Nearly 2.5 months ago, I began a dream job at Okera:
A job that leverages my passions, plays to my strengths, and allows me to live my best life every day.
Of course the change, though celebrated by many, was also met with some confusion – largely due to my title:
“You’re a what?” they’d ask.
“The Director of Evangelism,” I’d say.
“What? Like religion?”
It’s a fair question, although I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it makes me laugh, so let me take a step back and take a moment to introduce myself.
After nearly six and a half years at Splunk, I was ready for the next chapter. While I initially joined Okera for its technology, (Data security, anyone? Yes, please!), I was quickly impressed with its amazing culture, not to mention the seemingly endless possibilities I saw in this job. I get the chance to serve as the business voice of the company, and I have the privilege of promoting, advocating, and inspiring others to understand how Okera can help solve some of our industry’s biggest hurdles (more on that later).
More recently, I experienced one of the best weeks of my professional career. For the first time in over two years, I attended an in-person (hybrid) event, surrounded by customers, partners, analysts and some of the best colleagues on the planet.
First stop, Airside LIVE 2022, along with a very informative Analyst Day and in-person Customer Advisory Board meeting.
With customer and analyst representation from across Fortune 100/1000 companies, we had incredible discussions, demos and distinguished guests, including customers from FINRA, Capital One, LinkedIn, and Yotpo (who flew in from Israel!). As the conversations grew more and more complex over the course of the day, so did the engagement and the mutual understanding that Okera is “critical” to [their] futures. And, let’s not forget our experienced analysts! It’s one thing for our customers to make us feel good, but it’s always nice to hear validation on product and positioning from those who best know the market.
“The service that Okera provides is so foundational…the problem is [people] don’t always know this technology exists” – Sanjeev Mohan, Principal, SanjMo & Former Gartner Research VP
Partners, Prospects, and Presentations. Oh my!
I don’t know if any of you have visited the iconic TWA hotel @JFK airport (our event location), but if you have, you’ll know the venue itself invites an assortment of experiences and discussion topics. So, I was pleased to hear that a majority of the conversations were about the incredible content coming from speakers and guests. Without question, this was a reflection of some incredible keynotes (thank you again to FINRA and Yotpo, and of course, Kyndryl, DataOps.Live, EDM Council and Snowflake, and Sanjeev Mohan & Cheryl Flink!), as well as the packed sessions with some of our biggest advocates (aka our investors and industry influencers). What topics were presented you ask? Everything from emerging trends to practical solutions for complex problems managing data responsibly at massive scale to even promoting psychological safety at work! Pretty awesome, right?
The dialogue + the wonderful nuances of this quintessential environment undeniably served as a great backdrop to enhance the theme of Airside, which is to use data freely and securely. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that by the end of the week I still couldn’t kick this nagging question, “Is my job really going to be that much easier because of these individuals?” So many people made an effort to introduce themselves to me, and ask about ways in which we can work together, including customers who asked how they can help demonstrate our value, partners who wanted to know how they can grow, and fellow evangelists who asked how they can excite others. It was almost surreal.
The Cream of the Crop: Rallying Together for a Cause – Data and Tech Aid (D.A.T.A)
From the creators of this initiative (shoutout to Rob Howes and Lucy Allen!) to the amazing (and heartbreaking) stories that inspired it, my heart is so full. I know we set out to run an industry lovefest for all things data, but come on – how cool is it that we got people excited about supporting such a needed and impactful cause, and in the process raised thousands of dollars to fund life-saving medical kits!? Heartwarming is an understatement for the way our industry rallied together to make a difference.
I have been to many events in my career, but this one was different. Plus ones were encouraged, and included kids, spouses, and dogs, which led many Okera customers to comment that we not only had products to help them, but also had a heart and a soul. 🧡
As I end my introductory blog as an Okeran, I’m thrilled to say that this is just the beginning of my journey. I look forward to engaging with you, regardless of your role, and to inspiring even more evangelists! I’m Bay-area based, so happy to meet in person, or over Zoom! Feel free to reach out if you have burning questions, hot topics you’d like us to address, stories to swap and/or successes to share 🙂