Skip to main content

Lana Illiano is one in 61,000

By Julie Shapiro, Writer

The daughter of Ukrainian and English immigrants, Ulana Illiano, "Lana", grew up in a tenement-style apartment with her family on the Lower East Side of New York. “Growing up, we had no privacy. It was a railroad apartment with five kids and two parents crammed inside. The bathtub was in the kitchen and the toilet was outside in the hallway. I shared a bed with two of my sisters and I took my first shower in college. It sounds like I grew up in the 1800s. It’s so bizarre to me now.”

After college, Lana landed a job in education administration and quickly rose through the ranks. But she didn’t love the work and wanted to find something more fulfilling. “Everyone said I should be in a ‘technical job’ and I was sort of like, 'Well what does that mean? I’m not a programmer.  I don’t know how to do that.'”

One day while at home with her daughter, Lana was scanning Craig’s List and came across an e-commerce job post that looked interesting. She took a deep breath, made a phone call, and has never looked back. “It was a turning point in my life,” she says. “I learned about all the good stuff - internet marketing and search engine optimization and content management systems,” she beams. “This arena is perfect for me.”

Lana, a self-taught techie, is manager of web production at Northwell Health. A leader in a field dominated by young males, Lana, 51, believes it was fate that led her to her current position. “The internet did not even exist when I was growing up.” The irony that she didn’t use a computer until her 20s and now works in technology is not lost on her.

In her free time, Lana enjoys playing with gadgets, snapchatting and chasing Pokémon.

Interested in joining the 61,000? Learn more about careers at Northwell Health.

Related media

so, you're ...
How I fought the inevitable and finally found peace.