Women's History Month: Dilianna Bustillos

February 21, 2021 | 5 minute read
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Name: Dilianna Bustillos

Title: Partner Solutions Manager

Location: Reston, VA


What did you want to be when you were a child?
I was split between wanting to be a teacher and a famous singer (my toys and stuffed animals were both students and fans).


What was the best piece of business advice you were given when starting out?

My first manager was always very candid with our team. I recall him telling me a little after hiring me that while my resume wasn't necessarily the greatest of the bunch, it told a good story about overcoming obstacles. Through his coaching, I realized how living abroad and coming back at 16, working my way through community college and then transferring into UVA's top-ranked undergraduate business program were all examples of the drive and humility that would be important as I sought to further my career. His advice was to stay hungry, and stay humble (and to get better at telling great stories!).


Tell me about your workspace. How do you structure your space to be the most productive?

I try to keep it simple. A mug with some black tea, a pen and my notebook/planner are usually all the things I need to stay productive.


What is one sacrifice you’ve made in your career?

Being a remote manager takes a toll on your day to day routine - the constant travel can be brutal. I have had to get comfortable with living one week at a time and forgoing some of the stability and normalcy that comes with having all of your team in one place (such as going to regular workout classes, spending time with my family after work, walking my dogs on a daily basis, etc.)


Which of your personality traits are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my ability to adapt to my surroundings and to challenge the status quo. Change is hard, but it is a constant. Getting really really comfortable with change, questioning things productively and motivating my team to do the same are some of the things that I am most proud of about my time at ODC.


What does success mean to you?

I measure success by how well my team is doing; by how comfortable they feel giving me and their peers candid, constructive feedback, and by how well they are able to balance their work and personal lives. I personally feel very accomplished when people leave my team and move onto other opportunities at the ODC because it usually means they a) developed the skills on our team that they needed to grow b) are valued by their peers and are being recognized for their efforts (all whilst staying with ODC and helping us drive the business forward).


In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?

Usually the two things that work best for me are gratitude and rest. I know that when I am really tired, I tend to magnify the situations and the adversity around me. When I am able to take a step back and practice some self-care and gratitude, I immediately feel better and experience a change in perspective.


What quotation inspires and motivates you?

"Everything will be OK in the end. If it is not OK, it is not the end."


What’s your favorite thing to come home to after a long day of work?

My Chihuahua, Lucas, wagging his tail and my Pomeranian, Mila, giving me kisses. Oh, and my loving husband of course ;)


Name a fear or professional challenge that keeps you up at night.

Trying to stay nimble and enact change whilst cutting through red tape and the challenges that come with being part of a huge corporation. I think it is something we all struggle with having spent time at start-ups where change came fast and we had more control over certain outcomes.


At what point in your life did you first learn about your field of work? Why did it interest you?

In college during a marketing class - it was only an hour or so lecture but it got me hooked on advertising and the impact data and technology would have on traditional marketing practices.


Name a woman (or women), past or present, whom you admire or look up to.

I admire my grandmother. She came to the US as a widow in the early 60s with three kids, some spare change and a ton of courage. She left everything behind and followed her gut and we are all better off for it. I strive to be as brave as her.


Name your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your business experience.

I am proud of those team members who have "graduated" from my pod and moved on to do great things across different teams at ODC. Their talent is remarkable, they are loved by their new managers, and I am happy to say I am still in touch with each and every one of them. It makes me feel like we did something right and that the personal sacrifices were worth it.


Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you were first

starting your career?

I would have closed chapters sooner. At the beginning of my career, I thought my first job would be the job I would be in forever. Looking back, I held on too long and gave up great opportunities elsewhere because I got comfortable and I was scared to make any big changes.


What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?

I make sure my two dogs are well fed, tails-wagging and smiling. I give them a big hug and I am ready to conquer the day!


Has learning from a mistake ever led you to success?

Absolutely - again, humility and being able to learn from mistakes has been crucial. I think my team and I have a great relationship nowadays because we aren't scared to admit when one of us has failed. We cherish being able to call each other out and hold ourselves accountable. As a hiring manager, one of the worst mistakes you can make is not selecting the right candidate for the job. I learned this the hard way once and now I am incorporating tools such as Predictive Index and case studies in our interview process in order to give us a better feel for fit and strengths.


What characteristic do you most admire in other women in your field?

Confidence! I love seeing other women in tech command a room, stand up for their equal rights and inspire other women on their teams to succeed.


What tool, object or ritual you could not live without in your workday?

My planner. I try to write next steps and to-dos after every single meeting so I can hold myself accountable and measure progress. Every time I start a new role, I get a new notebook or planner. It signals a fresh start and makes me feel energized.


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