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Meet Ara Zerpa, collecting beautiful moments

Headshot of Ara with a design that reads "Kin+ Ara Zerpa"

Our name is intentional. “Kin” refers to family and “Carta” refers to maps. When together, we’re Kin + Carta — a group of connected makers, builders and creators, who come together everyday to help our clients build experiences and plot a clear path forward in today’s digital world. Carta is what we do, Kin is who we are.

Kin+ is a series that uncovers the experiences, stories and lives of the people who make our collective “Kin” exceptional.

At Kin + Carta, we acknowledge that life has its twists and turns — the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s why we provide our Kin with the support, benefits and resources they need to best balance their life alongside work. Beyond this, our work environment is one that fosters community, all curated by Kin.

Ara Zerpa, Technical Analyst, is one such individual who’s created meaningful community in her year of working at Kin + Carta. Not only is Ara an active advocate for inclusion, diversity, equity and awareness, she’s also a tarot card reader, an astrologer, a developer who’s continuously eager to learn and an eternal optimist amidst challenge. We’re honored to introduce you to Ara and to share some of her beautiful moments.

Headshot of Ara with a design that reads "Kin+ Ara Zerpa"

My life is full of little moments that have shaped me into the person I am today, as I focus on remaining open and eager to continuously evolve. Yet there is one major life experience that sticks out in making me who I am today, and that was my move from Venezuela to Argentina. 

At the age of 23 I moved countries alone, and it was shocking as I had always lived at home with my family. I come from a typical Venezuelan family, and when I left, I had the chance to be myself and not think, “oh, your parents are going to be so upset if you do this, if you dress this way, or if you date that person.” I had to learn a lot about myself, and at the same time I could be that self I was growing into without any fear of judgment. This experience, while extremely difficult, was life-changing.

Headshot of Ara with a design that reads "Kin+ Ara Zerpa"
Ara with her family at her graduation

I received my degree as a chemical engineer in Venezuela, yet, five and a half years ago when I moved to Argentina, I had a hard time finding a job in the field. Since I am not one to sit and wait around, I looked to my past experiences. I had taken a few classes in college on coding and remembered being quite good at it. So, I started searching for coding bootcamps and found one just for women.

Joining the cohort, I had a lot of internal fear and truly felt the feelings of imposter syndrome because there were 20 women there, and everyone had a tech background. It was a whole new world for me, and everyone else would introduce themselves by saying something like: “I studied computer science” or “I'm a computer engineer”. Then, when it was my turn, I quietly shared: “I studied chemistry.” 

I felt out of place, but I was patient and gave myself the time I needed to understand the new concepts. I believe that when you put in the effort, you will always come to understand things at your own pace. I learned from this experience not to compare myself to others because everyone has their rhythm. You always see yourself compared to someone else, but I had to own the process, create the confidence to learn, and keep building myself up every day.

Studying engineering, to me, came down to solving issues. I’ve learned that sometimes we think coding is really hard, but at the end of the day, coding is having an issue and finding a way to solve it. It’s almost like working through a shopping list — you’re writing a list of steps to accomplish something. It’s not about learning a new language or having more tools; it’s about rethinking a problem. Being an engineer helped me reorganize my mind to do what I do now.

I believe that when you put in the effort, you will always come to understand things at your own pace.

One of my first jobs as an engineer was at a bank that used very simple architecture. After some time, I found Kin + Carta when I started looking for a more challenging job. I wanted to push myself and learn something new. Also, I wanted to be somewhere where I could feel comfortable being who I am. This was the place for me, and I knew it after one phone call.

When I received the first call from a Kin + Carta recruiter, they explained more about the company. Beyond this, they asked me which pronouns I use and when sharing more about the employee benefits, they mentioned medical insurance for either my wife or my husband. I was blown away by this inclusive approach — both being asked my pronouns and having no assumption for who my partner is. It was at this moment when I knew Kin + Carta was a place where I could work, be myself, and not be judged. That's what interested me, and as I started reading about the firm’s values, I knew it was where I wanted to be. It’s been one year since joining, and I’m proud that I’m not only writing really great code, I’m also bringing my true self to work every day and being celebrated for it. 

I’ve been collecting many beautiful moments this year at Kin + Carta because I could participate in so many things that align with who I am. Two come to mind immediately: astrology and IDEA.

I’m someone who is constantly looking for things to do, so I find that I easily stay away from being bored. It’s been natural for me, throughout my whole life, to have a lot of hobbies. One of these is reading tarot cards and studying astrology. When I introduced myself at Kin + Carta, I said I was interested in astrology, and everyone encouraged me to create a devoted Slack channel about the subject. It quickly became an outlet at work where I write about topics like when the sun is Gemini or when Mercury is in retrograde.

Ara holding a tarot card
Ara in our Buenos Aires office, reading tarot cards for Kin

I've always wanted to know the people I work with from a different perspective and discover what makes them the people they are. So when I heard about the firm’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness (IDEA) committee, I got involved immediately. It felt to me like this was an outlet where I could make people better about themselves. And that’s exactly what I’ve been able to do. Planning events or contributing to policies as a part of this committee always feels like meaningful work in a safe space with friends. It’s here where I’ve met new people, attended workshops, and learned about the world through someone else's eyes. We all have different stories to share based on where we live and what we've been through. The IDEA committee, and everything we get to be a part of activating for the firm, brings that to life.

Polaroid image of Ara with Kin during Pride Month
Ara with some of LatAm's IDEA committee members

I advise people to see what happens and to go live for themselves. Lose all that fear from your mind and just focus on what you must do to succeed. You don't have to know everything to start something new – that’s what makes it an adventure. You can’t have all the answers right away. We’re all discovering things along our path, and at some point we all need to just jump into the void. I promise you'll find friends to help you learn and beautiful moments to collect along the way.

Ready to join an environment that honors and celebrates you for you?

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