December 22, 2016
In this blog series, women at Datto will post stories from their interviews of each other. This week, we hear from Kristen Costagliola, Software Engineer and Michelle McComb, Chief Financial Officer.
As outdoorsy people from the four corner states (Utah and Arizona), it is funny both Michelle and I ended up in our respective careers: accounting and software engineering. But our shared love for problem solving and puzzles help them make sense. Michelle began her career as a Tax Accountant at Ernst & Young and progressed quickly to the Head of Tax and Treasury at Remedy and then continued to be the CFO at VitalSigns, both software companies located in Silicon Valley.
Prior to Datto, all of these moves were made through recommendations from others and didn’t require a resume, so when Datto was looking for a CFO, she was surprised that the recruiters even found her resume. This was a piece of advice that I have also found crucial for my development: network with all your colleagues regardless of department or gender. A lot of times women do not invest as much time in networking as we should. Although networking is incredibly important, Michelle never had what most would consider a formal mentor. Looking back she would be more conscious of people that she admired and be more thoughtful in asking for help, advice and counsel. In this area, her suggestions are to look for people that you admire and consider what kind of people you want to attract to you and find a mentor that is like minded and invested in their career. She suggests to let these relationships develop naturally, it starts by getting to know people as individuals not just as work colleagues.
One of the women that had a lasting impact on Michelle was a woman she met in business development while working in London. This woman was very classy, well put together and carried herself with poise and confidence which shifted Michelle’s thinking on how you should carry yourself and to look how you want to be perceived….messy or classy? When applying this to work output, half the battle is how things look; you can't have spelling errors and expect people to trust your data.
Michelle was not only our first female executive but one of the first executives at Datto outside of Austin and Michael Fass. She believes that the more diverse an executive team is, the better for the company and our customers. Women and men do think differently and many times Michelle has approached topics from a different angle and perspective than others on the executive team.
According to Michelle, the most important thing you can do in your career is be yourself. “You have to speak your mind. Women let themselves down when they make themselves less than they are; when they believe their opinion doesn’t count or they don’t think they should be talking about something that isn’t directly their area of responsibility. If I can ask the questions; other employees are probably asking the questions too.“
The Women in Technology blog series is coordinated by Customer Experience Innovations project coordinator, Rachel Powers.