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An Inspiring Evening Celebrating Women in Technology

I attended my first PDX Women in Tech (PDXWIT) networking event located at the new moovel Group North America headquarters in Portland. The theme for this event was “Simple machines: using your tools to leverage your career” and the conversation starter was “What’s your favorite tech tool?”

For the next couple of hours, I enjoyed wonderful catering, quick presentations and interesting conversations with women and men in tech, not only about their favorite tech tool, but also about what tech companies could do to forge more diverse and inclusive workforces.

The Spirit of Women’s History Month is Alive and Well:
Megan Bigelow, Co-Founder & President at PDXWIT, acknowledged Mildred Dresselhaus, the “Queen Of Carbon” and trailblazer who developed wider opportunities for women in science and engineering. Mildred was the first woman awarded the National Medal of Science in Engineering and to become a fully tenured professor at MIT.

Flexibility Matters for a Diverse Workforce:
Sadhana Shenoy, Chief Operating Officer at moovel Group North America, provided an introduction to moovel and recommended flexible work arrangements to enable women to better balance and achieve their professional and personal aspirations. She stated that encouraging more women to become leaders in the business world is a business imperative. Her advice for women working in tech include: be assertive, trust the value that you bring, ask for what you want and participate to encourage others to do so as well. At Reltio, we promote diversification through a flexible remote working culture that encourages employees to commute less and get more done.

Use Gender Neutral Words to Invite Inclusion:
Farrah Campbell, Customer & People Operations at Reflect Technologies, shared the challenges she faces with changing the tone of the company to invite inclusion. Masculine language in job advertisements and the workplace leads to less anticipated belongingness and job interest among women. Tech companies can best address this challenge by seeking gender neutral words that are less associated with stereotypical attributes.

  Reltio Redwood Shores Conference Rooms

Reltio Redwood Shores Conference Rooms

Embrace Non-traditional Backgrounds:
Caito Scherr, Software Engineer at New Relic, gave a presentation about the tools and advice that helped her achieve her career goals and break into tech from a non-technical background. A Theatre and Dance major in college, she worked in hospital administration and pet health before returning to her childhood passion of becoming an inventor and engineer.

Caito gave me some examples of how New Relic has laid a strong foundation for inclusion and diversity: setting up a floor named after math, science and technology contributors of all ethnicities and genders, creating and improving career tracks for engineers with non-traditional backgrounds (like code schools) and arranging activities that are outside of “nerd tropes” to name a few. Here at Reltio, we also chose to name our conference rooms after famous female scientists to reinforce our commitment towards women in technology.

Tech Companies with Diverse and Inclusive Workforces do Exist:
Ashvin Sawhney, Senior Corporate Recruiter at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) company, was one of the many talent scouts looking to find qualified candidates that evening. HPE has a strong commitment to diversity recruiting, which is reflected in the strong representation of women in all areas of the business.

There was no shortage of people to talk to–I even ran into acquaintances that I met at non-related social gatherings. When I shared my experiences about joining Reltio–listed as one of Fortune’s top 30 best workplaces in technology, and a work culture that follows Jacob Morgan’s philosophy about The Evolution of the Employee, I received responses such as “progressive” and “what could be better?” What could be better is if more people join us towards building a more diverse and inclusive company that we can all be proud of. 

Celebrating 4 Years at Reltio: My Thoughts on Working at a Successful Startup

By Gary Ryan, VP Partner Success, Reltio

I recently marked my four year anniversary at Reltio and I thought I would share some reflections on my experience and why I believe Reltio is succeeding despite the long odds every tech startup faces.

Reltio is my first experience working at a tech startup company in a 40+ year working career that has spanned multiple job functions and sectors. Four years ago I had no thought or desire to go to work for a startup. But the decision was a no brainer when I had the good luck to meet Reltio’s founder Manish Sood, understand his vision, and saw firsthand the power of the SaaS data-driven platform the Reltio team had built. I knew I wanted to be part of the Reltio team and I would always regret it if I didn’t invest my time and use every selling skill I had to convince them to let me join.

My experience over the last four years has been, by far, the most challenging, exciting, and rewarding working experience that I have had in my professional life. This is mostly the outcome of working with an incredible team of people all focused on the same goal. Winning in the market, growing exponentially, and receiving industry acknowledgement doesn’t hurt either. Ultimately, however, the best part of the experience is making a difference and providing business value for our customers. I spent too many years selling and delivering products and services that yielded very little measureable value to my customers.

Here are my key lessons learned for anyone thinking of joining a tech start up:

1.     I totally underestimated the effort and dedication required to be successful with a startup. However much work you think it will be, double it.

2.     Working for a startup is not for everyone. This is mostly due to my first lesson learned. You need to be at the right point in your life to be able to deliver on what is needed to succeed.

3.      Our CEO Manish Sood talks about how building a successful startup is like climbing Mount Everest. There are many routes you can take to the summit and sometimes you will need to stop, go back, and try a different route. But the most important thing is to never give up and to keep moving forward. If you are invested in working for a startup, give it everything you have and be mentally prepared for setbacks.

4.     Do not go to work for a startup unless you believe 100% in the vision of the company and the product. Otherwise it will be very difficult to sustain your focus and effort.

So why is Reltio succeeding? I believe there are five key reasons:

  • Vision

  • Execution

  • Culture

  • Customers

  • Partners

Vision

Not every great idea will yield a successful startup, but without a great product vision, the odds against success will be very very long. Reltio’s founder and CEO Manish Sood is simply the smartest person I have ever had the pleasure to work with. He has an unbelievable ability to understand what drives customer value from a data driven perspective and then map those requirements to solution architectures that use new and upcoming technologies. Put simply, Manish is the reason why I decided that I had to be part of the Reltio story. I believed in him and his vision and I could instantly see Reltio’s place in the market.

Execution

A great product vision can easily fail without good execution. Making the right decisions on technologies, personnel, investors, business strategy, and on and on and on is critical to achieve success. Reltio is extremely lucky to have an incredible leadership team. But more importantly it comes down to the founder again, Manish. It was clear from the very beginning that he had an incredible product vision, but what has amazed me has been the skills and expertise he uses to continuously make the right business decisions.

Culture

It is an incredible pleasure to work for a company with a culture that really cares about their employees and puts all their effort in focusing on the right things like customer and partner success. This culture comes from the top down and again is the result of having the right management team. It is this culture that allows us to attract and keep the team we need to succeed and keep our customers benefiting from our platform.

Customers

Very early in our history we had the extreme good fortune to find a few select customers to embrace a shared vision with us, placing significant confidence in us to power their critical business initiatives. They partnered with us championing us within their own companies, and in the market. In the end, a successful startup is more than just the technology it’s about people and relationships. This is why our core values stress that we treat all of our customers,  partners and employees as family.

Partners

Our focus from the beginning was to enable a data driven SaaS platform that our partners would yield business value from by taking their own solutions to market. We knew that we would not be able to scale and to take the needed market share without a strong partner network. Again, we had the extreme good fortune to find a handful of partners early in our growth who believed in our product vision. And just like our early customer story, our partner sponsors supported us and stuck by us. Today, the vast majority of our SaaS subscriptions are driven by our partner network.

All of these critical factors needed to come into play for us to achieve the success we have and to continue to grow. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the Reltio story.

Reltio for Good @Second Harvest Food Bank

We’ve been growing rapidly and have so many new faces joining Reltio over the last few months. Our Redwood Shores, CA office in particular has seen additions across the board in finance, product management, engineering, services, sales and more.

One of our new PMs Naveen Gupta (thanks again Naveen!) organized a team outing to the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Carlos.

As you may have gathered, this particular blog post has nothing to do with modern data management, data-driven apps or any other form of technology. It’s just a post about teamwork, collaboration and supporting in a small way for a day our local community and the great work that organizations like Second Harvest do.

Our team of 16 participated in putting together boxes of canned goods, and a mixture of non-perishables which we sealed and put on pallets for delivery. Together with another company who were also there for the afternoon, we were able to pack what must have been over 800 to 1000 boxes. Each box had to weigh around 15lbs for the first run, then 28lbs for the next.

It was a challenge getting the boxes to weigh just right at the start, but we soon got the hang of it. Our founder and CEO Manish Sood in fact got a record eight x 28lb boxes correctly weighed on the scale in a row!

We had a great time together and we will definitely be returning to support Second Harvest again in the future. Please check out the video, and do support your local community food drive this holiday. They need everyone to have a “CAN” do attitude.