How to Grow Your Career Without Leaving Your Company: A Conversation with Greenhouse's Lauren Allanson
Lauren Allanson has had three jobs in five years and hasn't had to move offices once.
That's because all of her recent career changes have been at Greenhouse, the hiring software company, headquartered in New York. Lauren began working there as a recruiter, then moved into product management before becoming a project manager.
We sat down with Lauren, who's now working remotely from her home state of California to discuss her career path, how Greenhouse supports her growth and what insights others can learn from her experience.
Finding her own path
Lauren first joined Greenhouse as a technical recruiter. While hiring for these roles, she interviewed hundreds of engineers, collaborated with engineering leaders and grew a deep understanding of the Greenhouse mission of helping companies become great at hiring.
After two years in recruiting, her firsthand experience with the Greenhouse product and deep understanding of recruiters and other individuals who use it made her a great candidate for a newly-opened role on the product team. Lauren had spoken to her manager about her goal to become more aligned with the technical side of the products at Greenhouse. Soon after, her manager and some of the engineering leaders she worked with recommended that Lauren consider the role. "It's so important to let your managers and other potential mentors know about your interests and skills," says Lauren. "They saw that role and thought that I would be good at it – and I might not have made that connection myself."
The learning curve in her new role wasn't always easy, but Lauren was up for the challenge. "It meant being really curious, asking lots of questions and accepting that I was not going to be an expert right off the bat," says Lauren. "It was OK that I needed to lean on other people for support while I learned the role."
Lauren soon hit her stride. As a product manager, she enjoyed partnering with a variety of internal teams and stakeholders to evolve the Greenhouse line of products. "You have to be a generalist—you're working with engineers and designers, talking with salespeople and customer success and support, as well as interfacing with your legal team to determine what impact regulations have on product build-out and interacting with customers to understand their goals and feedback," she says.
After three years in the role, Lauren realized that while she loved improving products and working with different teams, she was ready to develop skills outside of product management.
"I really enjoy organizing, planning, and executing processes, so some of the more ambiguous parts of the product role – like prioritizing feedback and turning it into a product strategy – while they were challenging and rewarding, ultimately weren't for me," says Lauren. "I was ready to dive deeper into project management and become closer to the end result."
Lauren began to take on more internal projects, serving as a project manager with the support and encouragement of some of the engineering leaders who got her into product initially. "I really loved it. I knew from that point on that I wanted to do more formal project management in the next step of my career.". Following her passion, Lauren worked to create connections internally and network with other teams to find a role that would fit what she was looking for. In the spring of 2020, Lauren found her current role as a project manager, helping Greenhouse enterprise customers implement their software and services.
"Greenhouse is very supportive of their employees' career development," says Lauren. "Both managers and employees are encouraged to discuss our goals openly and feel empowered by our culture of growth."
How to develop your career within your organization
We asked Lauren her top five tips when charting an internal growth path at your own company. Here's what she shared:
1. Network internally
"Internal connections are absolutely crucial," says Lauren. "They help you position yourself for open roles or projects, as well as help you gain the confidence to raise your hand when you see new opportunities arise." Start by volunteering for side projects in different departments and reaching out to people whose job titles interest you for a coffee chat.
She also recommends joining any groups you feel identified with where you can contribute. For example, Lauren is on the leadership team of Greenhouse's employee resource group (ERG) focused on women at work, the Greenhouse onboarding "buddy" program and the culture add interviewer team.
2. Learn how to be a good mentor and mentee
Lauren works with two organizations focused on mentorship: Minds Matter, an education nonprofit that works with low-income high school students to prepare them for college success and Built by Girls, an organization that provides female identifying and non-binary students with the support they need to make their first career move into the tech industry.
Being a mentor has taught Lauren how to be a better mentee – and helped her realize these relationships can evolve over time. "I mentored a woman three years ago when she was a senior in college and now she's a project manager who has more experience in the role than I do. She's been a huge help to me in my new role!" says Lauren. "Find those people at your organization who you can partner with as a mentor or mentee, because these relationships are also an investment in your future."
3. Invest in self-reflection
"I often check in with myself to acknowledge what I like doing within my role, what parts of the role don't resonate with me and recognize when I feel the most happy and successful," says Lauren. She recommends reflecting each month or quarter to evaluate your wins and accomplishments, areas for improvement and goals or skills you'd like to develop.
By deeply understanding her own motivations and what felt right for her, she was able to pivot towards a role that fulfilled more of her interests and strengths.
4. Create your own career ladder
"Ideally, your manager has thought about a career ladder for your position. But it's always a good idea to do your own research and think about your career path for your role as well," says Lauren. She recommends researching online to find career ladders, or developing a plan to progress into a role to ever-increasing responsibilities and salaries, for jobs you're interested in. "I identify the most important skills and then self-evaluate against them to understand where I need to gain more experience," she says. She also looks at job descriptions at other companies to gain a deeper understanding of requirements to succeed in that same role or at her own company.
5. Above all, be your own best advocate
Great managers play a big role in supporting your career development, but no one will play a bigger role in your own success and growth than you do. As you discover what you're interested in, make sure your mentors, managers and peers know what those interests are – and always advocate for yourself.
"Learn more about the team you're interested in within your company," says Lauren. "What kinds of events or programming do they do? Do they write blog posts? Do they have Slack channels? Get more ingrained in their culture in order to understand what those teams do and how you could add value," says Lauren, who has attended engineering lunch-and-learns even when they were "way over her head" in order to show that she's interested in wanting to partner with them.
When it comes to growing within your company, always follow your passion
It might seem daunting to follow a new career path within your company when so much of the groundwork is now remote, but that doesn't mean you should give up.
"All of these things can be done virtually," says Lauren. "Continue to raise your hand, show up, make yourself heard and help wherever possible to create new opportunities for yourself."
If you're interested in learning more about working at Greenhouse, view all open roles on the PowerToFly hub.
💎 Are CallRail's engineering teams the right fit for you? Watch the video to the end to find out!
📼 Engineering teams at CallRail encourage collaboration, communication, and empathy. Ayana Reddick, Senior Software Engineer at CallRail, shares what they are looking for in candidates and tells you why you’ll thrive there.
📼Engineering teams want candidates who have a growth mindset, love to learn, and are really good at communication. They also value team members who are excited about solving problems and working collaboratively. If you think you have what it takes, don't hesitate to apply.
📼At CallRail, engineering teams use Ruby on Rails for their backend, Angular on their frontend, and PostgreSQL for persistent data. They also use Jira for creating and tracking tickets, GitHub for their version control, and AWS for many cloud tools. Get familiar with these resources if you want to join them!
Engineering Teams And Diversity - Company’s Culture
CallRail seeks to hire from underrepresented groups. They pride themselves in selecting from a pool of very diverse candidates. They value the work that people do over their resumes. They encourage people to take their authentic selves to work. And they strive to create a supportive and welcoming environment. For this, they have Employee Resource Groups, that give voice to, provide safe spaces for, and educate the company at large. Some of their ERGs include the Rainbow Coalition, Black and Brown, Women Circle, and more.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining CallRail? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ayana Reddick
If you are interested in a career at CallRail, you can connect with Ayana on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About CallRail
CallRail is here to bring complete visibility to the marketers who rely on quality inbound leads to measure success. Their customers live in a results-driven world, and giving them a clear view of their digital marketing efforts is the priority for CallRail. They see the opportunities in surfacing and connecting data from calls, forms, and beyond—helping their customers get to better outcomes.
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
“In my early twenties, I wasn’t the best at saving money. So, when I got the job at Nike and found out a financial coach was offered to me — for free! — I thought, ‘It’s time to be an adult. I should use this service to help me learn how to buy stock, tell me what I’m doing right with my money and where I can improve.’”
That’s Ashlee Bobb, Nike Media and Influencer Relations Manager, on the free, unlimited access to financial coaching offered to every U.S. Nike employee through EY Navigate™. EY coaches are trained on Nike’s benefits and programs, so Ashlee was able to work with her coach on a budget and savings plan utilizing Nike’s 401k match and Employee Stock Purchase Plan – all in one 45-minute session. She left the meeting feeling confident about what her next paycheck would look like and how her money would work for her.
“The EY coaches are really willing to come on the journey with you,” Bobb says, adding that hers was willing to work with the fact that, hey, she’s not going to give up take out, but still wants to save for the future. “The cool thing is I can see how this financial guidance could help me down the road when I decide to get married, buy a house, have a kid. Every Nike employee should take advantage.”Sound like the kind of company you want to be a part of? Check out our open roles on jobs.nike.com
Erika Morrison is a naturally passionate and encouraging leader. From leading her family in giving back to their community, to coaching adolescents in track and cheer, to managing her team at Light & Wonder during the pandemic, her experience is rich with lessons to share with up-and-coming leaders.
“I believe in motivation, positivity, inspiring, finding the good in everything, everybody,” she says. In addition to 30+ years in the tech field, Erika is a wife, a mother of two, an avid exercise lover, and has even been a small-business owner.
We sat down with Erika to hear about the experiences that have led her to her current role as a Software Engineering Manager at Light & Wonder, as well as three practical ways to lead with purpose.
Seeing Potential in Others
Erika has always been fascinated by the world of technology. Growing up, she loved cassette tapes, DVD players, phones, and whatever other gadgets she could get her hands on. When her dad brought home a PC Junior, it didn’t take long before she started programming on it. She designed her own trivia game, using what she learned in her middle school programming classes. “I was typing the questions in and programming the answers. I had a blast writing it and showing it to my family. I remember I wanted to show everyone what I made. That was my first real desire to get into programming.”
Erika followed that instinct into college where she majored in Business Administration and minored in Computer Science. The kickstart to her tech career came when she landed a computer operating job while still in school. She comments, “I was originally applying for a secretarial position at this company. But someone looked at my studies and experience and saw potential in me. I didn't think I was ready for that because I was still so young, I was still in school.”
Erika went on to work as a programmer analyst and software engineer for multiple major Casino based companies. During this time, she even started and ran a local event-planning business, which fine-tuned her skills in successful customer service.
Then, someone saw potential in Erika again. A former coworker reached out and offered her a leadership position with the company that would become Light & Wonder. Erika took on the role of Software Engineering Manager and says “it’s been opportunity after opportunity ever since.”
Managing Through the Pandemic
Erika believes that the best way to lead a team is to really get to know its members. “A lot of leading is knowing the people on your team,” she explains. “Know what each person needs — What may work for one person may not work for someone else. We have to take a little bit of who they are into consideration when attempting to motivate, to coach, to inspire because we're not all motivated by the same things.”
Prior to the pandemic, Erika and her team worked together in the office, which gave her the opportunity to do so. Once the pandemic hit, however, she had to pivot to incorporating virtual meetings to be able to generate that intimacy. She organizes bi-monthly check-ins with her team members where she intentionally asks for their individual preferences on communication and feedback.
“I have one-on-ones with each of my staff every two weeks. We go over the issues that they've had and then any questions or concerns or anything that they want to chat about. Sometimes it's business and sometimes it's personal. But, I feel like taking that extra time out just to have those conversations is extremely important.”
She also cohosts weekly remote Friday cocktail hours to cultivate her team’s relationships and check in on their mental health. “During the Friday cocktail hours, we would relax, ask some questions, or play some games. And it was nice to have that interaction again and connect with the team. It also allowed me to check in on everyone's mental health and make sure that if there was anything that we could do, we were here.”
Inspired to Encourage the Team
Erika is inspired by the example of her past and current mentors and their vision for her professional trajectory. She acknowledges that it was thanks to key people who saw her potential that she has been able to have these experiences. Erika’s own personal drive and passion for encouraging and uplifting others have led her to love her leadership position.
As a manager, Erika seeks the highest level of respect and excellence for her customers, while creating an encouraging work environment for her team. “I want to make sure that my team has everything that they need in order to succeed and get their jobs done the way they want to. I want them to have the level of success that they want.”
Erika ensures that her team members feel their significant contribution to the company and how they are serving with purpose. “We need to feel like we are part of something significant,” she says. “That’s my goal as a leader and for my team.”
3 Ways to Lead with Purpose:
Drawing from her experiences as a tech leader, business owner, coach, and community volunteer, she gives us three practical ways to lead with purpose in whatever context.
- Understand the “why”. “It’s extremely important to know the why of your company. Once you understand it from the company’s perspective, you can communicate it clearly to the team. And once you get that down, you’re able to help build a strong path for them to follow so that both “why’s” are in alignment. Knowing the why of your individual team members allows you to better manage, assist, and build a relationship with them.”
- Build consistency. “I think it’s very important that we are consistent and don't deviate from the why and the task at hand. Building consistency with others motivates and inspires people to give their best, even when we don’t feel like it. When dealing with a change or a huge transition, it’s extremely important to stick to the why’s, the steps we’re taking, and the right attitude."
- Remain positive. “You have to find positivity in everything because no matter what, it could always be worse. We can always find the negative things, but there are also always positive things. As a leader, I need to be empathetic, kind, and encouraging no matter what. It’s extremely important that I’m positive and involve my team members in the process.”