Most would agree the beginning stages of a new challenge are overwhelming – a feeling that prevents some people from trying new things, taking risks or taking on something new. Others press through those moments and end up in a better place because of it.
Tiffany Ray is the perfect example of a person who pushes through a challenge to work toward a goal. Ray has had plenty of brave moments in the last 10 years alone, including returning to work after a two-year sabbatical after having her third child, going back to school as a mom of three and taking a promotion in a field she worked hard to learn.
Ray started working part time in Bushnell’s customer service department in 2011. Through hard work, determination, a completed degree and a successful interview, Ray worked her way up to the Applications Analyst position at Vista Corporate where she now oversees Information Technology’s Business to Business applications work.
In her current role, Ray works with the eCommerce and Integrations Departments and with stakeholders at each of the business units to flow product and customer data in so the applications are ready for dealers to use. To this day, she has helped launch, upgrade, and maintain B2B applications for Primos, Ammunition, Hunt Shoot Accessories and Action Sports.
Ray originally wanted to be an engineer. In her senior year of high school, she had to decide between computer or chemical engineering. She loved chemistry, so she attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for chemical engineering. There, she determined chemical engineering was not the right choice.
“I picked between two passions. Had I done computer engineering, I likely would have had a different experience. But that’s just going back – I am happy things went how they did.”
She left that college to attend a junior college and earned an associate degree. There, she met her now spouse, Darrin. After one date, Tiffany and Darrin agreed to get married, and the couple tied the knot just three months after their first date! At that point, Ray’s primary goals shifted to raising a family and being a great wife. Now, 21 years later, the couple has three children.
But even with family set as her first priority, Ray still found the time and energy to pull her education off the back burner and return to college. She attended MidAmerica Nazarene University and graduated in May 2019 with a degree in business administration.
Ray says three support systems helped her through those two years: her fellow customer service co-workers, the tuition reimbursement from Vista and her oldest daughter.
“She was watching me. And even though I was in my 40s graduating college, I’m the first person from my family to do so. She kept me going.” Ray is truly grateful for her life path thus far, and has a great strategy on past and future ventures:
“Walk through all open doors until they are closed. That’s how I ended up doing something I really enjoy. I said ‘no’ to things I thought I wanted but said ‘yes’ when doors opened. Whatever you do… don’t be a quitter on something you’re sure you want.”