Hi Faye, thanks for taking the time for this interview. You have a background with a bachelor in industrial engineering and were responsible for industrial processes.
How did it happen that you are now part of our marketing-tribe as our community manager?
Well it’s a long story that I might be able to explain further in the next questions, but the gist is that I switch careers a couple of times so now I’m here. 😉 A fun fact however, would be that all I know about community management came from my experience as a volunteer in an open source community.
What does that exactly mean? What are your tasks?
I take care of our relationship with the Checkmk user community, which consists of people using our various editions and our partners. The tasks include the more nitty-gritty ones like moderating the forum to the more big picture ones like creating strategies on how we can better engage and include the community in everything that we do.
You switched from Engineering to a Web Admin and Digital Marketing Consultant. What was the reason for this change?
Frankly, there were two things that made shift. First one was, I felt that the manufacturing industry was rigid and still not progressive. There’s a still a lot of emphasis in following set standards than encouraging us to innovate in everything we do. The second reason might be a side-effect of having this kind of culture; I never felt I would progress as a woman. I didn’t see women engineers getting into upper management positions and have been constantly hearing gender being an issue to do work. I hear managers not preferring to hire women because “they get pregnant”.
So I started looking for opportunities in tech startups/small businesses where I can start exploring my interest in marketing. Back then I was doing something similar in a volunteer capacity, so I thought of trying it as a day job.
What made you to move to tribe29?
I was very interested in the challenge of being the first community manager! Checkmk has a vibrant community and thought it would be very fulfilling to serve it. The company is lean but growing rapidly, which is a very exciting state to be in. I want to be there to help it grow!
IT is still considered a typical male domain. Do you have the feeling that you have to achieve more than your male colleagues?
No, but it’s only because I am fortunate enough that throughout my career I have worked directly with very supportive and inclusive colleagues (like the people at tribe29!), so I never felt I had to compete in that regard. However, I won’t deny that there are times that almost made me feel that way, for example when a mentor figure told others behind my back how I got a certain recognition is possibly because I was the only woman in the selection. But again, thanks to my support system, I understand that this is an example of a bad environment I can choose to leave anytime.
It’s unfortunate that I get to see people feeling this way because of the environment they had to endure. I wish an environment where colleagues don’t have to worry about this would be a norm in IT. I wish that people be more aware of the microaggressions like what I mentioned for example.
What advice do you give women who want to work in IT or technical professions?
Don’t tolerate BS. It’s not ‘just in your head’. If the environment you are in doesn’t have smart people who know your worth, it’s not worth to stay. There are a bunch of places out there that will value the skills you bring to the table.