I love to tell this story: in my third trimester with my first child, I suddenly found myself out of a job when my company closed its corporate office in San Francisco and relocated to Dallas. I discovered how incredibly awkward interviewing in this condition could be, and I didn’t exactly have a strong negotiating hand. After being asked in an interview how much weight had I gained and did I plan to have a live-in nanny???, I decided it was time to ditch the corporate world and head in a new direction.
When I left my 13-year consulting and business development career behind, I was more than a little panicked about losing my access to the corporate IT department. I became an Apple-everything customer thinking that there was at least some consumer support, but with my busy-mom lifestyle, I wasn’t exactly heading to training at the store and was loathe to spend hours on the phone with Applecare.
In September of 2015, I was invited to Dreamforce, Salesforce’s awe-inspiring mega-conference. I was blown away by the advances in the tech world and also how far removed I felt from it all having been focused on raising my two girls. I realized that over the years, I had lacked any good source of information to help me keep up-to-date with technology and that spoke to me as CEO of my household. What I had learned largely came from on-the-fly conversational snippets with my friends. Thus, the name Heard it From A Friend.
Having worked in best practices consulting, I couldn’t help but be curious how my peers were using technology to make family life run more smoothly, and really I’ve been fascinated with the inner workings of running the “Family Business” since I was at least five. My mother was the oldest of 10 children, and what an operation it was to feed, clothe, and transport a family of 12!
Nowadays family life is busier than ever, and I started Heard It From A Friend to shine a spotlight on the technology that can help us be more efficient and effective. My hope is that Heard It From A Friend will help women to keep apace with technology through a community of friends, and that through a collective voice and partnership, we can advocate for the technology that we need for ourselves and our families. It’s time for women to have a seat at the technology table!
As a technologist and tech enthusiast, I started working with Apple computers about 25 years ago, when I was a graphic designer. I later spent four years in retail at Apple Computer as a Mac Specialist, training customers and new employees. While at San Francisco’s Union Square Apple store, I worked to design and implement a robust custom employee training program specific to the Flagship’s systems.
At the Apple Store, I noticed that most customers who bought a pile of Apple and related gear were a like deer-in-the-headlights when it came to taking it home and setting it up. I decided to leave retail and launch Appleseed Consultants, allowing me to provide premium quality, in-home support to address this issue. My focus has always been on teaching clients how to be more efficient and to feel empowered, not fearful, when it comes to technology.
Many of my clients take notice and appreciate the fact that I’m a woman working in technology; some people even look specifically for a woman to work with them in this area. There is a demeanor and special way of communicating that comes with being a female; a calm, understanding and patient attitude helps people feel at ease about the issues they’re facing with technology, and energized to give it a try on their own after a bit of guidance.
I first met Julie when one of my clients scheduled a photo organizing session for the two of them. I could immediately see the value in their interchange and how the tools I was teaching them came to life as they discussed different use scenarios. Afterwards, Julie told me her about her plans for Heard It From a Friend. I loved the idea, especially as I could see such a need in my client base, and wanted to be a part of realizing its mission.
I am a passionate Technology Go-to-Market leader with more than 20 years of experience building Enterprise sales capabilities from the ground up and have held Sales Executive positions at Zignal, Akamai and now Twilio. I love working with problem solvers who are eager to disrupt the accepted path, and I love that in any given day, I work with a range of skills sets from engineers to marketers, and from people early in their career to those who are setting strategy based on years of experience. I have always found my work and my colleagues extremely motivating.
People always ask me what it’s like being a women working in the industry. Aside from actually carrying and bearing two children, I honestly have never felt a difference or separation from my male peers and the opportunity at work. Yes, I have some funny “cocktail party” stories, and there is the “boys club” dynamic at times where last minute late night drinks turn into important strategy meetings, but I have never felt excluded from them.
I currently sit on the board of Girls in Tech and also enjoy consulting with start-ups, providing guidance on fundraising, marketing strategy and execution. Not surprisingly, I primarily advise to businesses led by women.
When I first met Julie, I was excited about Heard It From A Friend’s mission to help women get more leverage by focusing on technology to help us be more efficient and effective. As for running the “Family Business,” it’s a shared job in my household, although we each have our specialties ☺.