This story is a part of our “A Day in the Life'' series that highlights the career journeys of 2U employees across the world. This article celebrates one of our 2020 No Back Row Award winners—an employee recognized for embracing one of 2U’s nine Guiding Principles. Juanita Soranno was one of two 2Utes selected as the winners of the Relationships Matter award.
Juanita Soranno started working at 2U in 2017—but that’s not where her 2U story began. One year prior, she enrolled in the Rutgers Coding Boot Camp powered by Trilogy Education (a brand of 2U, Inc.), pivoting from a career in private equity to pursue her passion for technology.
By the end of the program, Juanita loved Trilogy’s mission so much she didn’t want to leave. “When I was introduced to Trilogy, the intersection of education, technology, and business was a perfect fit,” she recalls. “After successfully completing the boot camp, I joined the Trilogy team as the student success manager for Rutgers and watched our growth skyrocket.”
Juanita's Rutgers Coding Boot Camp cohort graduation in 2017
With demand soaring, a new role soon opened up at Trilogy/2U. “As we added partnerships, we knew we had to adjust our structure to support students. I became the first northeast regional director overseeing delivery of boot camps from Toronto to Philadelphia,” explains Juanita.
Today, Juanita manages the delivery of 2U’s international, emerging, and enterprise boot camp programs. Read on to learn how this inspiring 2Ute is driving impact through innovation—and why community is key to her success.
Running the New York City Marathon
Tell us more about why you joined Trilogy/2U. What is it about the company that sparked your interest?
As a woman of color, I am driven to create a more equitable landscape in technology through skills-based training because I understand the future that opportunity provides. Over the course of the six months I attended the Rutgers Coding Boot Camp, I dedicated myself to being creative in the ways I could study. With two small children to care for at home in Long Island—combined with an hour-long commute to my then-job in Manhattan, then to Jersey for boot camp, then back home after class finished at 10 at night—I had to make sacrifices in order to earn an education.
This is the very thing I took into account when thinking about the kind of company I wanted to work for—one focused on training a diverse workforce for the digital economy. Through the boot camp, I gained an entirely new skill set that allowed me to build web applications and transition to a career where I could utilize my newfound skills. In initially joining Trilogy, I am proud to say that I now have the ability and vehicle to provide that same opportunity for others. Because of 2U, I’m able to impact multiple programs and modalities at over 50 universities across the globe—driving toward parity in gender and underrepresented populations in technology.
Visiting Ottawa, Ontario's Carleton University, "Canada's Capital University," with a 2U student success manager
How would you describe your role at 2U as the senior director of international and emerging business?
My focus is to lead and grow the New Product, International and Enterprise department by using our newly minted vision and mission statements as our north star. Our vision is to innovate, elevate, and expand educational delivery at 2U, and our mission is to innovate how we create, grow, and scale new programs, markets, and client partnerships. My team is made up of brilliant people who collaborate to figure out how to deliver an excellent student experience in places and spaces we haven’t explored before with boot camps—think high school, Netflix, and countries outside of the U.S.
What do you find most rewarding and challenging about your job?
True to my No Back Row Award, relationships matter. I’m driven by creating strong teams that innovate our educational system and help bridge the digital skills gap. The most exciting (and challenging) aspect of my role is driving innovative delivery that meets the needs of varying modalities, countries, and situations so that every single student can receive a transformational educational experience.
With two sleeping babies while traveling pre-COVID in Spain
Out of everything you’ve done at 2U so far, what gives you the most pride?
I’m proud to have helped build teams of incredible people, and to play an active part in their growth and development. The best feeling is seeing someone on my team find an aspect of our work that truly drives them and stretches them past what they thought they were capable of, then watching them own that ability and expand on it.
This question also makes me recall what I posted on Instagram in 2019 after the announcement that 2U acquired Trilogy:
“Yesterday was a huge day for us at Trilogy. The excitement for me was immediate, but the overwhelming wave of gratitude has now hit me full force. I can just imagine how proud my parents and grandparents would be right now. I imagine them huddled around a small table, my mom in her Burger King uniform and my dad in his prison guard uniform. Watching them watch me explain why working to close the digital skills gap is so important. Telling them about the long days and late nights figuring out how to get all of this right. Acknowledging how I couldn't have done any of it without a supportive partner. Trying to explain the nuances of an acquisition and options and new opportunities. And how unreal it would all feel to be able to share a success story like this. I'm ready to celebrate! #IAmMyAncestorsWildestDreams”
Now that I’ve just been accepted into the MBA@UNC program, I’m having this feeling all over again. I know my ancestors would be so proud.
(Given that I’ve also taken the Yale University Women's Leadership Program short course, I suppose that also means I’m now that rare breed of 2Ute who’s engaged with all three of the major types of educational offerings that 2U powers—degree programs, boot camps, and short courses!)
A screen shot of Juanita's Instagram post the day Trilogy was acquired by 2U
Each of 2U’s 2020 No Back Row Award winners were recognized for their commitment to one of the company’s nine Guiding Principles. What does the honor of receiving the Relationships Matter award mean to you?
Relationships Matter showcases how incredibly important it is to foster spaces that allow for our full selves to come to the table and share our unique experiences. When we see one another, we can make the whole greater than the sum of its parts) and use our strengths to empower our collective work. This award affirms my continued choice to work for a company that speaks to my personal values and with people who acknowledge and celebrate one another's strengths. It’s truly an honor.
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At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.