November 18, 2016
In this blog series, women at Datto will post stories from their interviews of each other. This week, we hear from Whitney Swesey, Trainer, who gives us an in-depth perspective on her colleague, Macall Lofstead, Technical Support Supervisor.
Like myself, Macall had a transition period of adjusting to the Datto culture when she first started. Every other company Macall previously worked at was very black and white in how situations were handled, they were suit and tie environments and there were procedures on how to handle every situation. It took Macall about three months to transition to the Datto way of life and during that time she leaned on her fellow supervisors, spending time shadowing them, and asking many questions. Macall believes it takes a team to be successful and the willingness to learn and grow on a daily basis, which is why she is a perfect fit for the Datto culture.
As a Tech Support Supervisor, no two days are the same. Just one day in Macall’s life can include one-on-one meetings with her team members, ticket quality reviews, ticket queue management, payroll issues, customer service follow-ups, meetings, additional projects, sales escalation monitoring and those are just the basics. While her days may be hectic, you can easily identify that developing her team is the favorite part of Macall’s day, which is evident through the passion in her voice when she discusses the topic. Macall shared with me, “when I find what they are passionate about, I am willing to do anything possible to provide them the chance at that item, whether I research online e-learnings tools for them to take during their development time, carve out time for them to practice a skill like presenting a meeting or mentoring new hires, or role playing interviews for a position that might be coming up.” Macall ultimately feels that her responsibility is to drive her team’s success.
Macall is one of the few female Tech Support Supervisors, largely outnumbered by men in this role, however, the issues she faces are not specific to Tech Support. The biggest issue that Macall says she faces as a woman in the IT industry is being second guessed, especially since her background is not originally from the IT world. Macall said because of this, whenever she has to give a presentation, she always has proof of reports, and extra detailed information to back up what she is saying, so that when she is questioned, she is prepared.
Macall said the key to overcoming this is to stay strong and be confident in the answers that you provide; “being confident in yourself will demonstrate to others that you are knowledgeable about the topic.” However, Macall does not believe there is a significant barrier to women or men gaining leadership roles within IT; she believes that everyone is their own personal barrier. “You will not succeed unless you try; just because someone has told you no, that is not a no forever, no is not a forever word. It is a challenge to yourself to continue to strive and learn and grow to be the better you that you may not currently be at that moment in time.” As individuals, we can get in our own way and stop ourselves from progressing forward.
Macall’s advice for women interested in the tech world is to just go for it; ask as many questions as possible, and never sell yourself short.
The Women in Technology blog series is coordinated by Customer Experience Innovations project coordinator, Rachel Powers.