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Meet the Trulian: Robyn Heller

A Series to Connect You to the Trulians Behind the Magic

This Meet the Trulian features Robyn Heller, Lead Technical Project Manager at Trulia. Robyn began her career as a photographer before transitioning into front end engineering and joining Trulia in 2013. Read on to learn more about her.

What’s your role at Trulia?
I lead the Program Management Organization at Trulia. Our team brings structure and process to the Trulia engineering organization, ensuring that lines of communication are open, dependencies are called out, and projects are estimated and completed on time.

What inspired you to get into your role?
I loved working in technology, but I wanted to develop into new areas of experience after having managed front end engineering teams. I analyzed my skill set and felt that a transition into project management made perfect sense because I know the technologies used, and I have a strong ability to multitask and a love for all things being organized. I was fortunate to have a friend that had worked at Trulia who connected me and voila! Here I am.

What was your dream job growing up and why?
Growing up, I loved the ocean and all things that were part of it, so I wanted to be a marine biologist, but that eventually faded. As I grew older, my dream job was to be a photographer, so much so that one of my majors in college was in Studio Art/Photography. The idea of being able to make a living traveling and taking pictures was glorious—  “Surfer Magazine here I come,” I thought. In reality, I was barely able to buy groceries from my income shooting photos for a local music magazine, so that career didn’t last long.

If you could have drinks with one tech luminary – dead or alive – whom would it be and why? And, what would your first question be?
Sheryl Sandberg. She is a technology executive, activist, author, and mother. She has had so much success in her life and career. I would love to learn about her wins, challenges, and how she balances it all. My first question to her would be: “Given all your accomplishments, what do you want to be remembered for?”

What’s the one gadget or personal tech item you cannot live without and why?
About four or five years ago, I would have said my video baby monitor because it allowed me to see my son while he was sleeping and gave me peace of mind when he was not by my side. Now that he is grown, I have to go with the very popular answer of my iPhone. I hate that I am so dependent on it, but I am. It holds all of my secret lists, important dates, all of my social media distractions, and, of course, pictures of my favorite little man.

What was the last movie you saw or book you read and what –if anything – would you change about the ending?
The last movie I saw was “Lady Bird,” a beautiful coming-of-age movie that touched so accurately on the sometimes difficult relationship between a mother and daughter. I saw my own relationship with my mother appear at times, and it made me reflect on the how happy I am that I have a son. I wouldn’t change anything because I wouldn’t want to mess with the perfection that Greta Gerwig, the writer, created.

What’s your proudest accomplishment and why?
I would have to say my son. To see him grow and know that I am huge influence on who he is becoming is fascinating to me. It makes me feel so proud to see that he is such a sweet, kind, and inquisitive individual and know that I am playing a role in that. I have learned how to balance my career while being a single mom to him, ensuring I put everything I can into both and neither gets neglected. At this point in my life, he is my proudest accomplishment, but I look forward to seeing what my next accomplishment might be. 

If you could master one talent or skill that you don’t have now what would it be and why?
Public speaking—the ability to speak confidently and clearly to a large group. I am a horrible public speaker, although the public speaking course offered at Zillow Group did help, and would love to be able to get up in front of groups of all sizes and command a room. Public speaking is an important skill no matter what job and career path you hold, so I would definitely welcome this skill.

If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
I would love to have the ability to teleport myself anywhere, which would feed into my dream of seeing as many places as possible. Our world is so huge and fascinating, and I have only just barely touched on the places I want to see before I die. As an aside, teleportation would also allow me to avoid BART and, therefore, I’d be a slightly happier person.

If you could time travel, would you go into the future or past and why?
I would go into the past. I have heard so many stories of the amazing women who raised my mother (my grandmother and her sisters) and yet, they had all passed away before I was born. The ability to meet and get to know these women would mean the world to me.