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Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Mariana Gallegos

Mariana Gallegos and her family in Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre, Italy.

Project Manager Mariana Gallegos has worked for DELTA for four years. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and graduated from Arizona State University before moving to Raleigh. 

She also has a real estate license, and prior to working with DELTA, she worked with HGTV. She was responsible for exploring the online aspect of linking products to shows so consumers could purchase them. 

The Gallegos familiy in Manarola, Italy.

“I was an online merchandiser, so I basically shopped for a living,” Gallegos said. “I put together lists like ‘Top 10 products to buy for Halloween.’ We were ahead of the curve in exploring personas like ‘What to Buy for the Tech Guy.’ It was an interesting place to start.”

Gallegos’ husband is also from Venezuela, and travel is very important to them. She doesn’t consider herself to be bi-lingual; she considers herself to be “bi-cultural.” One moment she is listening to Salsa music and the next she is eating wings and watching football! She explained that both cultures live inside her every day.

She describes herself as “wide-open” and believes her coworkers know everything about her. However, some of her answers to our questions might come as a surprise as her animated personality definitely shines through.

How would you describe your position to someone unfamiliar with DELTA?

Gallegos describes the role of a project manager as one of helping colleagues stay on-track and finding ways for teams to continuously improve their processes, communication and workflows.

“‘Where are you on this? Did you do that? How is that going? Let’s try this a different way.’ I attend a lot of meetings, I help identify priorities and get team members aligned, I connect the dots and provide guidance or support, and I do a lot of following up” Gallegos said. “For some people, I am their worst nightmare!”

A key factor of her job is being able to see the big picture of the project as a whole and then breaking it down into small steps. 

“I structure a plan to help people manage the process so they are not overwhelmed and feel they are moving forward,” said Gallegos. “With the work in manageable chunks, frustration is reduced, and people feel they are moving forward in a positive direction.”

What is the most challenging aspect of your position?

Orvieto, Italy

“The most challenging part of my job is also the best part of my job. Every project is different.” Gallegos goes on to explain, “I am a project management expert, but I am not necessarily an expert on the subject matter of the projects I help to manage. Sometimes, I feel like I am drowning in acronyms and have to Google terms on the side!”  

What makes your job special?

Gallegos has two favorite aspects of her job — constantly learning and the DELTA folks she is fortunate to work with daily.

“My projects are so varied. I work with everyone instead of one particular group.” In addition, she feels comfortable asking questions. “DELTA people are experts who are generous with their knowledge. They are gracious. They don’t make me feel bad because I might not have experience with the technology involved with the projects I manage.”

What has been your favorite project you have worked on at DELTA?

Because Gallegos describes herself as a people person, she says it is difficult for her to name a favorite project. 

“Often, the people supersede the subject matter of the projects I am working on,” said Gallegos.

“I am the project manager for DELTA MarComm group, and I feel I have a strong bond with that team.” In addition, she notes “I also work on DELTA Grants projects, and one of the biggest wow moments for me was working on an AR app for vet school students — a life-sized horse just ‘appeared’ in front of me! It was incredible!” Gallegos explains that working with a wide range of people across NC State and getting to know people helps her constantly learn.”

What do you like to do outside of work?

Gallegos’ children during a family dinner at Tazza Kitchen in Raleigh, NC.

Gallegos is a dedicated parent and wife and believes family is the highest priority. 

“Traveling is very important to us. We feel the best we can give our children is to experience different cultures and foster understanding of different ways of living.” Gallegos notes that she is one of five siblings spread across four different countries and four different states.“Since family is so important to us, much of our travel consists of trips to see our family.”

In addition to traveling, she enjoys cooking. But, not everyday cooking.

“If all the ingredients appear magically and I don’t have to go to the grocery store — that would be ideal. Then, I get to enjoy the process of creating an interesting meal without the hassle of advanced planning!”