Meet the Team: Ashley DaSilva, Team Leader, Product Development

Through a Q&A-style interview, you will hear from VIA team members about things like a typical day at the office and favorite foods.

What does a typical day at VIA look like for you?

Typically I start my morning with coffee and code review. At VIA, we have a strong culture of peer review to help us learn from each other and improve our work. Reviewing my colleagues’ code is a good way to see all the amazing work my colleagues are doing, and setting aside this time makes sure I provide them timely feedback.

Once I’ve finished my coffee, I like to take a morning walk (before we moved to remote work due to COVID-19, this was the time I spent commuting to the office.) The rest of the day varies depending on the project I’m working on: it could be writing a software design proposal for a new feature, wrangling data, or automating deployments.

I spend a lot of my day working with my colleagues to solve technical challenges. Often this is pair programming, but sometimes it’s designing the solution together on a (virtual) whiteboard. I really like having the opportunity to work on such a variety of tasks.

What’s something you have worked on at VIA that you are most proud of?

I was the technical lead on VIA’s 30-Minute Pilot and am really proud of how much of a difference it has made for our partners. They were able to get valuable data analysis in less than 30 minutes, while learning about VIA’s privacy-protecting software.

What’s your favorite VIA memory?

At our last company-wide All Hands event, we did a scavenger hunt in the underground city of Montreal. It really fit VIA’s culture: we were split into teams, and each team had to collaborate to solve the puzzles and at the same time, we were competing to solve more puzzles than the other teams! I got to know a little more about Montreal, and got to collaborate with colleagues that I don’t work with day-to-day.

If you were given an extra hour in your day, what would you spend it doing?

That’s a tough one. I would probably practice painting. I love creating things, and that passion is not limited to software. I love the bright colors and rich textures of oil paints, and the challenge of exercising my creativity in a totally different way than I do at work.

What’s your go-to food?

Tacos! Since moving to Montreal, I have learned how to make corn tortillas from scratch, which is actually much easier than I thought it would be.

What’s something everyone may not, but should know about working at VIA?

VIA’s twice yearly All Hands events are held in an “unconference” style: all team members submit and vote on topics just a couple days ahead of time. Because everyone has input into the topics, and the fact that there’s not much time for session leaders to prepare a lot of talking points, the sessions focus on discussion, collaboration, and brainstorming.