January 6, 2017
In this blog series, women at Datto will post stories from their interviews of each other. This week, we hear from Chelsea Doherty, Manager of Logistics, and Ashley Mathieu, Partner Accounts Manager.
When asked to interview a female coworker at Datto, the first name that came to mind was Ashley Mathieu. She has worked at Datto for years and has helped our company grow while making impressive personal strides herself. She and I have been working in parallel for years, with two totally different perspectives. She moved from our Sales Team to our Finance Team, and I have worked in our Hardware Operations Department for six years now. We have a solid relationship from having worked together for so long, but I was eager for the opportunity to really pick her brain.
When I started at Datto, I didn't even know what I was interviewing for. I had been waitressing for years, but I was lucky enough to score an interview for a position in Datto's RoundTrip department. When I got through the interview, my boss-to-be said to me, "How do you feel about being our Logistics Manager?" I figured, “let's do it, right?” Ashley's journey was much different, though. After working with the Sales Team, she noted that Datto could do more to elevate our overall Partner experience. She took the initiative and brought her skills to the table to create a team solely focused on making sure our policy is clear to our Partners, and that their experience with Datto always exceeds expectations.
As a queer woman in a male-dominated industry, I'm pretty much considered "one of the guys" which as any other queer women out there know is a blessing and a curse. We're just exposed enough to the boy’s clubs, but never really in them. We don't get harassed much about not being able to do our work because we're women, but we do get the occasional bigoted or ignorant comment. I wanted to ask Ashley what her experience was in this regard. Did she ever have a hard time getting through certain barriers, being a woman in the IT world? She firmly answered in the negative. She was raised as the oldest of four girls, so women ruled her house and were expected to excel. Ashley always focused on achieving her goals - thinking critically and meeting her requirements for school and work.
Though it seems taboo to ask about family, it's been on my mind for a while so I ventured to ask Ashley what it was like over the last year-plus starting her family while moving into a new position at Datto where she was taking on added responsibilities including more direct-reports. Being at a stage where I'm planning what my own life will look like throughout the next few years, I had to ask. Ashley couldn't have been more gracious and answered my question with a few short tips: She waited until she was sure she was ready to expand her family, and then just did it. No floating back and forth. She said she understood why women take offense to the "How do you do it all?" question, asked seemingly to every woman with children and a job, but her advice to me was to figure out how to be okay with not being able to do it all. Her composure and "que sera, sera" mentality as she prepared for leave, I believe, is what helped her team move in quickly and lose no ground with our Partners. As she put it, "I passed a little bit of my skill to my teammates and when I came back, empowered my team to keep some of those tasks. She says that since the team has shifted into being able to take on more, she feels more able to admit when she's made a mistake and asks for help more often.
A fast-growing company like Datto is constantly changing. You can't count on today’s rules to apply to tomorrow's work. Ashley and I both have been involved in the molding of our departments and often changing processes according to what's around the next bend. There's always a problem to solve, and that's exhilarating.
Ashley’s piece of advice? “Don’t be afraid. Dive on in, ask for what you deserve.” And as a parting gift, she leaves me with this in regards to dealing with coworkers and clients alike, "You may regret things throughout your day or throughout your career, but you will never regret being kind."
My interview with Ashley was supposed to be for others to read and learn about us, but I learned a lot myself just by speaking with her in this way. I feel lucky to have worked with her for as long as I have and look forward to sneaking some of her practices into my day-to-day life.
The Women in Technology blog series is coordinated by Customer Experience Innovations project coordinator, Rachel Powers.