Member Spotlight



Name (pronouns): Emma Sebastian (she/her/hers)

Department/Division: Financial IT

Years at UCSF: 2

Role in technology: Program Management, Business Systems Analysis

Photo of Emma Sebastian

What technology project(s) have you worked on that you are most proud of?

I have a few favorites – externally, when I led the team at Schwab that implemented the mutual funds web trading during the genesis of online trading for individual investors. It was a game changing initiative for the company and the industry. But more importantly, it was a great story of true teamwork.

At the UC, one favorite is development and implementation of an HR/Payroll tool from scratch that helped make batch processing coordination more efficient and transparent to all payroll offices at the campuses. We did it in six months! It required extensive collaboration and interviews with campuses and other stakeholders, and we won an award for it.


How has technology helped you achieve a goal within your role or department?

My whole career has been with software development, and technology has been at the heart of all the things I have accomplished for organizations that I served. 

The technology landscape is evolving at an exponential pace (since I started in IT) and it’s really important that we all are aware of what goes on in the industry, not only in technical advancements but also approaches to complexity.

I also always emphasize that software is only as good as the information/input that went into creating it, making cognitive diversity extremely important in IT.


What’s your favorite aspect of your role at UCSF and why?

I am currently supporting Advance – the application to support faculty advancement. I get to understand the impressive span of expertise we have in the UCSF faculty. For example, when someone asked me last year from which news outlets I get my COVID-19 information, I said I only get COVID-19 advisories from UCSF experts.

I am also one of the Wiki Administrators, and I enjoy the opportunity to serve and support many departments at UCSF. 

Central IT is a very supportive group – I am happy to be part of it.


What’s one ‘fun fact’ about you that not many people know?

I became a student of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) seven years ago and after many bruises and body aches, I got my blue belt! I recommend it to women (and men) of all ages. A classmate told me that my most impactful statement to her when she asked me about BJJ was “when usually women would assume it’s the end when they are pinned to the ground, in jiu-jitsu, you’re just getting started”.


What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I love yoga, kickboxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I love playing escape room board games with my family - my daughter does a lot of the solving, though. I rediscovered reading (geek reading and fiction), and I volunteer in the community when I can.


If you could learn anything what would that be?

I’d love to learn and be fluent in one or two more languages and be able to play violin.



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