and ensure you surround yourself with folks that can help you achieve them (pick the right mentors). Without a vision it’s hard to get on track, so it’s important to have short-term and longer-term career path objectives (1 yr. vs 5 yr. vs etc.). Your vision may change and most likely will, but that’s okay.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂

Michelle Obama. I admire her strength as a woman and how she presents herself to the world. She looks to find the good in people and focuses on bringing out the very best. Her focus on children had really touched me. She demonstrates a passion for what she does and I feel that regardless of what role she plays in the future we will continue to see her as an advocate for children. The way she has conducted herself in public life both as first lady and beyond is admirable. Not sure I could have handled it the same way.

Originally published at medium.com

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