In this Face In The Cloud, we speak to Cloud Enablement Leader, Tammy White about her number one goal, her advice for career progression and her thoughts on what makes a good leader.
Hi Tammy! Let’s start by learning a bit more about you…Tell us about your career so far and how you ended up at Cloudreach?
Hi! Thanks so much for including me in the Face In The Cloud! I started my IT career in the Air Force in 1995 (so you could say I’ve been around a while). My career has spanned from small computer repair to designing and installing networks, systems administration, data center design and migration. Finally, I moved into DevOps work just before Cloudreach.
The cloud aspect of my career began in 2012 when I migrated an on-prem datacenter into AWS. I really enjoy working with clients and playing a part in creating new ways of doing business, so coming to a company that focused on this felt right for me. When I first met Cloudreachers in my interview process I felt the culture and values were so much in line with mine, there was no way I couldn’t come to Cloudreach.
You recently moved from a Cloud Systems Developer role to Cloud Enablement Leader. What tips do you have for other people aiming to move further along their technical career path?
My number one tip would be to never stop learning. If there is a path you want to take, you must become educated in that discipline. I have undergraduate degrees in technology, but after over 15 years in IT, I decided that my ultimate path would be in leadership. In 2015 I graduated with a Master of Management (MM) with that goal in mind. Whether the desired path is into leadership or into the expert technical track, or even into a new area entirely, continually educating yourself will be crucial to success.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Taking care of my team is my #1 goal. Finding ways to make an impact on the company that ultimately improves both the company and my team’s lives and careers is how I aspire to achieve that. Realizing this is a big part of what makes me tick is what motivated me to move into the leadership path.
What do you find most interesting about working with the Cloud?
I have been in this industry long enough to have gone from mainframes to massive servers as the next best thing. Then to virtual machines and now on to the cloud. As a DevOps engineer, I observed applications going through a similar evolution while moving into the cloud. This constant evolution is most exciting for me and I look forward to participating in what is yet to come.
What qualities do you think make a great leader at Cloudreach and beyond?
My primary philosophy for leadership is that listening is your greatest tool. If you can’t really listen to what someone is saying, nothing you do will work. Acting on that information is equally important. Taking on the role of leader means being brave enough to disagree, but to also bring in ideas for solutions. In the Air Force, even as just an airman, I often challenged the status quo. I felt empowered to do this because early on I was lucky enough to have volunteered for what others thought was a terrible extra duty. However, on that assignment, I had the privilege to spend long hours with upper officers in an environment where I was able to speak more freely. They taught me so much, not the least of which was that it is perfectly ok to speak up and say something is broken, but always come with ideas of how to possibly solve the problem. I have carried that piece of advice with me for more than 20 years now. It is what distinguishes a complaint from an opportunity to progress.
If you could have dinner with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
It would definitely be Hippocrates. He is the father of health, medicine and the human condition. These are some of my favorite topics to read and learn about. He knew so much, I’d love to pick his brain. When we have ‘new’ discoveries today, it almost always turns out to be a variation of something we had forgotten that Hippocrates already knew.
Would you like to join Tammy on the Cloudreach Cloud Enablement team? Check out our latest vacancies here.