34 of the Top Leaders in the Boston Tech Scene - 2018 Lead(H)er Recap
It’s a great time to be in the tech industry, particularly in Boston, and women are leading the charge.
As part of our Lead(H)er series, I’ve had the great privilege of interviewing so many incredibly talented women who are founders or executives at some of the fastest growing companies in Boston's vibrant startup scene.
They’ve told us about everything from the challenges, successes, and surprises of their careers to how many cups of coffee it takes to get through a day, so take a look at our list of the talented women we’ve spotlighted this year.
Each of these stories are inspirational and as we are closing out 2018, we decided to provide one snippet from each interview and a link to read through the full interview.
“Brightcove was my first startup, I got this bug about having an impact and wanting more impact. For me, the bigger a company gets, the harder it is to have the impact I want. I left there to go to a startup in an earlier phase and I just kept getting earlier and earlier. I want to be there from the beginning to find the product market fit and what that looks like. It’s really the hardest thing I’ve done in my career and I love the challenge. I’ve done it at two companies so far.”
“There were only two of us in the marketing department when I started at Interactions, so my job’s been to build the team along with the core messaging and the Interactions brand. We’d been kind of the best-kept secret in the Massachusetts tech market, so we started with the basics of building the brand and awareness, then putting in place a high-performing demand generation and customer retention strategy. I always end up having a diverse and busy day where I’m constantly going from deep tech to some more creative types of tasks. I’m constantly using both sides of the brain and I wouldn’t have it any other way."
Also, Interactions is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“I think I’ve always been a problem solver. I love crossword puzzles and analytical types of tasks. Once I started working at Harvard Business Publishing, there were just so many great problems to solve and analytical challenges about building a new eCommerce business. My transition into the tech space was a little bit unusual, but it was being at the right place at the right time and falling in love with the work."
Also, Toast is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
Sandy Kreis, Director of Labs, North America: Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT) at John Hancock / Manulife
“I didn’t anticipate coming back to Boston so quickly, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity at MassCEC. I worked in the innovation and industry support team, tasked with creating a policy to build up the ecosystem around clean energy innovation in the Commonwealth. We worked on so many unique projects, from connecting startups to large corporates looking to source innovation to creating a program to fund Greentown Labs, which has grown into the largest clean energy incubator in the world.”
"Pick your first job wisely. I know that there’s a lot of grief that’s given to millennials for not taking whatever job they can get. I actually think what I’ve seen in the upcoming generation is the desire to find work that matters and find work that they care about. I really admire that. My feeling about the first job you take out of college is you actually start to find a groove. If you just take a job in insurance even though you don’t care about it, once you’ve been there for a year or two, that’s where people see you fitting in. That’s where you’ve built experience, that’s where you’ve built a network, that’s where you have value in the marketplace. I think that you should take the time to find something that you’re inspired by."
Also, Starry is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
"I find that connections with customers can happen in a lot of different ways. My sales style is much more consultative — I really like to partner with my customers to determine how I can contribute to their success. I think that the relationships I establish with my customers are different than my competitors and because of that it has informed how I lead Product Development."
Also, ERT is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“Moving forward, we will have to constantly ask ourselves the same question -- how do we work smarter and move faster? It’s a lot to do, but it’s a great challenge and fun to think about the sustainability impact that we are making. Right now, we’re saving about 2.5 million bottles per month. I feel lucky everyday that I get to work on something that I truly care about that has a real impact."
Also, Bevi is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“Definitive Healthcare is such a special company for so many obvious reasons, and I’m lucky to have joined when I did. This company created a space for me to grow up in, professionally speaking, and I am so grateful to call it home for where I really built up my career. I’ve learned a ton. I’ve learned how important it is to be nimble and responsive to the market. I’ve learned how critical it is to really walk in the shoes of your buyers and more importantly the shoes of your clients. I’ve learned what it means to be part of running a hugely successful business and all of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into it!”
Also, Definitive Healthcare is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“I love how anyone at EverQuote can have an idea and execute on it. I think when you’re working somewhere and you’re new, especially when you’re right out of school, it can be very intimidating to speak up. Working here has taught me to be more vocal. I’m thankful to work in an environment where expressing ideas is part of the culture!”
Also, EverQuote is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
"Being at BlueSnap feels like I’m riding a bike where working at a large corporation is more like driving a tractor trailer. We’re much more nimble and can change directions quickly. But if we come to a steep hill with our bike, we don’t have as much power. We’re clever though, we make it work."
Also, BlueSnap is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“While Europe lagged behind as a technology adopter, the U.S. was driving the innovation market. I had many theories on why that was, ranging from education, which in Europe is more theoretical to risk appetite. A failing startup in Europe does not get you a badge of honor. I wanted to experience firsthand the key drivers behind this apparent disparity and to understand whether Europe could begin to apply the same principles. This was one of the biggest drivers in my decision to move to the U.S.”
Also, Boston's Amazon Alexa team is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“In every job I’ve had, I’ve learned a lot, but this one blows the other ones away in terms of learning about the actual industry itself because it constantly changes. It has its own vocabulary and its own way of thinking about things. Not only is Circle a great company with great people in a great industry, but the amount of learning and mind-bending is phenomenal. It’s just so exciting.”
Also, Circle is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“Sometimes in the software industry, you don’t feel that you’re helping the world at the end of the day. Here at Agero, when our applications help people in need on the side of the road, it’s gratifying to think that our cutting-edge technology is actually useful and can even save lives.”
Also, Agero is hiring. Click here for all the company's openings.
“I didn’t want to be in a particular box. For someone with my skill set on the market research side, you first understand the market, and you can influence the way you’re making decisions about those needs if you can learn that early and start building out the platform from there.”
"I think my advice would be to worry less about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, and more about just figuring out how you can become a linchpin for that company and how you can make yourself indispensable. Make yourself invaluable to your employers, and opportunity will find you. I always have younger people come to me asking, do you think I should take this role, do you think I should take that role, how do I find a mentor? I really do mean it when I say that those choices matter to a certain extent, but I believe becoming indispensable and working hard matters more."
Also, Janeiro Digital is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“I really enjoy the learning aspect of it. [McCafferty's role at The Yard Ventures.] We’re not sector specific, so I do get to see a lot. It’s kind of hard to make an investment decision in an area that you don’t have experience in, and you only have two weeks to do due diligence. It’s the part that I like, but it’s the part that can be difficult sometimes.”
“I think I would say that has been a recipe of success for me—not sitting still, being relentlessly urgent. I wish I could say there was a very logical approach, but I think it’s just being impatient, looking for the next challenge, and not being afraid of what happens if it doesn’t work out.”
Also, SHYFT Analytics is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“I’m passionate about the lab regarding being able to empower the entrepreneurs in the organization to do and explore things that they’re passionate about really. It’s very customer focused, and I’ve spent most of my career being in roles where it’s all about understanding customer problems and finding unique ways to solve them, so I’d love to spend more of my time in that space, continuing to help LogMeIn and entrepreneurs and small businesses explore and solve their problems using technology.”
Also, LogMeIn is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
"I’m proud of the fact that as a female in tech, I’ve been able to rise quickly to executive status across a variety of different companies. A lot is working against us, and it takes more effort, patience, and confidence to overcome a lot of obstacles. Now, I’m trying to figure out what steps I took to get this far so that I can help other women find success, too. I’m trying to connect the dots."
Also, Toast is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
"When I was in graduate school I figured out that I wanted to work in an organization where I could make a difference. In reality the career I found at Cogo Labs, and now at Hopjump, is way better than I could have imagined. I couldn’t have seen then the opportunities that I’ve had, and definitely not the ones I have now. I never expected to become as addicted to startups as I did, and never expected to have so many opportunities within Cogo Labs and Hopjump to build something that I think will influence the daily lives of Americans, and hopefully people around the world, one day."
“I believe in the power of the network. Even in communist Laos, which was so isolated, it didn’t even have a bridge to Thailand … people want to learn from each other, and networking and competition can improve performance. You connect, you get better, you see how you compare to others and grow from that. You look around and ask, ‘Hey, what are they doing? Maybe we should do that, too.’”
Also, BoardOnTrack is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“I could talk about our catalog all day. It’s fun to get into the details about our products and how we talk about them and display them. It’s different in how we sell a bed versus how we sell a ceiling fan, you have to make sure people are comfortable with what they’re buying.”
Also, Wayfair is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
"My advice would be to take risks because at 22 years old, it’s hard to figure out what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. Don’t try to pigeonhole yourself into thinking that there’s only one thing that you should be doing. I come from a family where my father and siblings are either doctors or lawyers, and I thought I’d follow in their footsteps."
Also, Workbar is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“The numbers of women pursuing technical fields is less than 20 percent. While that’s great for that 20 percent, I think for organizations looking to have that diverse mindset and diversity of thought really, that’s going to be tough because we’re all competing for the same 20 percent. Programs like this encourage young women into looking at and continuing to pursue careers in technology.”
Also, Liberty Mutual is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“I have always worked with companies whose mission I agreed with and aligned with. It almost sounds silly to say, but I think think it is a bit of a shift from how the Boomers and Gen X entered the workforce and what they thought the purpose of a job was. I think more and more people are looking at our role and responsibility in society and the types of things that we build.”
“I think the very apt analogy of building a bike while you're riding is what I love about where I am today, and frankly about most startups. There are some inflection points within a company where you go from everyone sitting in the same room to several dozen teams that you're trying to keep coordinated across different locations. The trick is getting the right amount of structure, and the right amount of support as a company grows without it being constraining or stifling. Navigating that successfully I think sometimes means success or failure.”
Also, 6 River Systems is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
"If I could tell it differently, I think I’m most proud of how I lead. I feel like I'm good at helping other people see the potential in themselves. I feel like that's a payback service, as the pay it forward mentality. I literally would not be here right now if it weren't for the people who taught me how to do what I’m doing, who saw the potential in me. To me, that is the biggest accomplishment I can give, is to let other people see what they have and help them get to their best potential."
Also, M.Gemi is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“I like a really hard puzzle, which is what I have in cybersecurity, but I only like it when I get to lure other people who are smart and unafraid to do it with me. I love starting from scratch and then tracking people from past lives to come join me in whatever problem I’m trying to tackle.”
Also, Cybereason is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“You want to create a place where people are empowered to propose new ideas and are motivated to excel from within. This is not an exact science, and everyone is different. The key is to listen and communicate often to create a path that aligns one’s respective goals with those of the company. A successful employment journey is one that presents the opportunity to develop new skills and gain new experiences at the same time. Seeing someone grow year over year is definitely my biggest satisfaction as a leader.”
Also, Attivio is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
“There's so much that I love about product. It encompasses the impact each feature, every variable that you introduce has on an overall business. All of it is very analytical and critical, but there's also a creative part to it too. How do you design a product? How do you want it to look and feel to users? How do you optimize your conversion by placing a button in a particular area? It plays towards what I really love doing which is, how do I tackle a problem and how do I solve it?”
"Don't be shy about asking someone, 'Could I go with you to work for a half a day just to see what the office environment is like?' I took small, unpaid internships that were only a few hours a week so that I could still work full time during the summers. These taught me a ton about what kind of work environment I wanted to be in, which eventually led me to the world of startups, and I’ve never looked back."
Also, Drift is hiring. Click here for all of the company's openings.
"I started off my career thinking,'Okay great, I'm going to work in magazines. I'm going to really obsess about print design and do all of the things a print designer does.' And it took too long for me to feel like there were 15 other avenues of my work that I should be exploring. Design is design. I could have easily, at any point in my career, gone on and been designing toothpaste boxes and doing physical product design or video or any number of other things."
Also, BCG's Product Business Unit is hiring. Click here for all of the department's openings.