Oriana Havlicek-Allen joined Atom Computing in 2020 as the office manager for the company’s headquarters in Berkeley, California, becoming the 15th employee and the first administrative hire. In late 2022, she was promoted to her current role as a Human Resources Generalist.
Oriana started her administrative career in Los Angeles in 2012. Her focus was supporting nonprofit theater organizations such as Theatre West and others, helping them grow administratively, promote performances, and organize free table readings for the public. With her move to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2016, she developed an interest in human resources and obtained an advanced certificate in human resources and payroll from California State University – East Bay.
When she is not working, Oriana enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs (which she brings into the office regularly). The water is her calling, and she spends time kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, and relaxing on the beach whenever possible. She also enjoys handwriting letters to friends and family with handmade stationery using upcycled mixed media materials.
Tell us about your role as a Human Resources Generalist at Atom Computing. What does this job entail?
As an HR generalist, I focus on the day-to-day needs of Human Resources: recruitment, hiring, onboarding/offboarding, training new and existing employees, internal communication, and much more. Since I joined Atom Computing early on and worked on a variety of projects, I am also a go-to source for historical information regarding the company’s operations and business growth.
What projects are you currently tackling? What is your favorite part of the job?
Currently, I am working on updating an Emergency Preparedness Plan for our Berkeley, California and Boulder, Colorado facilities with our administrative team. I am learning on the job in other areas, such as coaching, employee relations, payroll, and legal/compliance regulations, to name a few.
My favorite part of being the HR generalist is connecting with the employees at Atom Computing. This role requires a high level of soft skills and being able to support staff in an HR capacity. I can provide my professional opinion and effectively work with employees, most of whom have doctorate degrees in physics and other highly technical fields. Mostly, I get to be my most authentic self when doing my job while providing a service that is needed and respected.
You were one of the first employees at Atom Computing. How has the company changed during your time?
Change is inevitable when you first join a small business, though entering Atom Computing in February 2020 was something no one was prepared for. Initially, my role was your standard 9 to 5, Monday through Friday administrative role in which I wore many hats. By mid-March through July, we needed to problem-solve and adapt quickly with policies and procedures tailored for working during a global pandemic. Shelter-In-Place was new but changed how we perceived sick leave, remote/flexible working, and how we grew our company. Interviews were conducted entirely through telecommunication, onboarding was ever evolving, and we always tried to find ways to team build in a time of social distancing.
Fortunately, we persevered through the pandemic and have now expanded our workforce all over the nation! Vital departments have been formed, and technical teams are being developed. Atom Computing encourages employees to visit other out of state teams to make connections and build relationships. I look fondly at our past and look forward to our future.
Why did you join Atom Computing? What excites you most about working here?
It was after my in-person interview that I was eager to work for Atom Computing. Honestly, I didn’t even know what quantum computing was (I thought it was something only mentioned in science fiction) until I went online and checked atom-computing.com. I recall having a tour of the Berkeley facility and seeing our Phoenix prototype system with Ben Bloom, our founder, and telling him, “Even if I don’t get the job, it was cool to walk through the lab.” I am very grateful to have been offered the job working for the Atom team.
There are many reasons why I’m excited to work for Atom Computing. Mostly, it’s the people I work with and being able to be a part of something that would affect the world beyond my lifetime. It is fulfilling to feel confident in my work at a company that appreciates my efforts regardless of how big or small they are. To be part of the beginning of something profound like quantum computing is genuinely inspirational and something I will always keep close to my heart.
What advice do you have for people who want to work in quantum computing?
Unlike most other industries, quantum computing is relatively new and requires a particular set of experience and skill sets. In other words, finding a job in this industry is challenging. With that in mind, here are some things I find helpful:
- Regularly check career pages for companies you are most interested in working with. Career pages are kept up to date and provide detailed information for any role. They are also the best way to submit your application and have a higher probability of being reviewed.
- Follow companies on social media platforms to keep up with new job postings and announcements. Online posts are a good glimpse of a company’s values and culture.
- Research LinkedIn and see the credentials of people in the roles you are interested in, such as education, certificate programs, and prior employers.
- Attend conferences and networking events specific to quantum computing. Representatives of these companies are prepared to speak about the industry and provide you with information customized to you. These events are also an excellent place to meet face to face and provide your resume for future opportunities.
- Even though most people are busy, reach out to people and ask if they are interested in a professional coffee (or tea) meeting. Meeting a professional one-on-one is a great way to get to know someone and see what advice or contacts they offer.