Finding Joy Through Collaboration and Mentoring

November 9, 2021

Finding Joy Through Collaboration and Mentoring

By: Dan Berlingeri

Quick Snapshot: My name is Dan Berlingeri and I’m the HR Coordinator in Portland, Oregon. I’ve spent most of the last decade of my life pursuing a career as an actor in New York City in TV, film, and theater. I received my Masters in Fine Arts from the most competitive program out there, NYU Grad Acting, and then I auditioned and networked my way into some of the most sought after casting rooms and theaters in the country.

But, as we all know, actors’ income can be pretty variable. So, in addition to pursuing my acting career, I also networked my way into a variety of fields and vocations, included but not limited to: Higher Education Professor, Clown Teacher, Casting Director, Restaurant Manager, Sales Rep, Sales Manager, Business Development Manager, Brand Ambassador, Board Member, Co-founder, Director, Financial Advisor, Entrepreneur, Social Advocate, Reiki Practitioner, and Full-time Pup Dad.

And so the networking journey begins… I left grad school with the bright lights of Broadway twinkling in my eyes, wait no…those were just tears forming, because suddenly I found myself up to my eyeballs in student debt (“The Classic American Millennial Tale”). So what did I do in response? The classic New Yorker move, of course! I decided to diversify my hustle.

After booking my first TV gig, with a bit of money in my pocket, I reached out to an old friend who had developed a successful career in personal finance. While I had initially intended to get some help sorting out my financial situation, some passionate and painstaking conversations about the lack of financial education among arts students and millennials hit a nerve. She took me under her wing, I received my certifications in finance, and we banded together to right the wrongs of the world.

Two years later, we launched our own financial advising company, with an emphasis on educating students and people in the arts. We taught a series of financial courses at colleges and universities on the East Coast, and developed partnerships with large international companies such as Global Thinking Foundation, AEA, and The Actor’s Fund. This was only possible because two people chose to discuss their passions and the change they wanted to see in the world.

Arriving at Datto… After ten years in New York City, collecting more job titles than I could count, and encountering some inspiring humans, my fiancé (now wife) and I chose to leave the city. We decided to pursue our dreams of owning a homestead property where we could continue to educate and enrich the lives of emerging artists and youth within organic and inspiring spaces. And what better place to pursue that dream than among the vast and gorgeous views of the Pacific Northwest? So off to Portland, Oregon we flew… erm… drove. We arrived in Portland just before the national pandemic shutdown, and have been here ever since.

Before we made our voyage, I noticed a job listing at Datto and thought, “Hey! That’s where my brother works. I didn’t know they were out in Portland!” I promptly applied for the role of Office Services Coordinator without hesitation, because I knew that Datto had a reputation for treating employees with respect.

The connection… Since joining Datto nearly two years ago in an entirely different role than the one I currently hold, I have had one of the most enriching career experiences of my life. From the get-go, I sensed a kindred spirits within our Talent Development team and decided to set up some time to speak with leaders to get better acquainted.

My only goal was to tell management how amazing I found the team and the work everyone was doing to enrich the lives of employees and elevate our engagement and experience. As it turns out, we suddenly found ourselves with a lot in common, busting out random pop Broadway tunes and kibitzing about the dire necessity for “belonging-based culture” in the tech industry.

We both led the conversation with our passions and developed a bond of fast friendship and mentorship.

To conclude… Since our first informal meeting, I have found an incredible mentor who encourages me to keep pulling the thread of curiosity to pursue my authentic passions for human connectivity and collaboration. That lesson lives at the core of my networking journey: that connections become more meaningful when you collaborate with passion and joy.

If you approach each networking opportunity with a spark of authentic joy, you may stumble upon the same good fortune that I found. My mentoring relationship has allowed me to pursue diverse interests at Datto, becoming Event Chair for the Datto Pride Employee Resource Group, a Datto Connections Professional Networking Group founder, a Community of Practice Facilitator and Organizer, and a passionate brand ambassador for the Datto Cultural Center.

I encourage you to pull on that thread of joy -- you might just find a collaborator or two and start the next best thing in your career.