Sometimes you have to leave a great thing to find the right thing.

After six successful years as an economic development professional, Dana Palazzo recently left her position of Vice President at the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) to follow her passion in technology. Once she made the decision to pivot her career, she dove into a 14-week web immersive development program.

“I’m naturally a risk averse person, but I had taken a lot of time to discover my passion and hired a career coach to find a path that played to my strengths,” said Dana.  “I found that I’m a doer, enjoying the problem-solving aspect that developers experience day to day and tackling complex issues.”

The immersive web development program was comprised of a small group of students each looking to grow as developers.

“I couldn’t recommend the program more because it makes you so comfortable and arms you with projects that help build your portfolio,” said Dana of the intense, boot-camp like program.  “You wake up, code until you can’t keep your eyes open anymore, go to bed, wake up, and do it again.”

Dana first became connected with The Combine while working at the BEDC, promoting the community tech and innovation event as part of her role in championing Bloomington’s assets.

“I’ve been to the last five events and I learn something new every single time.”

She said The Combine has helped her to stay current, and noted that attendees should stay open to new experiences.

“You should never stop learning, whether you’re a startup or seasoned professional, because there are concepts, technical terms, and trends in technology that are constantly evolving, and The Combine keeps you plugged in,” she said. “My advice for attending the conference is to try as many different workshops and sessions as you can, even if it’s not in the realm of what you do professionally, because you never know what might ignite your passion!”

Dana says that she is especially looking forward to attending this year because of her new career path. She is excited to connect with people in the tech and startup community at the conference and to look for potential job opportunities.

“One way this conference stands out is that Bloomington is a melting pot of so many different people, and the conference is the same in that way, bringing many different people together to form connections, build companies, and learn from one another.”