In our Komprise Konnects spotlight series, we’ve been sharing interviews with our partners talking about the challenges of unstructured data management and how they work with Komprise. For this post, I spent some time interviewing one of our own partner gurus, Caitlyn Possehl, Global Strategic Alliance Leader at Komprise, and took the opportunity to ask about her career path and advice for other women pursing a career in the tech industry.
Tell us about your role at Komprise?
I am on the Global Strategic Alliances team and I have the absolute pleasure of managing Komprise’s relationships and strategy with each of the cloud powerhouses of today: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Wasabi.
What brought you into the world of technology?
I entered the tech world in an interesting way. And I think it’s important for people to be flexible in how they enter an industry. I had no STEM degree, no data analytics background, no coding languages. But, I did have languages of a different kind behind me. I spent most of my high school and undergraduate years studying English, Spanish, and Portuguese. My peers and parents and professors all wondered about these selections. But, what will you do with these skills? How do they translate into a job? I felt the strong pressure of the American definition of stability, security, and success in the job title you possess or strived for. At its core my studies were how to read, write, and speak compellingly. What job opportunity wouldn’t require that? And I happened to be able to do so in three languages. Those communication skills got me my first job in sales. And that happened to be for a cyber security company, covering Latin America.
What has been your most exciting project to date?
Startups have been the darlings of the 2000s and the dream job for many millennials. But, I was intimidated by them! I’d found a comfortable groove in the stability and bureaucracy of large enterprises. Komprise was a big leap of faith for me. Coming from the land of technology giants, it’s been refreshing and challenged me in new ways. I have loved standing up our cloud alliances and strategies. On the very forefront of how our clients are managing their most valuable twenty-first century resource, data, has been an exciting challenge.
How do you combat biases in the tech industry?
I have been lucky to be surrounded by wonderful examples of women in leadership. The biggest weapon against biases I’ve found is naming them when they occur. So much of the bias women face in the technology industry is unconscious, and most times unintentional. Calling them out with kind firmness has allowed me to show some of my colleagues’ and partners’ behavior back to them in what I hope is an illuminating mirror. I have empathy for the fact that structures are changing, cultures are being turned on their heads. That takes some time for adjustment. But, it’s happening. It’s relevant. And, it’s for the better of us all, our technologies, our clients, our cultures. So, let’s all be a part of the story of turning this corner to a more diverse, representative ecosystem.
What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a career in tech? Anything you wish you had known?
My advice for women is always to be brave. Take the interview. Get creative. Pitch yourself. Believe in your strengths and communicate them clearly, without asking for forgiveness. So many of my female network shy away from publishing their accomplishments, talent, and worth. We have to be our own best advocates. That’s also what I’d tell my younger self. Be your own best advocate. Know how you are best managed, know the conditions under which you excel, know the structure in which you deliver the highest value. And, communicate those clearly to your management, leadership, colleagues, and partners. People don’t know what they don’t know. Don’t shy away from sharing how best to leverage yourself as a resource. You deserve to give your best! Help your organization, clients, and leadership to understand how to help you do so.
What’s the future of tech look like as it relates to your expertise?
The fourth industrial revolution we’re all experiencing is driving everything to technology. Our homes, cars, and companies are getting ‘smarter’. But, there aren’t any silver bullets on building perfect environments. It’s going to take the cooperation and melding of minds across organizations changing the face of technology. We are always going to be better together. In technology and outside of it. The partnerships we’re developing, managing, and inspiring will be the foundation of solutions we’ll see changing our world.
Who is the person you most admire and why?
The wave of female entrepreneurs, executives, and politicians I witnessed growing into an adult have begun to normalize the reality of women sitting in these important seats. Sara Blakely, Whitney Wolfe, Alexa von Tobel, Emily Weiss, these women are examples of ingenuity, creativity, and strength in a professional world that isn’t always friendly to those outside the mold. My own boss, Krishna Subramanian here at Komprise, is a female founder and c-level executive who I learn from each day. I’m excited for the future of our organizations and society as a whole as our leadership becomes more equitable in its reflection of the diversity in our communities.