The Future is Inclusive: Meet The Queer Collective, MongoDB's Affinity Group for the LGBTQIA+ Community & Allies
MongoDB affinity groups are employee-led resource groups that bring together employees with similar backgrounds, interests, or goals. They play an important role in our company and culture. Our affinity groups build community and connections, help us raise awareness of issues unique to members’ experiences, and offer networking and professional development opportunities. I sat down with some of the leaders of The Queer Collective to learn more about their initiatives, impact, and plans for the future. What is The Queer Collective? The Queer Collective is a member-based group working towards equality in the workplace and beyond. We envision a workplace atmosphere in which everyone feels comfortable bringing their full selves to work, regardless of gender identity, gender expression, race, religion, age, or sexual preference. We aim to champion LGBTQIA+ rights in the workplace, provide a space for queer people and allies to meet, encourage an open exchange of thoughts, organize impactful events, and provide education and networking opportunities to individuals who would like to learn more. The Queer Collective is open to LGBTQIA+ and allies and complements our closed employee affinity group, Queeries, which provides a safe space for queer-identifying employees. The Queer Collective is open to all MongoDB employees who would like to join. How did The Queer Collective get started, and how has the group grown? In early 2020, the Dublin Workplace team decided to organize activities for a virtual Pride celebration throughout the month of June. This was an ambitious idea that required a collective of people, so a call for volunteers was sent out. By the end of May of 2020, seven people offered help, and in the end, it became a huge success. The same seven volunteers decided to keep working on evolving these initiatives, and that's when The Queer Collective was officially born. We realized that raising awareness and sharing knowledge with the community (both the LGBTQIA+ and ally communities) couldn’t be accomplished in just one month, and so The Queer Collective formed into an ongoing initiative. The most fun part of forming any group is naming it. There were multiple ideas, but the one that stuck the most was a pun of sorts. It combines both the collection of documents in a database and the LGBTQIA + community: The Queer Collective. We are now almost 200 members globally and can't believe how much we've grown in just a year. As we continue to grow, we hope to start regional chapters so that our planning and programming can evolve on a global scale. What types of initiatives does The Queer Collective organize? We organize a range of social, educational, and awareness events. Over the past year, these have included (Inter)national Coming Out Day , Transgender Awareness Week, Pride Month programming, Zero-Discrimination Day in partnership with MDBWomen, and smaller events such as happy hours and Drag Bingo. This year and for the first time ever, we are a top-tier sponsor for the Lesbians Who Tech Summit, the largest & most diverse tech event in the world! As we continue to grow and diversify, we have partnered with MongoDB’s Learning and Development team to develop training on managing and supporting LGBTQIA+ employees and colleagues. We’ve also begun developing programs on intersectional thinking to help leaders, managers, and other colleagues understand the importance of intersectionality in the workplace. How has participating in The Queer Collective impacted some of our employees? The Queer Collective has provided visibility to members of the LGBTQIA+ community and the amazing allies that support us. Some of The Queer Collective’s leads have been approached for advice and support by members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are coming to terms with their own sexuality or gender expression, as well as colleagues looking for a supportive corporate structure in which to be themselves. Awareness initiatives have impacted how many people view the LGBTQIA+ community, providing an opportunity for people from different backgrounds and cultures to learn about the lived experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals by listening to their stories. Hear from one of our members to learn more about the impact The Queer Collective has had on our allies. The Joy of Being an Ally in The Queer Collective Community Diana Balaci (She/Her), Workplace Manager, Paris “I am the Workplace Manager for MongoDB’s Southern European offices and a very proud ally of the LQBTQIA+ community. Allies help to support, uplift, and amplify the voices of others, and I humbly feel that I learn something new every day alongside the wonderful humans that are part of The Queer Collective.” “To understand my activism is to know my story. I come from Romania, an ex-communist country. I was born in Bucharest and lived in a big industrial and university city in the southwest of the country until I was 24 years old. In my family, I was taught values like tolerance and supporting differences early on. All the while we were still living under very conservative, traditional society patterns. My upbringing, combined with my choice of attire and value for art, culture, and universality made me pivot towards the extremely few and timid queer people in my hometown. In a time when the word ‘gay’ was not even spoken publicly, I witnessed the bullying and ignorant labeling of my best friend. Defending him started a wave of questions and pointing of fingers, questions that I am honest to say I did not know how to respond to. I promised myself then and there that I would continuously do my best in growing and learning more about the LQBTQIA+ community. Fast forward to now, my friend is happily engaged and in a loving, fulfilling relationship with the man of his dreams in a more open-minded Bucharest. As for me, I’m still educating myself and those around me.” “I am thankful for the opportunity to meet amazing people through The Queer Collective who have such complex personalities that truly value inclusivity and diversity. They embraced the weird, loud, outspoken person that I am. I am in awe when I see the efforts they make to give a voice to everyone, and I am humbled and touched when I see them sparing their time to make sure that events are safe, accessible, and welcoming to every identity. I am honored to be in this community.” What has been The Queer Collective's biggest highlight so far? We launched an incredibly ambitious program for Pride 2021, including both fun and educational events organized by our members all across the world. The schedule included educational training, voguing workshops, drag events, a trans experience fireside chat, a U.S. benefits webinar discussing fertility and family-forming, virtual happy hours, and more. Pride 2021 kick-off drag event with Cissy Walken Our biggest hope is that our Pride programming advocates for inclusivity, educates about respect, and celebrates the wonderful complexity of the human experience. We believe this is the best spotlight so far as it includes multiple events over the month of June. Some past events that have also been impactful are (Inter)national Coming Out Day 2020 and the Trans Awareness Panels hosted the same year. The first emphasized the life experiences of LGBTQIA+ members in The Queer Collective, and the latter focused on the trans color in the LGBTQIA+ rainbow: educating participants to see the transgender identity, to understand it and, most importantly, to respect it. Respect is highly cherished by all members of The Queer Collective and is the foundation of all our actions. From gender pronoun forums, to book club discussions, to learning and development training, our goal is to support and educate others about all identities. “I see you and I respect who you are” may be easily said on paper, but it takes real effort to turn it into actions in your everyday life. What are Queer Collective's goals and plans for the future? We are delighted to announce that we have partnered with Ryan Francis , Vice President of Worldwide Demand Generation & Field Marketing, to be our executive sponsor. Ryan’s support will help us grow, amplify our message, and enable our voices to be heard in spaces we don’t have access to. While it is a commitment, we are excited to see where this partnership will take us. Ryan had this to say: “I accepted the invitation to be the executive sponsor for The Queer Collective to do more for my community here at MongoDB. It's easy to forget in the rush of Zoom calls, deadlines, and fire drills that I'm incredibly lucky to be in the position I'm in, and it's because of the people who have done the work before me that I am. It's the least I can do to create visibility for my community and support them to the fullest extent.” The next step for us is to foster intersectional cooperation with other MongoDB affinity groups. We have worked quite closely with Queeries, the closed group for queer folks at MongoDB. We admire the work of MDBWomen , The Underrepresented People of Color Network, MongoDB Veterans, and Underrepresented Genders in Tech, and we recognize that true inclusion, equality, and equity is only achieved through intersectionality. We intend to partner closely with these groups and any emerging affinity groups. Everyone exists at the intersection of multiple identities and labels, and we need to be mindful that The Queer Collective member identities are multi-faceted and complex. We also hope to collaborate with other teams and departments at MongoDB with a focus on working together to solve for equity across the business. What do we mean by that? There are nuances in ways of working across teams. The Sales team works in a very different way and has a different set of priorities than, for example, the Product or Engineering teams. We want everyone at MongoDB to benefit from an inclusive culture and welcoming environment. No matter your role, you should feel safe, welcome, and supported in bringing your full self to work at MongoDB. Finally, we’re working on developing partnerships externally so that the work we do extends beyond MongoDB. This began with our sponsorship of the 2021 Lesbians Who Tech Summit and we also have an upcoming talk at MongoDB .Live on allyship which will be given by two of our leads. We hope to continue sponsoring more conferences, speaking at more events, and lending our knowledge to other groups. Meet our current Queer Collective leads Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB and joining The Queer Collective? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe and would love for you to transform your career with us!
Why It's an Exciting Time to Join MongoDB's Expanding Australian Location
Although MongoDB is headquartered in New York City, our company has offices spanning the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. MongoDB is currently made up of more than 2,900 employees, and we are continuing to grow. One location experiencing expansion is Australia. Established in 2012, our Australian team is spread across our offices in Sydney and Melbourne, or remote throughout the country. In this spotlight, team members share what life is like at MongoDB in Australia and why it’s an exciting time to join. An overview of MongoDB Australia The teams based in Australia currently include Storage Engines, MongoDB Charts, Technical Services, Professional Services, Solutions Architecture, Human Resources, Marketing, Sales, MongoDB Labs, Customer Success, Developer Relations, and more. We’ll continue to build out new teams as MongoDB grows, and the opportunities in Australia will grow along with it. Katie Mapstone , Principal Recruiter, Sydney “Our teams in Australia are still small enough that employees can see the direct impact and contribution of their work. At the same time, we’re big enough that there are clear paths for professional growth and development, whether within your team or into others.” “You’re not just a cog in the wheel here, and you have a lot of autonomy and opportunity to take initiative in your role. This is a good atmosphere for those who like the freedom to create because you also have the global support of an established company. It’s a great opportunity to work at an innovative organisation where what you do really matters.” Despite MongoDB’s size, the Australian team gets the best of both worlds: a tight-knit, small-company vibe with the benefits, resources, and support of a larger, more evolved organisation. Some benefits for our Australian team members include: Above-standard 25 days of annual leave. More than 20 weeks of company-sponsored, fully paid parental leave, family planning benefits, and parental counselling support. Generous contribution toward company health insurance plan, ranging between $3,000 (single) and $7,600 (family) per year, depending on the level of coverage chosen. Income protection, life cover, and total permanent disability insurance. A generous equity and employee stock purchase program. Ongoing local and global company initiatives to support physical and mental well-being, including mental health resources, a free subscription to Headspace, gym benefits, and an employee-assistance program. Free lunches two days a week (when the team is in the office). Joey Zhang , Director of Employee Experience for APAC, India, and New Markets “At MongoDB, our goal is to create opportunities that enable employees to learn, develop, and fulfill their potential. We encourage everyone to follow their career interests and fully support transitions across teams and functions. We invest in our people for the long term through truly awesome technical and professional learning and development opportunities, including internal online learning, external coaching, workshops and accreditations, and more. Employees will openly share knowledge and experience, both work and personal, with others who may be seeking guidance or support.” “Diversity and inclusion also play a big role. People feel safe and encouraged to share their opinion, and they consider everyone else’s needs and feelings when an event is to be hosted or a decision is to be made. The sense of belonging, pride, and close-knit feeling here is significant.” The Sydney office and team culture Our largest office in Australia is in the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown, a short walk from Central and Town Hall train stations. As vibrant as the city around it, our office is just minutes from the Darling Harbour and the new Darling Quarter and Darling Square, offering a spoil of some of the best restaurants in town. For the sports-minded, there are gyms, yoga studios, and an aquatic centre within walking distance. When the team was working in-office, the Workplace team organised monthly and annual events, such as wellness seminars and cultural celebrations. We also had activities such as paint nights, ping-pong tournaments, a running group, and themed parties. The pandemic posed an interesting challenge, with the majority of our employees working remotely. The team has adapted some in-office activities to ensure everyone feels connected, though, including remote lunches, trivia nights, virtual team activity challenges, workshops, cook-alongs, and more. Thomas Rueckstiess , Staff Engineer for MongoDB Labs “I’ve worked at MongoDB for almost nine years, and I’ve been provided with interesting challenges and career opportunities. I started in Support, then went on a six-month secondment to the New York headquarters as Program Manager, and finally returned to Sydney to start the Compass team and later the Charts team. Recently, I moved from a Lead to a Staff Engineer role and joined our research division, MongoDB Labs. The internal mobility available to employees is fantastic.” “One thing that makes working at MongoDB in Australia special is the team culture. I felt welcomed from day one, back in 2012 when we had only five employees in Australia. I’m glad to say we’ve been able to maintain the friendly, welcoming experience even while growing close to 100 employees in the Sydney office alone. Many of us have become close friends over the years. Before COVID-19, we regularly had barbecues or dinners together, played board games after work, or went for a run in the morning. The pandemic made seeing one another in person difficult, but the social connections remained. Now we play games online, have virtual drinks on Friday afternoons, and informally chat over Zoom and Slack throughout the day. The team here is extremely supportive and inclusive, and we’re always looking for ways to share knowledge and help one another.” Stephen Steneker , Director of Community “I’ve personally had great opportunities at MongoDB, and I really enjoy working with my colleagues. My first seven years were in the Technical Services organisation, and my responsibilities grew to a global scope while remaining based in Australia. I moved into a role in Developer Relations in September 2019, and two of my team members joined me — we’ve worked together for more than five years now.” “I recently took on an expanded role as Director of Community, leading our global DevRel community team, which includes engineering, triage, and community programs such as Champions and User Groups. I find the leadership support, alignment, and trust in our global team inspiring and highly motivational.” “The company growth has been tremendous, but I think we have done well scaling one of the harder aspects: company culture. Our six company values are top of mind and given consideration in how we recognize employees and collaborate.” Our Australian team gathers for in-person events prior to COVID-19. Meet some of our Australian teams Core development teams: MongoDB Charts and Storage Engines Alex Gorrod , Director of Engineering “The original Storage Engines team joined by way of WiredTiger, MongoDB’s first acquisition in December 2014 . At the time, I was working at WiredTiger as a software engineer. We had been developing an eponymous open source storage engine for several years, which provided high performance and scalability on modern hardware. At the time of acquisition, we were working on an integration with MongoDB’s new pluggable storage API, which would add distributed database architecture (networking, replication, sharding) that was complementary to WiredTiger’s single-server storage engine. This powerful combination would become key to the future of the core MongoDB server. The WiredTiger storage engine debuted as an alternative configuration option in MongoDB 3.0, and became the default storage engine for new deployments in MongoDB 3.2.” “Half the original WiredTiger development team was based in Sydney and integrated into the local office, which helped establish the Australian contribution to MongoDB’s global Engineering organisation, including ongoing innovative research and development. More than six years later, all the local team members who joined are still working at MongoDB. The team has collaborated with our global Engineering team to plan and deliver innovative new features such as distributed multidocument ACID transactions, which is a multiyear engineering effort.” Tom Hollander , Lead Product Manager for Charts “ MongoDB Charts is one of the pillars of the MongoDB Cloud platform, allowing users to quickly create charts, graphs, and tables from any data stored in a MongoDB Atlas database. The Charts product began its life in 2017, when it was incubated as an extension to another MongoDB product called Compass . At the time, the Compass team was split over three continents, and when the decision was made to spin off Charts as a new product it was clear there would be benefits to choosing a primary geography for each team.” “Sydney was chosen as the new home for Charts, and the team has since grown tremendously. Software development is a team sport, and having all key roles represented in Australia makes it easy to collaborate and build a strong team culture. We still frequently work with teams in other geographies, but our relative isolation is often a major plus that allows us to get stuff done without too many distractions. I feel very lucky to work for a global software company delivering one of its core products, all from the comfort of Australia.” Sales team Francesca Ruygrok , Strategic Account Manager, Australia/New Zealand “When I started at MongoDB, I was looking after 10 accounts. As our customers have grown their usage and we have expanded our team, I have been offered the opportunity to focus on two strategic accounts. MongoDB has such a strong reputation in the market, not just for our product suite, but also our leadership and go-to-market strategy. The education, coaching, and playbook you receive here will change your career for the rest of your life. Our product delivers tangible value to our clients. To work for a sales team and with customers where there is constant success is such a positive working environment to be in.” Ed Liao , Corporate Account Executive, Australia/New Zealand “My MongoDB career growth has been extraordinary. I started as a Sales Development Representative supporting the U.S. and Latin America markets. After my promotion to senior, I was approached to pilot new efforts and became the first dedicated SDR for the Australia/New Zealand region. Through this incredible opportunity, I built a new sales development model from scratch and permanently relocated from Austin, Texas, to Sydney. I then began running midmarket deals, and, after much success, I was promoted to be the first Corporate Account Executive in the region. There are more than enough career growth opportunities here, and, from a sales perspective, ANZ is a largely untapped market for modern database technology.” “What really keeps me at MongoDB is our team culture and focus on learning and development. Our sales leader and Regional VP, Jeremy Powers, wants all of us to succeed, even if it means failing a few times before we start to see results so we can truly learn and improve ourselves. The team camaraderie is also tangible — even if I do well with my numbers, I won’t feel successful if the whole team isn’t. MongoDB will give you the responsibility and trust to own what you do and allow you to grow your career at a highly accelerated pace. It’s truly an amazing time for someone to join our sales team here in ANZ.” Customer Success team Leanna Lewis , Senior Customer Success Manager, APAC “When I joined MongoDB in 2019, the Customer Success program was already well-established, but it turns out we were just getting started. Since I joined as the first Customer Success Manager outside of North America and Dublin, CS has quadrupled in size globally, and now there are multiple streams of CS ensuring our customers get the most out of MongoDB, whether they are entrepreneurial startups or a global enterprise. I love how my team strategically partners with customers and has the freedom to be flexible and creative in their approach to ensure each customer gets what they need to be successful.” “The true joy in my role is knowing I play a key part in customers’ ongoing growth and success. We get to solve real business problems and will continue to do so as MongoDB quickly evolves to meet our customers’ needs. I deliberately changed my career path from sales because I was motivated by knowing I could have a direct impact on helping customers grow. MongoDB is changing the face of the database industry, and our company culture and the incredible amount MongoDB invests in our employees in terms of training and benefits is the best I have experienced — but my colleagues are what really makes MongoDB an amazing place to work.” Technical Services team André de Frere , VP of Technical Services, APAC “The Technical Services team uses a follow-the-sun process to ensure our customers are always supported, no matter the time of day. It makes sense for Australia — and the counterpart offices in APAC — to be part of the unbroken chain of support we offer our customers. Because of time zones and geography, our daytime means we are able to work through the hours that would otherwise be very difficult for our international customers. That means we have a big impact, especially when our customers need help outside their usual office hours, which usually means help on the most urgent issues. I think the main thing about the work itself is the challenge and reward. It’s truly unlike any support organisation I’ve worked in or interacted with, and we get regular positive feedback from our customers telling us so. The team is motivated to solve interesting problems, and we work on a fast-moving technology stack with some of the world’s biggest companies. There is a lot of opportunity for our team, both in growing more technical and developing our leadership.” “MongoDB has offered me huge career opportunities. I went from Technical Services Engineer (TSE) to Senior TSE to Team Lead to Director, and now I’m an Area Vice President. The number one reason I stay, however, is the opportunity I’ve been given to work with some truly great people. We’ve built an exceptional team at MongoDB, and it has been so amazing to see how we’ve grown in Australia over the past nine years. The thing I feel most fortunate for is seeing all the people who I’ve worked with grow within MongoDB, both inside and outside Technical Services.” Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB in Australia? We have several open roles on our team and would love for you to transform your career with us!
Solving Customer Challenges: Meet Consulting Engineer Paul-Emile Brotons
Our Professional Services team is growing. Hear from Paul-Emile Brotons about his Consulting Engineer (CE) role, the types of projects he works on for customers, how he continually learns, and what makes this role a great opportunity for people with technical backgrounds who enjoy solving a variety of problems. Jackie Denner: Thanks for sharing your experience as a Consulting Engineer. Can you tell me about the Consulting Engineer team within Professional Services at MongoDB? Paul-Emile Brotons: I joined MongoDB a year and a half ago. The Consulting Engineering team is responsible for assisting customers at every stage of their MongoDB journey to ensure they are successful. We assist customers with training, database design, architecture design, code reviews, preproduction audits and reviews, setup, and health checks. I’m part of the South European team and I’m based out of Paris, but the Consulting Engineering team is worldwide. Since we are solving challenging problems, the team is very close and meets daily to share ideas and discuss solutions. I always have colleagues available to help at any time of day. JD: As a junior engineer, why did you opt for a Consulting Engineer role instead of a traditional Product Engineer role? PEB: Before joining MongoDB, I was a full-stack engineer at a French startup specializing in revenue management. I learned great technical skills there, but, in the end, I felt I was missing the big picture: What other stacks exist on the market? What tools are other engineering teams at big companies or startups working with? That is exactly what the Consulting Engineer role made possible for me. Since our projects are usually short-term, a typical CE may see 50 projects in a year. In my current role, I have been working with almost every new and exciting technology. I also get to learn how people within product and engineering work in other organizations. I find this very valuable, and it’s not something you can easily find in a traditional Product Engineer role. JD: What does a day in your role look like? PEB: CEs are assigned to “missions,” which typically range from one to four days and concern a specific customer. Longer-term projects can span several months. My role generally starts the week before. Before each mission, I try to set up a short preconsult session where I meet with customers and discover the topics they want to discuss. Then, on the day of the mission, I provide training, performance evaluation, tuning, and more. I learn a lot in my role, and I try to find solutions to all the difficult problems the customer has not been able to solve alone. It’s challenging and very rewarding. In some cases, I may not be assigned to a customer and I will be working on preparation and continuous learning. I appreciate the liberty my role gives me. JD: What was your onboarding like, and what learning and growth opportunities are there on the Consulting Engineer team? PEB: To be completely honest, I was a bit scared when I joined. I was very impressed with the way people work here, and I had a feeling it would be hard for me to onboard. However, the ramp-up process is so well-done that it almost felt easy. The first weeks were dedicated only to training. First, we have to learn a lot about MongoDB. A CE is a database expert. Since almost every software needs a persistent layer, this expertise is very valuable. Second, we have to know our stuff when it comes to Linux, networking, cloud providers, architecture, coding, and more. Afterward, everything is done to gradually increase the level of difficulty; complex missions are not delivered by new hires. Management is really careful about that, which is reassuring. Once a CE is performing well in their role, they may be promoted to Senior and then Principal grades. Many of us also study to pass certifications. I will soon start studying for a Linux sysadmin certification. The management team is very supportive and encourages continuous learning. JD: How do you interact with other teams at MongoDB? PEB: The CE role requires a lot of interaction with teams such as Sales, Presales Engineering, and Product Engineering. Consulting Engineers can be leveraged to help Sales and Solution Architects before the sale happens, since we are seen as trusted advisers. We also often speak to product teams to discuss the inner workings of a product, feature, or system. I’ve had the opportunity to meet many people within MongoDB. JD: What is one of the most interesting or challenging projects you’ve worked on? PEB: It is honestly difficult to choose, but I would pick a long project I worked on with a major container transportation and shipping company. It was challenging given the scope of the project and the number of interactions and subjects I had to deal with. The project was key for the customer, and it was technically demanding. We had to review the whole application architecture; analyze the front end to infer the requests and schema design needed on the database side; work with a wide range of professionals, including developers, solution architects, Linux engineers, and project managers; and test that everything would happen as expected. It was a great learning experience, from both a personal and professional perspective. JD: What makes someone successful in a CE role? PEB: Aside from sufficient knowledge of computer science, the CE role requires good communication and problem-solving skills. You have to know how to listen to and understand the problems customers encounter before you can think of a solution. Good customer contact is often the key to a mission’s success, and it makes the difference between a satisfied customer and a happy customer. JD: What advice would you offer someone looking to move into Professional Services at MongoDB? PEB: First, prepare well for the interviews — study up on algorithms, two programming languages, and basic database and hardware concepts. The interviews can be challenging, and there are a lot of rounds. Second, I would advise candidates to look at the beginners course on the MongoDB University website. The courses are free and they’re the best I have done on the web so far. Going deeper into learning MongoDB before joining the company saved me a lot of time. Last but not least, I would encourage candidates to contact CEs at MongoDB to get a clear view of the company and the role. My colleagues and I are more than happy to answer any questions that might help someone decide if this role is the right fit for them. Interested in a Professional Services career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our team and would love for you to transform your career with us!
Kickstarting a Career in Sales: Introducing MongoDB's Sales Academy
I sat down with Bobby Gamble , Sales Enablement Program Lead, to learn about MongoDB’s brand new Sales Academy and why it’s a great opportunity for those looking to start their professional career. Jackie Denner: I'm excited to learn about this new program at MongoDB. Can you begin by explaining why you believe software sales is an exciting career to be in? Bobby Gamble: Software sales is on the front lines of helping customers solve their biggest business challenges with technology solutions. It’s a challenging and rewarding role that requires you to build trust with senior executives, deeply understand their goals and challenges, and be able to articulate a compelling case for change. The best software sales people are perceptive, empathetic, great listeners, articulate communicators, and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. Furthermore, technology choices really matter. Combining the right people, processes, and technology is what gives companies their competitive advantage. As a software salesperson, your role is to partner with multiple stakeholders to help customers make intelligent, informed decisions to accelerate their business goals. JD: So, what is the Sales Academy? BG: The Sales Academy is an accelerator program to prepare those looking to kickstart an impactful sales career at MongoDB. It’s an opportunity to fast-track a path into Sales Development and start working on innovative projects taking place at household name brands. JD: What types of things will employees learn through the Sales Academy? BG: The Sales Academy is completely development-oriented, and there are two core pillars we focus on. First, we ensure that reps understand MongoDB technology and the wider technology landscape. A technical background is not required as we provide the support reps need through numerous learning programs so that they feel comfortable talking about MongoDB with customers. This includes learning about the software application stack, database fundamentals, the document data model, and our own suite of products. It is normal for reps to be apprehensive about the technology learning curve, and it is also normal for them to surprise themselves with how quickly they pick it up. I joined MongoDB as an Account Development Representative with a very limited understanding of the above concepts, but it is really fulfilling to look back at how comfortable I became with the technology after all of this training. It is knowledge I will carry with me for the rest of my career! Next, we give reps a strong foundation in sales excellence. We educate them on our sales process, how to run productive conversations with customers, and how to qualify opportunities for MongoDB. This starts with a SalesDev-specific program called Compass Week where reps learn how to generate and run effective discovery conversations. They then progress to Sales Bootcamp where they compound their knowledge and affirm their discovery skills alongside new hire Corporate Account Executives and Enterprise Account Executives. Bootcamp is where reps really solidify their readiness to execute successfully -- it’s the biggest part of a rep’s development journey that doubles down on everything they have learned so far across both the technology and sales process. Sales Bootcamp at MongoDB is an important milestone, reflected in multiple contributions from our C-Suite executives every single month. After Bootcamp, the rep continues to work through our various development programs as they grow into a Sales Development team member. This includes a group workshop series to share best practices and then a 90-day certification program to bolster their discovery armoury across our key products and services. After progressing to become a Senior team member, reps undertake a sales-wide initiative called Marco Polo, designed to help our sales org take MongoDB to market as a comprehensive cloud data platform with content to help reps engage CTO & CIO-level executives to solve their largest business challenges. This whole development path is curated to help new hires incrementally grow their impact and widen their skill set over a career-transforming first year at MongoDB. Then, when reps are ready for their next step, they undertake a role-specific upskill program ahead of the transition to ensure they can hit the ground running. We work with the leaders in each stream to provide a robust and worthwhile series of learning and practice opportunities to equip reps to thrive upon making the jump. JD: Are there any other programs and resources in place for employees in sales? BG: Yes, we are a very development-focussed organisation, and we want our own talent to grow and progress through what we call the “BDR to CRO” pathway. This is an initiative from executive sales leadership that demonstrates the investment in our people by providing a clear and transparent framework for employees to progress through the organisation. The pathways and avenues employees can explore are numerous, and “BDR to CRO” gives clarity to reps as they consider what will be best for them. JD: What opportunities are there at MongoDB for graduates of the Sales Academy? BG: Upon completion of the Sales Academy, reps will join the Sales Development team as either an Outbound (Account Development Representative) or Inbound (Sales Development Representative) rep. Outbound means partnering with your dedicated Enterprise Account Executives (EAEs) to plan and execute strategies to scale MongoDB’s footprint across your territory. Outbound reps are typically partnered with four EAEs who each report into a Regional Director and then a Regional Vice President. Reps team up with all of these stakeholders to develop and execute pipeline generation plans to grow MongoDB utilisation in both existing and new accounts across the patch. Inbound means handling leads coming in from both existing and prospective customers; qualifying and validating opportunities for sales to engage. SDRs working Inbound handle incoming queries at scale from customers anywhere across their region. As an SDR in North America for instance, you could be advising the CTO of a Silicon Valley startup in the morning and the VP Engineering of a major bank in the afternoon. SDRs aren’t mapped to a particular team of Account Executives, rather they uncover and qualify new opportunities from incoming signals of all types before sending them to the appropriate sales team to progress. Sales Development has become the springboard for a highly rewarding career at MongoDB. As an SDR or ADR, reps have the opportunity to make a big impact on the business while honing their skills to prepare them for their next career step. For many, this is an Account Executive role, but multiple progression routes exist. We’ve had Sales Development team members move into Customer Success, Marketing, Consulting or Sales Enablement, and more. JD: That's a great overview of the roles within our Sales Development team! Why is MongoDB a great place for someone to begin their sales career? BG: MongoDB is a great place to begin a career in any field, but in sales particularly, the level of investment in learning and development makes MongoDB unique. People choose MongoDB because they want to set themselves up for a great career. The company does a very good job of providing a growth-oriented environment that challenges you in the best way possible, while at the same time being a highly supportive and culture-focussed workplace where people can come to work as themselves. Last year, I benefited directly from this growth culture when I was promoted from Account Development Representative to Enablement Lead for the global Sales Development organisation. Personally and professionally, my growth while in Sales Development was substantial. I’d never seen a sales process and methodology so rigorously itemised out before. Then came the know-how and continuous learning required to deliver as an ADR with support from my manager and team mates. This meant regular, purposeful touch points to help each other better manage our stakeholders and be more effective in our processes. Sales Development at MongoDB to me means being put in a position to learn and grow. As a rep I was challenged every day to take more ownership and to think ever more strategically. Now, as part of the Sales Enablement team, I’m applying those lessons daily as I think about how to ensure every single new hire across all of our global locations is equipped to ramp and scale effectively during their time in Sales Development. Interested in a sales career at MongoDB? In addition to our Sales Academy , we have several open roles on our team and would love for you to transform your career with us!
Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, hear from four MongoDB employees about their own experiences and what this month means to them. Kyle Suarez , Lead Software Engineer, Query, NYC Three generations of Suarez men: Glenn, Felipe, and Kyle Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a time for me to reflect on the strong family culture shared by many Filipinos. I want to share the story of my father and the many sacrifices he made so that my family and I can stand where we are today. In 1984, the Philippines was in turmoil, having suffered nearly two decades of rule under then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos. My father, Glenn, and his father, Felipe, traveled halfway across the world from Manila to Jersey City, NJ to start a new life. They weren't able to bring over the entire family at first, so the two Suarez men initially embarked on their journey alone. After much hard work, my dad was able to bring over his mother and his sister to America, too. He also continued his studies, graduating from St. Peter's University with a degree in computer science. Kyle's dad and grandma on a windy day in NYC In 1988, my dad was introduced by friends to a woman who had also moved from Manila to Jersey City — a woman who would eventually become my mother. While growing up, I was blessed by the love and care of my parents, who both worked while my grandparents took care of me during the day. We moved from our cramped Jersey City duplex to a house with a yard and a pool in suburban New Jersey. Compared to his humble beginnings, there was no doubt — my father was the living definition of the American dream. Our move from the city to the suburbs meant I was able to attend a much better school district. Though my parents initially encouraged me to take up medicine, I was determined to learn more about my father's profession and enrolled in computer science electives in high school. I credit my dad as the reason why I'm at MongoDB today. In 2017, I tragically lost my dad to a sudden heart complication. Losing a parent is difficult — especially when you lose them when they're still young. I credit my family's tenacity to the strong familial bonds rooted in our Filipino heritage. My father may no longer be here, but his spirit lives on in his wife and two children. I try every day to honor his sacrifices by channeling his work ethic, his selflessness, and his courage in my own role here at MongoDB. Jacqueline Ho , Sales Enablement Program Lead, NYC When I was younger, I would dream about having the stereotypical American childhood that was portrayed on TV. I felt like I missed out, but looking back, I understand how my experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. I was born and raised in New York City. My family lives in Queens, but I spent most of my childhood in Manhattan’s Chinatown. I attended a small Catholic school where my classmates and I had similar backgrounds — Chinese, immigrant parents, first generation American, and bilingual households. High school was not very different, and although the majority of the students were Asian, there was some diversity of ethnicities. Yet the immigrant family experience and the heavy emphasis on culture was still the norm for me. From both experiences, I grew to be confident and proud of my identity as a Chinese American. For college, I chose a university with limited diversity at the time. While most Asian Americans reconnect with their culture in college, I felt like my identity was tested. I struggled to connect with those like me on campus and chose to surround myself with others who didn’t look like me. It turned out to be one of the best learning experiences I’ve had. Because of my background, I wasn’t afraid to share my culture with my friends, and it was beautiful to see them listen, learn, and grow. Today, this shows in my professional life. Tech is diverse, but there still aren’t many women of color in software sales. I’m usually one of the few women and people of color in the room, but that doesn’t hold me back. As a part of Sales Enablement, I frequently work with sales leaders and executives at MongoDB, and I need to own the room. I’m not sure I would be as confident as I am if I didn’t have my experiences, and I’m thankful that my team continually helps me own my strengths. What I’m learning is the importance of owning and sharing your story because it builds confidence in yourself, and it will show in all aspects of your life. For AAPI Heritage Month, I’m thankful that MongoDB uplifts the community by providing a platform for us to do exactly that. Puneeth Bikkumanla , Software Engineer, Atlas Search, San Francisco When you talk to most Asian Americans about their story and how they came to the U.S., many of them follow a similar pattern of immigrating here at some point during their schooling, but my story is different. I was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida and went to a school where I was one of two Indians. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t in touch with my heritage. I remember travelling to India every summer, going to the temple for festivals, and having a close group of South Indian friends growing up. What I wasn’t prepared for was my parents’ decision to move to Hyderabad, India when I was in 7th grade. At the time, it felt like the world was crashing down on me. I was scared to leave my whole life behind and start anew in a country halfway across the world. However, looking back, it was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I met so many different people and was able to really connect with my Indian heritage. After high school, I attended the University of Maryland and got a degree in Computer Science. Coming back was a bigger culture shock than I imagined it would be. I always assumed that I would assimilate back into the U.S. pretty quickly, but realized that the time spent in India made me a very different person. Reflecting on these two big transitions made me realize that an immigrant’s identity often oscillates between that of their heritages culture and the current culture in which they live. Balancing the two is harder than I thought. I believe that I, like many others, live somewhere in between where we would not classify ourselves as fully American, but not fully Indian either. To me, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is a time to recognize and celebrate immigrants who seamlessly transition the boundaries between both cultures and form their own unique identity. When it comes to my career, it was in college that I really began to appreciate computer science. I love how practical and self-sufficient it is, and how you do not need to depend on anyone else to create something from nothing. Currently, I work on the Atlas Search team building the best full text search solution for MongoDB. I interned here in the summer of 2019 and decided to return full-time in early 2020. Looking back, I believe I have grown tremendously as a professional and as an engineer. A lot of that can be attributed to my managers past and present, as well as my team. What I like most is the strong focus on writing good code and getting things done right versus fast. I also like that we are working in a unique problem space (Information Retrieval) with non-trivial problems. Josephine Lee , Enterprise Account Executive, San Francisco Josephine and her grandfather I come from a long history of immigrants to the U.S. from Korea, and their life stories have shaped the person I am today. One of my favorite stories is about how my grandfather got his start as a chef. My great-grandfather passed away when my grandfather was only 18 years old. After his passing, my grandfather gave up his dream of art school, got married, and decided to look for a job at a nearby U.S. Army base. When he arrived, someone mistook him for the cook starting that day. They asked him to make a hamburger, and he didn’t know what that was. He threw a bunch of butter on the grill and the rest is history - he became a cook for the U.S. Army and would later open Korean restaurants in California. As I get older, my interest in my Korean heritage grows. This spring, I started reading the book Pachinko by Korean-American author Min Jin Lee. It follows a few young Koreans’ lives during Japan’s occupation of Korea. I find myself searching every line for my grandparents — in the fields, at the docks, between market stalls. I get excited to see Korea as they might have seen it, but also anxious I might miss a description. I treat each page as if it were their autobiographies. Reading this book has given me hope that I might understand them more by understanding the Korea they grew up in. There is also the small hope that by understanding them, I might better understand who I am and who I want to be, even now, in adulthood. Josephine and her siblings In terms of my career, I have a debt of gratitude to my grandparents. When I was 22 years old, I decided to pursue an internship in San Francisco. My grandparents opened their home to me and insisted on packing me lunch every day. Their support allowed me to start my career in software sales in San Francisco, and their own story of hard work and sacrifice is a legacy I feel compelled to carry in my work, especially in my current role at MongoDB. Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe and would love for you to transform your career with us!
Meet Some of MongoDB's Working Parents
In honor of International Family Day, I sat down with a few MongoDB parents to learn more about their experiences as a working parent, how they’ve utilized MongoDB’s family benefits, what this past year has been like for them, and their advice to others. Javier Molina , SVP of Global Corporate & Cloud Sales, Austin I was born and raised in Austin, Texas where I still live today with my family. I have been married to my college sweetheart for 13 years and we have three beautiful kids together. I am the SVP of Global Corporate & Cloud Sales and have been with MongoDB since August 2017, pre-IPO. I have teams all over the world, mainly located in Austin, Dublin, New Delhi, and Mexico City. Separating work from home life due to COVID-19 has been challenging. Early in my career, my wife and I established that my drive home would be my opportunity to unwind and mentally unplug from the day. Now, it’s become difficult to find that time for myself to reflect on the day and put it behind me. However, the additional time at home with my family has been very much welcomed. With growing responsibilities in my career, time had been moving extremely fast prior to the pandemic. I’m grateful that over the last 15 months I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time than ever with my kids. I taught my oldest to ride his bike, I was there to potty train my daughter, and with my youngest born in May of 2020, I’ve been able to spend every day with him; the first time I’ve been able to do so with any of my children. One of the things that I love about being a parent is seeing the joy of life and learning about the world through my children’s eyes. We’ve had two of my three children during my time at MongoDB, and outside of the extremely generous parental leave policy itself, my leadership team and direct reports have been extremely supportive. They’ve allowed me to take as much time as I needed without the feeling of guilt like I wasn’t fulfilling my responsibilities. Additionally, being in sales, sometimes it can be tough to take time off. However, with the benefits that come with our parental leave policy I felt extremely comfortable taking the time I needed over several months. Whether both parents work, you’re co-parenting, or one parent stays at home, being more intentional with your time is extremely important. If you’re not paying attention, you can find yourself working during family time or not applying yourself at work due to family obligations. Finding the balance between the two and being open with both your partner and your manager about your obligations helps align your support system to better support you and your family. Sinead Mcniel , Enterprise Territory Management Specialist, Austin I came to MongoDB three years ago as a sales rep and transitioned to our sales operations team in 2020. I live in Austin, Texas with my family, which includes my partner Conner, my 9-month old daughter Isla, and our two dogs and two cats. Being pregnant and having a child during the COVID-19 pandemic was interesting to say the least. The experience has been far from normal. During the beginning of the pandemic when I was pregnant, it was definitely stressful and scary not knowing much about the virus. Once Isla arrived and I went back to work there was a whole new challenge. Working from home brings a lot of distractions without a baby, so you can imagine what it is like with one! Although there have been challenges, there have also been a lot of positives as a work-from-home parent. The time I get to spend with my daughter is a huge positive. Between meetings, I can run downstairs and love on her or eat with her during my lunch break. A less obvious benefit was not having to worry about going into a room multiple times a day to pump milk or worry about my milk supply decreasing. I’m really grateful that I’ve been able to have this time at home with Isla. MongoDB has been incredibly supportive throughout my pregnancy and journey to becoming a new parent. I could not ask for more supportive or understanding leadership and colleagues. On top of that, MongoDB provides amazing benefits to new parents like a 20-week parental leave, a new moms Slack channel, and an awesome app called Cleo. Cleo has been one of the most valuable benefits to us as they offer virtual birthing classes, lactation consultants, and parenting guides/tips. This was especially helpful in a virtual environment. They even sent us a mini MongoDB hoodie for Isla! I also utilized our parental leave which was invaluable. The first few months of your child’s life are really demanding and juggling that plus work would have been an incredible challenge. Having 20 weeks to bond with my daughter and learn how to be the best mom I could be was so helpful. Leanna Lewis , Customer Success Manager, Sydney I’ve lived in Sydney, Australia for the past five years and joined MongoDB as the first Customer Success Manager (CSM) in APAC. I have a wonderful partner, Bryan, and a beautiful 1-year old daughter, Marceline. Outside of work, I enjoy travelling and skydiving (yes, I skydive for fun and have roughly 630 jumps). Marceline was born in April 2020, and I was fortunate to have 20 weeks of paid parental leave to bond with her. I also gave birth at an amazing private hospital under the care of a specialist Obstetrician because we have full coverage private medical insurance through MongoDB. When I returned to work, I received fantastic support from MongoDB, and my manager implemented a re-ramping plan to ensure I had a gentle transition back into the role. I was given plenty of time to train and re-familiarise myself with the technology and catch up on what had changed. I genuinely feel like the break reignited my passion for my role, and I became a much better CSM for it. A colleague also added me to a mums only Slack channel where we could share ideas and anecdotes of being a working mum, and it helped me connect to colleagues across the globe who were on a similar journey. The biggest challenge was the initial mental struggle of returning to work. I was torn because I was desperate for non-mum related conversations, and I needed the mental stimulation of work. As much as I loved being on parental leave, the 24/7 mum life doesn’t suit me, but I felt guilty feeling like I was abandoning my daughter every day. Prior to COVID-19, I spent a lot of time in the office. Removing the commute has doubled the time I get with my daughter on work days, which means the absolute world to me. Now I can be flexible, predominantly working from home and only going into the office when necessary. What I love most about being a parent is the overwhelming sense of love and connection to someone new in the world. I live life through Marceline’s eyes and love watching her grow, learn, and develop. It’s everything my partner and I could ever want! If you are a working parent, I cannot stress enough how important it is to take time for yourself. No matter how much guilt you may feel for working full-time, you need to set the right example for your kids so that they also put their health and happiness first. Eoin Brazil , Staff Curriculum Engineer, Dublin I have worked at MongoDB for around seven and a half years in various roles, starting as an engineer supporting our customers, to developing software for internal use, to most recently the Education team where I teach and create content to help people learn MongoDB. I live in the lovely Dublin suburb of Ranelagh with my wife, Gemma and our two daughters, Clodagh and Bronagh. In Ireland, the first wave of COVID-19 presented a real issue for childcare. Ireland had one of the most stringent lockdowns in Europe, and childcare facilities stayed closed for months. My wife is a community pharmacist who has gone to work as normal throughout the pandemic. The lack of childcare and balancing both of our jobs was the single biggest challenge we faced as working parents. MongoDB really helped with emergency leave which allowed me to look after the children whilst my wife ran her pharmacy. Without this help, things would have been so much more stressful and difficult to manage. My manager was very supportive and understanding of the entire situation as he too had a family and encountered several similar challenges. I also have to give a huge shout out to the MongoDB-Babies Slack channel. Even if it was just a cute baby photo every few days, it really did help to hear from colleagues who were facing the same challenges regardless of where in the world they were. A year before COVID-19, I utilized our parental leave and was lucky to have spent 20 weeks bonding with my youngest, Bronagh. Working from home has helped deepen the bond with both of my daughters, and the flexibility around scheduling has allowed me to spend more time with them. The curiosity of a young mind is amazing as are the questions without boundaries. I look forward to continuing to watch them experience the world. My wife and I met later in life and have been incredibly fortunate to have our daughters after encountering many difficulties trying to start a family. It turns out that more people than you think have challenges on the path to parenthood, so if you’re hoping to start a family, don’t be afraid to reach out to others for support - you will likely find that a difficulty shared is a difficulty halved. Any troubles you encounter will be rewarded a thousand fold by the simple smile and hand holding of a child who believes you are the center of their universe. MongoDB supports all employees on their journey to starting a family, regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. Our partnership with Carrot provides employees with customized fertility benefits including IVF treatments, genetic testing, egg freezing, donor eggs, donor sperm surrogacy, adoption, and more. Learn more about our employee benefits . Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe and would love for you to transform your career with us!
MDBWomen: A Look into MongoDB’s Affinity Group for Women-Identifying Employees
MongoDB affinity groups are employee-led resource groups that bring together employees with similar backgrounds, interests, or goals. They play an important role in our company and culture. Our affinity groups build community and connections, help us raise awareness of issues unique to their members’ experiences, and offer networking and professional development opportunities. I sat down with some of the leaders of MDBWomen to learn more about their initiatives, impact, and plans for the future. What is MDBWomen? MDBWomen is a community of MongoDB employees identifying as women. We acknowledge that working women face many challenges and that not everyone experiences them in the same way. Our purpose is to connect and amplify the voices of working women at MongoDB by providing a space for support and advocacy. We understand that both work and nonwork conversations are important and use our time together to share experiences and build connections. We are women from all walks of life who want to create a safe space for discussing important topics. How did MDBWomen get started, and how has the group grown? MDBWomen began as a cohort of women within our North American recruiting organization. Although it was informal, it quickly became a recognized affinity group, but there was no group page within our intranet, no mission statement, and no globally friendly meetings outside of U.S. time zones. After a few years, an opportunity arose to reimagine the group, work on a mission statement, and expand from being just a social club to having a strategic plan for supporting women and impacting the business. Since its inception, MDBWomen has grown to just shy of 500 members globally, with chapters in India, Australia, and Ireland in addition to U.S. chapters in Palo Alto, California; Austin , Texas; and New York City. Wherever women are, MDBWomen helps activate them! What types of initiatives does MDBWomen organize? Our biggest initiatives typically take place during Women’s History Month. Every International Women’s Day (March 8), we host a companywide Purple Shirt Day to show support for women’s rights and raise awareness about the challenges working women still face around the world. In previous years, we’ve brought in spotlight speakers from outside the organization to discuss their personal experiences with being a woman leader in the tech industry. This year, MDBWomen organized a handful of events for Women’s History Month, including professional development workshops, panel events featuring speakers in sales and engineering, an empowering yoga flow and meditation, a Bollywood dance class, and a Kudoboard to share tips, words of wisdom, or experiences about promoting equality for women and employees who identify as LGBTQIA+. We are also aware of the particular challenges working mothers face. In an effort to destigmatize pregnancy and motherhood at work, we’ve partnered with one of our benefits providers, Carrot , to host sessions that discuss pathways to parenthood and fertility. It can be difficult to coordinate global events that all of our members are able to participate in, and we recognize that women face different challenges in different regions and cultures. Although many of our MDBWomen events are global, we also rely on the chapter leaders to coordinate initiatives in their region. Many chapters hold casual meetups along with networking events and other workshops throughout the year that allow women-identifying employees to connect with one another, find mentors, and upskill. 2019 International Women's Day Celebration in NYC How has participating in MDBWomen impacted some of our employees? We’ve had a lot of impactful follow up conversations after MDBWomen events. Our CIO Lena Smart gave a talk about imposter syndrome last year, and we had a great discussion afterwards. Knowing that you’re not alone, your voice is heard, and your feelings are valid is a big part of the support we give to our members. Our Carrot fertility sessions have allowed women to speak about things they normally wouldn’t talk about in a traditional work setting, and we were able to hear stories from women who had similar struggles and provide them with resources. It’s not just the events and speakers that have made an impact, but our individual members as well. Many of our members have found mentors within the group or connected with other women who have gone through similar experiences, and we love that we’re able to introduce women to one another across the company and across the globe. So many women have told their chapter leaders that they wouldn’t have received such a high level of support if it weren’t for MDBWomen. Read Jane Zirinsky’s story below to learn more about how MDBWomen has impacted her. Jane Zirinsky: In her Words One of the challenges many women face when planning their careers is building out space to also plan for a family. As soon as I hit my mid-twenties, I couldn’t help but notice all the studies, articles, and thought pieces on the so-called motherhood penalty that can affect women as they attempt to progress in their careers. I knew that I would have to be proactive in my career planning to avoid the dreaded plateau motherhood can unfortunately result in. However, one thing I didn’t know I needed to plan for was how to communicate to my boss and colleagues when I had a miscarriage. There really is no Emily Post guide for that! When I lost my pregnancy in the summer of 2020, I knew I couldn't hide it and that I would need support and understanding. However, I didn't know how to share this news with the people I worked with. Embarrassingly, my biggest concern was that I would make them uncomfortable. I felt vulnerable. Thankfully, my manager and I have built a strong relationship founded on trust and respect. She’s also a woman, and a friend, which made telling her much easier. My manager asked if I felt comfortable speaking to HR so that I could get access to the benefits available to me. Through our vendor, Cleo, U.S. employees can access grief counseling, support groups, and bereavement leave. I had no idea that this was an option for me and gratefully took advantage of the program. When they think of fertility benefits, many people think about hospital payments, parental leave, and childcare. It is so easy to forget that 25 percent of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage, and not a baby. I am a very outgoing, cheerful person, and there was a noticeable change in my energy levels after my miscarriage. I needed some time off to mourn, cry, breathe, heal, and process the complexities of all the emotions that come with losing a pregnancy. I learned that your body doesn’t care when you lose a pregnancy. It hits you with the full flood of postpartum hormones, which for many women (lucky me!) also includes the added onslaught of postpartum depression. I knew that these feelings were inevitable, and that people around me would notice something was off. Asking for help and being vulnerable is easier said than done. I always advise women and friends to reach out to their communities when they need support; so I did what I tell women to do all the time: I reached out to my community. I posted in our private, internal MDBWomen Slack channel about what I had gone through. Although it was challenging to be so vulnerable, it was the single best thing I could have done. I received an outpouring of support from MongoDB women across the world. They shared with me privately that I was not alone. I had more than twelve 1:1 conversations with other women who had lost a pregnancy. Some wanted to thank me for being brave and sharing my experience, some wanted to connect and cry, and some just wanted me to know them and to better know me. The single strongest tool I had to fight my depression was a feeling of connectedness and community. No matter how strong you are, nothing makes you feel more alone than depression. Add in the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that took my depression to another level. Had I not been brave, I would have missed the chance to connect with and support other women too. Now, I strive to be a resource for other women at MongoDB, whether it’s sharing information about access to benefits or proofreading emails that will alert leaders of the need for time off or additional support. I’m grateful that MDBWomen is a safe place to be open, share experiences, and receive the support and empowerment that every woman deserves. Hear from Some of Our Chapters North America Led by Jane Zirinsky , Melanie Kyono , Megan Blancato , Alexandra Hills , Gigi Neuenfeldt , and Libby Firer . The North America chapters have members in Palo Alto, Austin, New York, and many other remote locations across the U.S. and Canada. We’ve had women jump in and get involved during their first week at MongoDB alongside women who have been here for years. We believe strongly that empowered women empower women, and that you get what you give in communities like ours. Building a strong internal network provides support when facing challenges and gaining access to new opportunities. As part of this network, we’ve created an internal Propel-Her group aimed at elevating MongoDB women through mentorship and shared experiences. Propel-Her at MongoDB will be launching small, goal-driven peer mentor groups focused on specific professional development goals such as internal branding, negotiation, self-advocacy, and networking, where the emphasis is on peer mentoring and skill sharing. We are also launching a speaker pipeline in concert with our women in sales groups, which helps to connect our membership with women leaders in other companies and industries to inspire and teach us. With NYC and Palo Alto tech hubs being in our backyards, we strive to connect our members to the wider world of women in tech. Because MongoDB is headquartered in New York City, we have the advantage of access to the majority of our executive leadership team. One of our main goals has been to leverage that access to expand the connection our global members have with our C-suite. We do this via Q&A sessions with our executive team, sessions that spotlight women leaders and experts in their fields, and partnerships with our Recruiting and Diversity and Inclusion teams to ensure we can advocate for our members where the impact is greatest. Australia Led by Tammy Bailey and Jocelyn del Prado The Australian chapter of MDBWomen started just over a year ago, right before the COVID-19 pandemic. The women in Australia typically cannot participate in global MDBWomen events and meetings due to the time zone disparity, so we wanted to create a local community of women who could support one another. We brainstormed heaps of ideas and scheduled our kickoff event for International Women’s Day 2020, but the pandemic brought most of that to a halt. Despite this, we organized regular Zoom meetings that allowed us to connect, meet new hires, and generally get to know each other. We had a great lineup of events for Women’s History Month in 2021, and we plan to continue this momentum throughout the year. One of our goals moving forward is to engage women across various departments and roles within MongoDB. We plan to hold even more organized activities such as event sponsorships, welcoming and mentorship programs, ladies’ lunches, high teas, informal meetups, and yoga sessions. Another goal is to create opportunities for collaboration and friendships with women in other locations. The number of women employees in Australia has doubled over the past year, and we’re always working on ways to bring more extraordinary women into the organization. MDBWomen Australia is a place to have your voice heard and make a difference, and we are excited to continue growing our group of amazing women in Australia! MDBWomen Australia celebrating Purple Shirt Dat virtually in 2021 India Led by Palki Sood and Neha Mukherjee We joined MongoDB one month apart from each other and reached out separately to our office site leader, Amit Babbar, with our ideas and vision of forming an employee affinity group specifically for women in India. He connected the two of us with each other in August 2019, and the rest is history! India became the first established chapter of MDBWomen outside of North America. Our vision was to build a network of trust and a strong support system for all employees who identify as women in India . We believe that empowered women empower women. To add a local touch, we came up with the moniker “MongoWomaniya,” which is a fun way of representing our group and resonates with each member. We are proud that the logo we created for our group is now used as the logo for the global women’s group. We’ve been able to help foster new friendships by providing group members with a platform to get to know each other better and be sounding boards for common issues. We even started our own recognition program called “MongoDB India Superwoman of the Quarter,” which highlights women employees who are not only star performers but are also succeeding in balancing their work-life responsibilities and leading the way with their impact. Since the pandemic began, we have held multiple virtual engagement sessions addressing “taboo” topics such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). We also have held self-care sessions and collaborated with other affinity groups for activities such as Bollywood dancing. We have future plans to host more inspirational speakers, engage more “Womaniyas” to lead our regular meetings, and collaborate with recruiting to ensure we drive our diversity hiring goals. Our main goal is to ensure MongoDB India is a top employer for women, driven by our inclusive and equitable culture. MDBWomen India, AKA Womaniya, gather in the office prior to COVID-19 Ireland Led by Rita Martins Rodrigues , Avril Murphy , and Amy McKeon The Dublin chapter of MDBWomen provides a safe space for those identifying as women and allies to come together, share experiences, and help each other grow. Our goal is to support the women of our Dublin chapter with mentorship and upskilling programs, along with engaging our allies in open conversations in which we can help them demystify allyship and how it shows up at work. There is also an opportunity for the women of our chapter to connect with their peers in all of our major locations. We held our first event in April and are looking forward to establishing a community for the women of our Dublin team! Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB and joining MDBWomen? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe and would love for you to transform your career with us!
A Field Marketer Adapts to a New COVID-19 Landscape: Meet Amy Rosenberg
I sat down with Amy Rosenberg, a Senior Manager for MongoDB Field Marketing based in New York, to gain insight into how her role transformed when the COVID-19 pandemic started, her newfound love for data, and the ways in which MongoDB helped her adapt to a new working environment. We also spoke about the initial hardships of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York, scouring for toilet paper and Clorox, and how she envisions Field Marketing in a post-pandemic landscape. Andrew Bell: Thanks for sharing your story with us, Amy. Can you tell me about your journey into field marketing? Amy Rosenberg: I started my first “grown-up job” three weeks before graduating college. I was a one-woman marketing department for a 10-person startup. Over the course of my five years there, I had the chance to try my hand at every part of marketing: content, product, demand generation, social media, communications, advocacy, and events. I realized early on that what I love and what I am good at is being in the field interacting with and building community for customers. About three years into my career, someone told me that what I did sounded a lot like field marketing. I’d never heard that term before, but after reading some job descriptions, I decided it sounded fitting. One of the perks of working for a startup was the ability to change my title and team’s name. We became Field Marketing, and I officially became a field marketer. AB: How would you describe field marketing to those who aren't familiar? AR: When people hear the words field marketing, they think of events. They picture the team searching for venues, coordinating with A/V, running promotional campaigns, and handing their sales team leads to follow up with. This is definitely a part of field marketing, but to me, it’s not the full picture. Maybe it’s because I started my career wearing all of the marketing hats, but I’ve always seen myself as responsible for understanding when and why to do these events, how to ensure the leads make it through the sales funnel and become new customers, and how to track and analyze the ROI. This is one of the main reasons I joined MongoDB. In my first interview, my future boss discussed how MongoDB Field Marketing was part of a larger account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. I wouldn’t be an event planner; I would be the CMO of my region and a business partner to my regional Sales team. Events would be one of many tools I could use to support driving new leads and accelerating deals. I’d never heard field marketing described as such a strategic and impactful function, and I jumped at the opportunity to join the team. After a year without live events, the scope of my role feels even more true today. AB: What was a day in your role like prior to COVID-19? AR: Before COVID-19, I was always on the move, jetting around the world to host various events. This gave me the opportunity to get to know my Sales teams, talk to our customers, and visit dozens of incredible places such as Montreal, Beijing, and San Francisco, to name a few. My suitcase was always packed, and I got pretty used to spending only two or three nights in my New York City apartment each week. I like to describe MongoDB as the perfect mix between startup and established company. The company is doing very well and has the structure, leadership, and product to succeed. However, we still have my favorite parts of a startup culture: transparency from leadership, fun perks such as surprise swag gifts, unique benefits such as Headspace memberships and Carrot Fertility, and — my favorite part — the ability to make a meaningful contribution no matter what your level of seniority is. I hosted my favorite event about six months after joining — a C-level dinner at Classic Car Club Manhattan. Our CEO gave the opening talk, and our Chief Product Officer hosted a customer panel. No one questioned whether a new manager should own something so big, and my leaders gave me full autonomy to make it what I wanted. It ended up being a huge success and still gets brought up two years later. Hosting two or three events a month was exciting and made a huge impact on my region, but it was also exhausting. By the time I was back at my desk in New York, I hardly had the energy to analyze whether or not my projects were yielding the best results. I knew hundreds of customers and potential customers attended my events each month, but I rarely had the opportunity to think about things such as whether or not those were the customers with the greatest potential to buy, if the Sales Development Representatives were following up with the right materials to ensure conversion, or if the leads were being accurately routed to the right people. I knew I wanted to be even more strategic in my role. AB: How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your personal and professional life? AR: In March 2020, my entire world turned upside down and inside out. I went from spending a few nights a week in my one-bedroom apartment to not leaving it for weeks on end. New York City was one of the hardest-hit cities. I remember in early April I accidentally missed a meeting with one of my Sales teams because someone told me a store nearby finally had toilet paper and Clorox wipes in stock, and there was no way I was missing an opportunity like that. I felt comfortable putting myself before my work because from day one of the pandemic, MongoDB’s leaders encouraged us to do exactly that. They gave us companywide mental health days, hosted biweekly all-hands to keep us informed, and offered forums to discuss the current social and political environment. I then started hearing how companies were taking down job postings for open field marketing positions and some were even laying off existing field marketers. Field marketing equaled live events, and no one knew when live events would happen again. Naturally, this scared my team and me. Pretty quickly, our leadership sat us down and told us there were no planned layoffs, but we needed to get creative and find new ways to support the Sales team. Sales goals hadn’t changed, which meant we were still responsible for driving new leads and accelerating opportunities. I picked this job because I thrived on the social interactions it gave me. Suddenly, I was left with Zoom calls and an empty apartment. My fiancé is a doctor and was sent to battle COVID-19, working 24-hour shifts with limited PPE. I am extremely grateful that neither of us has gotten sick. It’s been a very lonely and stressful time, but having a team that jumped in to help when I needed a day off or scheduled a random Zoom happy hour just to chat made it much easier. AB: How have you pivoted in your role since the COVID-19 outbreak began? AR: When my job was producing live events, they had to be run based on location, meaning the same event could take place in five or more markets in a given month. Even if we could reuse the content, the hours spent on promotion to each location, traveling to and from, and managing the spreadsheets full of tasks to make it a success ate away all of my time. With the transition to virtual, this duplication became irrelevant. A webinar can reach hundreds of customers across the globe at once. As a Field Marketing team, we began to talk about and better understand what each region needed and where we could find overlap. We found that we could split up the work and build a marketing program targeted to different industries and use cases. Then, we could all take advantage of a single program for our relevant accounts. This sounded as if we were doing less work, but it really just gave each of us time back to focus on improving the work we did, rather than rushing to do more. The webinars became much higher quality, since each field marketer was producing less and could spend more time improving an individual program. An unexpected benefit of this sharing of work was our team becoming much more collaborative: team brainstorming sessions, asking for and providing feedback on work we could all take advantage of, sharing resources anytime we saw a success from our work, and bringing half a dozen brains together to create a much stronger program. AB: How has MongoDB helped you transition during this time? AR: Before COVID-19, the lines differentiating teams within Marketing were mainly based on the types of activities we owned: Field Marketing hosted in-person regional events, Demand Generation ran digital ads and webinars, and Strategic Events managed our large-scale global events. With no live events, these lines became blurry. With a lot of help and guidance from our Marketing leadership, we created lines based more on goals than on activity type. For Field Marketing, our goal is to source new and accelerate existing deals for our specific sales region. Events (now virtual) were just one of the tools in our toolbelt, along with customer stories, digital ads, executive engagement, direct mail, and even sales enablement to improve conversions on the inbound leads from Marketing. I told my manager that my new motto was “avoid doing work.” Naturally, they got very concerned. But, what I really meant was to take advantage of what is already being done by others, instead of duplicating efforts, and then reallocate my time to things such as lead flow handoff improvements, data hygiene, advising other teams on customer stories, and educating my sales reps on the self-serve tools we provide. This has been a very scary change of mindset for me, because I always equated success to the programs I owned. I’m insanely grateful I have such amazing leaders who completely supported my new mentality. This change also helped me finally realize what it means to be the CMO of my region: working collaboratively with the entire Marketing organization to ensure my region has everything it needs to hit its numbers. Not only has this made me much more strategic in my actions, but it also gave me the opportunity to meet and become friends with people outside of my direct team. I can say with full confidence that I work on the best Marketing team out there because of the people. AB: You've fallen in love with data during quarantine. How did that happen, and how do you envision it playing a role in your approach moving forward? AR: Some people baked sourdough bread. Others completed puzzles. I learned Tableau. We were given access to new data dashboards right around the time lockdown started, and maybe I just needed an escape from staring at my own face on Zoom, but I began spending a lot of time in these reports. Going back to the concept of being the CMO of my region and all the time I saved by “avoiding work,” I wanted to have a clear and deep understanding of what programs, messaging, promotion strategies, and content worked best in my region, so I could double down on what works and either stop or change the things that didn’t work. I’d never been trained on using Tableau or looking at data this way. When I expressed my interest in this analysis, my manager gave me the time to learn and asked our Marketing Ops team to help. I spent hours building new reports, asking Marketing Ops questions, and then discussing my findings with other stakeholders on the team. I began making changes and improvements to the programs I ran as well as to the ways all inbound leads for my region were handled. Without adding more events, I saw our conversions to new deals increase. On a personal level, I’ve found that I’m actually pretty good at this kind of analysis. My team and leadership now come to me with questions, and my manager actually helped take other work off of my plate so I could focus on this. I was even given the opportunity to present to our global Sales leaders on the lead flow process I helped improve. I absolutely love finding new insights and uncovering challenges I get to fix. AB: What do you think MongoDB Field Marketing will look like in the future? AR: I’m not going to lie: I really miss live events. Although we still achieved our goals this year, there is something special about how events foster relationships and community between a company and its customers. But whatever the world of events looks like in the future, I don’t expect Field Marketing to go back to being solely event planners. This past year made us learn how to work much more collaboratively and efficiently with the entire Marketing organization. We built better cross-functional relationships, learned the tools to help us analyze what our regions needed, expanded our use of digital marketing, and got extremely creative with our virtual events. We also demonstrated the importance of a strong partnership between Sales and Marketing by getting involved in enablement and lead conversion improvements — areas I’d never even thought to investigate before. We’ve shown the value Marketing can bring to Sales and the entire company when given the time, and it isn’t just more leads. When we slow down, think strategically, and become experts on our region’s needs, the impact has nothing to do with events. Calling this past year extremely challenging is the understatement of the century, but I always try to find the silver lining in every situation. In my experience, the pandemic gave field marketers the chance to become stronger business partners to our Sales leaders and own the role of CMO of our region. Interested in pursuing a career in Marketing at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe , and we would love for you to build your career with us!
How Three College Friends Became MongoDB Coworkers
Siya Raj Purohit, Chaitanya Varanasi, and Sohail Shaikh first met while attending the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) as undergraduate students. Five years after graduating, they found themselves brought together again — this time by MongoDB. I recently sat down with Siya, Chai, and Sohail to talk about this friendship that has been sustained through divergent career paths and continues to grow alongside their roles at MongoDB. Jackie Denner: Tell us about your story leading up to MongoDB. How did the three of you meet and begin to grow your careers? Siya Raj Purohit: I studied electrical and computer engineering at UT Austin from 2010 to 2013. Although Chai, Sohail, and I weren’t in the same year, we became friends from hanging out and working through the rigorous engineering curriculum in the same study lounge. Outside of the engineering building, Austin’s tech scene was exploding; some of my favorite memories with Chai and Sohail are going to tech events together. We met Stephen Wolfram (from WolframAlpha), briefly hung out with Mark Cuban, and crashed many SXSW tech events. Since graduating from college, I’ve lived in four states and worked across startups and venture capital firms. At MongoDB, I help provide founders with the resources they need to push the tech industry forward. Chaitanya (Chai) Varanasi: I am an electrical and computer engineering major from UT Austin, class of 2015 (Hook ‘Em!). Electrical and computer engineering is a fairly small cohort of students who all share a building and sit in the same hall for introductory classes. It is always said that the hottest fires forge the strongest metal. In our situation, we all had to go through grueling labs and coding assignments that would keep us up all night and unite us toward a common goal of passing that class. What started as collaboration on class materials very quickly transitioned into late-night frozen yogurt hangouts, playing Catan, and discovering Austin together. Sohail and I used to travel across the country for various hackathons, which was how we started our careers in software engineering. One of my favorite memories is of Siya taking us to the meetup of a lifetime at the Capital Factory, a startup incubator in Austin; we even got a picture with Stephen Wolfram! After graduating, I joined a large financial institution in Dallas as a software engineer, and then I began my presales journey in the performance space. After realizing the potential of data and understanding the value companies gain from data insights, I joined MongoDB. Sohail Shaikh: My journey in tech began when I was 12 years old and built my first computer. Since then, I have always been fascinated with new technologies and learning more about them. I was a math major at UT Austin, class of 2015. I actually can’t remember the first time I met Siya or Chai, because it seems as if I have known them forever, and I felt an immediate bond with both of them from the start. I have vivid memories of our times at UT together: attending hackathons, collaborating on ideas, and spending a lot of time talking about the future and how we could bring change. In the five-and-a-half years since graduating, I have worked in Palo Alto and Dallas — at a startup, at AppDynamics, and now at MongoDB. I’m excited to be reunited with Chai and Siya; we are all very passionate about making a positive impact in this world, and we are all doing that today at MongoDB! JD: What is your role at MongoDB? SRP: I’m helping the next generation of developers to build great companies. There is so much great talent coming out of universities and startup accelerator programs, and MongoDB for Startups works with developers to ensure they have the right products and services to transform their ideas into innovative companies. More than 1,500 companies have #BuiltWithMongoDB so far — and we’re super excited to continue growing the ecosystem. CV: I am a Senior Solutions Architect. My day-to-day job consists of being a technical partner to our rock-star sales team and performing proof of concepts with our customers to continually grow our MongoDB presence. SS: I am a Solutions Architect at MongoDB for the South Central region. My day-to-day job is working with customers in the presales organization and showcasing why MongoDB is so amazing. JD: How did you maintain your friendship after college? SRP: After college, I lost touch with Chai and Sohail for a couple of years. I moved to Silicon Valley, and although we periodically caught up through mutual friends, we didn’t really reconnect until we all joined MongoDB. I joined a few weeks before Chai (mostly to be part of his welcoming crew) and was ecstatic when Sohail told us he was joining MongoDB too. Now, we have a private Slack channel (named after one of our favorite Bollywood films) where we talk about our jobs and lives and also share cute memes and gifs. CV: Sohail and I both lived in Dallas and worked on the same team at a previous company. We have done multiple trips together and spent way too many nights eating sushi and Whataburger! Siya and I lost touch for a little because of the distance, but we were able to make up for lost time after joining MongoDB. SS: I am horrible at maintaining relationships, but Chai and Siya keep me in check (it’s just the type of people they truly are). I would meet Chai once a year on a group trip, and one day I called him to learn more about his new role at AppDynamics; he didn’t hesitate to refer me in. Next thing I knew, I was working with him on his team. Two-and-a-half years later, Chai decided to move to MongoDB, and I couldn’t resist. After working with Chai, I am now convinced I talk to him more than his wife does. Siya and I reconnected during the pandemic through a socially distanced meetup at a park while I was visiting San Francisco. Now that we both work for MongoDB, our friendship has picked up right where we left off. JD: All three of you joined MongoDB during the COVID-19 pandemic. How was the remote onboarding experience? SRP: Honestly, I was sort of nervous about joining remotely. I had left a company where I had really strong relationships with my coworkers, and it was daunting to imagine building new connections while being entirely remote. During my interview process, I asked for advice on how to best onboard. I was recommended the book The First 90 Days , which provided a great framework and onboarding roadmap. The MongoDB onboarding week itself was awesome — I met many people across the company, joined a few employee affinity groups (MongoDB Women is my favorite!), and learned about the lives of my coworkers beyond work — I even virtually met some of their babies and pets! I’m really excited to spend time with coworkers in person once it’s safer to do so. CV: I had a phenomenal experience with onboarding. Everyone at MongoDB has been nothing short of helpful. This was the first time in my life that I got to meet an entire executive team in a small group setting within the first month of joining the company. Each MongoDB executive hosts a coffee chat once a quarter, which is a great way to get to know them more personally. That kind of exposure is unparalleled, and it truly showed me how a great culture was supported from both bottom up and top down. SS: Onboarding at MongoDB is the best I have ever seen! Training and role clarity have been phenomenal, even in a remote setting. The material is organized and easy to grasp, and I don’t feel as if I have been left to figure everything out on my own. The team is extremely helpful in answering all of my questions and helping me grow. In Sales, there is also boot camp, which is divided up into two parts for my role. Boot camp lasted for a month to avoid any Zoom fatigue (given that we are all virtual), which also gave us more time to work on our assignments and properly learn the lay of the land. JD: What are you most excited about? SRP: I am so excited about Chai moving to NYC so we can work out of the same office when it reopens. I’ve already mapped out the top 10 bubble tea shops in NYC for us to visit. CV: I am ready to explore New York with Siya and have future MongoDB lunches together. Sohail and I are ready to tackle our Sales Kickoff and have fun when we return to normal situations after the pandemic. We are all career-driven individuals, and I am excited to see how we can uplift each other as a family. SS: I am most excited to be learning about the database space and contributing to growing the business. I am also super excited to see where MongoDB goes in the future. As one of the world’s fastest-growing databases, it feels as if we are on a rocket ship. JD: What advice would you give to others who are looking for a new role? SRP: Recruiting is always hard. Find unique ways to showcase why you’re a fit for a certain role or company — passion is seen and rewarded. CV: Always keep your connections and networks alive. Keep interacting with the folks you care about. I am nothing without my work friends and my work family. MongoDB is on a rocket ship right now, and you will absolutely love working here. SS: Don’t be afraid to take a risk in your careers, and put in an application to MongoDB today! We love working with talented, hard-working folks, and the grass is truly green on this side! Interested in pursuing a career at MongoDB? We have several open roles on our teams across the globe and would love for you to build your career with us!