Sonia Holar
Sonia Holar

I grew up just outside of DC, and went to MIT to get my B.S. in chemical-biological engineering. I have always been interested in medicine, but it was at MIT that I realized I wanted to marry that interest with my passion for engineering. When I heard about Lyndra, it seemed like a great opportunity—my work here is just the kind I enjoy, and it offers the potential to make a real impact.

I arrived just as the company was really starting to expand, so despite being new, I was encouraged to take on a lot of responsibility. I worked on many different projects at once. While daunting at first, this pushed me to work hard and challenge myself. It also gave me a better understanding of the “big picture.”

Because the company is still relatively small, I have been able to interact with people from all teams on various projects. I am on the engineering team, but work closely with the formulation and analytical teams. It’s great to be able to get feedback or suggestions from people with different areas of expertise when trying to solve a problem, and I also learn a lot about the work they are doing – how an analytical method works, or why we add certain components to our product. I feel like I understand how all the teams are working together.

Our management team, and specifically Amy, our CEO—have focused a lot of energy on making Lyndra a great place to work, by creating a non-hierarchical system, and encouraging us to take part in things like “Lyndra learns,” for example, where someone from the company will teach everyone something that is from their area of expertise or that they think we may find useful. Based on friends’ and relatives’ experiences, I know that our workplace structure is not what everyone is used to, but I think it encourages everyone to continue learning and branching out to try working in new areas.

I am also grateful for Lyndra’s approach to work-life balance. Everyone is very dedicated to their work at Lyndra, but we’re also encouraged to lead full, rich lives. At MIT it wasn’t this way at all—I found my studies to be pretty much 24/7. I imagined work at a startup would be similar, but Lyndra totally changed my perspective on startup culture. Of course, there are always those times when a deadline is approaching and we have to work extra hard—nothing worth doing is easy. But overall, I’ve found I work better when I have time to decompress, and Lynda affords me that time.