Moving Across the World and Changing Roles: Meet Jake McInteer
At MongoDB, our employees are empowered to transform their careers and grow in the direction they want to. Jake McInteer is a perfect example of that — after building his career in London at MongoDB on our Solutions Architecture team, he is relocating to Sydney while transitioning to the Enterprise Sales team in the region. Take a look at this interview and learn more about his career path and what he’s most excited for in his new role. Jess Katz: Tell us a bit about how you wound up working at MongoDB Jake McInteer: I’m a Kiwi (New Zealander) who has always had a passion for technology - I think it’s probably in my blood as my parents met at the Government Computing Centre back in the ‘80s and just about everyone on my dad’s side of the family works in technology as well! I tried to be different from my family and study Accounting at university but quickly got bored and switched to an Information Systems degree. After that, I moved into a Consulting role with IBM, but I always felt myself gravitating more toward go-to-market functions. Eventually, I had the opportunity to move to a Presales role in a smaller company specialising in data and analytics and lept at the chance. My time in my first Presales role really confirmed for me how great of a space it is - an intersection between technology and business that gave me an opportunity to work on a wide variety of different things. In 2019, I made the call to move over to London with my partner for some overseas experience and started looking for a new role. MongoDB’s reputation of a high performance culture that was disrupting a market dominated by stodgy legacy vendors really excited me and put them at the top of my list. On landing in London in July 2019, I met with the Solutions Architecture Manager for Northern Europe and together we pushed through a handful of interviews within two weeks. The rest, as they say, is history. JK: What was your onboarding experience like? JM: In one word, incredible. From MongoDB University, through coaching sessions with people across the Solutions Architecture team and trips to HQ in New York City attending Sales Bootcamp and New Hire Technical training - I was left in awe at the resources MongoDB invests to give new hires everything they need to launch their careers at MongoDB. JK: What does a Solutions Architect (SA) at MongoDB actually do? JM: An SA at MongoDB is a technical expert that helps customers understand and evaluate MongoDB. We work closely with the Sales team to help potential customers understand the value of MongoDB as well as when and why to use it. In practice, this means we work closely with our customers’ development teams, with various people spanning software engineers, database administrators, product owners, security specialists, architects and more! We also support our marketing team by running various workshops and webinars. From time to time we also work on our own projects, building out various demos and applications. JK: Tell us a bit about what you’ve been working on as an SA JM: Being an SA at MongoDB has given me the opportunity to work on some of the biggest transformation initiatives of some of the largest companies in the world. I’ve been privileged to work with leading organisations across Financial Services, eCommerce, and even the Air Transport industries while in the role, and on projects that affect millions of customers and billions of passengers - it’s been incredibly rewarding. As we went virtual due to COVID-19, I also ran some of our first virtual-only workshops and webinars, including building out demos and hands-on workshops for developers to complete. JK: So what’s next for you in terms of your career? JM: I’m actually right in the middle of making a big move! My manager and I have always had regular development conversations since I started, and last year I expressed an interest to continue my growth and development into a full-time sales role, as well as my personal desire to move back down under and be a little closer to family in NZ. While I absolutely love the MongoDB team in the UK and have developed friendships here that will last for a lifetime, I am looking forward to further building my career with the team in Sydney. This move is also a career change! With huge amounts of support from my manager and others across the business, I’m making the transition from Solutions Architect to Enterprise Account Executive in Sales. I start my new role at the beginning of September and I’m excited to get started. It’s been awesome being a part of our UK team as it has gone from strength to strength, and I’m excited to get started with our Australian Sales team next. The Australian team is firing on all cylinders and is led by the impressive Jeremy Powers. In my view, it’s a great place, team, and environment for me to make the shift into a full-time Sales role and to continue developing my career all while being closer to family back home. JK: What are you most excited for in your new role? JM: Two things have got me super excited to get started. Firstly, the opportunity to make the transition into an Enterprise Account Executive role and join our formidable sales organisation is an opportunity too good to pass up. Secondly, I’m particularly looking forward to the opportunity to work with businesses in New Zealand and introducing new customers to the incredible technology we offer here at MongoDB. New Zealand has a burgeoning tech sector and some incredibly interesting companies and opportunities - one great example is THL Digital who we’ve done a lot of work with recently. I can’t wait to help them solve some of their biggest challenges and give developers down under a better way to work with data. 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!
Switching Teams and Beginning a New Career as a Solutions Architect: Meet Idriss Ouazzani
I sat down with Idriss Ouazzani, a Solutions Architect (SA) based in France, to gain a deeper understanding of his fast track to success, rising from Customer Success Manager (CSM) to his current SA role in less than two years. We also spoke about his upbringing in Morocco, his deep love of learning, and the ways in which MongoDB has kept him motivated and energized. Jess Katz: Thank you for sharing your story, Idriss. Can you tell me what you did before joining MongoDB? Idriss Ouazzani: I was born and raised in Meknès, Morocco, and lived there until I was 18 years old. Although I did extremely well in the entrance exam for the Moroccan Army, I decided instead to move to France and further my studies in engineering. I was always passionate about new technologies, and I decided to pursue electronics/signal-processing engineering. While at university, I had a ton of impactful experiences, ranging from working as a receptionist in Japan to serving as Treasurer, and ultimately a President, of the third-biggest event in France for technical students, the Forum Toulouse Technologies. These experiences helped me discover another passion: business development. I decided to apply for a double degree partnership between the engineering school and the business school, and I ended up getting a master’s degree in engineering and business. From there, I decided to join Atos, a French multinational information technology service and consulting company, as an Enterprise Account Executive covering the business unit in France’s southwest region and managing a large portfolio. After more than two years at Atos, I started to feel as if my passion for technology wasn’t quite getting fulfilled. I decided to take on a new challenge, and move to a new country (Ireland) and join MongoDB! JK: What inspired you to join MongoDB? IO: During my time in sales at Atos, all my consultants were MongoDB lovers. They were so impressed by the technology and the continuous innovation that I couldn’t resist joining this young but well-established company. While doing some of my own research, I was blown away by the growth rate, the innovation, the developers’ feedback, and much more. JK: Can you walk us through your career path at MongoDB? IO: I joined MongoDB on August 19, 2019, as a CSM covering the entire French region. Moving from Toulouse, France, to Dublin, Ireland, I noticed that although the weather was colder, the atmosphere was so warm and welcoming. Even though I had an engineering background, I didn’t know much about databases when I joined. Week one, I remember getting introduced to MongoDB University, and I was so impressed with the quality of the content that I got addicted to it. Within a month, I completed the presales bootcamp training and the new-hire technical training prep course. Everytime I learned something new, I understood that there was so much more to learn. When you’re someone like I am who loves to learn, this is an amazing feeling. I quickly took the lead on solving some of our customers’ technical challenges in France. I remember the evenings I spent with our world-class Support Engineers finding creative solutions for a customer. I also built technical demos for my CSM colleagues and helped them expand their technical knowledge. From there, I became a CSM covering the Middle East in addition to France. As an Arabic speaker, it was a great opportunity for me to work with a new market and speak three different languages all the time while collaborating with an amazing team. Even though I was offered the opportunity to be a SA in France, my manager at that time wanted to promote me to Senior CSM for my contribution to the CS program and for helping the organization grow. This really demonstrated to me just how great a company MongoDB is. After several months in the Senior CSM role, I moved back to France and became an SA, and it’s been an incredible experience so far. JK: What excites you most about being an SA, and why? IO: Two months after I joined MongoDB, I went to Paris for the QBRs. There I met the SA team and started to learn about their role within the company. For those who don’t know, an SA is a salesperson with very strong technical skills whose role is to understand customers’ and prospects’ requirements and explain how MongoDB can help them solve their problems. I had one of these moments where you think to yourself, “That’s a job I could see myself doing.” I asked about the typical SA career path at MongoDB, and one impressive thing was that each SA I spoke with had a unique growth path, and they were all very passionate about their work and the technology. During the QBRs, I met Emmanuel Macé, an SA manager in France, and he saw the interest I had in the SA role. He made a decision that I will never forget: He asked me if I would like to attend a two-day team-building session at a French Normandy castle with the entire Southern Europe SA team to learn more about the role. After spending those two days learning more about the team and the role, I grew extremely interested in the opportunity. However, when speaking with my manager and other people, becoming an SA seemed like a longer-term goal (more than 3 years), because I needed sufficient technical knowledge before taking it on. A couple of months later, the COVID-19 pandemic started, and the lockdown followed shortly after. I was stuck in a tiny apartment in Dublin and decided to gain as much knowledge as possible in order to secure the SA role. I remember spending hours and hours teaching myself technical concepts. I ended up getting both a MongoDB Developer and Microsoft Azure certification. I reached out to my manager and the SA manager about the role and wound up going through an interview process. This included everything from logic and technical knowledge tests to interviews with managers and vice presidents and finally a challenge. Throughout the process, the CS leaders were there for me and provided their full support (a special thanks to Ruth Neligan, Sara Escribano-Slowey, and Julia Prause). JK: How have you been able to be creative in your roles at MongoDB? IO: I’ve never before been afforded this degree of freedom to create and innovate. In the CS org, each time I had an idea, I had full support from the managers to pursue it. During that time, I started a MongoDB championship concept: one-on-one speed “dating” with developers where they get 30 minutes to ask all the questions they want and much more. Additionally, when I had a technical question, other teams were always there to help. Last but not least, MongoDB’s managers know how to create a “safe space” for me and others to share all of our thoughts with complete transparency. JK: What are some interesting technical and creative aspects of being an SA? IO: When you are an SA, you’re focused on understanding your prospects’ and your customers’ needs. Oftentimes, they don’t know a lot about MongoDB, so the challenge is to become a MongoDB expert and to understand the technical aspects that surround it. When you are an SA in MongoDB, you need to fully understand other technologies (Kafka, Kubernetes, Spark, cloud providers’ offerings, Terraform, Ansible, and much more). You also need to understand the competitive landscape. I really like that we are at the cutting edge of technology. JK: What would you want potential candidates to know about working at MongoDB? IO: My advice is to be yourself. One key value we share is to “embrace the power of differences.” Be proud of what you’ve achieved, think big, and remember, I didn’t know much about databases when I joined, but I do now, and if you want to, you can too. And lastly, take risks. When interviewing me, the team saw potential when I raised my hand even though I was far from being a traditional candidate. JK: Did you have support from your managers each time you made an internal transfer? What were those conversations like? IO: This is one of the most impressive things I saw at MongoDB. I was scared about how my manager would react if I asked for an internal transfer, but each time, I had full support from my managers. As a matter of fact, they went a step further and asked me what they could do to teach me about the position I wanted to get. 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!
Decoding Inclusion: The Intersection of Race and LGBTQ+ Issues
Earlier this year, MongoDB launched “Decoding Inclusion,” an internal event series for our employees aimed at building community and foundational knowledge on various diversity and inclusion topics such as neurodiversity and racial justice. In June, we had a Decoding Inclusion session focused on the intersection of race and LGBTQ+ issues. The movement surrounding racial equity and police brutality in the U.S. is an opportunity to understand and discuss the role of trans people of color in the origins of Pride and the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for civil rights. Jonathan Balsano (he/him), who is a Lead Software Developer at MongoDB and leads our employee affinity group "Queeries," was the moderator, and Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza (they/them) and Dr. Koach Baruch Frazier (he/him/they/them) joined us as speakers. Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, who founded the Activist Theology Project , is trained as a constructive philosophical theologian and ethicist and practices public theology via film, writing, and speaking engagements. Dr. Koach is a healer and musician who is working towards the day everyone experiences liberation. He helps people reconnect with the world around them by helping them improve their hearing and providing love and support through revolutionary listening. Pictured (from left to right): Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Jonathan Balsano, and Dr. Koach Baruch Frazier The Conversation: A Brief Recap (Note this transcript has been edited and condensed) We began the session watching this video about the Stonewall riots in 1969, which were demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to a police raid that began on June 28th, 1969. We discussed many key figures who stood on the front-lines of the demonstrations — like Marsha P. Johnson, for example, who was a Black, transgender pioneer, activist, and a self-identified drag queen. After watching the video, we began our discussion. Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza : Thank you for hosting a pivotal conversation in a moment in history. I move in the world with power, access, and privilege because of my skin privilege, but I live in sections of marginality with the intersection of gender, sexuality, and race. I’m very excited to be here! Dr. Koach Baruch Frazier : I come to you as a Black trans Jew living at the intersection where life can be hard and is hard, and yet there is also joy, and I’m thriving. I want to be able to hold all of that as we talk about this important story within queer history, where there is joy and celebration of life as well as tragedy. What is your recollection of Pride personally? Dr. Robyn : I remember the first Pride event I attended. I had just finished my first graduate degree in Chicago and went to Chicago Pride. I had moved from a small town in West Texas to the big city of Chicago and was confronted with the rest of the world, but when I went to Pride, it was a mostly white and male event. I love the gay men in my life, but what I was hungry for was where are the LatinX people, the people of color. Because that’s who I was surrounded by growing up but I didn’t see that at Pride. It took many years for me to see that people of color have a separate Pride. Dr. Koach : I went to Pride for the first time when I attended St. Louis University. My first interaction with Pride was Black Pride. That’s how I got enculturated into the queer community in St. Louis. I didn’t know much about this other Pride, all I knew was about Black Pride, and I was so happy to be around Black queer people. I felt like I searched for my family all my life and I finally found them. Then I was exposed to more corporate Pride and found myself disappointed both in representation and in the narrative that our movement was only about marriage. Me being a trans person didn’t come into the conversation at all. Jonathan : A lot of what you’re saying is resonant for me. As a white cis gay man, my own relationship with Pride was complicated, for a long time, by wanting to assimilate. It wasn't until after college that I felt comfortable attending a Pride event, because I felt like going to one was too radical for me, and that made me feel as if there wasn't space for me. Now, there are two things that always hit me hard at Pride. One is the parents who are willing to be a part of Pride. Having parental support in such a public way is something I didn’t always feel like I had, and when I see that, it always makes me want to cry. The second thing is acknowledging people who have lost their lives. After the Pulse nightclub shooting and now as we focus on the impact of police brutality, we all need to take a moment to stop and acknowledge these are people who lost their lives and can't be here to celebrate with us. Amidst all the celebration of pride, it's important to simultaneously hold onto the idea that celebration is a privilege when so many others are fighting for their lives. We all have these distinctive Pride experiences, and we remain curious about what can become of our community. What is your imagination for our community? Dr. Koach : If I’m dreaming really wildly, my hope is that the people who are at the center of the target for white supremacy culture in terms of transphobia, misogyny, and so on are at the center of our attention. I also hope we are able to do the work. I want us to approach each other with different kinds of energy where I don't make assumptions about who you are and you don’t make assumptions about who I am, but instead, we see each other for who we really are. Jonathan : I want us to be at a place where we feel comfortable examining our own identities so that we can understand why we might look at somebody else and not recognize what they are going through and what they need help with. I think we should be able to interrogate ourselves about why we might deny that help to someone else. One of the things that took me a long time to understand was the internalized misogyny I was holding onto. This was part of why I avoided Pride and the queer community in general. I was worried about coming off as too feminine myself, and I would judge gay men who were too feminine. It's just one small facet of the ways power dynamics that have been ingrained in us from society play out. So when I dream, I think it would be amazing if we can be a community that supports one another in interrogating within ourselves where those feelings come from. How has Pride and Black Lives Matter worked together (or not) during this time, especially during a pandemic? Dr. Robyn : LA Pride worked with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles to do a Black Lives Matter march in place of Pride. I saw that as a sharing of space and leadership and bringing together our different movements. As we know, Pride isn’t just white people, so it’s really wonderful to see these big cultural movements come together and support one another. That's one really tangible way. Dr. Koach : It’s regional. There are some places where the relationship has been fostered for years or other areas where it’s strained. In St, Louis, the Black trans community said there is no Pride until Black trans lives matter, and I have seen that conversation happen around the country. There are folks on the street saying "Pride, get your act together, and you need to disconnect from the police," and that is an ongoing campaign where we understand what safety means for all members of our community and work on how we can achieve actual safety for all of us. People are trying to see where they fit in, and I’m grateful for that and I hope that continues. Jonathan : For New York, there is usually the Pride "parade" and then there's the Queer Liberation March. The Queer Liberation March was still scheduled for this year as a march for Black lives against police brutality. So the question is, what is Pride at its root? In New York, we think of the parade, a celebration that is now on several news networks. But at the same time there are people marching in the Queer Liberation March in protest, drawing attention this year to BLM and police brutality, and in the past to sex workers' rights and other issues that disproportionately affect the queer and trans community. What is the role of religion between LGBTQ+ Pride and race rights? Dr. Koach : A rabbi I learned from says we have to have queer folks looking at religious texts, because when they see the text, they see themselves in the text. Just like back when women were able to study the scripture they saw themselves in the text and we got a feminist theology, so queer people can create a liberation theology. Dr. Robyn : As someone who is trained in Christian tradition, I see a lot of energy at Pride and other LGBTQ+ related events where Christian supremacy is not only present but is also violent toward our community. I agree with Dr. Koach that trans and queer people need to be interpreting text on their own terms so that we can create religious narratives to create conditions for flourishing in our communities. How can that be a liberative experience for the queer and trans people in the congregation, and how can it be liberative for me even though these narratives have been formed to oppress me? How can we also have a power analysis when we think about religious traditions? Many queer and trans people feel like there is no space for them in religion or spirituality, but scripture has been weaponized against our community to marginalize us and that breeds loneliness and disconnection from the larger community. This is why for a lot of people, church is having brunch on a Sunday — and I want to say that is just as sacred and holy as being in a church house on a Sunday. If you could choose a focus for the movement, what would it be? Dr. Robyn : That’s a big question. I immediately go to housing for queer and trans people. Housing is a need for people to flourish, and it is a human right. People need to have their basic needs met. If we can create conditions for people to have housing, I think that would eliminate so much violence. Dr. Koach : In addition, when we think about basic things people need to survive, I think of food, shelter, and some form of connection to other people. It doesn't have to be a physical connection, but some kind of connection to other humans. Trans folks need that too, so how can we make sure trans folks have food, shelter and connection to other humans — all of which are basic things stripped away from trans people, especially trans people of color, just because we want to live and breathe. I just want to be able to go to the grocery store without being harassed so I can buy food and eat at my kitchen table. How do we ensure we have basic rights? Can you speak to intersection of marginalized individuals with disabilities and people with chronic conditions? Dr. Robyn : Largely all of our communities have erased people living with mental health challenges and experiences and different abilities. Part of what we do at my organization, Faith Matters Network , is connect the dots and help people understand the reality we live in. So much of supremacy culture has made it impossible for people with disabilities to live in our communities. This is also true for Pride, where not everything is accessible. We need to realize there are people living with varying degrees of abilities in our communities, so what is stopping us from exposing people with those differences so we can live all together? If we really believe there is no degree of separation, how do we form that community? Dr. Koach : It's putting people who need our attention at the center. When we do that, that's how we all get free. We have to prioritize those who have been the target of discrimination and put them at the center of our attention. Thank you so much Jonathan, Dr. Robyn and Dr. Koach for joining us in this very important conversation around intersection of race and LGBTQ+ issues. 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! Join MongoDB in supporting organizations fighting for racial justice and equal opportunity. Donate to our fund by December 31, 2020 and MongoDB will match the donation up to a maximum aggregate amount of $250,000. Learn more here .
MongoDB Employees Share Their Coming Out Stories
National Coming Out Day is celebrated annually on October 11 and is widely recognized in the U.S. This year, however, as a company that embraces and supports all of our employees across the globe, MongoDB reimagined the celebration as (Inter)national Coming Out Day. In honor of (Inter)National Coming Out Day, we interviewed employees who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community to learn about their coming out experiences. These are their stories. Cara Silverman , Team Lead, Executive Assistant, New York, NY I didn’t know or understand who I was for a very long time. I didn’t have any gay or queer community members growing up, and my parents were more on the “traditional” side in a lot of ways. Things started off pretty confusing because my mom was a die-hard Irish Catholic and my dad is a non-practicing Jew. I went to Catholic school until 4th grade, where being gay was hardly even talked about — and if it ever was, it was described in a very dark way and definitely never something you were encouraged to think about or discuss. Even when I went over to public school, kids would make fun of someone if they thought they were gay, and it was this taboo thing that I never wanted to admit to. The only thing I could really tell was that I was supposed to grow up and find a nice boy to marry. When I was still fairly young (in middle school) and starting to have different feelings, my sister came out as being gay. Her being four years older, she was at a more mature stage in her life and was ready to take that step. My dad didn’t take the news very well, not out of hatred and not in any way cutting her off, but seeing it as more of a “phase” and a time of uncertainty that she would perhaps grow out of. He thought maybe it low was self-esteem, rebellion, or a number of things, none of them being that she was actually just gay. The denial was strong . As I watched this all unfold and I saw how hard it was for him to digest, it became even harder for me to talk about. I didn’t want to be seen as a little sister copying her big sister, or cause my dad more grief. I didn’t have a close relationship with my mother at the time so my dad’s opinion literally meant the world to me. I tried to date men for many years but just never felt a real connection. I thought there was something wrong with me, even when I started secretly dating a close friend of mine. I said she was my best friend (which she was), and that’s why we were inseparable. This went on for about three years when I was a teenager. I started feeling comfortable enough to talk to my sister about it, who surprisingly didn’t take me seriously at first. We were very different people, and our own stories are different as well. I didn’t know how or what to think and didn’t have the exposure like my sister did. I didn’t know what to ask or how to ask. Eventually, my sister told me to get to a good place in a relationship, and after we’d been together for a year to then tell my dad so that he would take the relationship and me seriously. So, I did. I waited to hit a year with my then-girlfriend, I went out to eat with just my dad and had a few drinks, and then I just let it out: “Dad….. I’m gay.” There were some moments of silence as the news digested and then a sigh, followed by “You too?!” At this point, my dad had had a few years to adjust to my sister’s news, but this didn’t make his acceptance of mine any easier. Since my dad had some traditional views (although he was also a hippie — weird mix), he thought he must have failed us as a parent. “Where did I go wrong?” he said. I told him he’s a great dad (he really is), and that my sister’s and my preferences are no reflection of that. We talked through everything, and he told me that he will love us both no matter what, even if he doesn’t fully understand it. Fast-forward about 13ish years to today, and he has fully embraced my partner and my sister’s wife as family (seriously, the cards he writes to them would make you cry). He knew nothing of the LGBTQIA+ world then, but he knows so much more now, simply from being around us. I know I’m lucky to have that and not everyone does, but it’s still a scary thing to bring up in any situation (work, family, friends, etcetera), especially when you don’t know where to even start. I’m even luckier now to work at MongoDB, where I’m not just supported, but embraced and empowered to share my story. I only hope my experiences can help others navigate their own way. Julien Contarin , Senior Solutions Architect, Partners EMEA, Paris, France Ten years after coming out to the world at age 23, a friend asked me something that took me by surprise: “Can you remember little things your family would say while you were growing up on how you should be different?” I spent the night thinking about it and couldn’t find one single example. I do think my parents would have been more comfortable if I was into traditionally masculine sports, mostly for health reasons. But overall, they never tried to change or shape me into something I wasn’t. I think this is the source of a coming out story in reverse. I came out to my parents at age 17, and it was a non-event. We were watching a TV show featuring a gay character, and I just dropped it. At that age, TV was the only representation of LGBTQIA+ people I had ever been exposed to. My parents and siblings onboarded this path to self-discovery with me, and I am extremely grateful for this. I always felt incredibly lucky at home, but none of my quirks and behaviors went unnoticed at school. Growing up in the countryside in the center of France does not exactly allow you to explore being different at an early age. I waited patiently, hoping to change, but I didn’t. Middle school was the peak of several bad years. Then came high school, and things started to turn around; I had a stable group of friends and we organized summer parties together. Because I thought this group of friends would be in my life forever, at 16 years old, I used the “Truth or Dare” game to ask them if they’d ever been attracted to somebody of the same gender. Everybody said “no” and laughed. We never spoke of it again. I decided to wait longer before coming out. I don’t think any of this was intentional or even conscious, but it was at that point I decided to work very hard in school to get accepted to any college that would take me more than 400 kilometers from my hometown. The idea was to have excuses for why I couldn’t commute back home every weekend like most of the other students did. Two years later, and when I was sure I was accepted to college, I came out to the same group of friends from the “Truth or Dare” game on my 18th birthday. The experience was not great, and they slowly pushed me away from their lives afterwards. But at least I was at a place in my life where I didn’t need to be around them. It took three years of college for me to meet the right people, and even though none of them were LGBTQIA+, they made me so comfortable and happy that I ended up coming out to them all at age 21. It wasn’t until I moved to Boston for a year at age 23 that I started to be “out first” to any new person I’d meet, work or otherwise. What’s funny about coming out is how boring and casual it ends up being. Only homophobia makes our stories seem more like epiphanies. Now, at age 34, I am grateful to be working for a company where people have a positive bias for growth. What I love about people at MongoDB is the obsession they have to listen and to learn. Time and time again, people have made me feel like I truly belong here. Seán Carroll , Marketing Operations and Analytics Manager, EMEA, Dublin, Ireland Looking back on my childhood and teenage years, a lot of things that made me different started to make sense once I embraced my sexuality. I grew up about 5 kilometers outside a small Irish town in County Limerick. I was never into the traditional Irish sports such as hurling or Gaelic football and never had any interest in soccer, but I adored animals, horseback riding, and outdoor sports. While this environment traditionally would have been quite conservative, I always found people who were supportive and inclusive of me. I was fortunate growing up because I always had an incredibly supportive family that did not enforce traditional gender roles or stereotypes. I did, however, face bullying throughout my school years for my sexuality, which although unknown to me at the time seemed evident to my peers in school. In my teens, I was fortunate to make some great friends who were either LGBTQIA+ or had close friends who were part of the community. This was the part that helped me grow as a person and discover who I really was. When I finally came out, my family was amazing. I was so nervous, having seen and heard from friends who had come out and been completely rejected, or worse, kicked out of their homes. I told my mother the night before my 18th birthday, and her response was simply, “Okay. What do you want for dinner?” She then told my father and sister, who saw no issue with it. The true turning point for me was university. It was there that I found my tribe — my group of friends who never made an issue of who I was or treated me any differently due to my sexuality. Coming out can change your entire life. I had a great experience, and my life truly changed when I was no longer carrying the weight of that secret. Unfortunately, it is something that people from the LGBTQIA+ community have to do again and again throughout their lives. I’m lucky to work for a company that embraces the power of differences and values employees’ intellectual honesty. This is something I wish could be shared by all people and organizations, because it can truly change peoples’ lives. Robson Gomes , Workplace Coordinator, EMEA, Dublin, Ireland Back in 2013, there was me, Robson, a gay guy who was super anxious about coming out to his parents (this is usually the most difficult part). But let’s start at the beginning. When I was a teenager watching famous Brazilian soap operas with my family, I realized I was paying too much attention to the guys instead of looking at the girls. I remember thinking, “Why am I doing this? This is so weird.” I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. I had no queer friends nor queer family members (as far I knew at the time). My family had always taught me that I should grow up, get a good job, and marry the woman of my dreams. I also grew up in the Brazilian countryside, and back then, people there could be very cruel if they found out that I was (am) gay. Some people just love to drag you out of the closet without your consent in order to make fun of you to your face. The following thoughts constantly ran through my head: “How will I be able to tell the world about myself? My family won’t approve of it, and my friends will reject me. Not to mention other peoples’ prejudices as well.” I even tried to date some girls before I came out just to be really sure because I thought being gay was unacceptable, which I know now is completely untrue. When I was 17, I applied for a university in another town, which was my way of trying to explore this side of my life without impacting my relationships with family and friends. I thought that would be enough, and it was enough...until I met someone. When I was 22, I met my husband and realized that this closet I was in was too tiny for two people. Being in the closet was affecting my relationship with my boyfriend (now husband) because we couldn’t “be free.” I started telling my family, person by person, until everybody knew and respected it. I won’t say everybody was happy about it in the beginning, but at least they respected me and our happiness. Three years after coming out, we decided to move to Ireland. My family and friends were very supportive of us moving to another country together; their main concern was whether we would ever feel at home. In fact, this feeling came quickly. I made a lot of friends in Dublin, but I wanted to work in a company that was very embracing of LGBTQI+, where I could be my true self. I had a job interview at MongoDB back in February 2020, and once I stepped into the office, I could feel the great culture we have. I was impressed by our employee affinity groups such as “Queeries,” and of course, the Pride flags at people’s desks. I got hired, and today I can say I’m very happy here! 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!
From Natural Disasters to a Global Pandemic: A sales leader’s relocation to MongoDB Sydney
Jeremy Powers received the opportunity of a lifetime when he was asked to relocate to MongoDB’s office in Sydney, Australia to further build out our sales presence in the region. Jeremy speaks about the challenges he faced during his move to Sydney as well as his vision for his new team in ANZ.