September 14, 2016
In this blog series, women at Datto will post stories from their interviews of each other. This week, we hear from Rachel Powers, Project Coordinator for Tech Support, and Emily Curtis, Executive Assistant to Datto’s CTO.
Emily was a cheerleader and I did ballet. We both enjoyed English in school, and organization is our number one skill. So how did we end up at one of the country’s leading tech startup companies, surrounded by technicians and engineers who prioritize progress over order, speak in PHP, and turn their Mac laptops into Linux machines for fun?
I never planned on working in an office - my path was to be a stage manager and spend my days in the theater organizing props and calling lighting and sound cues. But I found myself with a Bachelor’s degree in English Rhetoric, unable to afford graduate school at the London theater academies, and not confident that I could handle 14-hour days in rehearsals. That’s when I heard about this new tech company doing data protection and serving their employees slushies. From the moment I walked into the office, I knew I may be out of my element but that Datto had the potential to change everything for me.
Emily is the executive assistant to the Chief Technology Officer and I am the project coordinator for the Technical Support department. Emily is surrounded by brilliant engineers who create code for our products, and I work with our technicians who work nights and days with partners, helping them recover their data during disasters. During the discussion for this blog, Emily and I realized how much we have become immersed in this technical world despite not having that background before joining Datto.
“If they say a new word, I’m really quick to Google it so I know for the next time,” Emily said, explaining that she has been pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus on STEM courses thanks to Datto. “I’ve considered going to school to learn about coding so I can have a better sense of our technology. I can say I have definitely learned a lot at Datto.”
Even as I work day to day with technicians, I was recently able to go a step further and while serving as Scrum Master for the Customer Experience Innovations team within the Technical Support Department. Never did I think that I - a would-be stage manager - would end up a scrum master for a team of engineers. I didn’t even know that this path existed, or that it would be something I would enjoy. To come into Datto in a non-technical role to where I am now, I’ve been exposed to and learned so much from my more technical colleagues, and I’ve found myself in a place where I’m performing technical tasks. I need to understand a lot of things I didn’t know two years ago. That’s the beauty of fast-paced tech companies like Datto; you can come in and learn a lot that helps you get to a role and career path you hadn’t thought about before.
“In regards to those nontechnical people looking to get involved or considering to enter the tech world, I would recommend going outside your comfort zone.” Emily added, “Like Rachel mentioned, your previous administrative experience was nothing [like how it is at Datto] when you heard about the slushy machines and snacks at Datto. If the job sounds intriguing go for it!” You never know, it could be the best decision you’ve ever made.