Role Models: Rebecca Poulson, Technical Program Manager, Emerging Platforms at Northwestern University

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Today’s Role Model is Rebecca Poulson. Rebecca studied art history and creative writing in college and then spent her early career writing and directing plays. She found herself being drawn towards technology enabled experiences and interactives and then started coding more seriously, working as an engineer at Kickstarter for a couple years. In her current role leading AR/VR projects in the journalism school at Northwestern, she gets to combine her background in technology and storytelling. Rebecca also speaks at conferences (she gave WebVR workshops on three continents last year) and enjoys cooking, knitting and playing with her dog.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

Technical Program Manager, Emerging Platforms at Northwestern University Knight Lab. I’ve been at the Knight Lab for 2.5 years and I started my current role in March 2017.

What attracted you to this role?

When I started at Knight Lab I was a web developer who did VR stuff as a hobby. I was lucky to join at a time when the lab’s interest and investment in VR was growing. About six months into my time at the lab, one of the faculty members I worked with really championed me. We were able to design a role that took advantage of my interdisciplinary background and combined coding, design and student engagement.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

I bring breakfast from home and eat it at my desk while answering emails first thing in the morning. (This period is the only time I look at my work email.) I like to do quiet focussed work in the morning and I like to start my day by learning something new.  After email, I’ll read a paper or watch a talk about AR or VR. Following that time, I might be investigating a new library or prototyping tool or debugging student work. At the beginning of the school year, I was doing a lot of interviewing and hiring. Before lunch I try to do a little planning work, pulling potential readings, adding comments to Trello cards for the projects I manage or getting things together for upcoming events.

I take lunch around 1-1:30, which is apparently “very New York” of me. Most of my colleagues eat earlier. I try to take a walk around campus if the weather’s nice or do a little bit of knitting. I try to do most of my “peopling” work after lunch. Two days a week that’s leading a project in our Knight Lab: Studio class; the rest of the time it’s checking in on the student fellows I manage. I’m usually out shortly after five but sometimes I shift my time so I come in later in the morning and leave around 7pm since it can be tough to coordinate a group of students when you’re only available 9-5.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

Technically, I alternate between web projects which use Javascript and projects that use the Unity game engine, where I write code in C#. I also do a lot  of research and information design and mentorship.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

I love working with student fellows on experimental AR/VR projects. When I design a project for the fellows, I approach it from a place of “Okay, these are the technologies and techniques I’m interested in exploring; these are the skills and interests my student team has; and these are the experiences they need to acquire to be ready for the kind of jobs they want.” Those are really inspiring constraints to build around.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

The breadth. My role is really multidisciplinary, which is why I love it, but it’s really demanding to maintain such a broad skillset.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

The big tent pole project for our lab is the Knight Lab: Studio course, a multidisciplinary course that runs every quarter. It’s team taught by a journalism professor and a computer science professor and I and the other staff developers act as project leads. Before registration, we all pitch projects that we want to work on and then we open applications to assemble cross-functional teams made up of students all across the university. We just opened applications for winter quarter where I’m running two AR projects–one is a user research project where we’re play-testing an AR game about climate change, and the other is a prototyping project where we’re reimagining what different storytelling forms might look like in AR.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

I’m trying to be more strategic. In a role like mine it’s really easy to be like, “Ooh, shiny!” and start exploring something new. I’m trying to have more big-picture vision and purpose to the things my team works on.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

The ability to be self-directed and learn new things. A high tolerance for ambiguity and willingness to fail. Also the ability to persuade people that they’re capable of things that sound kinda crazy comes in handy.

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

I used to struggle with feeling like my work had to be perfect before I showed it to anyone and I’ve really had to work on that in this job. Emerging technology moves so quickly that by the time you’ve done anything, there’s a better and faster way to do it. You can’t afford to be precious.

In your role, what metrics define success?

I don’t really have a quantifiable definition of success–which can be both liberating and anxiety inducing. I definitely consider any project we ship or research findings we can share out to be success. I also get really happy when students bring their parents in to the lab to try out VR.

Role Models: Mike Hamilton, Senior Customer Support Manager at FiscalNote

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Today’s Role Model is Mike Hamilton. Mike always preferred opportunities to work with people, especially when he got to teach or make something better. He initially pursued a career in public education but took a detour to a call center.  While working in that call center, he discovered that he could do the work he enjoyed in environments besides a classroom. That insight let him to his current role and inspired him to continue learning and evolving throughout his professional life. Currently, Mike is a Senior Customer Support Manager at FiscalNote, a DC-based software, data, and media company.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

I am a Senior Customer Support Manager. I’ve been this particular role for a little over a year, with an additional 6 months of prior experience in a junior role at FiscalNote.

What attracted you to this role?

I get to help people solve problems and learn every day. Moreover, my role is highly interdisciplinary and allows me to flex skills in both client-facing and technical fields.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

I start my day with a team meeting in which all members of customer support identify our priorities for the day and quickly discuss any recent or impending developments. Throughout the day, I keep a window for Zendesk and a window for Slack open so I can communicate with customers and colleagues. Through those applications, I field questions about bugs and data as well as product feedback, training, or administrative concerns. I communicate with engineers or product managers through Slack or Jira to align on technical requirements for projects and updates. I attend weekly meetings to track the analytics of customer-facing resources and to stay on top of new developments with the company’s products.

 

Lunch is usually between 12 and 2. I tend to eat at my desk so I can catch up on work or read the news, but occasionally I’ll pull up a chair at a table with colleagues.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

I started using Zendesk in September 2014, and it remains the center of my work. It’s an awesome tool for managing relationships with customers because it’s incredibly customizable with great technical documentation that explains any task. It also just feels fun to use the software and watch conversations evolve from requests to solutions. My time in a call center opened my mind to working in customer support and refined the communication/analytical skills I developed for public education. Zendesk was my gateway to applying new technology to customer support. I’m using a lot of different software today, but Zendesk remains my favorite tool.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

My role is incredibly flexible, and I get to try something new every day. I might be helping an important client resolve a question. I might write content for our Help Center or manage an integration that will enhance the my team’s operations. I can start conversations with people across the company, from salespeople to engineers and peers to VPs, about key initiatives or projects. Never a dull moment!

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

How I spend the most valuable resource – time! In support, a lot comes at me and everything can feel urgent. Keeping a to-do list is key. I try to get as much information as I can about the requirements and priorities for the things I’m working on so that I can separate the important-and-urgent from the important-but-not-urgent. Some things have to get done ASAP, and some things need to go to the back burner for a bit.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

Customer Support touches a lot of different teams across the company, from Sales and Account Management to Product and Engineering. For example, I receive product feedback from clients and it’s my job to make sure that feedback gets to the attention of the Product team. One time, after receiving a significant amount of feedback from a particular client in a short timespan, I connected with a colleague in Product and we determined that we needed to get a better sense of that client’s workflow. We both did research and held a meeting with a colleague from our Professional Services team who we knew was very familiar with the client. The information we gathered informed the way the Product team could prioritize development to fulfill the client’s most important feedback, and it helped me devise a workaround that the client could use in the meantime.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

Using SQL. Our software products involve a lot of data, and sometimes I need to find something for a client. There are times when I need to ask a data manager or an engineer for help with complex queries. My goal is to become more independent so I can turnaround queries quickly. Moreover, SQL is pretty fascinating.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

Patience: Sometimes it can take a while to get to the bottom of a problem.

Creativity: Everyone perceives technology in different ways, so it’s important to find ways to engage everyone.

Attention to detail: Gathering as much information as possible about a problem greatly contributes to a speedy resolution. This means I ask customers a lot of questions, including specific directions as necessary. “What’s the browser you are using? What version? Does a hard refresh help? What’s the operating system of your machine? What page were you on when that happened? Could you hover over that icon, then click on the menu option that’s second from the top?”

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

Before I started working in tech, I never opened Excel or Google Sheets. I found formulas to be intimidating and mysterious. Fortunately, I have had bosses who sensed this was an area for improvement and steadily assigned me work to ramp up my skills. At first, I got coaching whenever I hit a stumbling block.

 

But then I learned where to go online for resources and I felt comfortable practicing independently. After a while, I started using spreadsheets outside of work to organize data in my personal life. Now, VLOOKUP and CONCATENATE are tools I used everyday. While I still have a lot more to learn, I feel empowered to go after more spreadsheet knowledge.

In your role, what metrics define success?

First Reply Time (FRT): The difference between the time at which a customer opens a conversation with me in Zendesk and the time at which I send a message back to the customer. A low time is desirable since it signals that I am highly responsive.

 

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): After I conclude a conversation with a customer, Zendesk sends a simple survey that the customer may complete. They can rate my customer service as “Good” or “Bad” and leave qualitative feedback. Zendesk converts and aggregates the feedback to a percentage. My benchmark is that 97% of customers who complete the survey rate my service as “Good.”

Role Models: Julia Steele, Sr. Strategist, Brand Events and Relationships at SYPartners

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Today’s Role Model is Julia Steele. Julia is unflinchingly passionate about empowering others to tell their stories to the world. She began her career doing brand strategy and experience design at game-changing internet brands Gawker Media and Tumblr. Later on, she launched her own brand—Ratter—which set out to revive local news for the internet. Currently, Julia oversees brand reputation at SYPartners, an organization which consults with business leaders on diversity and organizational transformation.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

Sr. Strategist, Brand Events and Relationships (yes, this is the second wordiest title at SYPartners). 3 years in March.

What attracted you to this role?

I love envisioning a future that doesn’t yet exist, then thinking through and taking the steps it will take to get there. It requires a lot of creativity—a trait I’ve never identified as having, given I’m not a ‘capital d’ Designer.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

I’m an early riser. I try to meditate, go to the gym, and write in my journal every morning. (I usually eke out two of the three.) I mention this ritual because it’s key to my success in my role.

I’m in the office by 9, where I strongly prefer to have heads down time for the first couple hours to catch up on any writing or bigger thinking I have to do for the day. We have a room in the office called “the Hideout” which is like the Amtrak Quiet Car. It is my favorite.

11-4 is all about meetings. My role is very project based—at a given time the team is working on 5-8 projects which bring ideas from around the firm to life. These projects result in various media, e.g. our new podcast series, Leading into the Unknown or a new tool like the identity icebreaker we just put up on our online store. I also reserve time each day for relationship building, via coffee catchups or just email. I’m constantly scanning the landscape for interesting business podcasts, newsletters, posts, etc. and writing people (most of the time blindly), with praise. I’m obsessed with Ellen McGirt’s Fortune Race Ahead newsletter, e.g. (Please subscribe if you don’t already.)

For lunch, I usually pop out to Good Stock or Brodo for pick up somewhere in that window. (I am a huge evangelizer of both of these places.) I eat at my desk while answering emails, but it’s far from a Sad Desk Lunch since the new Kobra mural is right out the window.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

Everything Google. (I love how Google Docs used to be clunky and now the user experience [for my purposes] exceeds Excel. The new feature that allows you to create new docs with a Chrome shortcuts is sent from heaven. [Type “doc.new” into your Chrome address bar, et voila.])

And all of the Slackbots. (Newest obsession: brb.life Slackbot. It allows you to see all your team members wfh/vacation time. It’s like an auto responder for Slack.)

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

Getting to talk with SYP’s myriad brilliant leaders about their consulting work: What ideas or trends are they witnessing in their client work? And how could those ideas benefit a wider group? Then I get to go out externally and socialize these ideas with our online audiences, journalists, or potential partners, building the reputation of the leader, the firm—and creating a lot of good vibes in the process.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

Not having time to do all the things I want to do as well as I want to do them. The fact that time is finite. Et cetera!

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

I work frequently with our design team who are normally confined to working on whatever client-facing project they are on. It’s fun bringing them into the work of the Brand Team, where we don’t have client deliverables, per se, and can play a little bit more.

A few months ago we produced our first podcast, Designing for Humanity, where our Managing Creative Director, Rie, interviews design leaders about how to create a better, more inclusive world.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

I want to be the best manager on the planet. Not that it’s a competition 🙂 But seriously, I have two new hires starting this month. Nothing gives me more joy than removing roadblocks for my people and generally facilitating their growth and career evolution.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

Tenacity: sometimes with shifting priorities in the firm’s client load, it’s hard to prioritize brand-building and story telling (the “drum beat” work).

Equity: We try really hard to feature the voices and ideas of leaders at all levels of SYP, not just our leadership team.

Intelligence: Companies pay us the big bucks for our smart ideas, so the people who work here are very smart. It helps to be as smart as them!

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

My ability to frame a narrative in a way that builds belief in others. Massive improvement in my public presentation of self/public speaking abilities. Despite being a major extrovert in small groups, I have had to learn to overcome extreme anxiety around public speaking. I started by presenting ideas to SYP’s leadership team and now regularly find myself presenting and facilitating large groups of people during conference and workshops.

In your role, what metrics define success?

At the end of the day, my team’s remit is to increase SYP’s reputation and valuable relationship capital. There are a bunch of tangible metrics we measure (email newsletter open-rate, social followers, conference attendee numbers), but more fun are the “anecdotal” metrics. In the past two years, have candidates we’re recruiting heard of our work? How many degrees of separation is SYP from a leader we want to work with?

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Role Models: Morgane Santos, AR Engineer at Mapbox

Morgane Santos

Photo credit: Samuel Unéus

Today’s Role Model is Morgane Santos. She studied computer science at Berkeley and has worked in tech for about five years as both a web developer and designer. Morgane is currently an augmented reality (AR) engineer at Mapbox, a location data platform. Since she is around computers all day, she likes to hike, read, and otherwise avoid technology in her free time.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

We don’t have official titles at Mapbox, but I’d call myself an AR engineer. I’ve been at Mapbox for just under a year and have been on two teams in the time. Prior to being an AR engineer, I worked on our Unity SDK (also as an engineer).

What attracted you to this role?

I’m really interested in the growing 3D space in tech, and knew I wanted a job in AR or VR (virtual reality). I was tired of working on websites and wanted a fresh challenge. AR and VR are still so new that no one’s an “expert” yet, which can be daunting but it also means *you* can be the trailblazer. A lot of AR/VR roles also combine design + development, which I enjoy; I don’t like just doing one or the other.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

I’ve actually written about my day for our company blog before. You can check out the post here

tl;dr though, there is no typical day for me. I *can* tell you that my days are a mix of 3D math, coding, sketching out ideas on paper, and drinking a lot of tea. I keep a fairly traditional 9-to-5 schedule, eating lunch at noon and getting tea with coworkers around 3pm. I never stay late. I work from home maybe once or twice a week (which I prefer; I don’t like open offices at all). Every so often my job requires going to a conference, so I may be traveling for that.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

I’ve used a lot of different tech over the years, but this is what I use now: Xcode (we program in Swift on my team); Unity/C#; Git; Figma…

As for skills, I think the most important thing is to be curious and willing to see an idea through. In AR, there are no answers. There’s no book you can read that tells you exactly what works and what doesn’t. You have to come up with an idea, sketch it, prototype it, and build it yourself to learn if it was ever a good idea. Of course it helps to already be comfortable with math and programming, but the curiosity is ultimately much more important. Are you willing to learn? Are you willing to fail? Being comfortable with so much uncertainty and ambiguity has been critical to my success in this role.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

I literally get to think of what could be cool in AR, and then I make it! This is a role with lots of freedom and room for experimentation. It’s really exciting coming up with the very first solution for something and learning by doing. It’s similar to playing with Legos as a kid: you have a visionary idea, you have some basic building blocks, and you just go for it. Sometimes I can’t believe I get paid to do this.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

Everything that makes it exciting: there are no answers. I can’t easily research how someone else has solved a certain problem. I definitely can’t anticipate most problems I encounter. The tech is also nascent, so the limitations of the software and hardware can be frustrating at times.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

Our team’s fairly insular, but we do work with the sales, business, and marketing teams to better understand what potential/existing customers might want in the AR space, and how we can make that happen. We also collaborate with other engineering teams sometimes to create specialized AR experiences.

While I can’t talk too much about the work we do for customers, I can mention a more individual collaboration. Part of my job includes writing tutorials for how our SDKs work. In those cases, I work closely with our documentation team to make sure my instructions make sense and are easy to follow. People like Heather Stenson (who you interviewed!) are really instrumental here.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

I like teaching and mentoring; I want to focus on how I can share my work with others and help them get more comfortable in AR/VR. I recently spoke at Nordic.design about how designers can get started in this space, and it’s something I look forward to continuing.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

I’ve touched on this above, but I’ll say it again: curiosity and being comfortable with ambiguity.

I also want people who like collaborating and don’t have huge egos. My team is really supportive and kind; we judge each other’s *work*, not each other. I’d rather work with a “junior” person who’s thoughtful and excited to learn than a “senior” person who’s rude and stuck in their ways.

So how can you show that you’re curious, collaborative, and thoughtful? Maybe you have a few side projects that illustrate how you learned a new technology. Maybe you blog a lot about engineering or design. Maybe you volunteer somewhere on the weekends for a cause you really believe in. Maybe you have totally non-tech-related hobbies like learning a new language. I’m more interested in any of those facts than where someone went to school or if they’ve worked at a “famous” company before.

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

Being self-organized. I need to plan out my own work, including the metrics of success; I can’t rely on someone higher up telling me exactly what they need from me because no one knows what’s a reasonable ask in AR yet.

I’ve also gotten a lot better at understanding how people process 3D space, which is a cool perk of working in AR/VR.

In your role, what metrics define success?

Tangibly, it’s building a prototype/demo/app/whatever you want to call it that clearly communicates a certain idea. These demos are used by teams like the sales team to help convince customers to use Mapbox, specifically for AR.

Aside from the *business* success, we’re successful in our roles as long as we’re learning and honing our AR skills. The more we know about how to design and build something for AR, the better.

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Role Models: Heather Stenson, Technical Writer at Mapbox

Heather Stetson is a technical writer for Mapbox

Today’s Role Model is Heather Stenson. Up until three ago, Heather was a librarian at an art school. Feeling burnt out and looking for her next step, she began to reflect. She enjoyed the more technical aspects of her librarian job and knew basic HTML and CSS, so she enrolled in a coding bootcamp. Upon graduation, she expected to look for a job as a developer, but a friend pointed her towards a technical writing role at Facebook. After researching the position, she realized that it was the perfect marriage of her library background and her newfound tech knowledge. Heather is currently a technical writer at Mapbox, a location data platform.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

I’m a technical writer at Mapbox, a location data platform, and I’ve been here for about 8 months. Before that I worked as a hybrid tech writer/content strategist at a startup called CodeFights (now CodeSignal), and before that I was a tech writer at Facebook.

What attracted you to this role?

Mapbox is still a pretty small company, but its tool and product offerings are really wide ranging. I don’t like to work on just one thing, so the fact that I’d get to work on documentation for a lot of different products was really appealing. And the documentation team is really small – there are only two of us – so I knew that I’d have the opportunity to have a big impact on the organization. Even though the docs team is very small, there’s a really strong culture of documentation here. Everyone pitches in to make sure that our documentation is useful and thorough. It also helped that everyone I came into contact with at the company was super friendly.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

Mapbox has a lot of different offices spread out across the world – San Francisco, Washington DC, Minsk, Helsinki, Shanghai, Beijing, plus a lot of remote workers. Since we’re so distributed, we communicate a lot using Slack. We also use GitHub issues to coordinate a lot of work! So when I start my day, I check in on my Slack and GitHub notifications. I have keyword notifications set up so that I can always know when my coworkers are talking docs! I make a pretty detailed to-do list for each day so that I know what to focus on. Then I grab an almond milk latte and get to it.

I’m usually juggling several different projects, and if they have regular meetings/scrums I’ll join in on those so that I can keep track of what’s moving. If I’m just starting a big project, I try to have a meeting with the stakeholders (usually a combo of project managers and engineers) early on so that I can get a good sense of the project’s parameters.

I try to leave the office at least once a day to remind myself that there’s a whole world outside the office. At Mapbox, there’s a rich tradition of the“cookie walk” – folks taking some time in the afternoon to go grab a sweet treat – but sometimes it’ll be coffee instead.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

At every technical writing job I’ve had, the one constant skill that I’ve needed was being able to write markdown, a formatting syntax that can be converted to HTML. It’s the formatting syntax used in wikis, and it’s also pretty standard in a lot of documentation frameworks. Beyond that, it’s also been helpful that I know HTML/CSS. This allows me to have more control over how the documents I write are formatted.

At Mapbox, we use GitHub for everything, so it’s been critical for me to know how to use git and GitHub, and to feel comfortable doing things in the command line. Knowing how to “read” code is also useful – I can look at a snippet of code and get a sense for what it does, even if I don’t know the language it’s written in.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

Every new product that I write about means another new toy that I get to learn how to use! Before I can write an effective guide or tutorial, I need to use the tool or product so that I can unearth potential user pain points and guide them to a good outcome.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

One of my biggest challenges is juggling lots of different projects at once. Docs never stop, so I usually have at least five projects that I can work on at any given time! It’s really important for me to be able to weigh something’s potential impact against the time required to complete the work, and prioritize accordingly.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

The documentation team at Mapbox works with nearly all of the product teams! When a new product is released, or a tool is updated, this means that we’ve got work to do. We typically collaborate with a combination of product managers and engineers when we’re working on documentation – they provide background, technical details, code examples, and just generally help guide the work we do. We also work really closely with the support team. Since they are constantly interacting with Mapbox users, they are able to identify ways in which we can improve our documentation.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

Right now, we are in the process of moving to a new documentation framework that uses React. While I don’t need to know React in order to use the system, I’ll need to know it in order to build my own components! If I think of a cool new UI component that I’d like to be able to use across various documents, I really want to be able to build it myself.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

Good technical writers are naturally curious people! They want to take things apart and see how they work, then share what they’ve learned with others. Being detail-oriented and organized are helpful as well.

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

I have a tendency to try to power through problems to find the questions myself. In some ways this is a good thing. But when the subject matter expert for the problem I’m working on is a mere Slack message away, a lot of times it doesn’t make sense for me to spend hours struggling with a question! So I’m getting better at timeboxing problems – if I don’t reach the answer myself in a reasonable amount of time, I reach out to someone who knows the answer.

In your role, what metrics define success?

As a team, we’re still working on defining what “success” for a piece of documentation is, and how we measure that. We’re exploring a lot of different ways to capture user feedback and user actions, and then turn that data into a way of measuring success. Anecdotally, though, we get a lot of feedback from different channels that people love our documentation and find it to be really helpful, so that’s a good way of knowing that we’re on the right track!

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Role Models: Una Kravets, Direct of Product Design at Bustle Digital Group

Una Kravets, Director of Product Design at Bustle

Today’s Role Model is Una Kravets. Una is an international public speaker, technical writer, and the Director of Product Design at Bustle Digital Group, where she oversees UI/UX of Bustle, Elite Daily, Romper, and The Zoe Report. Una has written for various online publications such as A List Apart, 24 Ways, Smashing Magazine, and SitePoint, and started both the DC and Austin Sass Meetup groups. She also co-hosts the Toolsday developer podcast and has a Youtube video series which features videos about about life, fashion and tech.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

I’m the Director of Product Design at Bustle Digital Group, and I’ve been here for 9 months (having started January 2018)

What attracted you to this role?

I was really interested in taking a more involved and overarching approach to product design in my next role (which led me here). I also loved that I get to work on the Engineering team and get to use my multidisciplinary background (in both design and web engineering) every day.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

I’m mostly designing via writing code during the day. I work on both large and small projects. Larger projects include redesigns, the visual aspects of product migrations, or ideating and building new products that will be used by designers and editors across properties. So when I’m doing this kind of work, I’m checking in with product management and stakeholders intermittently.

Some days though, I’m just fixing UI bugs, resolving support tickets, and making sure everything is in place. I don’t have a lot of meetings, but the meetings I do have, I try to keep short, concise, and end with an action item. Lunch is usually in the office, with the engineers getting together to chat and work in the same space for a little while.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

Having a background in computer science and graphic design (I went to college for both) certainly helps. Continuing to learn web development as its evolved over the last couple of years has been important in keeping up with technologies and trends. Learning new interaction patterns and design trends is critical, as well as having a foundation of web accessibility and the render tree.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

I feel like my role is generally very creative. Designing new features is just as creative as coming up with resolutions for bugs.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

Some of the projects I work on can involve complex visual systems. For example, a part of what I do is make sure every type of component works in every type of containing element, on every type of page, without breaking anywhere. With growing codebases, this becomes increasingly challenging.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

I’m always working on improving my technical skills to make me a more effective developer across the stack. I think in today’s world, having the ability to code gives a designer a lot of power.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

The ability to creatively solve problems and be organized is important. I use to-do lists to keep my life in order.

In your role, what metrics define success?

That really depends on the goal of the project! And the metrics that determine meeting the project goals are probably the most important. Time management and shipping on time play a key role as well.

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Role Models: Trucy Phan, Senior Product Designer at Yello

Trucy Phan, Senior Product Designer at Yello

Today’s Role Model is Trucy Phan. Trucy is a self-taught designer and developer with Mechanical and Civil Systems engineering roots. She was born and raised in Iowa to Vietnamese immigrants, lived and worked in the Bay Area in California for 10 years, and just moved to Chicago last year. Some of her favorite things include: grocery shopping when traveling in other countries, handwritten cards, and koalas. Currently, Trucy a Senior Product Designer for Yello, a talent acquisition CRM.

Give me a quick summary of your career thus far. Where did you get your start? How do the dots connect to where you are today?

It’s hard to do a quick summary of 9 years but here we go:

  • After a year and a half doing odd jobs during the recession that hit in 2008, I finally got a job at a government research lab (LBL) doing energy efficiency analyses.
  • After that, I ran a company with a business partner for 4 years in San Francisco designing and building websites, apps and data visualizations for city planning and transit agencies. At that company, I was a designer, developer, and project manager.
  • In the last 5 years, I’ve worked for a handful of seed stage startups as their only full stack designer and front end developer, and working as a full-time product designer at larger startups.

If you want to hear more about each of these bullet points, I spent a lot of time detailing how I got into tech for The Techies Project!

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

I’m a Senior Product Designer at Yello and have been here for 7 months.

What attracted you to this role?

Yello had most of the things I was looking for when I was interviewing! Some of those were:

  • A data-heavy application with an abundance of design problems to solve
  • An existing design team (i.e. I wouldn’t be the only designer in-house)
  • A company without a robust design system (so I could help create and maintain one)
  • An existing product (i.e. not something with 0 users) that could be improved, since I had previously worked places that only had new features and few users to get feedback from

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

Here is a sample of things I might do in a given day:

  • Sync up with engineers, my PM, and other designers as needed
  • Heads-down design time during which I might sketch, explore medium and high fidelity prototypes, or modify something in our pattern library
  • Participate in phone screens and onsite interviews for front end engineering, product manager, and product design candidates
  • Pair with another designer for an hour on a design problem
  • Give feedback to other designers on their work, and go through feedback left on mine
  • Chat with clients and summarize client feedback
  • Write surveys to send to clients

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

Technologies: Outside of the normal suite of tools our company uses (Slack, Confluence, Jira, G Suite, Zoom, etc.) I love Figma. I use it for everything from designing, illustrating, prototyping, and dev handoff to maintaining a shared pattern library across our team and using their commenting and sharing features to collaborate with PMs, engineers, and other designers. If you’re a designer and haven’t used it, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s free, works in the browser and as a native app on any Mac or Windows computer.

Skills: Since designers at Yello are responsible for doing so many things: recruiting, user research, and full stack design (wireframing, info architecture, visual, interaction design/prototyping), time management and prioritization is crucial.

Work is fun if you’re curious and are also learning (not just in execution mode) so I try to investigate new tools and more exploratory designs when I can. A good designer can understand when to focus on the details and when to zoom out to get perspective, so I’m practicing that, too.

When it comes to people, being a nice person goes a long way, as well as being patient and having empathy for both your team members and the people who use the software.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

I love talking to clients and getting feedback! I also love meeting other product designers over coffee, talking to them about what drives them, and seeing how I can help them in their career. When I’m designing, I love the exploration phase early on, and creating a functional, high fidelity prototype at the end. The middle stuff for me is like a bunch of crap and terrible ideas I’m embarrassed to show.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

I used to be the one who implemented my own designs, so if I changed my mind it was very quick and easy to change the code and push it to prod. The traditional designer/dev handoff happened in my head, so nothing was lost in translation. Now, I have to be a little more sure of a design before I give it to a developer to be built and iterated on, and be sure of what’s an exploration vs. more final.

I used to work in much smaller companies, where I would sit just a few feet away from the CEO, CTO, VP of Product, VP of Engineering, and customer support. At one particularly scrappy place, I literally shared a desk with the CTO. As a result, at those companies I usually felt like I always knew what was happening, and if I didn’t know, I was a quick conversation away from knowing.

Now, one of the challenges I’m facing is getting all the context and information I need across different departments from people who all have busy schedules and still feeling like I can move forward and make the right decisions without having all the information all the time.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

I work cross functionally with engineers and my PM on a daily basis. At least once a week I might touch base with PMs on other teams, and people who work in our customer support group and sales.

Recruiting is a good example. Since designers help interview for front-end engineers, product managers and product designers, I’ll also chat accordingly with other engineers, other PMs, other designers, and our in-house recruiter to discuss each interview and align on interview guides, on-site questions, and post-interview discussions.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

I want to become better at coming up with more design explorations in the beginning stages of a new feature, and better at interaction design. I want to spend more time exploring beyond what low hanging fruit is, or an MVP, and actually thinking about what an ideal user experience would be, starting with understanding a user’s journey and pain points instead of jumping right into nitty gritty high fidelity work. I’ve always had a more technical approach to design, so I think I could be better at stepping back to understand where a user is coming from a bit more.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

An ideal product design candidate is able to take information — both quantitative and qualitative — and solve a user problem related to a company’s goals. Each design choice should be intentional, and always link back to the user.

It’s an overused term, but the ability to work in a cross functional team goes a long way. Knowing what strengths people bring to the table, understanding where someone is coming from when they disagree, and having fun are all important to me.

An ideal candidate also should be self-aware. How do your decisions impact your team? What about others at the company? How do your choices impact users?

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

Hands down, recruiting. I’ve interviewed so many candidates for Yello since I started, I’m getting better at assessing hard and soft skills of product designers in a way that’s fair to them (and more useful for us), which include coming up with better interview exercises that allow them to shine.

Hiring my own manager is something I never thought I would do either, but we definitely wrote a job req and created on-site interview exercises for that role. (P.S., if you want to be my manager you should apply!)

Lastly, I think I’m always going to be a huge advocate of changing ineffective tools and processes at each company I’m at, so I’m currently learning how to balance making others feel included in the process with also getting things done. What you don’t want, is too much change too fast, which could backfire because someone perceives it as a threat. But at the end of the day, we should all be working together because we’re all on the same team!

In your role, what metrics define success?

That depends. If it’s a new feature, is it being delivered on time? Is it sellable by the sales team? Do a greater number of prospects become customers after the launch of the feature, or do people fail to renew their contracts despite being given the new feature?

In terms of the recruiting we do, does a candidate accept the offer? How did they view their interview and on-boarding experience?

Yello was, and is, going through a lot of change, so it’s really exciting to be a part of that but also hard to measure success when all the variables and constraints are changing.

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Role Models: Lindsay Hinman, Senior Project Manager at Sabre

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Today’s Role Model is Lindsay Hinman. Earlier in her career, Lindsay coordinated events and managed internal projects at different firms. Once she got a taste of managing a digital project from end-to-end, she was hooked on building products. Today, Lindsay blends her technical acumen with her strong communication skills as a Senior Project Manager at Sabre, a travel technology company.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

I’m a Senior Project Manager on the Digital Experience team. I started at Sabre in early 2017 as a Project Manager and transitioned into the Senior role about four months ago.


What attracted you to this role?

Ever since I led my first website redesign project in 2014, I was hungry for a role that allowed me to lead digital initiatives year-round. This opportunity promised (and delivered) a fast-paced environment with plenty of potential to learn and grow.


Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

Meetings are pretty frequent. You can typically find me in stand-up meetings, weekly client check-ins, or internal planning sessions.

I also spend a good amount of time helping scope out new projects, evaluating client requests for enhancements, and performing iterative quality assurance testing. Outside of project-specific responsibilities, I focus on internal process improvement. Our team is very receptive to new ideas and ways we can work more efficiently.

Lunch is flexible; while it can sometimes be hard to step away, I usually take a break from screen time and go for a stroll.


What skills/technologies help you succeed?

I rely most on my communication skills in this role. It’s important to adjust communication styles based on the variety of audiences I speak with on the regular. For example, if the development team brings me a technical recommendation, I need to distill it into a more digestible summary for clients, while making sure nothing gets lost in translation.

Tech-wise, the tools can vary based on the type of project, but being well-versed in Jira can be a huge time-saver. Creating custom queries and dashboards can give a quick snapshot of project progress without having to scroll through an endless Kanban board.


What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

I get really energized by requirements-gathering sessions and design review meetings. I’m enthusiastic about mapping out detailed pieces of functionality and achieving consensus among technical experts and clients alike. It’s exciting to build a razor-sharp vision of the finished product.

Also — QA! Finding and reporting bugs is a dream for a self-proclaimed pedant like myself.


What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

Managing expectations among a variety of stakeholders is a common area for pitfalls; it can be challenging to ensure alignment on every detail of every project, but it’s critical in ensuring the client receives the products they expect. Documentation is clutch.

I think PMs can also struggle with time management, especially when overseeing a lot of initiatives simultaneously. It can be difficult to find blocks of time for focused tasks like QA among the sea of meetings and other tasks. I have a pretty robust priorities document for this reason.


What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

Collaborating with designers, front-end developers, back-end developers, and QA engineers is a huge part of my job. I work closely with our design team to bring the project vision to life while staying true to the client’s brand. I rely on our technical experts to assess the level of effort of client requests, confirm the best approach for those requests, and evaluate designs to ensure a seamless UX.

I also collaborate with account managers to gain a broader understanding of client priorities. This helps inform my client communications.


What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

I find it rewarding to collaborate with my fellow PMs and help them brainstorm solutions to creative problems, so I’m aiming to level-up my supervisory skills.

Also, there’s always more to learn in terms of code; I use our biweekly demos to soak up some technical knowledge from our scrum teams.


Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

The ability to keep calm under pressure. A common mantra among my team is “don’t pass the panic.” If something goes wrong on a client’s site and they are (understandably) anxious to have it resolved, there’s a way to communicate that sense of urgency without compounding everyone’s stress.

Additionally, curiosity is an important trait. Don’t hold back on asking questions. It’s good to get into the minutiae of business requirements and technical requirements to ensure the project runs smoothly.


What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

My technical knowledge has grown exponentially since starting at Sabre; I’ve expanded my expertise particularly in content management systems (including a custom CMS) and in QA metrics like WCAG. I’ve also further honed my skills in project management tools; I consult a variety of platforms to craft and maintain my iterative plans across the roadmap.  

In terms of soft skills, I’ve gained substantial experience in client services overall, including handling difficult conversations with tact. I’m also much more comfortable with managing conflicting viewpoints and finding common ground among stakeholders with seemingly disparate priorities.

In your role, what metrics define success?

Put simply: Meeting deadlines. This requires a thorough understanding of the project’s scope and dependencies in order to map out an efficient and realistic project plan. Consulting with technical leads early and often is key. While I don’t need to know how to write code, I do need to “speak the language” enough to ask the right questions.

A more subjective measure is client satisfaction. It’s critical to know the client’s brand inside and out, especially when it comes to making pivotal decisions during the course of the project.

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Role Models: Oran Bambrick, SVP of Digital Technologies at Enterprise Ireland

oranphoto for meg (1)

Today’s Role Model is Oran Bambrick. In college, Oran studied social policy and film production. He spent a few years working on short films before moving into sales and marketing for an advertising agency. As he worked his way through the ranks, he fell in love with operations: the processes that help grow and scale a business. Today, Oran helps Irish companies move into new markets as SVP of Digital Technologies at Enterprise Ireland.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

My official title is SVP of Digital Technologies at Enterprise Ireland (the VC arm of the Irish Government) and I have been in this role a little over a year.

What attracted you to this role?

Five years ago, I was working for an Irish start up and moved to NYC to open an office. I experienced all the ups and downs that comes with starting afresh in a new city and market. Now I act as a consultant for Irish companies/entrepreneurs we have invested in who are going through a similar process that I experienced. I think there is something weirdly cathartic about helping someone navigate a situation that you’ve been through and helping them avoid some of the mistakes you may have made!

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

The only constant is coffee! Everyday is different but we need to have a diverse network and seek out varying opportunities to be helpful to our companies. We need to put ourselves around the city, network and get used to being functionally over-caffeinated from many, many meetings in cafes. Everyday I’ll meet with 3-4 different US companies, be it in the media, consumer brands, or tech space, and hear what their pain points are. Because we have invested in so many companies (we’re the 3rd largest VC in the world by deal flow), we can act as a good conduit of tech for them, so they come to us looking for solutions.

Then the other side is meeting or calls with our Irish start ups who are based or visiting here. We help review their market entry strategy, their product, their collateral or see how we can help them grow. Finally, we host a lot of panels and events that help us give back value to the NYC tech community; that usually happens in the evening.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

Empathy is a trait that I’d like to think, or at least hope I posses a bit of (thanks to having insanely lovely parents). I know it sounds a bit odd, but I think empathy is an undervalued and effective skillset in any business. If you consider what brings value to each person you meet and how you can help them, that is amazing. Work hard, make yourself relative and bring value to every meeting and you’ll find obstacles start to move.

In terms of tech, I am pretty low touch in my role. I definitely use LinkedIn everyday, their Sales Navigator tool is great, and Salesforce IQ helps with my contacts. We use chat channels like Teams (unfortunately not Slack, as we are an all Microsoft org) but in my role, its mostly meeting in person. Of course, I need to stay on top of tech trends and news, so I listen to plenty of podcasts and read a lot. Yet for someone with digital technology in their title, I am surprisingly low tech in the office.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

Most fun part is definitely meeting new people and great Irish talent – I know this sounds incredibly cheesy but it is true! It makes me very patriotic and proud seeing some of the amazing people and companies coming from our country, we punch way above our weight.

Creativity wise, it is an open role where you get to put your own stamp on it. I like to put my personality and get creative with the panels and events I host. We held a ‘Data & Donuts’ event last month with panels and thought leaders in the data and security space, and followed it up with a ‘Comms & Cocktails’, so you can definitely see my propensity to eat and drink in those events!

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

Time management. And some of my colleagues would probably say the same, you want to do a million things to help these companies but time is always against you. You always need to evaluate how effectively you are spending your time.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

Our organisation invests in such diverse sectors, so I lead the Tech portfolio, another colleague leads the Construction portfolio, another Retail, etc. At first glance, you would not think there is much crossover. But we communicate well in the office, and there are opportunities for collaboration and learning from how different sectors operate and how colleagues approach this role. We are also all shoulders to the wheel when anyone needs a dig out. At a tech event, you will see our Construction lead helping out making sure everyone has name badges, or our Finance lead setting up chairs. There is a great amount of togetherness and collaboration, as we are only 11 in our NYC office.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

Because I look after a sector which is broadly and poorly segmented as “digital technologies,” I am an inch deep and a mile wide – it is impossible to be an expert across such a wide berth. I look after companies from cyber security to consumer apps, to computer vision and analytics tools. So I need to grow my technical knowledge across a broad range of cohorts, which is hard for someone with not a huge technical background.

In your role, what metrics define success?

The final metric that we stand over end of the year as an organisation is creating more jobs in Ireland. That’s our ultimate success and it’s a pretty great metric to get behind. But there are a few lever metrics that create that impact. We have targets for brokering deals, for assisting companies gain their first commercial deal in a new market, for making introductions. Assisting follow on funding from bigger VCs is important, too, so the companies have adequate resources to scale.

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

My technical knowledge across sectors has grown. My background is tech, but initially on the business dev side. When I had to cover so many different verticals within tech, I was self-conscious and nervous that I would be exposed as not technical enough! But that comes with digging into your sectors, lots of reading and a fill of nerdy podcasts.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

Of course you have to be personable, but also you have to really care – again I know that sounds cheesy and cliché. But technically we are public sector, and we could be tools down at 5pm everyday if we wanted. But my colleagues are amazing workers and really care. Every night there is someone in the office til very late and every weekend there will be people in the office asking the same questions: “What are you doing here?” You have to care about the companies you are helping, and my colleagues and I most definitely do.

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Role Models: Alyssa Edelman, Customer Success Team Manager at Greenhouse

Alyssa Edelman

Today’s Role Model is Alyssa Edelman. Throughout her career, Alyssa’s thrived in roles that let her help others and build relationships. Alyssa draws on her psychology background and her years of experience in customer service. Today, she’s a Customer Success Team Manager at Greenhouse, a SAAS that helps companies manage recruiting.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

I’m a Customer Success Team Manager, and I oversee two great teams within our larger Customer Success department. I’ve been at Greenhouse for three years, and I’ve been in a leadership position for a little over a year and a half.

What attracted you to this role?

As Greenhouse continued to sign more customers, having different workflows for companies of different sizes became important to help us scale our operations. Focusing on small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) meant that I’d help build a team to execute on our first one-to-many account management strategy. I was eager to take on this challenge, as I knew SMB was only going to get bigger over time, and I’d get to lay the foundation for that growth.

Since then, Greenhouse has added more products to our offering, and I’ve been fortunate enough to become responsible for our Greenhouse Onboarding (GHO) customer success team, too. I was excited to apply everything I’d learned by helping build our SMB team to help make our GHO processes more mature.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

Every day looks a little different, but it’s generally a mix of coaching, working on projects, connecting with customers, and iterating on processes. I find myself away from my desk more often than I’m at it, but I do my best to make myself as available as possible to those around me.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

I know this is a gimme, but Greenhouse! Building a high-performing team starts with a great recruiting process, and I feel lucky that we’ve been able to use our own software to hire such a passionate, motivated group of people to work with our SMB and GHO customers.

Having a single source of truth for customer data is critical to our success. We use Totango to keep track of interactions, stay ahead of red flags, send campaigns, and monitor product usage.

Lastly, part of my team is in San Francisco, so Slack and Zoom have helped us bridge the location gap and helped us feel present without being physically present.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

I love seeing a big project or initiative come together. As an example, we recently hired a second Customer Success Manager to support our SMB customers, and tasked her with creating a process for proactive outreach to fast-growing companies. Our thought was that their needs today are probably different from when they started using our software, but they might not know how to get the most value possible out of the system. The new CSM and I collaborated to define the segment, create templates, write a playbook, and execute on the vision. It’s now an important part of our overall processes, and we’re continuing to build on it as time goes on.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

Time management is a huge one. There’s a delicate balance between working on projects and process, and being an available and supportive people manager. I’m sure I don’t get it right 100% of the time, but I do my best to course-correct when I see myself leaning too far in one direction.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

Most often, the cross-functional teams I collaborate with are Customer Support, Sales Operations, the SMB Sales team, and our Data team.

The most recent thing I worked on was with our Sales Ops team. We operationalized a system for round-robining new customers to an Implementation Strategist (who customers will work with to get their Greenhouse account up and running). Before we had this in place, I was making assignments manually. While this worked for us for a while, it was clear that we needed a more scalable alternative; in extreme cases, it was a few hours before I could make time to assign an account. To make this process more effective, I envisioned an auto-assignment system, and our Sales Ops team was able to quickly bring that vision come to life. So far, we’ve gotten a positive reception from both my team and our Sales team, so I’d say it was a success!

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

Right now, I’m trying to learn from leaders around me to think more big-picture about my teams’ processes. What works for us now may work for the next 6 months, but what about the next year? Or the next five years? How can we set ourselves up for success now by building the best foundation possible?

In your role, what metrics define success?

I bucket metrics in three categories: company goals, people goals, and personal goals. Some examples of those in my role are:

  • Company – SMB and GHO customer renewals, expansion revenue, and NPS scores
  • People – a happy team with high engagement rates (our People team administers a twice-yearly engagement survey to measure this)
  • Personal – building upon existing skills, and working toward new ones

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

This was my first management position for a large team, so I’ve definitely learned a lot in that realm as we’ve continued to scale.

One that surprised me, actually, was my writing skill. As part of our SMB services, we send pre-written emails about best practices to customers about once a month. We recently revamped our content for about 2 years’ worth of emails, which was an exercise in clarity and brevity. Writing a thorough, detailed email to a specific customer about a specific scenario is a very different beast than writing an attention-grabbing campaign that’s being sent to thousands of people.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

There are three work-related philosophies that have always resonated with me: work hard and be kind, work smarter not harder, and help other people do great work. I’ve used those as a guiding light when working toward my and my teams’ goals, and I think they’ve helped me be as effective as I can in my role.

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