Learn how professionals in the tech
industry got to where they are today 
and what a day in the life looks like.

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Why I Joined Ordergroove: Balraj Jutla, Agency Partnerships banner image

Why I Joined Ordergroove: Balraj Jutla, Agency Partnerships

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We connected with Balraj Jutla, who manages Agency Partnerships at Ordergroove, for a Q&A to discuss why he decided to join the team.

Ordergroove enables Relationship Commerce experiences for hundreds of brands and retailers. Click here to check out the job openings at Ordergroove.


Q: What is your current role at Ordergroove and high level responsibilities?

I manage Agency Partnerships at Ordergroove. I build and maintain relationships with the best eCommerce agencies in the world to help them and their clients succeed with Ordergroove’s Platform.
 
Q: What led you to join the team at Ordergroove?  What there anything that stood out that ultimately impacted your decision?
 
Ordergroove presented an opportunity to build a Partner Program from the ground up. It allowed me to do so with a stellar team and with colleagues whom I forged strong relationships with during my time in eCommerce.
 
Q: What was your background prior to joining?
 
Prior to joining Ordergroove, I was at Shopify for close to 6 years, leading a Solutions Engineering team growing their enterprise offering, Shopify Plus. I worked closely with the Partner team, helping onboard a number of world class eCommerce Agencies to the Platform. I am also an eCommerce merchant - I co-founded a craft brewery called Lost Craft and we have since expanded to Tequila and Spirits and yes, we use Ordergroove! Before that, I got my start in eCommerce founding my own web agency focusing on the Sporting Goods and Sports & Entertainment verticals, working with clients such as Wal-Mart and the NHL (National Hockey League).
 
Q: Is there anything you can share about the interviewing and onboarding process?
 
I found the interview process to be very well organized and welcoming. It gave me the opportunity to meet several members of the team across different roles - which allowed me to understand the culture and values at Ordergroove.
 
Q: What are you excited to tackle first at Ordergroove in terms of any specific projects or initiatives?
 
I’m excited to re-connect with Partners in the ecosystem and launch some great success stories in the Relationship Commerce space together!
 
Q: Any interesting first impressions about the company that you can tell us since joining?
 
Everyone is super friendly and willing to help! I also love the style of our All Hands meetings - there is a real sense of community!
 
Q: What makes working at Ordergroove unique compared to other companies you’ve worked at?
 
I’ve had the privilege of working at some amazing companies with great people and culture. Ordergroove definitely gives me those vibes, but what makes Ordergroove unique is that even though the majority of teams are remote, everyone across all roles are strongly aligned to the goals of the organization.

About the
Company

Relationships are the heart of commerce. Let's build them together.

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Career Path - Meg Johnson, Commercial Account Executive at Recorded Future banner image

Career Path - Meg Johnson, Commercial Account Executive at Recorded Future

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Commercial Account Executive at Recorded Future?

We connected with Meg Johnson to find out!

Interested in learning more about Recorded Future and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ small town on the South Shore of Massachusetts. My parents both worked corporate jobs in the insurance industry.

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where I double majored in English and Journalism. I graduated in 2020 right when the pandemic hit and got a job as a full time nanny before coming to Recorded Future. 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

Since I started in this field, my curiosity, communication skills, and drive have propelled me to be successful. I consistently ask questions, strive to meet new people, hit metrics, build relationships, etc. There are several ways in which you can succeed in this industry and those three traits are (what I believe) crucial for success. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Commercial Account Executive at Recorded Future?

My main responsibility as a Commercial Account Executive is to drive and close business in my assigned territory. In my role I target, educate, and build relationships with new customers in order to propel interest in Recorded Future’s products and services.

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?

Sales is a great field if you are a competitive and goal driven person. In this field you never stop learning so continue to practice, ask questions, research industry trends, and most importantly always be willing to switch things up/ try new techniques. As the industry grows and changes, it’s crucial that you never stay complacent. 


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Hot coffee in the morning, iced coffee in the afternoon, and tea before bed. Caffeine is a necessity in this field!

What time do you start working? 

I typically start my day around 8:00-8:30am.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  • My team and leadership motivates me daily.
  • Knowing that I’m adding value to customers’ security organizations.
  • The healthy competitiveness of my team motivates me to hit my quota. 

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

Note: Everyday is filled with several internal meetings so this is just an example of a slow day in my life without any meetings. 

  • 8:00-8:30 | Coffee and setting up my day (organizing my calendar, RSVPing to meetings, scheduling breaks/lunch)
  • 8:30-9:30 | Prospecting into accounts
  • 9:30-10:30 | Hand write emails & schedule them to send out at appropriate times
  • 10:30-11:00 | Go through LinkedIn to ping prospects ( I’m always using different avenues to get in touch with people) 
  • 11:00-12:00 | Make cold calls 
  • 12:00-1:00 | Lunch & daily walk 
  • 1:00-2:00 | Research industry trends / listen to Gong calls (recorded meetings) / Craft new messaging
  • 2:00-3:00 | Send remaining emails for the day
  • 3:00-4:00 | Afternoon prospecting 
  • 4:00-5:00 | Make remaining cold calls for the day 
  • 5:00-5:30 | Reply to any last emails / Slack messages

What time do you typically wrap up the work day? 

I typically try to wrap up my day between 5:00-5:30pm depending on how busy my day was and how much I still need to get done. 

Any productivity hacks?

  • Keep your phone on silent throughout the day 
  • Organize your calendar based on color (I do three different colors for internal meetings, personal tasks, and external meetings) 
  • Block off your time to complete certain tasks (emails, cold calls, prospecting)

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

  1. Spotify (when doing prospecting / emails I always listen to a true crime podcast for background noise! My favorite is Morbid) 
  2. Google Calendar is how I keep my day organized and consistently use it in my life outside of work to keep track of my days. 
  3. I use HeadSpace religiously to meditate or take a second to breathe. When I have a big presentation or conversation I’m anxious about, I use their breathing exercises to ground myself and gain confidence. 

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

The professional accomplishment that I am most proud of is getting the promotion to Commercial Account Executive earlier than I thought I would be eligible for. I worked extremely hard my first year to get to this point and if I hadn’t pushed myself, I might not be here this early on in my career. 

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

My mother is someone who I admire and consistently ask for professional advice from. She is the smartest woman I know and is often brutally honest (much to my dismay) especially when giving work-related advice. She pushes me to always be my best and to never give up.

About the
Company

Recorded Future delivers advanced security intelligence to disrupt adversaries, empower defenders, and protect organizations. Recorded Future intelligence is ready for integration across the security ecosystem.

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Career Path - Felicia Pease, Director of Customer Success at Amwell banner image

Career Path - Felicia Pease, Director of Customer Success at Amwell

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Director of Customer Success at Amwell?

We connected with Felicia Pease to find out!

Interested in learning more about Amwell and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work? 

I grew up in New Jersey. My dad owned his own business (logistics) and my mom stayed at home to care for my sister and me. 

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?  

I studied Healthcare Marketing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.  I had two incredible internships during school, supporting a Medtroninc medical device rep in the cardiac cath lab and rotating through field sales and in house marketing for another medical device company, MedComp.  I ended up getting hired by MedComp after graduation, moved home to NJ with my parents, and began building a net new territory in Central Jersey.  I was a 1099, so I had a negative budget when it came to entertaining prospects.  I made french toast casseroles and cupcakes to keep physicians and staff in the room during my product demos! I learned so much about our healthcare system, turning my successes into my customers’, and how to set and exceed goals (and bake :)) during my early jobs in sales. 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now? 

I would love to make this sound elusive, but I truly believe my ability to read a room and adapt my style for the audience is largely to thank for my success.  I also love solving ticky problems and collaborating with people. I’m grateful for my lasting connections with clients, colleagues, and friends who have been instrumental in guiding me from one role to another. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Director of Customer Success at Amwell?

As a Director on Amwell’s newly formed Customer Success team, a good deal of my role has been focused on creating; building our customer success playbook, hiring and training, and supporting the launch of our organization to internal and external stakeholders.  I have an incredible VP, Regina Dolan, who empowers each member of her leadership team to take ownership over substantial parts of these efforts - it’s been a blast! At Amwell, CSMs are data-driven customer advocates responsible for championing our clients’ goals during our customer connections but also to our internal teams.   

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field? 

The most impactful CSMs on our team are skillful project managers with an acute emotional intelligence. Experiences that help an individual hone and sharpen these skills would set them up for a stellar career in Customer Success.  


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee before 2PM and chamomile tea in a huge travel mug for the evenings!

What time do you start working? 

Usually between 8:30-9 AM (depending on how long the roundtrip bike commute to daycare takes)

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

Helping my team member succeed, helping my clients succeed, and doing so alongside brilliant, lovely humans.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

We are a remote first and highly collaborative team! My day starts with a quick scan of my email for any pressing items before I dive into meeting.  When I am not on mentoring calls with my team or speaking to a client, I am usually offering a client perspective for product development or helping to build training programs.

What time do you typically wrap up the work day? 

I always try to stop at 5 to get my fill of family time while my little one is awake.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I usually pick 1-2 nights to log back in each week. 

Any productivity hacks?

Whenever I get fidgety I find that changing my work station (thank you, standing desk!) or going for a quick walk with my pups recenter me.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

MS Teams, OneNote, and Amwell 

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

I am incredibly proud of the team I get to support at Amwell and the brilliant, female leaders who trusted me to help build it. 

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

My counterparts in Professional Services taught me everything I know about Amwell and our products; they have definitely been my mentors here since day one.  I was also lucky enough to have an executive coach in my last role.  His guidance challenged me to be a more thoughtful leader and to level up the scope of my role/influence.  

About the
Company

Amwell is a leading telehealth platform in the US, connecting & enabling providers, insurers, patients, & innovators to deliver more affordable, higher quality care.

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Career Path - Sam Emmitt-Koskinen, Premium Support Engineer at CyberArk banner image

Career Path - Sam Emmitt-Koskinen, Premium Support Engineer at CyberArk

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Premium Support Engineer at CyberArk?

We connected with Sam Emmitt-Koskinen to find out!

Interested in learning more about CyberArk and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up and what were you like as a child? What did your parents do for work? 

I grew up in a central Kentucky town (Richmond, Kentucky specifically) in the 1990s, born to my mother who has managed various retail and office locations over the years. My father has always worked in the construction industry in some facet. Unsurprisingly I was a shy, sensitive child that much preferred playing video games to in person activities with peers. I wasn’t well understood growing up, but my mother’s family did their best to be supportive.

Where did you go to college? What did you study and what did you do after graduating? 

I had a mostly predictable collegiate history. I studied Computer Information Technology for undergraduate at Northern Kentucky University. I also studied Library and Information Science at Kent State University for a time but never received a master’s degree.

I was very fortunate that I found a database helpdesk job 6 months out of undergraduate. I moved to a bunch of different positions in that company before I wound up being a contracted system administrator. I then left that position to join CyberArk where I have also held a number of positions from installing software to teaching people about the software the company makes. I now work as a support engineer.

What inspired you to get into the tech industry?

Perhaps not the most exciting answer, but it was an idea that was at least somewhat fostered by my grandparents since I was probably 8 or so. I was very lucky to have a computer in my home when I was 8 and had internet access not terribly long after that. I saw all the possibilities in the industry as I got older and thought it would always keep me learning something. It’s an industry you never master, so you never have the chance to “get bored”.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Premium Support Engineer at CyberArk?

Largely my role is assisting a specific subset of our customers with fixing parts of their CyberArk systems once they break.

What has attributed to your success thus far as a diverse professional? 

I have a lot of privilege in my life as a white transman, so my answer is of course a product of that. I think listening to understand the whole situation and being open to new roles really got me to where I am now. I know it sounds incredibly simple and it may not work for everyone. 

What types of programs and initiatives does CyberArk have that support diversity, equity, and inclusion?

CyberArk has two new employee resource groups. Cybr Pride is a resource group for LGBTQIA2S+ people and their allies. I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Cybr Pride resource group. CYBR Women is an employee resource group to help empower and represent the women of CyberArk. I look forward to other initiatives that spring up and hope I can empower other resource groups to succeed as well.

What advice would you give to other diverse professionals who are interested in joining the tech industry? 

It sounds so silly, but network as much as you can and in ways you genuinely enjoy. Talk to the front desk person and the janitor if you’re in an office. If you admire people’s work, make the effort to tell them why sincerely. Tell people’s bosses what they do well. Give people references and advice when they ask for it. Especially for people accustomed to speaking mostly, listen to understand more than you listen to give an answer. All of this can leave a positive impression on people you might ask for help later.

While general awareness of the problem of diversity in the tech industry is a step forward, to make a lasting change, real actions need to be taken.  Do you have any ideas or suggestions on what companies or employees can do to step up and make a difference?

Though I have no expectations this will change quickly, be unafraid to get into what I’ve always heard called ‘good trouble’. For a personal example, explaining why your pronouns are in your signature can help let people know you want to communicate clearly and part of that is making sure people know both your name and your pronouns. For companies, having a review of your hiring process done to identify what parts of that process could be pushing certain demographics like Latine people or non-binary people away with the paperwork or recruiting side of things. During and after that review, identify what should be changed with people from the communities that are affected. Hiring a DEI professional that has at least one marginalized identity can greatly help in this process.

About the
Company

CyberArk proactively stops the most advanced cyber threats – those that exploit insider privileges to attack the heart of the enterprise.

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Career Path - Remi Taffin, Director of Engineering at Ordergroove banner image

Career Path - Remi Taffin, Director of Engineering at Ordergroove

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Director of Engineering at Ordergroove?

We connected with Remi Taffin to find out!

Interested in learning more about Ordergroove and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in a small village in the north of France. My mom was a middle school nurse and my dad had a small business. Growing up, I spent most of my summers helping my parents with the family business.

Remi Taffin Ordergroove

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to college in France in the IG2I department of École Centrale de Lille. I graduated with my engineering degree and masters’ degree in Computer Science and Electronics when I was 23 and I immediately started applying to hundreds and hundreds of internships in the US and Canada. I didn’t stop searching until I found the one company that gave me a chance and sponsored me for a work visa and green card. I started as a DevOps intern in NY learning a lot about Software Engineering while adjusting to the move across the Atlantic.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

Seems like an obvious one but I have always been very vocal about what I like, don’t like and what I want. Many people are afraid of being told no or of confrontation with their managers so they would rather quit than have a tough conversation. Those hard conversations are the best way to grow and build trust with your manager.

“What are the areas of improvements for me to become a manager?”, “What do you think about starting a new team in charge of X. I would love to lead that effort if you think I’m the right fit for it.”, …

Remi Taffin Ordergroove

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Director of Engineering at Ordergroove?

Working in a smaller company, I get to wear multiple hats. My role has changed a lot in the 4 years that I have been at Ordergroove. I started as a Senior Software Engineer, then I took on an Engineering Manager role after a few months, and I am now Director of Engineering leading 3 teams:

  • Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) - In charge of Scalability, Reliability and Security
  • Engineering Productivity (EP) - Streamline the release process to ensure quality at scale
  • Data Team - Empower our merchants and internal employees with the data to make the right decisions every day.

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?

The best way to learn is by doing and practicing. Get started with any opportunity you can and make it your mission to learn something new every day!


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee all the way!

What time do you start working? 

The best part about being fully remote is that work hours don’t really matter anymore. What’s most important is the outcome on the quarter/annual goals. Sometimes when I need to focus on something very complex, I’ll wake up at 7am and work for a few hours without being interrupted. Sometimes I don’t feel in the right mindset so I won’t start work until 10 am or later.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  • Working with very smart individuals that challenge me to give it my best every single day
  • Learning something new every day
  • Having the trust and flexibility from the leadership team to let me do what I do best

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

My days always start with a team stand up, which is a daily check-in to keep all the team members in sync. That usually generates great conversations about roadblocks, design changes or new learnings.

One of the most important parts of each day is discussing competing priorities with my teams and making sure they are not blocked anywhere.

For the most part, the rest of my days are focused on planning and strategy - sometimes planning the next few weeks, sometimes planning the next few quarters.

What time do you typically wrap up the work day? 

Similar to my above comment about being remote, some days I will finish at 7-8pm because I feel very productive, some days I will finish early because my brain is fried.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I won’t come back online at night (unless there is an emergency). My brain doesn’t work well at night. I’d rather wake up earlier the next morning and start fresh.

Remi Taffin Ordergroove

Any productivity hacks?

Both professionally or personally, I email myself tasks, thoughts, links all day long. It is such an easy way to keep track of everything I need to do. As a more general rule, I keep all of my emails as unread until I respond or until the task is done.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

Gmail (that’s my task manager for everything), Spotify, and my Alarm :)

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Scaling some parts of the platform to support 45x more traffic. Imagine being on a highway with 45 times more cars and still getting to your destination on time.

Seeing my teammates grow and learn new skills.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

My wife is my biggest supporter and always inspires me to have those hard conversations at work. She is the best resource for any challenge I face.

About the
Company

Relationships are the heart of commerce. Let's build them together.

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Career Path - Julie Doherty, Software Engineer at PathAI banner image

Career Path - Julie Doherty, Software Engineer at PathAI

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Software Engineer at PathAI?

We connected with Julie Doherty to find out!

Interested in learning more about PathAI and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Lexington, MA, just outside of Boston.

Julie Doherty PathAI

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I did my undergrad at Tufts University, where I majored in Biopsychology. I followed my interest in healthcare to a position in Quality Assurance at Epic, a healthcare software company based in Madison, WI. Halfway through my time at Epic, I took on an additional role on a customer implementation project, helping a hospital configure their instance of the software prior to their go-live. After three years at Epic, I moved back to the Boston area where I started work at Wayfair as a Quality Assurance Analyst while taking computer science and data science courses in the evening. After about 10 months on the QA team, my coursework gave me the background needed to transition into a role on the Business Intelligence team at Wayfair.

I eventually decided to formalize some of the technical skills I had been picking up since college and went to grad school after almost two years at Wayfair. At the University of Chicago, I completed a joint MBA/Master’s in Computer Science program through which I strengthened my foundation in computer science while gaining a background in business. While in grad school, I completed a data science internship at Nike, and I joined PathAI as a software engineer after graduation.

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

My career path so far has been a bit meandering, but working with teams of smart, passionate people all along the way has helped me find a career in software engineering. At both Epic and Wayfair, I worked alongside and learned from teams of fantastic engineers. I learned about scrum processes and worked closely with product managers and designers, setting me up for success when pivoting into a software development role. I’ve also had a number of exceptional managers over the years - managers who understood how I work best and who helped me find opportunities at each respective company that allowed me to grow in my role.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Software Engineer at PathAI?

As a software engineer at PathAI, my responsibilities include writing code for new features and bug fixes, doing code review for teammates, and occasionally developing implementation plans for larger projects. Our team follows Agile practices, so I participate in our ticket grooming and estimation meetings, retrospectives, and sprint kickoffs. We work closely with product management and design to determine the enhancements to our platform that will best serve our customers.

Julie Doherty PathAI

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?

Software engineering is an exciting, diverse field to be in. There are a ton of potential paths to go down within the field (back-end and front-end development and DevOps to name a few) and I’d encourage anyone considering a career in engineering to keep an open mind and try as many paths as possible. It’s a great field for lifelong learning, since there are always new technologies to learn about!


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Tea

What time do you start working? 

I typically get started around 8:30am.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  • My colleagues
  • PathAI’s mission
  • Curiosity and a desire to learn

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

  • Stand-up at 10:30am
  • Potentially another scrum meeting, such as estimation or grooming
  • A meeting (planned or unplanned) with a teammate or two to talk through an implementation plan
  • Heads down time focused on writing code for a ticket
  • Code review and QA for teammates

What time do you typically wrap up the work day? 

I usually sign off for the day around 6pm, depending on when I’ve reached a good stopping point.

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I typically try to keep my computer closed after I’ve signed off for the day.

Any productivity hacks?

To-do lists. I keep a weekly to-do list, and also create checklists for individual tasks I’m working on. This helps me stay organized and prevents things from falling through the cracks.

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Making a career pivot into software engineering. When I recognized that I had an interest in software development, I worked hard to make it happen. I took night classes while working full-time, took the initiative to transfer teams while at Wayfair, and invested in myself when I ultimately made the decision to go to grad school.

About the
Company

PathAI is the world’s leading provider of AI-powered technology for the pathology laboratory.

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Career Path - Samantha Sandler, Sr Manager of Operation Strategy at Hometap

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Sr Manager of Operation Strategy at Hometap?

We connected with Samantha Sandler to find out!

Interested in learning more about Hometap and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in a small town named Madison, Connecticut. My mom and dad started a logistics company 30+ years ago based out of Windsor, Connecticut. Unfortunately, my dad passed away when I was younger, so my mom took over and grew the business full time while raising my brother, sister, and I. Growing up watching my mom run the business primed me for the working world, as I got to see firsthand how difficult it is to build and run something successfully on your own. Both my parents’ work ethic and dedication to their business is something that has always motivated me to know that if you work hard, good things will come.

Samantha Sandler Hometap

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I started my college career at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Growing up, I played a lot of sports and was lucky enough to play both field and ice hockey at Trinity. Ultimately, I decided that I had been in Connecticut long enough and wanted to stretch myself academically, so I transferred to Vanderbilt University in Nashville to study economics and retired from sports. 

My first job out of school was with a Boston-based tech startup called Catalant. I had interned for them the summer before graduation and started out on the Network Strategy team. I have always described that role as a hybrid of sales, recruiting, and project management. It was an amazing job right out of school because it gave me the opportunity to learn about different industries and how enterprise and private equity companies were structured. It gave me access to a lot of very successful and smart people — who I wouldn't have normally been able to learn from — both externally and internally.

You recently transitioned from a role in Sales to a role in Operations. What prompted the change? How has the transition been? 

I have! That is a great question. I joined Hometap as the fifth salesperson and have seen our team grow to 80+. What I loved most about my time in sales, besides helping our homeowners, was being a part of that growth and the ability to wear a lot of hats and make an impact.

On top of that, I have always had a sincere interest in the forward vision of the company, understanding why we make the decisions we do, and how we can become more efficient on our way there. Many of my one-on-one meetings with my previous manager and VP of Sales, Dan Amato, would be spent learning about the types of meetings he is in and asking about his vision for the company in the future. I ultimately saw an opening for me to give back to the company in a new way and develop a new set of skills on our Operations Strategy team. The role can have a positive impact on sales with our improved processes, so even though I am not directly under the umbrella of sales, I will still be able to influence their success! 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

One of our values here at Hometap is putting the team and homeowner first. Since I joined back in 2020, if anyone ever asked for help or asked me to step in, I have never said no. I try to approach each day by understanding how my role plugs into the greater company mission. I have an innate competitiveness, so I utilize that part of myself to make sure I can be the best in whatever position I am currently in. By doing this and being available as a resource to my teammates, I recognize that it will hopefully propel me to where I would like to be professionally. Additionally, on our sales team, there was a defined set of milestones to hit that I could strive for to get me that next promotion. I always knew what I was gunning for and was able to move up in our sales organization.

I have also been fortunate enough to have had incredible mentors both inside and outside of Hometap. In particular, Dan Amato has always enabled me to do more than what has been in my job description. He has helped open the door for me to work cross-functionally and expose me to new opportunities. Being able to get insight into other parts of the business was the first indicator to me that I may be better suited for a strategy role at this point in my career.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Sr Manager of Operation Strategy at Hometap?

In my role as Senior Manager of Ops Strategy, there is a meaningful opportunity to improve our systems, process, and approach to scaling our business, improving customer and employee satisfaction, and using speed and quality of execution as Hometap’s competitive advantage. I help to ensure that our operations can support continued growth and smooth execution. I work closely with internal stakeholders to identify, prioritize, and execute on process improvement opportunities to enhance our homeowner and Hometap employee experiences. 

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?

When I was in the sales organization, I would join all new hires for lunch during their first or second week. I would often get the question, “How do I get promoted?” I will share what I share in those meetings, and I think it holds true for all fields. First, focus on what your current job is, and do that exceptionally well. Once you do that, you will solidify yourself amongst your peers and across the company as the “go-to” person. If someone asks you to participate in something, help them out, or do them a favor, say yes. If you marry those two things and become an asset to the organization, I have no doubt you will get wherever you want to go.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Black coffee with cinnamon, but not as soon as I wake up. I usually have my first sip around 8:45/9am.

What time do you start working? 

It really depends on the day. I have a hard time disconnecting, so I am always responding to emails or internal messages. But, I would say I am always ready to go, standing at my desk by 8:15 AM.

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

I am an early riser and tend to be woken up by my furry alarm clock and five year-old golden retriever, Ollie, around 6am. I’ll wake up, feed him, take him for a walk, and then get ready to go to the gym. That gives me time to have my “moving meditation” and set myself up for success that day. Once back, I log on, answer any emails that I have not yet replied to, and get started on the day. My typical day has shifted a lot in my time at Hometap from a lot of external calls to homeowners, to helping members of the sales team internally, to now to working cross-functionally and closely with my manager. We’ll check in on current projects in flight and learn how those intersect with other initiatives across the organization. I live in NYC without a yard, so I’ll take Ollie out again on a quick walk around 3, and then come back to work and tend to wrap up around 6:30/7 depending on the day. As previously mentioned, I am not great at disconnecting so will monitor messages and emails and will pop back on, if needed. If not, I love to go out and meet friends for dinner or drinks in the city! Or, curl up on the couch with Ollie and watch TV.

Samantha Sandler Hometap

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

It really depends on what I am working on. Some days I don’t have to. Others, I see something pop up on my phone and I would rather take care of it at that moment than wait until the next day.

Any productivity hacks?

I am a big snoozer of my Slack notifications. We are a mostly remote company, so all communication outside of meetings is done via Slack. It is an awesome tool; but, between the direct messages and channels, it is important for me to snooze when I need dedicated time to focus.

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

I am most proud of seeing the progress that members of my sales team made while I was their manager. The reps that I worked with have come such a long way. Seeing how they have come into their own, grown their confidence, realized their potential, and become leaders on the sales floor was the most rewarding part of my previous role.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

I mentioned previously that I have been very fortunate with mentors both inside and outside of Hometap. One person in particular that I always call upon for professional advice outside of Hometap is my cousin, Aleca Hughes. I grew up trying to chase her in the hockey rink (spoiler: that did not pan out). But now in a professional setting, it is similar. She has climbed her way up at her current company and always gives great advice, challenges me to be better, and gives direct and actionable feedback. I am very lucky to have her on my team.

About the
Company

Hometap provides homeowners cash upfront in exhange for a minority stake in their residential property so homeowners can pursue their financial goals. 

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Career Path - Sabreena Khan, Director of Seller Recruitment at Mirakl banner image

Career Path - Sabreena Khan, Director of Seller Recruitment at Mirakl

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Director of Seller Recruitment at Mirakl?

We connected with Sabreena Khan to find out!

Interested in learning more about Mirakl and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up all around the world because my father worked for the United Nations Development Program as an Asphalt Engineer specializing in airports and infrastructure. Most of my childhood was spent in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where my parents had moved from California. Later I attended high school in the Gulf Island of Bahrain, went to Boston, MA, for college, worked and lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Dubai UAE, Islamabad, Pakistan, and most recently, my forever home of NYC!

Sabreena Khan Mirakl

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to Babson College in Wellesley, MA, where I double majored in International Business and Economics. Right after graduating, I worked for a Cambridge-based healthcare technology company called WorldCare. 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

I’ve always been open to exploring new opportunities within my career! This curiosity drives me to continually acquire new skills and explore innovative ventures, thus re-inventing myself and my career path. I started working at a groundbreaking healthcare company straight out of college and was exposed to some of the greatest entrepreneurial minds. That influenced my passion for the start-up world and my desire to be at revolutionary companies. Starting my career early on with agility as a core competency, I realized you could be an asset to any organization that moves quickly. This agility and sense of constantly challenging the status quo have helped me propel myself in my career. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Director of Seller Recruitment at Mirakl?

My role at Mirakl falls within the realm of Client Success. I lead a hybrid business development and marketplace team, working closely with our Executive Vice Presidents of Client Success to help our clients build their seller base quickly and efficiently. As part of our Connect team's North American operation, I liaise with our team in Paris on strategic growth initiatives for our Connect Ecosystem. 

I genuinely love being in the trenches with my team, our clients and sellers, and our Connect leadership, working on ways to ease our seller integrations through better processes and product development.

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?

It is crucial in a Business Development or a Client Services role to understand your customer's business. You must have a solution-oriented mindset and listen to your customer's needs, pain points, business objectives, and team structure. Only then can you offer up solutions that are tailored to your customer.  

What has differentiated / or separated Mirakl apart from previous companies/positions you’ve worked for in the past? 

The people at Mirakl are some of the most talented and brilliant I've worked with in my career. I am constantly learning from those around me, and there is a level of collaboration I've not witnessed before joining. As for my team, the Seller Recruitment team, they are one of the most passionate groups of individuals I've had the privilege to mentor and lead.  


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

I love Coffee, and I grew up on tea, so both!

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  • My team
  • Satisfying our clients
  • Constant innovation

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

A typical day for me starts early, at 6 a.m. I spend time with my birds Poppin and Pokey and then have breakfast with my sister. 

My first work calls start around 8 a.m., several days a  week, so I try to get into the office before or right after! Having a typical “NYC commute” can be the most stressful part of my day, but it is worth it when arriving at our beautiful office space right in the heart of Rockefeller Center.

The majority of my day is spent on zoom calls with my team, my global leadership team in Paris, and my colleagues in the Client Success team.  I enjoy changing my background and scenery by sitting out on several of our rooftop patios- it keeps me moving =) 

When it comes to lunchtime, I love working for a French company because we ensure we step away from our computers and do our best to connect with our colleagues. This break in the work day truly goes a long way to allow mindfulness and the brain to accept that eating is the sole focus! 

My day usually ends around 5:30 p.m. Most nights, I like to wrap dinner up by 8:00 p.m.! 

What’s one part of your day you look forward to the most? 

Early morning, 5:45 a.m to be precise! My Indian Ringneck Parakeet and my Caique parrot are my natural alarm clocks. They ALWAYS wake me up at precisely the same time, and then it’s one hour of uninterrupted birdie time where I get to snuggle with them, teach them new tricks, play music for them, and just live in the moment!

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

I’m a night person, and I love that quiet moment in the night where I can hear myself think. I also have the most clarity at this time of day, and some of my most creative solutions have been conjured up past midnight! 

Any productivity hacks?

As I’ve grown in my career, the most valuable skills I’ve learned are prioritizing and delegating.  

What are apps that you can’t live without?

My weather and health app!

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Launching my own business, which was a retail boutique in Dubai. 

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

My sisters are my most trusted advisors when it comes to any professional guidance.  We all come from very different professions, and collectively, our experiences have exposed us to varied and diverse career challenges.  We have also worked in different markets around the world and have found ways to work effectively with people from different cultures. 

About the
Company

Mirakl offers the industry’s first and most advanced enterprise marketplace SaaS platform. With Mirakl, organizations across B2B and B2C industries can launch marketplaces faster, grow bigger, and operate with confidence as they exceed rising customer expectations. 

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Career Path - Diana Granger, Threat Intelligence Analyst on the Operational Outcomes Team at Recorded Future banner image

Career Path - Diana Granger, Threat Intelligence Analyst on the Operational Outcomes Team at Recorded Future

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a Threat Intelligence Analyst on the Operational Outcomes Team at Recorded Future?

We connected with Diana Granger to find out!

Interested in learning more about Recorded Future and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in Glencoe, IL, a small suburb about 30 minutes north of Chicago. My mom was an electrical engineer and my dad worked in venture capital and business consulting.

Diana Granger Recorded Future

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to Wellesley College, where I double majored in Computer Science and Spanish. My first job out of school before coming to Recorded Future was as a security analyst at an investment management firm. 

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

While my degree in Computer Science provided a lot of foundational knowledge, a lot of the technical skills I use day-to-day are things that I learned from on-job-training I received from mentors and colleagues who were willing to invest in me. Additionally, taking opportunities early in my career to solve diverse problems, even if I had limited experience in the subject matter, has made me a well-rounded analyst. 

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a Threat Intelligence Analyst on the Operational Outcomes Team at Recorded Future?

My main responsibilities include writing, reviewing, and publishing notes about new and emerging adverserial TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures), periodically selecting some of these TTPs for more in-depth analysis, and creating signatures to detect them. I also produce finished intelligence reports requested by our clients covering a wide range of cyber-related topics.

Diana Granger Recorded Future

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?

Training is great, but make sure you make time to practice what you learned even after the training/class/seminar is over. Hands-on, practical experience (or as close as you can get to that) is invaluable.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Black coffee always, 2 cups a day. I’ll add in a cup of tea during the winter.

What time do you start working? 

Around 9:30am.

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  • My supportive and empathetic teammates.
  • The super interesting topics I get to research.
  • The actionable nature of the work my team does. Most of my research projects culminate in some sort of action item for our clients (mitigation or remediation steps, signatures to detect malicious activity, etc.)

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

  • 9 - 9:30: Coffee and breakfast.
  • 9:30 - 9:45: Log in and check Slack, email, or ticket notifications. We’re a global company, so sometimes questions or announcements come in overnight. Look over my ongoing assignments and deadlines so I can set priorities for the day and week ahead.
  • 9:45-10:30: Time to work! If I have any quick administrative tasks this is when I usually get it done since it’s a shorter work window.
  • 10:30-10:45: Team meeting twice a week to check in on the status of ongoing client-requested reports and assign analysts to new requests.
  • 10:45 - 12:30: Back to work! This is when I like to get started on more technical research, malware analysis, or tool / malware signature development.
  • 12:30 - 1:00: Lunch.
  • 1:00-3:00: Back into research. Depending on my assignments for the week, this is when I do a lot of writing or review of my teammates' reports.
  • 3:30-4:00: Weekly meeting with the New and Emerging Threats team within Operational Outcomes to go over success metrics, address any process changes, and ask questions.
  • 4:00-5:30: Back to research or writing until I can get to a good stopping point, respond to any final Slack messages or emails, and log off for the day.

What time do you typically wrap up the work day? 

Around 5:30pm

Any productivity hacks?

Nothing revolutionary, but I’m a visual person, so Kanban style boards (e.g., Trello) help me prioritize projects and manage competing deadlines. Choosing blocks of time to mute notifications on my devices also helps minimize distractions during tasks that require a lot of focus.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

  • Google Calendar is how I know where I’m supposed to be at any given moment.
  • Overcast is my podcast player of choice. I’m one of those people who needs background noise to focus, so I’m pretty much always listening to a comedy / pop culture podcast or music, which brings me to my 3rd app…
  • Spotify. My taste in music is all over the place so I make a lot of playlists, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Lil Nas X, Lady Gaga, and The Weeknd.

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

I had the opportunity to lead a report about Cyber Threats to the Black Community in 2021. It was challenging and way out of my comfort zone, but I’m really proud of the outcome and thankful for the support I received from the analysts that co-wrote the report with me. 

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

My teammates and managers at Recorded Future, both current and former, are some of the kindest and smartest people I know and have given me great advice over the years.

About the
Company

Recorded Future delivers advanced security intelligence to disrupt adversaries, empower defenders, and protect organizations. Recorded Future intelligence is ready for integration across the security ecosystem.

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Career Path - Luis Amadeo, SVP of Product Strategy at Duck Creek banner image

Career Path - Luis Amadeo, SVP of Product Strategy at Duck Creek

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What do the career path and the day-in-the-life look like for a SVP of Product Strategy at Duck Creek?

We connected with Luis Amadeo to find out!

Interested in learning more about Duck Creek and their job openings?  Make sure to check out their company page on VentureFizz!


Where did you grow up?  What did your parents do for work?  

I grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, specifically in the “parada 18” of the Santurce district (“parada” means bus stop). My mom worked as an analyst for the PR Department of Energy, helping draft energy policy for the island for over 40 years. She is now enjoying her much deserved retirement. My dad taught economics at the University of PR, worked for the PR Department of Transportation, and eventually left all that to follow his passion for cooking - he owned and ran a seafood restaurant for about 30 years before he retired.

Luis Amadeo Duck Creek

Santurce PR, where I was born and raised

Where did you go to college?  What did you study and what were some of your initial jobs out of school?

I went to Cornell University in Ithaca NY, where I got my undergraduate degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. As you can imagine this was a huge culture (and climate) shock for me coming from PR. I loved Cornell though, and all the faculty and friends that helped me pull through those amazing years. 

Cornell University, my alma mater

My first job out of college was as an Aerospace Engineer for Pratt & Whitney in West Palm Beach, FL. I worked in the Combustion Technology Group (R&D), helping advance combustion innovation in the field. My first project was for the US Department of Energy, and involved exploring designs for combustors that would significantly reduce NOx emissions. My second project was for the Department of Defense and was classified, but let’s just say that it was related to a derivative of the F-22 engine. This was in the late 1990’s, and was a very interesting time for technology. Tech was shifting from innovations in industrial manufacturing to innovations in software delivery via the internet.  After three years as an aerospace engineer I decided to make a move for software, specifically web development. I’ve always loved computers and programming since I was a kid (I started programming BASIC with my Apple IIc), and learned Pascal in college, but I had never learned how to build a web app. I went to Barnes & Noble, bought as many books as I could find on software technologies (ANSI C, Java, VB, JavaScript, HTML, SQL Server, ActiveX, Java Applets) and consumed them all.  I was lucky enough to get a consulting job opportunity at a startup in Miami, so I left my job as an aerospace engineer in WPB and took a leap of faith as a software development consultant in Miami, where I currently live. As a consultant I got to gain many skills and learn new software technologies pretty rapidly. After six years as a consultant, and learning how to build custom web apps, Java apps, Oracle, SAP, Siebel, and a lot of other tech, I got a job at Ultimate Software and worked there for 16 years honing my skills as a SaaS technologist, software architect, and product innovator.

Pratt and Whitney combustion tech, where I did aerospace engineering

What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?

What has attributed to my success has been 1) believing in myself, 2) perseverance, 3) doing the right thing, and 4) luck.  

I was the third, and youngest, of three siblings. As the youngest I got the benefit of learning from my older siblings early on, allowing me to watch and learn many things that I would face later in life from an early age.  I also did a lot of things growing up that helped me shape my confidence through stressful situations. From the age of six I was a musician performing in front of audiences around the world. I took art classes and was never afraid to express myself through art. I trained in Japanese martial arts since middle school, having to face many scary opponents in the dojo and in competitions. In school I pushed myself to take as many AP and advanced classes I could.  Looking back now, I believe all of these things helped me “face my fears”, many times through failure, eventually helping me build enough confidence to apply that level of “can do” attitude and fearlessness at work.  Now let me stress this - it’s not really the past experiences that give me this attribute, it’s the fact that I constantly face my fears that allow me to believe in myself. My past just helped push me. This is constant work. It is never done.

Luis Amadeo Duck Creek

shirinjikempo martial arts

Luis Amadeo Duck Creek

Sanjuan Children's Choir, where I learned music. I am in the center

I am someone that doesn’t give up. I don’t know where this one came from. Maybe it comes from my life experiences - I just simply never give up. There are times when things get really hard and I’m about to “quit”, but something inside of me just never gives up no matter what. That perseverance has actually helped me get through very difficult times at home and at work, and the more I practice it, the easier it becomes to push through hard times.

I strongly believe in always doing the right thing. Many times this is the inconvenient choice, but I know it will always be the choice that will bring positive change for all.  There is no compromise here. Do the right thing, or do not.

Last, I would lie if I wouldn’t recognize that I’ve had a certain amount of luck during my personal and professional life. My parents worked really hard to give me an education that they could barely afford, as well as instill in me the beliefs that help me navigate life and work. I’m married to the love of my life, Sandra, who has supported me like a rock during the ups and down of our marriage and my career.  I’ve also had a lot of people that have believed in me and have mentored me since my early days as a kid running in the streets of San Juan.  My teachers, directors, senseis, counselors, bosses, colleagues, friends - too many to count but looking back at this network of people that have had a direct and positive influence in my journey and opportunities, I have to admit that I’ve been extremely lucky. I’m humbled by their wisdom and eternally grateful to them, as without them, I would not be where I am today.

Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position as a SVP of Product Strategy at Duck Creek?

My responsibility at Duck Creek as SVP of Product Strategy is simple: to build, empower, and support a team that helps define the North Star for our products - our product strategy - so that Product Development can innovate and deliver products that meet or surpass our business objectives. More specifically this includes building the most talented team in the industry to achieve this goal, giving them the clarity of vision, tools, and ownership that empower them to excel and grow. I am also responsible to support them in any way shape or form so they can succeed and deliver on their aspirations and goals. In essence, my job is to take care of them so they can take care of others, and the business.

Any tips for someone considering a career in your field?

My advice for someone considering a career in my field is simple: be bold. Every single job that I’ve started anew has had a learning curve. Stepping out of your comfort zone, learning new skills, solving different problems are all part of any new job, in any field. Therefore, be bold and jump in, embracing the learning experience ahead.

One thing that I’ve learned through my life is that all is possible as long as you “face yourself” first and have that internal conversation where you tell yourself “I’ve got this”.  I’ve changed industries and roles many times in my career and there is a common thread that I can share about all those experiences: 1) we have one common job, we are all “Problem Solvers”, and 2) we have one common obstacle, “Our Fears”. Accept those two as a fact, face and embrace them, and you will be successful no matter what career, and what field you decide to embark on.


Day in the Life

Coffee, tea, or nothing?

Coffee 100%. No cream, no sugar.

What time do you start working? 

My first job is being a father, so I start as early as 6:30am helping with breakfast and taking both my kids, Christian and Valentina, to school.  I also take time in the morning to meditate, reflect on what I want to accomplish, and spend some time with my wife Sandra before the day gets too busy.  If all goes as planned, I’m usually online by 8:30am EST.

Luis Amadeo Duck Creek

What are three things that motivate you in your role?

  1. Helping others succeed
  2. Increasing the value of our products
  3. Stretching myself to do things I’ve never done before (especially the hard ones)

Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?

On Mondays, the first thing I do is write down in my journal the things I want to accomplish during the week. On a daily basis I start the day by assessing my weekly goals, and I mark the things I need to accomplish for the day. This becomes somewhat redundant but it’s important for me because it allows me to “train the muscle” of not overcommitting work while keeping a steady pace of delivering value. It doesn’t always work as planned, but I’m pretty persistent in learning every day how to improve on this. My day is then mostly consumed by meetings, time blocked for me to work on my weekly deliverables, and small breaks in between if allowable. Emails are tough for me as they are for everyone. I’m not a fan of multi-tasking especially when I’m in meetings listening to others, so that means that emails are checked during small breaks and blocked time. Pre-pandemic, I made sure lunch was a ritual: a break and a chance to socialize with my colleagues outside of the office. Post-pandemic we all know that this has changed dramatically, so I try to at least take 20-30 mins to prepare and have lunch away from my computer. This is hard to do, but so important. It’s also a work-in-progress. Around 3pm I have to have my “cafecito” (espresso) break to get a boost. Between 3pm-5pm I’m usually very productive with my weekly goals. This is also the time I use to help with school pick-up or take the kids to appointments. Around 6pm I stop work and head to the kitchen to help prepare dinner so we can sit down and have dinner as a family, which is usually around 7pm.  By the time we’re done cleaning the kitchen as a family, I take a little break to clear my mind and spend time with Sandra, Christian, and Valentina. Around 9pm, if there is something work-related that needs attention, or has been bothering me, I either write down my next actionable steps or ideas in my journal or I get online to do a bit of work. I’m very conscious that I do not want to take away time from my family, so I try hard not to make this a habit.  I’m a fan of getting a good night’s rest so that I can keep my health and have the strength to tackle the next day’s problems. As long as there is not a new Star Wars or Marvel Studios season or movie out, and as long as I’m not behind anything critical at work, I’m usually in bed between 11pm and midnight.

What time do you typically wrap up the work day? 

6pm

Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?  

80% of the time I try to not log back in at night as a selfish and healthy ritual. If I were to spend every evening working, then I would consider that a ‘red flag’. That usually means that there is a problem at work, or with me, that needs fixing - I will make note of that and address. No matter the role, no matter the responsibilities, a scalable and growing business requires everyone to find a good healthy balance of life and work.

Any productivity hacks?

  • Learn OS shortcuts. Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, take some time to learn as much as you can about the latest OS features and the productivity shortcuts that can help accelerate your workflow. You’ll be surprised at what you don’t know once you start discovering.​
  • Write your TODOs. Write your weekly tasks/todo’s in a digital or physical journal/notebook. Only commit to what you can do in the week with plenty of buffer for the unknowns.  Don’t write more than 5 attainable things.
  • Journal your work. Keep a journal handy so you can write down problems and ideas as they come through your stream of consciousness (your mind). These thoughts may come during meetings or while you’re working on something else. Trust your thoughts and just write them down as they come. Usually they reveal the answer to the problems you’re trying to solve, but you will likely not realize that until later in the week.
  • PowerPoint-First. Start a slide deck for anything you MAY NEED to communicate, even if you haven’t been asked to prepare a deck. Start early, right at the moment you start a project. Don’t wait until the end. Avoid writing sentences and just write main concepts that you can talk to right in the deck, even if they’re just ideas of what you want to accomplish. You can always add visuals later. Try to avoid creating a Word doc that you later need to convert to a slice deck - this is a waste of time. This way if you’re asked to talk about your project with little time to prepare, you are not stressing out that you need to prepare. You should ALWAYS have a deck handy for all your work.
  • Draw your ideas. Draw on paper and take pictures of them. Sometimes words can’t capture how to solve a problem, or explain how a solution works. Draw your thoughts into shapes that tell a story, or a journey, and refer to them when you are ready to tackle the problem. At the very least, they may help you when you need to communicate your work via a slide deck.
  • Seek help early. We don’t know everything and no one expects us to. Ask someone for help during the day. Go to lunch or dinner with someone that may be able to help you. Reach out to your network of friends and colleagues and ask ‘has anyone solved this before?”. 
  • Slow down. If you feel you’re working on too many things and are going way too fast, slow down. Take a break and think through what is really most important to the business for the present moment in time. Prioritize your list, reset expectations, and push out work that is not really that critical. When your day is manageable, your mind will be in the best position to think through solutions. When working at a manageable pace, you will work less to accomplish all of your goals.
  • Meditate, especially when stressed. Once your mind is overwhelmed it becomes unproductive. Take 20 minutes to do simple breathing exercises, or the meditation of your choice, and then go back to tackle the job. If you can do this daily in the morning prior to work, or at night prior to bed, it will pay you great dividends.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours each day. I know this is what doctors recommend but it is very important to remind ourselves of this. It’s ok to stay up or pull an all-nighter every once in a while - we’ve all been there. Just remember that if you do, you have a debt to pay. There is no way to cheat on this one.
  • Take PTO. Plan it ahead of time and make sure you maximize your PTO through the year. Travel and get out of your routine world. Not only will you be refreshed and reenergized, but you will learn and gain new ideas and perspectives that will fuel your innovation when you return to work. It’s a win-win.

What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?

Apple News, Amazon, Netflix

What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?

Using my product, engineering, and architecture leadership skills to help grow a SaaS company from $150M to $1.5B in revenues in 14 years.

Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?

 Easy answer. My fearless leader, Jess Keeney.

About the
Company

Duck Creek Technologies gives P&C insurers a genuine path to the future.

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