A Face in the Cloud – Clark Whiteway, Cloud Enablement Leader, New York
Here at Cloudreach, we believe that the growth of a great business is fuelled by great people. It is our talented individuals that make Cloudreach the success it is. Today Cloud Enablement Leader Clark Whiteway tells us about his experience working and keeping it cloudy at Cloudreach.
What is your role at Cloudreach?
I’m a Cloud Enablement Leader (CEL). I started as a Cloud Engagement Manager leading projects with customers, and transitioned into the CEL role after about 2 years. As a CEL, I’m responsible for the well-being, development, and success of around 20 cloudy individuals; project escalations and assurance for a wide array of customers; as well as a lot of ad-hoc operations work. Every day is different, has a different challenge, and I love it!
What motivated you to join Cloudreach?
Prior to Cloudreach, I worked at three very large organisations. I gained valuable experience and learned a lot about being a professional, how to influence and motivate people, and how traditional enterprises get work done. While I accomplished and learned a great deal during my experience at these companies, I craved a career at a smaller organisation with a strong culture that valued innovation, efficiency, and collaboration. I found this in Cloudreach and even more so in the people I met throughout the interview process. It was not long before I was confident that Cloudreach was the right place for me.
What do you find most challenging about your role?
Figuring things out on the fly – however this is also the most rewarding thing. The types of fires, initiatives, and projects that make up my day are not something you can Google a solution to. Quite often I have to make a decision where it affects multiple people, and I’m the one held accountable- whether it’s the right solution or not. In a previous time, this may have been paralyzing – being so set on a perfect solution or decision, that nothing gets done. But I’ve come to learn that I’m going to be wrong more than once, so I might as well make the best decision I can, be transparent, accountable and learn from both the good and the bad. It’s extremely fulfilling. Also leading millennials is challenging! I can say that because I’m a millennial 😉
How do you strike your own work/life balance?
Unplugging at set times during the day and weekends. “Work hard, play hard” is a common cliché, but I’d describe myself as “Work hard, rest hard.” It’s important for me personally to focus my brain on things other than work when it’s not necessary. Going to the gym, diving into a new show, or turning my brain off during a sporting event gives my mind recovery time to be on its best and tip-top shape for when I’m working.
How has Cloudreach contributed to your development?
By trusting me. When I joined, I wasn’t a techie, but was encouraged to earn an AWS Associate Solutions Architect certification out of the gate. To me, this felt like my ability and intellect was trusted regardless of my background. Additionally, I was given a lot of responsibility and accountability in running a business-critical project. I love being thrown out of my comfort zone like that. Knowing Cloudreach had my back while I delivered the project however I thought best, developed my confidence and business acumen greatly.
Do you think Cloudreach provides good opportunities for you to learn? How has this contributed to your Cloudreach journey?
Absolutely – promoting personal growth is one of our four core values. From the outset, the company understood that promoting personal growth was synonymous with promoting company growth. Not all organisations I’ve worked at understand or preach that. Cloudreach understands that new business and technological capabilities can be grown grassroots from within the organisation, and don’t always need to be recruited or acquired. We have internal leadership programs, a personal growth and development budget, and an internal learning portal. My growth as a person and professional have definitely been accelerated during my time at Cloudreach.
What is your favorite cloudy lunch spot?
Any place that doesn’t serve bread or sugar (and has avocados and salmon).
What is your cloudy super skill?
I like to think it’s remaining calm in stressful situations. I was thrown into some highly visible and pressure-packed situations that lasted months early in my career. Thus the only way to be successful was to develop and hone the ability to remain calm and pragmatic at all times. Working in IT, projects and development deadlines can seem like the most important things in the world at the time, but it’s important to remember it’s not a matter of life or death. If I make a mistake, no one is dying – admit it, and learn from it so you can be better next time.
What is your hidden talent?
I can do a perfect rendition of the Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, and Gingerbread man voices.
What’s on your bucket list?
Favorite line from a movie?
BUT WHY IS THE RUM GONE!?!
What technological innovation is on your wishlist for the next 5 years?
Virtual reality at sporting events. It’d be awesome if in 5 years someone can strap on a headset and view a football or basketball game like they’re there in person (goodbye traffic!). Or even better, if there can be’s an option to view from the perspective of one of the players. I certainly can’t dunk like Lebron James, but would love to see what it’s like!
If you could choose anyone as your mentor, who would you choose and why?
Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs (NBA team). I’d love to learn from him, have dinner with him, and hear his advice and stories. He’s led the Spurs to five titles, and has done so in a small city that doesn’t attract the best players. Additionally, he’s mentored numerous coaches and executives that have moved into their own head coaching jobs. He leads by challenging players and holding uncomfortable discussions which everyone can grow from. He really cares about his players and assistants, and leads them as people first, their role second. I’d love to learn from him.
What advice would you give to recent new hires?
Get stuck in. I’ve begrudgingly accepted a few British-ism’s during my time at Cloudreach and this is definitely one. Anyone at Cloudreach can affect and add value to the company from the first day – I’ve seen it first hand. Don’t be afraid to start initiatives, raise your hand, or call out concerns or objections (in a cloudy way of course). GET STUCK IN!