The Tale of the Math Major Copy Editor

Sylvia Lease ’15 is a storyteller, but not in the way you might think. She uses the language of analytics to share stories and empower her clients, and her mathematical mind and diverse interests made her the perfect person to help create a new department within Evereve’s technology team.

By Katie Johnson ’19, content specialist

June 01, 2020 | 1 p.m.

Sylvia Lease '15 used her coding superpowers to help create a new department within Evereve’s technology team.

Sylvia Lease '15 used her coding superpowers to help create a new department within Evereve’s technology team.

Sylvia Lease ’15 loves telling stories, but hers don’t necessarily involve an inciting incident, character development, or evil villains. Rather, she speaks the language of analytics, and numbers create the drama for her clients as they strive toward efficiency. As the main character of her own story, Lease encountered a major plot twist when Evereve, a women’s clothing company with roots in the Twin Cities Metro, hired her to help create its Business Intelligence (BI) Department.

Lease and two other BI developers used their talents and coding superpowers to understand Evereve’s story—how they tracked different aspects of their growing business and what was prohibiting potential success. Since Evereve had granted them the power to move forward as they deemed fit, Lease and the BI team quickly set the company on a new trajectory that matched their vision and goals. Her favorite part of the job has been connecting with people and figuring out how to empower them in their work.

“It’s this process of sitting with individuals and teams that I love most about my job—to truly understand what they’re doing, solving, or wondering—and through those relationships and conversations, I get to run with the data to come up with solutions and insights.”

— Sylvia Lease '15

In addition to connecting with multiple individuals, Lease thoroughly enjoys utilizing analytics to create problem-solving strategies that empower her colleagues and clients. Her creativity is infused into designing reports for her job, refurbishing furniture in her house, and even picking out what she’s going to wear for the day. She especially loves that taking the time to create something new or refine something she cares about brings an unexpected depth to her spiritual life. “I can be a busy-body, finding it difficult to be still and relax, but creating is something I’ve always loved and found a stillness in, particularly when I let go of focusing on the end product and recognize the process for what it is,” Lease says. “This is one way that I connect with God and see so much beauty in His creation.” 

This aspect of creativity is also how Lease knows working at Evereve is an ideal fit. Right after she graduated from Bethel, Lease was an account analyst for an energy management company. She quickly realized her position lacked opportunity to create cutting-edge solutions for her clients. She went on to pursue an M.S. in business analytics in Cincinnati and returned to St. Paul for her capstone project, where she interned at Ever-Green Energy and helped the client services team create important reports that served their clientele. 

Throughout her life since graduation, Lease credits Bethel for her career preparation, especially because she took advantage of many opportunities on campus. Not only was she a math major, but her senior year, she added a studio art minor, which has proven incredibly helpful as she creates reports to tell a visual story. “A big part of my job now is being a storyteller with data,” Lease says. “I work with people who love and appreciate design in the fashion world, so bringing these things together to build beautiful reports that everyone can quickly understand and glean insights from has been really fun.”

She was also a Shift leader—a mentor who helps first-year students transition to college and develop their faith—and a copy editor for The Clarion student newspaper. She enjoyed the process of piecing sentences together according to AP Style rules and learning the art of communication, which has proved invaluable in her professional life. “Working with people in every part of the office, I am constantly communicating back-and-forth to understand what is needed, process through the problems that need solving, and present data,” Lease says. “Communication is so key! I would definitely consider these experiences to be close to my heart, and also important steps that led me to where I am in my career." 

For women hoping to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) Lease’s advice is to harbor an attitude of tenacity. “One of the core values at Evereve is tenacity, and I think that is such a great word for women pursuing careers in STEM,” Lease says. “If you are a problem solver, go-getter personality in these fields, you will absolutely exceed in your career. No matter how long you’ve been working or what your education level is, you can bring these skills to the table with tenacity and be empowered in all that you do.”

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