Career Notes 10.16.22
Ep 121 | 10.16.22

Amanda Adams: Pivoting into the tech world. [VP]


Amanda Adams: Hi, I'm Amanda Adams and I'm the Vice President of America's Alliances here at Crowdstrike.

Amanda Adams: So growing up, both my parents were into education, but my dad, uh, was actually a college football coach and we grew up in a very athletic family. I played volleyball through college, uh, and when I was nearing the end of my college education through my MBA, um, I actually probably had the most definitive answer to that, which I always wanted to be involved in sports, and really that's being a general manager of a professional sports team.

Amanda Adams: So I was interviewing at Golden State to be in their sales department and went through a, a plethora of interviews from a group interview, to a panel, to meeting with their leadership. Um, and ultimately at the same time I was interviewing at Cisco, uh, to participate or to to work for rather marketing operations. One of the factors in my decision making was the commute from San Jose to Oakland, um, and the Golden State Warriors team is like, you realize that the commute's gonna be awful, right? And so looking at the options I chose at the path of, of least resistance, um, I look back and sometimes regret going that route of not, um, moving forward with Golden State, just because being around sports, obviously the run that they just came off of, obviously winning the NBA championship. There was so many good moments that my friend who worked there at the time has seen and, and he's progressed his own career with the organization. Um, I still think about possibilities well into the future of, if I could pivot my career back into sports, I would love to do that I think at some point. But I'm so glad that I ended up at Cisco. 

Amanda Adams: So at the end of the day, I mean from a technology standpoint, um, my friends laughed because during college or even in high school, if you would've, uh, put a bet to see who would've ended up in the technology space, probably would not have been me. I majored in international business for my undergrad, which, what I do today, it centers around all things business and so I feel like it fits nicely. But really at the end of the day from a technology standpoint, I focused on how do I make a difference within the relationships? What gives me joy is creating relationships, is seeing people grow. Um, and I feel like as I got into technology, through a connection that I had, uh, when I was growing up in Cisco, like understanding the opportunity of the impact that you make within technology, but now within cybersecurity, like it's not as intimidating, um, as it kind of comes off just cuz you could do so many things, right? Marketing, legal, finance, um, there's so many avenues to participate in technology and I just didn't understand that in college. Right? And it was a leap of faith into that first role at Cisco and I've been blessed that I took that risk obviously cuz I was very naive and didn't understand the possibility.

Amanda Adams: Today I lead a team that's focused on partnerships and our alliances, and it ends up being, you're meeting new people, you're meeting new partners who end up positioning CrowdStrike. You have to focus on building your own brand, but also to representing the company that we you're working with and it really comes down to people do business with people that they enjoy being around, that they trust, that they respect, that they built rapport with. Um, and it takes a little bit about, of that extrovert nature to get to know some folks, right? And it has definitely been a skill, um, that I have learned to enjoy and I'm so glad that I inherited that from my mother.

Amanda Adams: That first job at Cisco allowed me to understand how we made an impact for our customers globally, um, within technology. Then from there, really the journey took me from San Jose to, I had an opportunity to go work from our one pen office in New York City, and my manager at the time was like, you should do that and so I moved to New York and from New York I ended up jumping altogether to work for a reseller. I did direct sales in Manhattan for a little while. Um, and that was probably one of the biggest risks that I took at that time and I was talking to my VP at the time and, you know, talking through the options. I was very transparent with her and I wanted to get into sales. I was in marketing at the time and she said, I know it's, you know, shifting to the partner side's gonna be very different, however, it will give you exposure to the sales cycle, obviously managing accounts directly, you won't ever get that experience if you don't take the risk.

Amanda Adams: The next step in my journey was, I did direct sales, but the one thing I hated was, you have an opportunity and I wasn't able to maintain those accounts, right? And it's, it was always moving on to the next thing and again, going back to the relationships, I was like, how do I get into a position where I'm influencing sales opportunities, I'm driving revenue for the company, but I get to manage and really grow relationships. My old boss at Cisco actually had shifted to Tenable Network Security at the time, and, uh, she referred me into a camp position. We were a very small team at the time, uh, and I moved down to Charlotte, North Carolina with my now husband. Um, and after three, a little over three years with Tenable, um, through, again, somebody who I'd worked with in the industry had hired me into CrowdStrike to lead one of our partnerships here, but it's given me such a great opportunity to understand different partnerships, um, the business, working with our sales teams, geography. I've learned a ton in the last five years.

Amanda Adams: I wanna leave individuals, but also programs and things and jobs better than I found them. So it's looking at how do you develop your team to support, obviously your business? How do you achieve your goals? Um, personal development is, is really important for me, right? And so I wanna make sure that I'm growing my people and supporting them in a way where they enjoy coming to work every day, right? I don't ever want to be a hurdle for them. Um, and so it's looking at ways basically to make their lives easier, where we can keep them at Crowdstrike for longer. 

Amanda Adams: I think that looking back at, and I try to, I need to do a better job at this and I always tell my folks to do this as well as that there's a folder that I look at in my personal email as well as in my, you know, professional know where I've saved some comments from either key sales people or leaders or partners, they compliment either the team, myself, and it's nice to look back on those compliments to say like, we're here for a reason. I'm making an impact to validate essentially what you're doing. There's always tomorrow and all I can strive for is little by little each day, right? And just reminding myself that. 

Amanda Adams: I feel like we don't do a great job of, um, communicating what's possible to folks that are in either college or high school outside of traditional STEM, right? Which I'm not super technical, but I am able to support our mission by focusing on relationships, by partners. I'm very, again, business oriented. If there's something that you're passionate about, um, you can always pivot into the technology industry and support the broader mission by doing that job function. It doesn't always have to be something super technical, which I think a lot of people get nervous about. So for folks that are coming up in school, if there's something in particular creative, I mean, there's so many different outlets within our industry, that you can look to. Don't be nervous on looking at technology companies, like don't rule them out just cuz there's so many different options and then for people who are pivoting into the industry, right? I think that validating if you are making a pivot, you know what you like and what you don't like. 

Amanda Adams: I really hope to be remembered by my peers and my partners as somebody who made their lives better, right? Who gave their all, who had strong commitments, who was a direct impact to our overall success in the last six years, and also too, just being somebody who, who's a great coworker, right? Like who's supportive, who's easy to work with. Um, I love being helpful, right? Of providing solutions before people actually know that they need them. That's something that I strive for is looking for future issues, um, to make again, people's lives a little bit easier.