‘My experience as a woman in tech has been difficult and wonderful’

‘My experience as a woman in tech has been difficult and wonderful’

By: Jenny Darmody

From using data to make a difference in non-profits, to her experience of ‘gaslighting’, Karen Taggart shares her career story and her experience as a woman in tech.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, we still have a long way to go.

Despite the gender gap being one of the most talked about diversity issues in the industry, women in tech still have countless stories of how their experience differs to their male counterparts – be that in pay, treatment or perception.

Karen Taggart is a customer success manager for CloudBees. She has had an extensive and successful career within the tech sphere, particularly within DevOps and data analytics.

Taggart told Siliconrepublic.com that her experience as a woman working in tech has been both difficult and wonderful. It took a long time before she realised that previous things she had experienced were due to gender discrimination.

But she also spoke highly of her overall experience, meeting countless intelligent, funny and innovative individuals from all backgrounds throughout her career.

While she said she couldn’t picture working in any other industry, it wasn’t necessarily clear from her early years that tech was where she was heading.

Tell me a bit about your career background

Sometimes it is difficult to explain my résumé. When I graduated from college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had planned on going to law school and getting a master’s in public policy, but decided to put that plan on hold for a bit and just start working.

I moved to Washington DC and looked for entry-level jobs with non-profit organisations. I ended up working in the fundraising department for a non-profit, which they call development (not to be confused with software development).

In my first job, they needed a database to keep track of major donors, so I taught myself Access and created the system. It was the early ’90s, so databases were nowhere near as complicated and powerful as they are now.

From there, I moved more into direct marketing fundraising – direct mail, telemarketing and eventually online. This is where my interest in data really began to develop and I got more involved in database marketing, list segmentation and marketing analytics. I then began working at a direct marketing agency that targeted non-profits and political candidates.

After taking a few years to earn my master’s in education and teach eighth-grade history, I returned to direct marketing and began focusing more on email and social media, where the possibility of combining data and strategy was really exploding. However, I was finding that many of the organisations I was working with did not have the systems they needed to collect the data I wanted.

So, I joined the team at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to help improve some of their CRM systems and practices. Through that work, I realised I didn’t want to just work on the existing systems, but instead wanted to play a role in creating better solutions. I began working at ROI Solutions, a woman-owned-and-run CRM provider for non-profits, as a business analyst, where I spent much of my time working on third-party integrations.

While at ROI, I started a book club. The second book we read was The Phoenix Projectand it blew my mind. From that point forward, I became a bit obsessed with not just helping build better software for users, but delivering it to them. As my interest in DevOps grew, I stumbled upon CloudBees and quickly knew it was the place for me.

You have done a lot of work in the past for non-profits, what was that like?

Working with non-profits is wonderful! They are full of some of the smartest, most dedicated, inventive people you will ever meet. Because they have to be so budget-conscious, many find new ways of doing things with technology.

When you work with non-profits, you get exposed to all aspects of business. While working in this field, I worked on projects in areas such as marketing analytics, API and web services integrations, credit card processing, financial reporting, database architecture, sales, proposal writing, strategic planning, and solution selection.

‘When I felt like I just couldn’t do it any more, I would remind myself why I was doing the work I was doing’
– KAREN TAGGART

The best part of working with non-profits was the end result – campaigns I worked on helped house people suffering from floods, bring medical resources to regions suffering from Ebola, win the fight for marriage equality in the US, release political prisoners, elect officials to office who support women’s reproductive rights and stop the suffering of countless animals.

After a hard day at work, when I felt like I just couldn’t do it any more and was asked to do the impossible, I would remind myself why I was doing the work I was doing.

How have you seen data analysis change over your time in the industry?

When I began working with data, the sets were so small and simple that it was possible to get by with basic statistics skills and the ability to do a few charts in Excel. That has all changed.

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Upcoming Move? Helpful Tips for Household Packing and Moving

Thanks NEDRAC!

If you have an upcoming move, figuring out where to even start can be intimidating. Household packing and moving is not something most people look forward to, but we have collected some helpful tips from articles on Moving.com, BuzzfeedHGTV and How Stuff Works to help your next move go a little smoother. Here is a summary of what we found.

Packing Tips

The following are some basic tips for household packing:

  • Don’t Procrastinate – This seems simple enough, but getting started can be difficult. A few weeks prior to your move, start packing several boxes a day.
  • Pack Room-by-Room – Focus on one area of a room at a time and don’t mix items from different rooms in one box.
  • Label Boxes Clearly – On the top and side of each box, write a general description of the contents and the room name.
  • Use Packing Paper – Regular newspaper may bleed ink onto your possessions. Use white packing paper to wrap all items.
  • Stick with Moving Boxes – Use boxes designed for moving. Boxes obtained from grocery or liquor stores are not always clean and might not hold the weight of the items that you will be putting in them.
  • Don’t Box up Everything – You should personally transport heirlooms, important papers, legal documents (wills, passports. etc.), and valuables.

Moving Tips

Now you’re packed, here are some tips for the actual move:

  • Keep Children and Pets Out of the Way – No matter who is moving your things — professional movers or friends — they don’t want a barking dog or a rambunctious kid running around while they’re carrying heavy boxes and furniture.
  • Pack an Overnight Bag Containing the Essentials – Chances are, you’ll be too tired to unpack your things. You’ll want your essentials within easy access.
  • Change Your Address at the Post Office – Try to submit the change address form two weeks prior to the move to avoid missing timely mail like bills.
  • Write Down Your Utility Meter Readings – When you receive your final bill from your utility companies, verify that the figures match up.
  • Make Sure There’s Parking for the Truck – When the moving van or truck arrives at the new place, it will need a place to park and unload. This can become complicated depending on what type of home you’re moving into. For example, if you’re moving into a house, the truck can simply park out front. But if you’re moving into a high rise building, then you may need to set up a place ahead of time for the van or truck. You may also need to reserve an elevator. This should be set up beforehand, so the movers can carry things in as quickly as possible when they arrive.

CALL ED MELTON for your next relocation : 916-563-7472

emelton@chipmanrelo.com

Want to know what it’s really like relocating for work?

 

Relocating for work can be both exciting and daunting in equal measure. Want to know what it’s really like? Ask someone who has done it before. Toby Roger has done it twice.

Sometimes, successful employees can be offered the chance to relocate for work within their company. Alternatively, you could come across the opportunity of a lifetime in a completely new company abroad.

But relocating for work can feel a lot more daunting than simply moving job. There are a lot of components to think about, from the city you’re moving to and the cost of living there, to how you can maintain your relationships at home.

He then relocated for a second time to the other side of the world. Roger moved to Australia to work for employee analytics start-up Culture Amp. He spoke to Siliconrepublic.com about his experience of relocating and shared his advice for those thinking of making the move.

Where are you from?

I’m from a tiny village in rural Kent, England, called Brookland. My family are raspberry farmers so I grew up in a very different environment to the one I find myself in today. It’s a sleepy village where sheep outnumber people and the only amenity is a local pub.

How long ago did you relocate and what prompted your decision?

My career started with Zendesk in 2012 when the team was around 200 people globally. In 2015, I relocated from the London office to the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. The biggest draw was to learn from and to be closer to my peers in the product marketing team.

Additionally, the lifestyle of northern California was a big draw and the opportunity to experience something new. After five years at Zendesk, and with the company being 2,000 people strong, I made the decision to relocate again from San Francisco to Melbourne, Australia, to join a rapidly growing start-up called Culture Amp.

I was drawn to the chance to enjoy a better quality of life, to work in a more diversified city and to join a company at an earlier stage to maximise my impact.

Describe your role in Culture Amp.

My day-to-day focus is on what we call buyer and sales enablement, which ultimately involves a bunch of initiatives to help our buyers to buy and to help our sales team to sell.

Examples of these initiatives include defining how we pitch our platform, creating assets that help inform our buyers, conducting competitive research, and measuring the success of sales in terms of their win rates, how long it takes to close deals and the time taken to ramp up new salespeople.

I can also leverage my years in the Zendesk product marketing team to offer guidance on our product launches, and other strategic functions of the team.

What do you like most about your job?

I’m really motivated by Culture Amp’s mission to help companies around the globe learn faster through their employee feedback. We have all experienced working in a toxic environment and often, it can be boiled down to a lack of candid feedback between fellow employees and management.

Unfortunately, a poor working environment takes a significant toll on our personal lives. When I can help a company like Culture Amp to further their mission, I feel empowered to know there’s a chance we’re making people’s working lives – and, hopefully, their personal lives – better.

TOP 5 WAYS MILLENNIALS ARE DRIVING OFFICE DESIGN TRENDS

If there’s one well-known distinction separating Millennials from previous generations, it’s that they don’t live to work – they work to live. Priorities have shifted, so at the end of the day, it might not be the paycheck that matters most but rather the culture and a better work-life balance that keeps them loyal to a company. As more Millennials and Gen Z enter the workforce, the offices of the past are evolving into a more relaxed, open-minded, and hands-on environment that better suits the personality of newer generations. They’re driving office design trends that are bringing the workplace fully into the 21st century.

1. THEY’RE KNOCKING DOWN THE WALLS

Millennials prefer a collaborative, social environment, so the days of cubicles are over… long over. In its place has arrived the open floor plan concept. No more walls. No more dividers. No more disconnect betw

een employees. Simply a group of desks grouped together. An open floor plan encourages communication, building strong team connections and fostering camaraderie between employees. And the best part about this from a business perspective? Frequent interactions and collaborations can lead to innovative ideas and developments that benefit the company in its entirety.

2. THEY’RE DECORATING WITH PIZAZZ

Beige walls. Beige carpet. Beige desks – a.k.a. boring, boring, and boring. Modern, comfortable, eclectic – those sound better, don’t they? Yes? Then let’s kick the drab shades to the curb and breathe life into the space where people spend more than eight hours a day. Influenced by Millennials’ desire for an appealing workspace, offices are getting a makeover from floor to ceiling. It’s time for businesses to decorate with pizazz whether they’re drawing influence from the company’s values or inspiration from employees’ personalities. When your office is a medley of vibrant and engaging hues, it increases employee productiveness, so a splash of color really can make all the difference.

3. THEY’RE REPLACING THE OLD TECH WITH THE NEW

Born into the new era of technology between 1977 and ’95, Millennials are the definition of “tech savvy,” so they’re expecting a technologically up-to-date office space. Gone are the clunky desktops and miles of wires commandeering desk space, and in its place are sleek laptops and tablets. These devices can be easily transported from one side of the office to the other (Can you do that with a PC? I think not.), and all the information an employee needs is always right at their fingertips. Using the latest technology also streamlines and automates what were once time-consuming tasks, allowing employees to be more efficient and productive!

4. THEY’RE CREATING A VARIETY OF SPACES

Variety is the spice of life, and Millennials agree – especially in the workplace. Creating a variety of work spaces inspires a more engaging environment. Consider a large conference space with modern tables and chairs for important meetings. A collaborative room with a standup table and monitors for internal discussions. A small, sunlit area with large windows and a cozy couch for an employee seeking peace and quiet. When presented with numerous rooms and areas, employees can find the space that helps them be the most productive for the task at hand.

5. THEY’RE MAKING WORK FUN

The last and certainly the most important office space trend influenced by Millennials is quite simple: make the workplace fun! Remember, Millennials place a lot of emphasis on a company’s culture – will they be expected to work around the clock, or does the company believe in a work/play balance? Whether you put a pool table in the lunch room, place a ping pong table in a spare room, or hang up a hammock in a quiet room, providing engaging activities around the office will help your employees rest and reset their busy brains. After their break is over, they’ll feel mentally refreshed and ready to tackle what the rest of the day has to offer. Who says you can’t live a little at work?

Chipman Acquires American Relocation & Logistics

It’s still early in the year, but we have great news: Chipman Corporation has acquired select assets of American Relocation & Logistics to further strengthen the level of quality and service for our Orange County and LA audience in nearby Garden Grove, CA. We strongly believe that this acquisition will keep our local operating division growing and positioned to be an even more-effective market leader. By strengthening workplace services, warehousing and distribution, and residential relocations, we’re excited about where our future is headed.

Our Thoughts On American Relocation & Logistics

For over two decades, American Relocation & Logistics was a successful single Mayflower agency in Santa Fe Springs, CA. As we competed against them, we grew to admire their continuous success in their workplace services marketplace as well as their achievements on the sales side, increasing their bookings and revenue across interstate line-haul services. On top of that, American has always held a reputation for delivering quality service, and their dedicated service providers and employees are the heart of this successful culture.

What’s Next For Chipman Garden Grove?

In making this deal, Chipman is now a dual agent (United 449 and Mayflower 2880) in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino County. M2880 is our new Mayflower agency, operating out of Chipman’s Los Angeles & Orange County Service Center at 7372 Doig Dr, Garden Grove, CA. We’ll be merging over 900 storage vaults, along with trailers, forklifts, commercial equipment, and other moving and logistical support equipment from American into our Garden Grove facility.

Once the transitional paperwork is completed, we’ll on-board local contractors and over-the-road drivers from American that will haul within the Chipman Dedicated Fleet. Just as importantly, 15 members of their Sales, Coordination, Billing, and Operations Team agreed to join Chipman on January 2nd, providing us with expertise and know-how.

Special Thanks To Our People – Teamwork & Excellence

We would like to acknowledge the people who made this monumental merger a reality by integrating American assets, technology, finances, and support staff. Their teamwork and pursuit of continuous improvement is why we succeed in our quest to provide premier levels of service each and every time.

Without their hard work, none of this would have been possible. We’d also like to thank the Garden Grove team for welcoming the American team with open arms, allowing for our newest employees to join our organization with the same vision, same goals, and a matched desire to provide the levels of service that our customers have come to expect.

Chipman Moves Onward To 2018