The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

Ep 157: How to Get Promoted w/ Rachel Whitehead

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 157: How to Get Promoted w/ Rachel Whitehead

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Pavilion podcast. I'm your host, Brandon Barton, you're listening to. Is this a good time. The show where I Pavilion members in the hot seat for 15 minutes. We hear their incredible stories, shows around Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hit subscribe please. Alright, I guess today's Rachel Whitehead. She is the VP of marketing and credibility and we talk about how to get promoted, including some really cool tips about living in Poland. This month's sponsor is Sandoz. So Sandoz oh, the leading sending platform is the most effective way for revenue generating teams to stand out with new ways to engage at strategic points throughout the customer journey by connecting digital and physical strategies. Companies can engage, acquire and retain customers easier than ever before. All right, let's do this episode 76. Is this a good time? All right, so excited for our guest today we have Rachel Whitehead, she's the VP of marketing at utility based. She's based out of war sort wants wants...

...are in Poland. So I think you'll be our first guest from Poland. So great to have you on the show. Yeah. Thanks Brandon. And we can we can work on that pronunciation before the end of this. I'll do my best. It's still monday morning here. Alright. I'll meet. No filler. Let's jump. Right and tell us a little bit about your card role, current company and then how you got here? We run it through your, your resume if you will. Yeah, sure. Happy to. Um so as you know, I'm currently VP marketing here at capability and really our job is to help engineering managers make really great hiring decisions for the engineers they're adding to their team. So our software helps people evaluate technical skill um and yeah it's something that I I really feel passionate about helping companies build really great engineering teams in terms of where it came from, so that the accent is not polish, I'm originally from new Zealand um and so made it out to Poland by way of SAn Francisco. I was in Rotterdam for a bit as well um but essentially joined capability pretty early on about six years ago now, so I'm one of those...

...folks who has been at the company for a while and now into that VP role, wow. And you, I mean you started you know kind of at that bottom rung relationship manager I think was the first time that I saw tell us about your and you know, did you just blindly apply, was it a company you found out about? Uh Yeah, absolutely, so you know I knew the recruiter at the time for a previous roll over in Rotterdam and she was working for a previous organization that I've been a part of and so she reached out knowing that I had recently moved to SAn Francisco and you're completely right, it was definitely my first role in tech when I was in university I worked in a couple of different jobs, helping build out kind of um sort of guest lecture series for engineering students, working with local companies who are trying to do sort of employer branding initiatives, so I've been in and around tech and around startups in new Zealand, but really, you know, in san Francisco of course went there with the mindset of working at a startup and that's where I...

...met capability and absolutely joined at the bottom bottom of the ladder um and as the company has grown, really found those opportunities to grow my career as well. Um so it's been, it's been great so far, that's incredible, I mean I love seeing somebody move up the ranks so many times from you know, manager, the director to VP uh you know, and I would say in six years that's a that's a short period of time and what uh what can I do to Poland, like tell us that story. Yeah, it's an interesting one, I think it's, you know, it's partially work and then ultimately partially life, so, you know, cardinality is founded by by, by a polish guy, Greg Tchaikovsky, who was working as a developer wanting to hire developers onto his team and really built out code ability is kind of a do daddy to help him out with evaluating candidates coming through. Um and so I joined in san Francisco when they were launching internationally really for the first time, but after a couple of years working in customer success and then into marketing, I wanted to step...

...into product marketing, I felt like that was going to be really a great sort of space between working hands on with the product and helping helping develop that while also being able to work with really the go to market and sort of how it would shape out. So eventually decided to move to Warsaw as part of that since our dev center was based out here and I wanted to be closer to product and then, you know, after are we well of moving here and met someone and decided to stay for quite a while longer. So that was a couple of years ago now. Very much water local, That's that's that's super cool. Um And uh I mean, I I certainly love that, you know, taking opportunities to live internationally when you can, I mean like, gosh, what a cool um you know, opportunity that must have been for you. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I I live to live abroad. Um so sort of sitting number four for me, I think I've always been the search to find the right city for me and I think anyone who's lived in multiple places, you know what I mean by, you know, Year...

...one is exploration Year two is do I really want to live here in Year three tends to be the decision making year. Um And so I'm now in year three in Warsaw and still really loving it. So happy about that and what's the, what's the, you know, BC back startup tech community like there, I mean, I know that there's tons of engineers in the area, right, So that's probably great for your business, but yeah, absolutely, I mean Warsaw and in general Poland and really eastern europe is just a great spot to, to hire developers and to find really great engineering talent. Um and so that certainly helps out. But you know, Warsaw is completely different from san Francisco when you think about startups in the VC scene, it's, it's often, I mean it's certainly a lot smaller here. Um to be honest, we work with vcs out in the UK and the US, so not so much locally, but there's some great incubators around here and definitely some really interesting people starting some cool companies, so capability is one of those um and there's, you know, a couple of others as well which are interesting to watch out. Right, Right. Well, look, I mean, we, as we always talk about on the show, it takes hard work and luck to get...

...where you are. I wonder if you could share a story of kind of either some extreme hard work or or, or just luck that's like happened to get you where you are. Yeah, yeah, absolutely, I mean, so, you know, joining credibility when I did, I think is probably the best example of luck, you know, that whole rocketship style thing, I joined us employee number 25 right place right time, and I think also for me the right time in my career, you know, I was really in that sort of hustle phase, like, you know, I really want to build out and improve myself and and build a name for myself and so that was definitely lucky and you know, in terms of the hard work, I think, you know, part of staying at a company and moving up in the way that I did from sort of individual contributor to manager to director to now, VP part of that has required a lot of hard work. Um and I would honestly say the hardest part has been, you know, moving into those new leadership roles, particularly where there's new people to manage or new strategies to own and there's always a...

...gap, you know, I feel like you're never ready for your next role, maybe some people are, but I definitely live in that space between, you know, my current ability and my future ambition and so that's always been a bit of a challenge. I've definitely felt that over the years, especially the first six months moving into those, those higher roles, just the kind of context switch of going from, you know, someone who's very functionally focused or an individual contributor to someone who's a manager or a little bit more broadly focused um and having to bridge that gap somehow. So a lot of late nights, a lot of talking to other people who have been there, done that and honestly a lot of vulnerability. You know, it's a really great way to make a lot of mistakes. Um and so you have to be pretty humble and honest with yourself and others on that. I really love that now. What would you do if somebody is listening right now and they're either an individual contributor level or even like manager level and they want to move up. What would you say is part of that? Like toolkit? I mean I'm even curious to know, like were you asking...

...for these promotions? Did you did you wait to become recognized? I mean, how much ambition did you really like apply? Yeah, I mean, so I think probably it wasn't very conscious for me. I mean definitely in every major promotion I've had, it hasn't been something I've asked for, but I am one of those people who, you know, when I spot problems or I see things that I think can be improved, I'm pretty quick to jump on it. And so that's what I mean by subconscious a little bit, you know, I think when I moved into the Director of product marketing role, I was probably sniffing a little bit too much around product managers um and around sales people and they said, hey there's a role for this. Um and so you know, that would be my number one recommendation to someone looking to move up in your career is to really look at, well for that next role that you're either wanting or just look at the problems that you're interested in itself, interested in solving. Um You know, I really think that if you can extend yourself and focus in on some of those, you know, there's there's always ways for you to contribute more and in...

...unique ways. And so that's definitely one thing that's helped me. Yeah, what else? I mean, at the end of the day, sometimes you do need to ask, but the best way to really figure that out is to start with asking for feedback. So for me, it's always been about building that strong group of people around me who can keep me grounded on where I'm strong, where I need to improve. And, you know, if all that fails, just talk to your manager and let them know that you'd like to step up and ask them what's it gonna take. If they don't have a good answer for you, then it's probably not going to happen in that organization. Your manager should have a plan for your career path. She'll be able to coach you through it. It's not gonna be easy or linear, but it's often with it. I love that. That's a great advice. Alright, well, give us some more advice. What's the marketing or sales tactic that you would that you'd want to share, what's a secret that you have, that we can use secrets. Okay, well, I think one thing that I did pretty early on, actually, when I was a director of product marketing a couple of years ago is I really jumped on the...

...trend of online review sites and that has now a couple of years later, just been a really great wealth of not only kind of customer feedback, but also really an engine of customer advocacy. So depending on where your startup is in terms of its department, if you haven't already started looking at online reviews, I would definitely look at automating that particularly connected to mps campaigns. It's just a great way, you know, if people are saying positive stuff about your product and mps or in surveys, you know, use reviews as a way to get them to do that externally. And it is just a beautiful way to build a bit more credibility and really allow word of mouth to start. It's been something that's worked well for us. And it's, it's certainly a couple year journey, any, any particular sites that you felt have been really great for reputation management like that, like, you know, legion even G2 or G2 has always been a home for us. I think we joined into their kind of ecosystem pretty early on. And so I've definitely grown with them, but right now we're really excited about linkedin and what they're doing...

...with product pages. So that's definitely one to watch out for All right, like that's a great tip. Anything that any positions you're hiring for? Well a couple of positions, but I think the one that's really top of mind for me is definitely around developer advocacy. So as a product that serves engineering managers, it's really important for us to stay close to developers. And so I'm looking for a senior leader to join the team who can help us with really building out our developer relations, developing marketing toolkit and yeah, it's a, it's an interesting role. We already have thousands of developers coming to our website every day. Um, and so looking for someone who wants to take advantage of that and help us, uh, former stronger narrative. They're interesting building building a community if you will. Yeah, exactly. I mean, we, we have different levels of community, if that makes sense. And so stitching those together and finding easier ways we could join. That's essentially the job description. Is it based in Poland? No, no, we were fully remote company. Um, so you know,...

...whether they're based in SAn Francisco on the east coast, probably somewhere out there I'd imagine, but UK as well. Um, it's one of the great pleasures of, of being a remote first company is we can really high anywhere and My team and marketing, we currently have 15 people and based all over from Warsaw to London Berlin new york, pennsylvania and over on the west coast in san Francisco as well, wow, incredible. Alright. And any shout outs either up and comers or folks that you kind of appreciate the content they put out. Yeah, I've been a longtime fan of intercom to be honest. So you know, user, but also a fan of the content inside intercom. I think just such a great podcast for anyone who is into kind of startups, especially scaling. Um, so that's a great, great one to check out. Also a lot of interesting stuff obviously with kind of the guy raz sort of how I built this, all those kind of stories depending on where you are in your career. It's always great hearing, you know, to your earlier point hard work versus luck. It's...

...typically a bit of both. Yeah. In terms of upcoming products when I'm really loving at the moment is a crayon doing competitive intelligence work, which I think is really interesting. There's a whole lot of stuff we're trailing. I typically don't like to speak up until it's proven. Um, so I will give you some more in the future. Great. We'll get it when you come back on. Cool, well awesome and I'm so intrigued for this one because I hope you give me some place local now that you, I feel like you found your home, give us a restaurant that we can go visit when, when we're out in Warsaw, good job you're getting there. So one thing that people don't know about Warsaw, I think a lot of people when they think of Poland, they think of kielbasa and Pierogi and this kind of heavy type food. But what you need to know about Warsaw is that it is a vegan capital and actually one of the best cities and europe for sure for vegan food. So yeah, I know I felt the same way. Um and so...

...some really great restaurants that I love. Um firstly there's a there's a great kind of kind of bar pub style place called pacific. It's very hip, so make sure you wear like cool shoes when you go there. But if you like, you know, kimchi and vegan tacos, all of their food is inspired by countries around the pacific rim. So poker balls all sort of fusion stuff. But that's a really great place and they make great cocktails. So you know, it's important to balance both there. We get the good, get the good old school kicks out to go there, I guess right. Exactly. Love it. Yeah, Rachel, incredible to hear your stories. Thank you so much. Looking forward to keeping in touch. Yeah, Thanks Brandon and happy to be part of Pavilion. Thanks all right, That's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show rating review in the apple podcast Spotify extended to friends. Make sure to smash that subscribe button reminder. This episode was brought to you by some joseph, they deliver modern direct mail, personalized gifts and other physical...

...impressions that make your outreach more personal. I had fun today. I hope you did too. Go crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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