Inspirational profiles of women in
leadership roles in the tech scene.

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Lead(H)er Profile - Kristi Hummel, Chief People Officer at Skillsoft banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Kristi Hummel, Chief People Officer at Skillsoft

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Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Kristi Hummel, Chief People Officer at Skillsoft


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I am originally from Brooklyn, New York, but often say I was transplanted to the Greater Boston area. As a child, I would describe myself as being more on the shy and introverted side.

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I studied Business at Babson College in Massachusetts. Once I graduated, my first job out of school was at a recruitment agency in New York City.

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

First off, I can say I never planned on pursuing a career in HR. I started in recruiting, and this eventually evolved into an HR role. As time went on and I continued down the path of HR, I realized that this field is for me. I have worked for large global companies as well as small start-ups and both come with their own set of unique opportunities challenges. It’s been so interesting and rewarding helping to shape cultures and empower employees to achieve their potential in a variety of environments.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am currently the Chief People Officer for Skillsoft, a corporate digital learning company. My primary goal is driving our culture of learning and development throughout the company, and as part of this, building a more resilient workforce, and sharing those practices with our customers.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?

I never had a set-in-stone career path. Instead, I looked to attain different experiences to learn from and help shape my trajectory. Maintaining a mindset of curiosity and being flexible to change is critical as you advance throughout your career. Over time, I have come to understand that human capital is a company’s most important resource, and I am honored to drive the strategy for us in this space and provide our employees with the same type of positive and opportunistic experience I’ve had throughout my career journey.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

For anyone looking to pursue a career in HR, I have two tips. The first would be to always be learning and apply that learning to your personal and professional life. My second tip would be to find mentors who inspire you. If it wasn’t for receiving this advice early on, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?

Both answers are the same…the people! I am truly honored to see our team members grow in our company. The work they do for each other and our customers inspires me every day to shape the best possible culture that empowers our own team members. At the end of the day, it’s about how we collectively are creating a culture of learning, leadership, and inclusivity that can be role modeled by our customers. On the flip side, ensuring everyone in a company is happy and heard can be challenging -- we are all unique and have different points of view and workplace/work style preferences. Synthesizing a culture that meets all needs at all times can be challenging, especially in today’s work environment, but we are guided by our values and our culture of learning.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

The role of Chief People Officer is focused on the organizations’ most important resources. The human resources that make, market, operate, support and sell a company’s offerings. The skillset of a senior human resources executive is a combination of skills and experiences. Having a background in the disciplines of HR, business drivers, financials, and change management. You also need to be able to build and lead teams of experts – while at the same time bringing your own diverse set of experiences to help guide decision making.

What prediction(s) do you have for the workplace in 2022?

Over the past year, we have seen a massive shift in employees seeking upskilling and reskilling opportunities and doing whatever they need to do to get those needs met. If companies don’t shift their perspectives and provide learning opportunities for employees, they will leave to find a new “home” that will. The Great Resignation may have started in 2021, but it won’t be ending until companies shift their focus to meet employee needs.

How do you feel the role of a Chief People Officer has evolved over the last two years?

The role of HR has changed over the last decade, moving from personnel officers to experts in building engines to attract and develop talent. The most dramatic change, though, has happened in the last two years. We have had a pandemic, social justice movements, global talent pool competition, the rise of AI/ML in redefining roles, and the great resignation. Through all of this, CHROs are answering the call to position their companies for the future – leading conversations on mission and purpose, culture and how to think about the changing needs of team members.

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I am! I’m a proud Board Member of the Board of Trustees for Boston’s Museum of Science and have been for nearly two years.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

For me, my free time is Mom time -- I love to spend time with my 10-year-old.

How do you manage stress?

Managing work and stress is never easy, but it’s essential to avoid reaching burnout. One of the challenges of remote work is that there is a tendency to not shut down at the end of the day, but it’s crucial to recognize it’s alright to step away from the laptop. Keeping work-life integration balanced is key.

Any book or podcast recommendations?

I love listening to the Adam Grant podcast!

About the
Company

Skillsoft delivers online learning, training, and talent solutions to help organizations unleash their edge

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Lead(H)er Profile - Maayan Arbili, Senior Director of Customer Success at Aqua Security banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Maayan Arbili, Senior Director of Customer Success at Aqua Security

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Maayan Arbili, Senior Director of Customer Success at Aqua Security


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?   

I grew up in Jerusalem, Israel and moved to Boston in 2014. (Right in time for the worst winter on record – the weather only could improve from there.) 

As a child, I was outdoorsy and carefree. Times were simpler then! As I grew, I discovered a passion for aviation and wanted to be a pilot. I trained in gliding and aeronautics during middle and high school. When I joined the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) upon graduating high school, women weren’t allowed to be pilots, so I was unable to continue that track. 

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What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school? 

Following two years with the IDF, I went to Hadassah College Jerusalem (HCJ) in Israel to pursue a degree in Computer Science B.Sc. Unsurprisingly, there were few women who attended the program. 

While earning my degree, I started my first role as a Network Operations Center technician or NOC Operator. In Israel, it is common to start your first job while in university. 

The role was at a VoIP startup — a technology that was just emerging at that time. The company was small, but it was a vibrant culture, and I was working on cutting-edge technology. This experience gave me my first glimpse into innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today? 

In my last year of college, I moved to a new role with Comverse Technology, a flagship Israeli tech company. 

While very different than the VoIP startup, both organizations offered cultures with a sense of family and belonging. I was drawn to the mission and people. It’s very similar to what drew me to Aqua — the values and the team. 

I grew a tremendous amount during my 14 years with Comverse and progressed from a software developer to a software team leader to eventually a software project manager and then a senior program and project manager. My responsibilities expanded from strictly development to business-oriented strategic leadership.  Although I spent many years with one company, it was a dynamic, fast-paced environment, and my role was constantly evolving.  

In addition to the pivotal moments, I also think of the critical people who impacted my career path, and my mentors along the years. My mother had a significant influence. She is a strong independent woman, who balanced family and work. She was able to be very present in our household but also had her own path. She showed me that women can have their own career, and she inspired me to pursue all of my passions. 

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What is your current role and responsibilities? 

At Aqua, I lead the global Customer Success department and oversee a team of over 25 amazing CSMs (and growing!). Our team is responsible for the customer journey beginning at day one, focused on maximizing adoption and value in their goal of securing their cloud native applications and infrastructure.  

We have a 360 view of the customer’s experience and act as trusted advisors and advocates internally for Aqua’s customers. We partner with Aqua’s engineering and product teams and prioritize new integrations or features that are requested by customers. We see ourselves as an extension of our customers’ teams to ensure they are successful. In other words, we help amplify the voice of the customer. 

Aqua is maturing its customer success offerings rapidly, and I’m responsible for building our global team. We are expanding into new regions including Singapore, Australia, Europe and across the United States -— we plan to hire 15 ppl in 2022 (so check out our openings!).  

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position? 

Not exactly. Customer success is still a relatively new profession that really emerged within the last 15 years.   

I was always drawn to roles that required collaboration with key stakeholders across multiple departments. I’ve also always had a passion for both the interpersonal side as well as the technical. Moving into customer success was a natural evolution. Each role I held throughout my career helped prepare and shape me for my current role. 

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals? 

I was the first Customer Success Manager at Aqua (I’ve been promoted 4 times since I was hired if it shows anything about the opportunity for growth at Aqua!). I can say that perseverance, hard work and the drive to learn is what’s helped me be successful. 

Those who are considering customer success need to enjoy working with people and see customers beyond the numbers. It requires dedication and a “do whatever it takes” mindset to help customers achieve their goals. 

I’d also stress the importance of investing the time to understand product, the market, and trends. This is the foundation for success. 

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well? 

Grit and flexibility along with the right balance of technical and interpersonal skills. You need to be able to build partnerships internally and externally. 

Project management skills are also essential. You must be detail oriented but also strategic and able to see the bigger picture to set goals (and work backwards to achieve those goals). 

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s the most challenging?   

I love being a part of a company that is growing so quickly (aka a high growth unicorn!). I can see firsthand how my contribution has a direct impact on the company’s success.  

A challenge I face, like many in cybersecurity and tech, is hiring in a dynamic and competitive market. We are extremely focused on retaining talent and nurturing professional growth within the company. I think this is unique differentiator at Aqua that is helping set us apart. 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment? 

I left my role at Comverse after 14 years to move to Boston with my husband, three boys and our dog. We left our family and friends for a new city and new careers. When I landed my role at Aqua, it was my first role in customer success, and I embraced the opportunity. I spent weeks learning the market and the technology and simultaneously understanding our customers and their needs.   

I built a new “Aqua” family in Boston and at the same time built the company’s first customer success team from its inception to a robust program with 28 people today. The opportunity to drive the processes and create the programs have been very rewarding. We continue to listen to customer feedback and are always evolving and improving. It's really exciting! 

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?   

I participate in executive MVP customer success forums, and I volunteer with both the Israeli Scouts and the Israeli American Council Community Leadership Forum. I also act as an internal mentor within Aqua. 


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

I am very active and a bit of a workout junkie. I enjoy a range of activities including yoga, soul cycle, lifting, rowing, biking, running and triathlons. I love the outdoors, the beach, hiking with my boys, dogs and husband and also traveling. 

I also like to carve out time for healthy cooking and baking as well. I am proud to say I just won the first annual dessert contest at Aqua with my mini tiramisus!   

How do you manage stress? 

See above! Being active is my secret. 

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How many cups of coffee do you have in a day? 

Too many to count. More than 3 — we'll leave it at that. 

Any book or podcast recommendations?

I like to listen to Customer Success podcasts. One in particular I like is Planhat:  

https://www.planhat.com/tags/podcast/ 

I read a lot of leadership books and anything related to well-being and health. 

What advice do you have for recent college graduates? 

  • Start networking as early as possible. You never know where opportunities will come from! 
  • When the time comes for an interview, preparation is key. Put in the effort, it will show.   
  • Lastly, don’t settle. Take the right role where you are happy, challenged and find the right cultural fit.   

I understand it’s competitive as a new graduate, but look for companies that welcome young, emerging talent. Aqua for example has an associate, entry-level program where we take recent grads. This has been really successful for both Aqua and the incoming talent. Hard work is acknowledged and rewarded, and these team members are moving up the ladder quickly. 

About the
Company

Aqua Security is the largest pure-play cloud native security company.

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Lead(H)er Profile - Christina Nelson, VP of Sales at NuvoAir banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Christina Nelson, VP of Sales at NuvoAir

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Christina Nelson, VP of Sales at NuvoAir


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up on a farm in Kansas. From a very early age, I was helping out with the farm and learning about the value of hard work. I spent the majority of my time outside hiking around the farm and caring for my own herd of animals. I went to a very small school (graduating class of 30 students!), so there were many opportunities to participate in every club and sport. I participated in every sport at some point and most of the clubs! I took on leadership roles early including being president of my 4-H club and student council. I also helped found the FCCLA Kansas Peer Education teams. 

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I’ve always had a strong interest in service and non-profits and studied public relations in the school of journalism and communications at Kansas State University. I was very much interested in public service at a community level. Unfortunately circumstances didn’t allow for that dream just yet. After college, I started my career in inside sales in Chicago at CDW. 

Christina Nelson NuvoAir

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

The biggest breakthroughs in my career came from being intentional and aligning with my personal mission. In the beginning of my career, I took opportunities that were interesting and moved me forward, but about a decade into my career I realized that I was successful, but I wasn’t fulfilled by my work. I hired a career coach and worked for a few years on my next steps. During that time, I was able to advance within my current company to a role that I found interesting and start to work on my long term plan. Interestingly enough, my long term plan was very much aligned with my original goal of working at a community level. It just looked a little different. With a background in care management, I saw the opportunity to modernize healthcare access in all communities, rural and urban, through technology to allow access to more people in need. Once I set my sights on digital health, I did research and gained new skills until I was ready to make the move at one of my targeted companies. I aligned with a role in health plan sales and Omada and was able to gain so much from the people there. My move to NuvoAir came unexpectedly, but the opportunity to continue my mission in digital health by launching the brand in the US, while building a team and working in a startup couldn’t be passed up. 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am currently the Vice President of Health Plans at NuvoAir. NuvoAir is a person-first, relationship based virtual care platform that proactively monitors and manages members with chronic respiratory conditions such as COPD, asthma and cystic fibrosis to flag deterioration risk and improve care. I was brought on to launch our digital health program in the US. I am responsible for sales strategy and execution. I have a small team, which will continue to grow as we scale the business. 

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

It depends on how far I look back! When I started my career, I couldn’t have imagined I would be here, but over the past decade I have definitely been working toward this place in my career. Particularly, I knew I wanted to be in a strategic sales leadership role in a company that helps provide care to those that might not otherwise have access. I have always been drawn to developing talent and expanding worthwhile causes.

Christina Nelson NuvoAir

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

I’d start with just that -- set goals. I can’t stress enough the value of setting clear and measurable goals that align with your personal mission. Don’t be tough on yourself around timelines and don’t be afraid to change your goals and your knowledge grows, but do hold yourself accountable for making incremental progress along the way. Reach out to others for help and advice. Most of us in these positions had help getting here and are more than happy to provide counsel. Also, don’t be afraid to hire a career coach! They are by far the best option to help you focus and, most importantly, to give you objective feedback and help you stay accountable to you. 

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

Communication is key. It’s imperative to be able to provide a clear message around what needs to be done and more importantly why to both internal and external stakeholders. Keep in mind that communication is a two way street. To communicate expertly, you must first be a good listener. Also, don’t forget those soft skills -- show up on time, network in your industry, and be a team player!

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s the most challenging?

I love the idea that I’m playing a part in a pivotal shift in US healthcare. Technology has opened so many doors for people to be able to obtain care and improve their health at home. Growing up in rural America, I saw all my neighbors skip out on healthcare due to two to three hour drives to specialist care. Now, living in downtown Atlanta, I see different issues around obtaining healthcare such as not being able to take off work or childcare. Some of these problems can certainly be assisted by remote care. The challenge lies in awareness and adoption from those very people, as well as getting buy-in from health plans and physicians for access. 

Christina Nelson NuvoAir

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

For me it’s not any large accolade or promotion along the way, but seeing those I’ve helped along the way. Whether that be someone I have mentored or led succeeding or a person that now has access to care due to my work. 

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I represent NuvoAir through organizations like the Digital Medicine Society and the Digital Therapeutics Alliance. I also stay active in community organizations such as Junior League of Atlanta. 


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I absolutely love trying out new things and having new experiences! It could be a new travel destination, restaurant, state park for a hike or taking a pottery class. I tend to be analytical at work, so love to stretch myself creatively in my personal time.

Christina Nelson NuvoAir

How do you manage stress?

I have spent a lot of time working on my meditation practice. My practice is easier some days than others, but it’s always there when needed. I consider it a superpower to be able to step away for 10 minutes, reset via meditation and go back to task.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

Zero. I’m not a coffee person. I do, however, indulge in hot tea of all kinds throughout the day and will treat myself to a latte on the weekends.

Any book or podcast recommendations? 

I listen to The Daily by the New York Times. I love the deeper dives into current topics and the rundown of the day’s news. I also listen to a mix of industry and health podcasts with a good mix of my personal favorites like Brene Brown.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Don’t be afraid to fail or just start over. You’re not stuck in one path just because of your major. Find your passion and go for it.

About the
Company

We envision a world where all people have the opportunity to manage and achieve better respiratory health.

Every decision we make starts and ends with patients. Our fully integrated digital solution is used by patients and their doctors, as well as clinical trials to help improve the lives of people living with severe respiratory diseases like COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, and severe Asthma. With proven clinical and economic outcomes, we’re one of the leading Nordic HealthTech startups with a global presence.

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27 of the Top Leaders in the Tech Scene - Lead(H)er Recap banner image

27 of the Top Leaders in the Tech Scene - Lead(H)er Recap

Our Lead(H)er series shares the stories of women leaders at some of the fastest-growing companies in the tech industry.

Here is a recap featuring the 27 inspirational stories from 2021 with a short segment from each profile. You'll learn everything from the challenges, successes, and surprises of their careers, lots of useful advice, and more!


Sue Nolin Wasabi

“For women in tech, or for women looking to break into technology, remember that you don’t need to be an expert before you start the job.  This isn’t a new message but it’s worth repeating. Trust your foundational skills and trust those around you. Your colleagues, your leaders, they want to see you succeed. Your success influences theirs.

Check out the full Article   View Wasabi's Jobs


Kady Srinivasan Klaviyo

“I never thought I would be in a CMO/head of marketing role. It used to bother me that I didn't know what I wanted to do esp when I saw the clarity my peers had. However, I have realized that not knowing has given me a richer background, and frankly has been more fun. A big secret right now is, I have no idea where I will be in 10 years!”

Check out the full Article   View klaviyo's Jobs


Lauren Lowman Ordergroove

"As I reflect on how I’ve progressed in my career, I attribute a lot of my success to saying “yes” to new opportunities and additional work responsibilities. I’ve always tried to play the long game when it comes to my career, meaning filling in gaps in responsibilities, even if it's not technically a part of my role and thinking of them as opportunities to learn something new.”

Check out the full Article   View ordergroove's Jobs


Erin Byrne Recorded Future

“Aim high, take risks and work really hard. Most importantly, earn your keep/respect, don’t be entitled!”

Check out the full Article   View recorded future's Jobs


Zoe Silverman Yesware

“I think just be open to anything -- there are so many jobs and experiences that could contribute to a future in People Ops, you don’t necessarily have to start there (I didn’t). ”

Check out the full Article   View yesware's Jobs


Evadne Cokeh ButcherBox

“Patience, communication, empathy, and the ability to persuade are also skills that have gotten me to where I am today. I’ve spent many years honing those skills, they certainly are not skills you develop overnight. The variety of my work experiences really helped me with these skills too – which says a lot in terms of not needing a “traditional” career path to get where you want to go. ”

Check out the full Article   View butcherBox's Jobs


Heather Bentley Mimecast

“I often tell people that their career paths won’t be linear. It’s important to be open to new opportunities, roles, and industries. Gain as much experience and knowledge as possible and if you are no longer passionate about the role or work you are doing, try something new! "

Check out the full Article   View Acquia's Jobs


Jennifer Armstrong Duck Creek Technologies

“Second, find a good mentor(s) that you trust to help you on your career journey. A mentor doesn’t always have to be someone you have a direct mentorship relationship with. I have had people that I would consider mentors that I just watched how they interacted with people or handled situations. Everyone in your life/career can be a mentor informally. It is also important to find advocates for you outside of your direct management chain.”

Check out the full Article   View duck creek technologies' Jobs


Shital Whitmore SmartBear

“Treat people the way you want to be treated. Titles don’t matter. People are people. Work with people. They will help you, and you will help them.”

Check out the full Article   View smartbear's Jobs


Hillary Wyon EF Education First

“There is no job below you. You can learn something from everything you are tasked with. You may just have to figure out what it is. Sometimes it won’t be the big cool challenge you are looking for but they are all steps towards that.”

Check out the full Article   View EF Education first's Jobs


Brittney St. Germain Forward Financing

“Focus on finding work that’s interesting and puts you in the company of interesting and smart people, the rest will come together.”

Check out the full Article   View forward financing's Jobs


 
Daria Marmer Alyce

“Feedback is a gift, but it's often wrapped up in stinky old newsprint instead of a cute bow. Being able to discard the wrapping but still keep the gift will help you grow and bounce back from adversity faster. ” 

Check out the full Article   View alyce's Jobs


Lisa Schneider Framework

“I can’t count how many times I have been the only woman at the table, the only woman in the room. I have literally had vendors sit down and try to explain the interwebs to me before pitching their service, or ask me for the wi-fi password and then turn away. I am definitely aware that I have had to work harder, perform better, just to be considered. It can be really hard to persist, but you just do it. And then you reach a hand down and help the person behind you.”

Check out the full Article   View framework's Jobs


Suzanne Glick Gilfix Applause

“Don’t worry if you haven’t figured it out as of yet. Find good people to learn from either in your job or outside of it and ask lots of questions of how people got to where they are. As noted above, find mentors that do what you think you strive to achieve and then figure out how they got there. ”

Check out the full Article   View applause's Jobs

Harinder Bhinder ZoomInfo

“Grab any opportunity you get to learn new skills. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable with what you don’t know. If you’re in your comfort zone, you’re probably not growing. Find the right people to work with  - who can challenge you and mentor you.”

Check out the full Article   View zoominfo's Jobs


Jenny Kim Giblin Everquote

“Explore! I am in the position I am in at least partially by happenstance. I said yes to a lot of opportunities that let me figure out and refine my career path (which I am still doing, by the way).”

Check out the full Article   View everquote's Jobs


Shira Haddad CareAcademy

"Embrace the ways in which you are different, that’s your power and your contribution to expanding people’s perspectives.”

Check out the full Article   View careAcademy's Jobs


Sharon Butler Flywire

“I would tell them to be open minded and take chances. Don't always play it safe. Go for the opportunity that excites you the most because your passion will fuel your path. Whatever job you're doing, give it your all. Ask a lot of questions, be curious and take notice of what others are doing.”

Check out the full Article   View flywire's Jobs


Virginia Ng Knox

“Raise your hand and don’t be afraid to stretch yourself in a function or area that is new to you. I think there is value in being specialized in a specific skill set or role, but there is also value in having experience in many functions (even if it is just volunteering to work closely with another team).  We often call this knowing enough to be dangerous."

Check out the full Article   View knox financial's Jobs


Julie (Devaney) Hogan Toast

“It’s easy to think that certain jobs only exist for certain people. Get rid of your fixed mindset. Put yourself out there, and start asking for introductions, asking for help and mentorship, spending time really nurturing relationships, and finding ways to get exposure to the work you want to do. You HAVE to ask for it, and you also have to start saying yes to things, even when everyone else around you tells you to say no : ). It’s ok to not follow the pack.”

Check out the full Article   View toast's Jobs


Eva Moscat irobot

“Be inquisitive and take your time to dig into what you’re working on to learn past your immediate task. Regardless of your role and responsibilities, there is always something to learn whether it’s how to do something, how not to do something, new technologies, pros and cons to different implementations and solutions, process improvements, etc. Your learnings from your experiences will prepare you for future opportunities.”

Check out the full Article   View irobot's Jobs


Amy Wagner CreateMe

“Whatever job you do, be excellent at it.  Take full responsibility and ownership of what you are doing and it will open countless doors for you."

Check out the full Article   View createme's Jobs


Christina Ford Arellano Acoustic

“Be open to opportunities. I think people can be too focused on looking at a position’s title vs. what they can learn from the job. I never thought I would have a few of the positions I’ve held, but when I saw the scope of the jobs and the responsibilities I would have, they piqued my curiosity and I recognized that they would allow me to learn and grow.”

Check out the full Article   View acoustic's Jobs


Laurie Coppola Mitchell Wasabi

“It is important to be able to work well with others. It may sound overly simple but it is important to be inclusive and respectful to everyone no matter their level or title. It is also important to never adopt the mindset that you know everything, no matter what your title is.”

Check out the full Article   View wasabi's Jobs


Amanda (Baldi) Baier Vecna

“Step up. Do the hard thing -- take on a project that is big and scary or overwhelming, step into a place in your organization that needs a leader, give candid feedback in a loving way, etc. What’s hard is different for everybody, but you have to learn to recognize your edges and then lean into that discomfort. That’s how you grow and become a bigger, better, more powerful version of yourself.”

Check out the full Article   View vecna robotics' Jobs


Debbie Umbach Dynatrace

“Never be afraid to take on new challenges and ask a lot of questions. Embrace your mistakes and learn from them. ”

Check out the full Article   View dynatrace's Jobs


Eva Maloney AppNeta

“Never turn down an opportunity, even if you think you might be getting in over your head.Joining a company with a culture that allows you to fail is key, because that’s how you learn.”

Check out the full Article   View Appneta's Jobs

Lead(H)er Profile - Harinder Bhinder, VP of Engineering Applications at ZoomInfo banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Harinder Bhinder, VP of Engineering Applications at ZoomInfo

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Harinder Bhinder, VP of Engineering Applications at ZoomInfo


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in India in a small city. As a child, I was generally reserved but wasn’t shy to participate in a lot of activities/clubs at school. My mom (who never attended school) was told that the daughter didn’t need the same standard of education as the boys. I’m glad she didn’t listen to that advice. My parents wanted me to have the same opportunities as my brothers, and that’s a big reason for where I am today. 

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I moved to the US with my family after high school. I studied Computer Science and started programming for the first time in college and the idea of using logic for problem solving resonated deeply. I really enjoyed the concepts of Software Engineering, the idea of building small components and bringing them together to build a complex system. As I graduated, the DotCom bust led to a scarcity of software engineering jobs. My first job was at the R&D Center of a leading ceramics manufacturing company, writing scripts to automate analysis of various processes.

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

Prior to ZoomInfo, I was at Sterling Commerce where I worked on Supply Chain Management software. I left shortly after Sterling Commerce was acquired by IBM because I wanted to work at a small company. That’s when I joined ZoomInfo. At the time, there were about 70 employees.

Joining ZoomInfo was one of the best professional decisions I’ve made. It was the perfect fit - not a startup but a fast paced environment in a small company where you could make an impact in many ways. I grew with the company, working on various technical projects. I also gravitated towards taking on tasks like planning, cross functional communication, removing roadblocks etc. ZoomInfo was acquired by a private equity firm in 2018 and by DiscoverOrg in early 2019. These were pivotal moments that set us on the path to our hyper-growth journey and I had the opportunity to be part of this amazing experience. Today, we are a 2500+ employees company. There are many challenges ahead of us as we grow and scale and solving these challenges is yet another exciting phase.

What has contributed the most to my growth are the people around me. The passion and energy of the leaders and the amazing teammates is contagious and addictive. I am grateful that so many people believed in me and supported me. The 10 years at ZoomInfo have been very rewarding, personally as well as professionally, and the journey continues.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

Our product suite is growing rapidly and providing a unified experience across these products to our customers has a huge business impact. My team is focused on building the foundation for shared services and APIs that can be consumed by various products. Our goal is to help engineering be more efficient, reduce toil and duplication and provide the automation and tooling that makes development a rewarding experience at ZoomInfo.     

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

Our goal at ZoomInfo has always been to take the organization to the next level. We have strong leaders who constantly challenge us, and we strive to be better every day. I am fortunate to be working in a company where that effort is recognized and rewarded regardless of gender, race, background etc. I started at ZoomInfo to work with a smart group of people using cutting edge technologies to solve complex problems. The small company culture lent itself to various opportunities where I could wear multiple hats and grow into the leadership role.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges, especially ones that allow you to help the organization you’re part of succeed and not just your team.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

The ability to remain calm and help my team manage the constant pull in various directions that is part of the hyper-growth phase and can be overwhelming. In a fast growing company, it’s important to also always keep the bigger picture in mind and think long term and promote that culture as well.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s the most challenging?

As we continue to grow exponentially, the biggest challenge is the scaling of our teams, processes and systems while building a culture that promotes individual growth and makes working at ZI a rewarding experience. Helping the teams work through these challenges and being successful is the most rewarding part of my job. 


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Spending time with my kids, gardening when weather permits. I love learning new languages.

How do you manage stress?

Over the last year and a half, I’ve tried to include workouts in my routine, whether it’s 10 mins of yoga or a 30 min run. Recently picked up swimming, which is a very relaxing workout. Meditating also helps whenever I can. Taking that time out for myself helps me recharge and be my better self at both home and work.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

I mostly drink black tea twice a day. Some days I drink coffee, but no more than a cup.

Any book or podcast recommendations?  (professional or fun)

Thinking in Systems, Sapiens (gifted by my amazing manager :)) - 2 books that I’ve read recently that I really enjoyed and learned from.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Grab any opportunity you get to learn new skills. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable with what you don’t know. If you’re in your comfort zone, you’re probably not growing.

Find the right people to work with  - who can challenge you and mentor you.

About the
Company

ZoomInfo has the precise information you need to reach your next customer, convert your next lead, and close your next deal.

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Lead(H)er Profile - Jenny Giblin, VP of Health Strategic Initiatives at EverQuote banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Jenny Giblin, VP of Health Strategic Initiatives at EverQuote

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Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Jenny Giblin, VP of Health Strategic Initiatives at EverQuote


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. I was a tomboy through grade school - very into sports and dreaming of being the first female MLB player. 

Jenny Giblin Everquote

My visit with the Women’s World Cup trophy

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I was an Economics and Communication Studies double major; I have always felt comfortable blending “hard” and “soft” skills. This was a requirement for success in my first full time job as a management consultant and have continued to lean into roles where both are needed.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am currently responsible for driving customer retention and loyalty for Everquote’s Direct to Consumer Agency. My responsibilities include strategy setting and operational execution to grow relationships with the consumers we serve over time. 

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

Yes and no. My first job instilled a passion for consumer insights and strategy, which have an obvious application in this current role. However, I can’t say I necessarily imagined that to be expressed within the insurtech space, and it wasn’t the role I was originally hired for at EQ. 

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

If you have a particular future role in mind I would suggest taking time to deeply understand the skillset and what it takes to succeed in the role. It can help 1) determine if that really is what you want to do and 2) think about how you can fill up your “toolbox” over time to prepare yourself. It might take one organization and multiple roles, or multiple roles across multiple organizations, but you can start to chip away at it. 

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

I would boil it down to three things: (1) telling stories with data, (2) influencing people, and (3) persistence. Our operating model requires a lot of cross-functional collaboration, which makes all of these skills particularly important to getting anything done.  

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s the most challenging?

The most rewarding thing is that we are helping our clients get coverage they need to protect themselves and their families. The most challenging thing is that we have so many good ideas on how to accomplish this that I constantly have to prioritize and say “no” to ensure focus.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I am proud of all the individuals who I have managed, coached, or mentored that I supported through a promotion or other career milestone. I genuinely love helping others find success. 

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I serve on the Northwestern University Leadership Circle Chicago Regional Board and the U.S. Soccer Development Council, where I support giving and development efforts for their respective missions. I also volunteer with Fourth Presbyterian Church serving on Session (our governing body) and the Racial Equity Council.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to golf and ski - not enough time for either though as most of my free time is spent with my husband trying to keep up with our two young boys. 

Jenny Giblin Everquote

My family on vacation this summer

How do you manage stress?

Mostly through exercise and sleep, although I think donuts also play a pretty significant role…

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

Two! 

Any book or podcast recommendations?  (professional or fun)

Pachinko and The Nightingale are two of my favorite reads from the last few years

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Explore! I am in the position I am in at least partially by happenstance. I said yes to a lot of opportunities that let me figure out and refine my career path (which I am still doing, by the way). 

About the
Company

We are the largest online Auto Insurance marketplace in the U.S. We're helping end distracted driving with our safe driving app, EverDrive.

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Lead(H)er Profile - Shira Haddad, VP of Engineering at CareAcademy banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Shira Haddad, VP of Engineering at CareAcademy

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Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Shira Haddad, VP of Engineering at CareAcademy


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. I was always a geek who loved books, TV, and computers. My older siblings had an Atari computer (connected to the TV) and we spent our summers playing video games and watching TV shows together.

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I studied Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem - I loved it; it was so different from the math I learned in High School. When I got my degree I wasn’t sure what I could actually do with it, so I decided to check this QA thing people were talking about. 

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

My path was... unexpected. I started with QA and stumbled into management. I then went back to being an individual contributor in both QA and Product but was promoted to lead the QA team in Veson Nautical. From there I moved to lead the whole Engineering department and I really enjoyed this transition. I was always interested in the big picture and this opportunity allowed me to actually impact it.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I recently joined CareAcademy, as their VP of Engineering. I’m currently leading Engineering and Product and am super excited about the team and the work we do here. 

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

Not at all! I never imagined myself to be a manager or a leader in an organization. I was always an introvert and a  shy person so my future picture was always of someone who keeps to herself and codes all day. I am grateful to be here though; the challenges are never the same so the learning is constant. 

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

Be open-minded and honest about the type of contribution you’d like to make to your company, community, and surroundings overall. The answers might change in time, so it’s good to always go back and ask the questions while considering the big picture.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

I think there are many answers, but I’ll highlight two: attention to detail and empathy. The former is straightforward - listen, observe and follow up on what you’re hearing. You want to grow with the job and impact from within - not from the outside, using a boilerplate of ‘best practices’. The latter is crucial - your agenda might compete with other agendas across the organization so it’s very important to acknowledge it and to try and help the others; even if it’s not spelled out in your OKR’s.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s the most challenging?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is to help folks around me to have a better day at work. This takes many forms for different people around me and I think that’s also the challenge - understanding when I have the power to make an impact on the work and when do I need to step back.

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work

I’m a co-chair of the MassTLC Technology and Innovation community. I also mentor a few women in STEM. I really enjoy the relationships those opportunities created for me.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Watching TV and playing video games. I have two young girls and I can’t wait for them to join me in those activities - I guess not a lot has changed since I was a kid!

How do you manage stress?

See above - I love casual video games and I’ve been hooked on Stardew Valley recently. So my answer is farming and killing monsters.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

I can stop whenever I want, 2-3 cups a day.

Any book or podcast recommendations?

I listen regularly to Reply All, What a Day, and 60 songs that explain the 90’s. They’re all very different from each other, but I highly recommend each and every one of them.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Embrace the ways in which you are different, that’s your power and your contribution to expanding people’s perspectives.

About the
Company

CareAcademy provides evidence-based online classes for non-medical professional and family caregivers. 

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Lead(H)er Profile - Sharon Butler, EVP of Global Education at Flywire banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Sharon Butler, EVP of Global Education at Flywire

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Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Sharon Butler, EVP of Global Education at Flywire


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. I was one of four children, two sisters and one brother. My extended family also lived in town, so I always had lots of family around. I was incredibly active and curious. I played a sport every season, was active in my Church, joined lots of clubs and always had a job whether it was chores around the house, babysitting for neighbors or working in my small town’s coffee shop. I loved being busy and involved. I also played the clarinet in our marching band and took part in my high school’s theatre productions.  My childhood was full of laughter and love.

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

In college I studied communication and business. My first job out of college was with Roche Pharmaceuticals. I was a Professional Medical Rep. I would travel around my territory meeting with doctors and pharmacists sharing the features and benefits of my company’s prescription medications. It was a wonderful foundation and experience. I had great sales development support and learned how to maximize even the smallest opportunities to engage and add value. 

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

I have always been in sales. I left the pharmaceutical industry after 6 years to move back home to be near my family and was recruited by my first manager to join a wireless tech company called SkyTel. This was a huge change for me, I went from what was really a promotional product role to more of a quota-based sales role where I learned very quickly that activity equals output in sales and building your funnel of business was the only way to survive. I also learned very quickly how important engagement and follow-up was for building trust and referral opportunities. Even though the pressure for delivering monthly results was very high, and the role was demanding, I loved that I was in control of my earnings and that the more successful I was at helping clients achieve their goals the more I could grow our portfolio of business. I loved hunting and engaging, and I especially loved winning new business. No doubt it was the competitive nature of the sale and the strategy needed to win that excited me, just like playing competitive sports. 

I advanced into leadership roles, taking on more and more responsibility, but after several years in the business I decided I needed a change and began a process of exploring opportunities at other companies. By this time my husband and I had started our family and although it would have been easier to stay in my current role, I have never been one to take the easy way out and I knew I wanted another challenge. This is when I found the Education industry.

I took a Regional Director role at a company called Tuition Management Systems. I loved the idea of focusing on a specific vertical and understanding the unique challenges within the Education industry. It was an incredibly great fit for me because I loved building relationships with the University and College staff and helping them figure out how to automate and optimize their Student Financial Service operations. I loved my role and the company and had no intention of leaving until one day I took a call from an entrepreneur from MIT. He was an international student who had a bad payment experience and was looking to partner with someone who had experience and relationships in Higher Education. Since he was given my name by industry friends, I decided to meet him for a coffee.  

During our coffee I learned about the challenges he faced as an international student and how difficult and costly it was for him to make a payment. He had an idea that we could create a more cost effective and better solution for the students and while he shared, I realized we could do the same for our institutions. It was a two-sided problem that was growing, and it had to be solved. One thing led to another and before I knew it I had left my comfortable job to go off and help start Flywire! Some 11 years later, we've built a multi-vertical company, formed strong relationships with our clients, developed innovative technology, become market experts, and cultivated a unique global company culture focused on customer success. We now have more than 600 FlyMates representing over 40 nationalities located in 12 offices around the world and on May 26, 2021, Flywire became a publicly traded company! 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am the EVP of Global Education at Flywire. Currently I lead our sales and account management teams globally. I set our strategic vision and priorities to ensure we continue to deliver the most important and complex payments for our clients and their payers. 

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?

No way!  I always had big dreams and I was always very driven.  I loved sales and leadership, so advancing there was always the goal, but I could never have imagined that at a time in my life where I had two very young children, I would leave a secure job with a great career path to go off and start a company and then take it global.  It’s been the hardest and most rewarding journey of my life.  

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

I would tell them to be open minded and take chances. Don't always play it safe. Go for the opportunity that excites you the most because your passion will fuel your path. Whatever job you're doing, give it your all. Ask a lot of questions, be curious and take notice of what others are doing. We don't always know exactly what we want when we start our journey so it's important to be aware and learn about various roles within an organization. Always be willing to raise your hand to help or take on new responsibilities because experience and exposure is the key to learning about yourself and finding your path. There is nothing more rewarding than doing what you love, even when it takes an enormous amount of work and dedication. There really is no magic career button. Let the journey and self-discovery guide you.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

The skills needed to lead a global sales team are wide ranging. The foundation is centered around good communication, planning and leading the vision of success. That vision needs to be communicated and to get alignment and support from internal teams to help move the vision to the execution stage to accomplish revenue targets. Once that is done it is all about the execution of the plan and being ready to knock down walls to help your team deliver. The primary skills used to do all of this are strategist, teacher, motivator, advocate and creative problem solver. Other responsibilities include forecasting, budgeting, recruiting, hiring and staying plugged into market needs and changes.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s the most challenging?

I love the people and culture at Flywire. We call ourselves FlyMates and it is incredibly rewarding to work with people who care so much about what they do and our clients. Even though our teams are spread across the globe, the collaboration is inspiring. I always know I have the support and commitment to ensure my team can hit their goals and our customers will be satisfied. It's an incredible feeling to work with people that feel like family and who will always deliver. I also love seeing fellow FlyMates develop and grow, advancing their own careers. 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Taking Flywire public on May 26, 2021, which was also my son's 17th birthday.

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I enjoy mentoring other entrepreneurs and sales professionals. I am also the go-to for a network of friends when they need someone to donate their time or fundraise for an important cause.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Family time. Cheering on my boys at their sporting events. Taking hikes with my husband and dog, Edgar, getting together with my siblings and their families playing games and laughing. We love board games in the winter and pickleball tournaments in the nicer weather.

How do you manage stress?

I hug my dog Edgar, find something to laugh about, take a few minutes to meditate by popping on a Headspace wind down. Go for a walk and prioritize my to-do list, for some reason that list gives me comfort.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

Too many! Two cups in the morning and usually a large cold brew with almond milk in the afternoon for a little pick me up.

Any book or podcast recommendations?

I love the podcast, “How I Built This.” It’s fun to hear about other entrepreneurs’ journeys. For fun, I love to laugh and get a kick out of “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” podcast. As for reading, I always joke with my friends that my library reflects someone who is either trying to figure themselves out or make themselves better. I love to read personal development books. I am currently learning more about the power of meditation and reading a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Don’t panic or beat yourself up if you are uncertain what your passion is or what you ultimately want to be when you grow up. Instead, embrace the journey of self-discovery. Set more achievable short-term goals to learn and get more experience. Have fun, work hard and always follow through with your commitments. A great attitude and strong work ethic will open a lot of opportunities. I waited to take my big risk, but I knew the time was right. Don’t be afraid, be excited!

About the
Company

Flywire is a global payments enablement and software company.

 
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Lead(H)er Profile - Virginia Ng, Director of Growth at Knox Financial banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Virginia Ng, Director of Growth at Knox Financial

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Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Virginia Ng, Director of Growth at Knox Financial


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child? 

I was born and raised in Boston — Jamaica Plain, specifically, where I now also live after several years away from Boston.  As a very young child, I was shy and quiet, and would immerse myself in books or my Lego set.  Around 4th grade, I started doing pretty well academically and as my grades improved, so did my confidence to speak up in class and on the playground. In my preteen and high school years, I was pretty outgoing and social and participated in band, sports and academic clubs.  

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school? 

In college, I studied Economics with a secondary focus on Psychology (at the time, Behavioral Economics was a growing and popular subject so it was a perfect fit!).  I discovered my interest in Economics when I was a senior in high school.  On our first day of class, we played the Prisoner’s Dilemma game and I ended up learning about all sorts of real life examples in business and public policy of this game theory, and it was super fascinating to me.  

Going into and in my early years of college, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer.  However, as I learned more about Economics, it became clearer to me that a career in business would be a better fit and I had to do a fast pivot to secure a business internship in my junior year.  Thankfully, American Express gave me a chance and I did a summer internship, and eventually returned full time. I worked within Amex’s Strategic Planning Group (SPG), which served as an internal consulting arm.  The model for SPG was to be staffed on a new project every few months. Through this role, I was exposed to many different types of business problems across many parts of the business.  

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

My career path started at Amex. Next was FinLeap (Berlin based fintech incubator), an MBA at Wharton, management consulting at Kearney, strategy and finance at Texas Capital Bank, and my current role at Knox Financial.  

Critical moment #1 was definitely landing my first job at Amex.  As I mentioned in my prior response, I scrambled a little to get my first job out of college and I fortuitously landed in financial services.  Critical moment #2 was when I decided to do a pre-MBA internship in Berlin at a Fintech incubator named FinLeap — although I only spent 3 months there, it really exposed me to the breadth of sub-industries within financial services that were being disrupted by technology and solidified my interest in Fintech.  Critical moment #3 was deciding to leave management consulting to go to Texas Capital Bank to help launch a new digital consumer bank.  After two years of being exposed to numerous business problems, industries, and companies in consulting,  I realized what got me most excited about business were the projects where I was helping to build and launch new things.  Critical moment #4 was deciding to join the start-up world and becoming a member of the Knox Financial team, which is where I am today.  Critical moment #4 has been my best decision to date as I love the fast pace and the interesting problems I am solving every day.  

Virginia Ng Knox Financial

Inside the Reichstag in Berlin (which houses the lower house of the Parliament)

What is your current role and responsibilities?

At Knox Financial, we are committed to helping people turn the homes they are moving out of into investment properties. 

I sit on our Growth team, which is responsible for helping our company expand and grow, including expansion into new markets, launch of new business lines or development of new processes to help the business scale. Specifically, my role is to help launch new partnerships and products that will help our clients from a financing perspective.  For many people who are moving out of their homes, keeping their home as an investment property is a financially smart decision (plus there is the sentimental value of keeping the home they have lived in), but figuring out everything that comes with turning a home into an investment property — from financing to finding a tenant and doing proactive maintenance — can give people pause.  My role is to work with our internal and external partners to provide the tools and products that will help our clients navigate the complicated financing process.  

Virginia Ng Knox Financial

At a recent Knox gathering

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

No, but that’s more because I had very little idea of where I would be professionally.  That being said, I love my current position and I like to tell myself that if I had the foresight and clarity to plan for a career goal, it would be where I am today! 

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals? 

Raise your hand and don’t be afraid to stretch yourself in a function or area that is new to you. I think there is value in being specialized in a specific skill set or role, but there is also value in having experience in many functions (even if it is just volunteering to work closely with another team).  We often call this “knowing enough to be dangerous”. I think I can take on the role that I am in now because I have dabbled in finance, in marketing, in sales enablement, and product.   

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well? 

Three things really come to mind: 1) Problem solving, especially in a whitespace, 2) Managing many competing priorities and 3) Not being afraid to roll up my sleeves and help my teammates in Product, Marketing and Sales help me achieve my goals

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s the most challenging

The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that I am helping everyday Americans build their investment portfolio and keep the homes that they love as investment properties, while also challenging myself mentally with very interesting problems.  The most challenging part is navigating a very complicated and heavily regulated industry — but having been in financial services for over a decade, that is not new to me! 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Every time that I (along with my teammates) have launched a new campaign, product or business.  One example that particularly comes to mind is when I led a new campaign at American Express called Dine For A Cause.  The campaign donated $1 every time a cardmember made a dining purchase to a non-profit organization called Share Our Strength, whose mission was to help end childhood and poverty in America.  The campaign was a win-win: it was for a cause that was close to my heart and it also helped drive topline revenue to the business.  

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

Every year, I do college admissions interviews — I love this volunteer work as it is always so inspiring to see the amazing achievements of our young leaders.  


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to cook and explore new recipes and to try out new gym classes / exercises.  If I have a lot of free time (a real luxury), I like to play board games or read on my back porch.  

Virginia Ng

In a cooking class in London

How do you manage stress?

By giving myself the space and time to do something for me — even if it’s just a simple walk to help clear my mind and reset.  

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

Usually just one on workdays and zero on the weekends.  

Any book or podcast recommendations?  

I always recommend What Money Can’t Buy by modern-day philosopher Michael Sandel.  In the book, Sandel tackles the moral limits of capitalism and where markets should or should not play a role.  It may sound a little dry in my short synopsis, but in reading it, you get to explore cool questions like “If markets can help to allocate adoption of babies or donations of organs more efficiently, should there be a market for selling babies or organs?” or “Should you pay kids for good grades, even if it gets the job done by incentivizing them to study?”

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Two pieces of advice come to mind: 

  1. Do not be afraid if you do not have every step of your career planned out.  You should have an idea (it can be extremely rough and it can be a moving target) of where you want to go so that with each move in your career that you make, you are building towards that goal, but you do not need every step mapped out.  A lot of the beauty of building your career comes from the lessons you learn along the way about yourself --  what excites you, what you find rewarding and what works with your personal life.  And, you should take that feedback into consideration versus trying to stick to a rigid plan.  

  2. Maintain the relationships you build with your peers, your leaders and your mentors throughout your career.  It is fun to keep in touch and see where people are in their careers, but it can also help you as you navigate your own career.  Twice now, I’ve been hired into new roles at new companies with former managers -- in fact, one of my hiring leaders was my first ever manager when I was an intern in college!

About the
Company

Knox Financial is a fintech company making it dramatically easier to own investment property and optimize returns.

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Lead(H)er Profile - Julie Hogan, VP of Customer Success and Strategy at Toast banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Julie Hogan, VP of Customer Success and Strategy at Toast

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Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Julie Hogan, VP of Customer Success and Strategy at Toast


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in Woburn, MA. Toast has an office there and I smile each time I hear my hometown referenced in meetings! My mom will say I was curious and outgoing. We lived in a two family house, and I would always ask our neighbors what they were doing and where they were going. 

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I studied English and Communications. My first job was as a Human Capital Analyst with Deloitte Consulting. 

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

As I reflect, 2 things stand out, mainly because they are in direct conflict with advice you usually hear about growing your career: 

  1. I say yes to things. I can’t honestly reflect on my career and say that saying “no” has ever served me. It's the complete opposite. I said “yes,” especially to the things other people said no to! Other people’s nos became my opportunities. I have been able to move and work abroad, build teams all over the world, meet incredible people, and learn tons through my curious nature. 
  2. I invest deeply in relationships with people in my work life. Yes, it’s work, not family. Yes, results matter most. Yes, yes, yes, to all of the other business book reasons for not getting close to people and focusing on achieving business goals - I get that- but I fundamentally believe that relationships are the root of everything. Every job I’ve had since leaving Deloitte became an opportunity through a relationship. Additionally, whenever I’ve needed advice, support or help from people in my work network - I’m so grateful for the people I have in my corner, who show up immediately for me. I  know they are there because the relationship is reciprocal. I deeply care, and nurture those relationships and friendships. I grew up watching the relationships my parents built with their coworkers (my mom as a teacher, my dad in the mining/metals industry ) and it was ingrained in me from an early age that people and relationships matter, especially at work. 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I lead Customer Success and Strategy for all of our Toast customers who have completed onboarding and are continuing their journey with us. I lead a team of amazing people who drive Restaurant Success for these customers across all of our business segments, focused on maximizing adoption and customer value, in service to creating raving fans and successful restaurants. My role allows me to also partner closely with Product and Customer marketing to ensure we are driving and delivering a unified experience, not just through our employees, but the experience our customers have with our platform and our brand. 

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

I’m always in awe of people who knew exactly where they wanted to be.  It took a bit of time for me early on to jump into leadership because I loved my customers and didn’t want to give that part of my work up. I also carried a ton of self doubt . Other people I saw in leadership roles had an MBA, a pedigree, or a network. I’m the product of public schools and a state college with an English degree- could I really thrive? I also worried my natural “outgoingness” was the opposite of who an executive female was supposed to be. I started looking for new role models -  I’ve benefited from watching people like Sarah Blakely and Jacinda Ardern bring authenticity, warmth, and humor to their leadership. I’m glad I dove in, and hope my story and my background can help others see themselves in leadership roles. 

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

Learn from every experience. I’ve kept a running spreadsheet for years of how I observe other leaders behave - in a meeting, resolving conflict, at a dinner table. I write it down, and then I “try it on.” You learn an incredible amount about yourself in the process (e.g. what worked for that person in how they approached that problem is something I should start to adopt in my own problem solving. You’ll be amazed by what you learn, and how you grow by the simple act of observing and practicing. You also learn what “doesn’t fit” - which forces you to become more comfortable with evolving as the type of leader you are (e.g.  wow, I’m not comfortable being that direct, I need to work on that)  while also embracing the things about you and your leadership style that are likely here to stay (e.g. I know, and am comfortable knowing, that I am less autocratic, more situational in how I offer direction). 

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

Being able to lead with focus, purpose, and empathy. I need to be able to keep the team aligned around the most wildly important pieces of work that will allow us to achieve our goals (and our customers’ goals) and remove friction and distraction. It’s also my responsibility to make sure we’re all aligned around where we are going, and why. Setting vision, and making sure each member of your team understands their purpose and impact is often more important than the strategy itself. If you don’t have a team clear on the goal of the game, and the incredibly important role they each play - why play at all? Above focus and purpose is empathy. Empathy shouldn’t be a word we throw around as leaders because of current times. It should be ever present. Beyond the role we serve to our companies - we  are humans - with families and friends and kids and pets and stresses and worlds beyond our OKRS and quarterly goals and revenue targets. The more we approach our daily work with this acknowledgment of each other as our full selves, the easier it is to build trust and solve problems together. 

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s the most challenging?

The most interesting piece, especially in my newest role at Toast, is being at the super rewarding intersection of Customer Success & Hospitality. As someone who has been customer facing their entire career, I couldn’t be happier to now be in service to the Hospitality industry. 

The most challenging piece is that your work to improve Customer experience is never done, and prioritizing the most wildly important work is hard - because you want to do it all, right now. 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Building teams is my favorite part of this job. Especially early and new teams- and the work that goes into being shoulder to shoulder with talent partners to make big bets on people, and build for the future.  Reflecting on groups of people brought together to get a new international office or a team started and seeing them continue to flourish and thrive is the absolute best feeling. I am so proud of their continued success.

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

  • Cycle for Survival, have been a team captain for Team Kate since 2016 to honor the life of my college roommate who passed away from rare brain cancer the year we turned 30. {a story about her here

  • I previously was on the board of the International Institute of New England, which  creates opportunities for refugees and immigrants to succeed through resettlement, education, career advancement and pathways to citizenship.

  • I set a goal this year of spending at least 1-2 hours per week advising and mentoring. I have been doing this across a number of growing companies and with people I’ve met along the way.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Spending time with my 3 kids and husband, usually with family and friends outdoors. We’re beach people - I keep a mask, snorkel, wetsuit and catch bag in the trunk of my car well through October. In the winter we’re still at the beach exploring if we’re not skiing or skating (last winter we got all 3 kids on skates playing pond hockey).

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Julie Hogan, VP of Customer Success and Strategy at Toast.

How do you manage stress?

I actively work to turn stress into positive energy and gratitude. It takes practice but it works. If I’m really stressed I’ll remind myself “it’s because you’re so excited about what you’re doing, and it matters. That’s a great place to be.”

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

Coffee and I have a complicated relationship. We’ve been off and on for years : ) … right now we’re on, at 2 cups in the morning, none after 12pm!

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston area?

Provincetown and Truro on Cape Cod are magical. We got married on Race Point Beach. Recently the sharks have kept us out of the water down there, so we’ve come to get to know the Magnolia Beaches on the North Shore of Massachusetts. 

Any book or podcast recommendations? 

If you haven’t picked up on the theme, I’m super curious - and like to learn as much as I can. I try to keep a 3 book rotation going - 1 fiction, 1 non-fiction kid/family related, 1 non-fiction work/life related. Here’s my current rotation - highly recommend all 3. 

  • Nora Webster - Colm Tóibín
  • Right Within - Minda Harts
  • How to Raise an Adult - Julie Lythcott-Haims

Coming from the Marketing world in my last 2 companies, I’ve been an Ad Week subscriber for years. There’s something fun about getting a “magazine” in the mail, and there’s a TON of interesting content about the Restaurant industry. 

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

It’s easy to think that certain jobs only exist for certain people. Get rid of your fixed mindset. Put yourself out there, and start asking for introductions, asking for help and mentorship, spending time really nurturing relationships, and finding ways to get exposure to the work you want to do. You HAVE to ask for it, and you also have to start saying yes to things, even when everyone else around you tells you to say no : ). It’s ok to not follow the pack. 

(Also, contact me directly, I mean it, if I can support you. I will forever pay it forward for those who supported, and continue to support me).

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We empower the restaurant community to delight guests, do what they love, and thrive.

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