Getting promoted every six months is only possible in a startup company.
“Women coming out of business schools, looking to advance their careers, are looking elsewhere,” according to a recent study by Catalyst about the gender divide in technology-intensive industries. Anna Beninger, the report author, says women see these testosterone-fueled tech cultures, “and they run screaming.”
But not Adrienne Cochrane (’09), Hacer Demiroers (’11), and Livja Jaho (’14), UMass Boston College of Management grads who have chosen careers in the high-risk, high-reward local high tech economy. They are finding the keys to advancement, which have a lot to do with being around people they can count on, while simultaneously being someone that others can rely on.
When I caught up last week with Hacer Demiroers, she talked non-stop for thirty minutes, beaming with excitement. She wanted me to know how fast Localytics (where she is Director of Operations) is growing, how it is reaching 160 people at the end of 2014, and how it is still hiring.
“After six months, I was named one of the key performers. And I get to work with the best people in the industry,” Hacer said.
While at UMass Boston, she took advantage of work done by the VDC’s first entrepreneur-in-residence, Dan Phillips. Phillips has strong ties to the local tech community, having launched several successful companies. He is now the CEO, Chairman, and Co-Founder, CloudHealth Technologies. Dan created the student entrepreneurship program (StEP) which prepared over 100 students for internships he arranged at the best venture-backed startups in Massachusetts.
“My internship at OutStart (which began in April 2010 and lasted 11 months) played a huge role in my career. I became familiar with all of the systems (e.g., Salesforce, Hubspot, Webtrends) used to measure progress, and how to use the data to gain insights to drive company growth.”
Hacer joined Localytics in June 2014, after she rapidly climbed the ranks at another company.
Localytics is a “marketing and analytics platform for mobile and web apps” startup located in a 20,000-square-foot space in downtown Boston. Mobile marketing and analytics is a hot space given the trends in consumer device usage. Analytics helps clients answer questions such as: How frequently do people visit my app? How valuable is the average app user? Where should I invest my advertising dollars?
Localytics powers analytics for over 20,000 apps currently from over 5,000 companies, reaching 1.4 billion user devices, according to its own stats. Its clients include ESPN, eBay, Fox and the New York Times.
Hacer was recruited to Localytics by Nick Fasano, VP for Inside Sales, who came to know her while they both worked at Axceler, where she started her rise. She began as Operations Analyst, her first full-time job (8 months); then became Lead Operations Analyst (11 months); and then Sales Operations Manager (1 year 2 months). When Axceler was acquired by Metalogix, she became Manager of Sales Operations (5 months) and then Director of Sales Operations (7 months.)
Hacer says, “Marketing has become more technical than ever before. Traditional teams need operations teams’ help to implement systems, architect processes and measure effectiveness of campaigns and their influence on sales cycles.”
Writing in LinkedIn, Fasano, who was the Vice President of Sales, said: “I would not have been successful at Axceler without having Hacer as my right hand. If you want to understand your business, accelerate growth, add culture to your staff and generate the right metrics, there is no one better than Hacer.”
That’s exactly what she does at Localytics. Fasano knew that she’d be a perfect fit for David Stack who joined Localytics as chief financial officer after leading HubSpot’s finances as it prepared for its 2014 initial public offering.
Hacer says: “I understand what David wants to do.” She developed a roadmap for processes to be designed and implemented within Salesforce and other systems that capture the right data at every step of the sales cycle and support business growth.
She is most proud of the team she has built. “My teams have always consisted of people who are hungry to learn and see operations as their passion.”
What career advice does she have for students who want to follow in her foot steps?
“When they started out, my peers got higher paying jobs in big companies. But I had a longer term vision. I wanted to learn. I wanted to advance. Getting promoted every six months is only possible in a startup company. Have a long-term vision. Never get stuck at a company even if you get more money. Go where you can learn more, its all about learning. Money and title will follow naturally once you have increased your market value. Carefully choose your boss.”
What does the future look like for Hacer? “I am branding myself, where I come into a startup, implement systems that drive it forward, and hopefully get stock.”
My conversation with Hacer ended with her insisting on sending me a job description for an intern she wants to hire, just like her first, a position that will lead to a full-time job if all goes well.
“I really love the program that Dan started. I would like to give back to UMass Boston.”
Next: Livja Jaho’s journey.