This GitLab BDR Shares How The Whole Company Works Remotely and Challenges Biases
Meet Lanice Sims of GitLab
Lanice Sims, a Business Development Representative at GitLab, was not looking for a career in tech but once she got an inside look at how technology is making our lives easier, she was hooked.
I reached out to Lanice to discuss her sales philosophy, the benefits (and challenges) of working in an entirely remote company, maintaining a strong work-life balance in a 24/7 world, and how companies who want to be inclusive and diverse must begin their journey with honesty.
Q: What is your role at GitLab and what are some of your responsibilities there?
A: As a Business Development Representative, I identify where a customer is in the sales and marketing funnel and take the appropriate action. Essentially, I make sure people who display interest in GitLab get the right information and assistance they need.
Q: You've mentioned that you didn't think too much about technology until a few years ago when you began working for a sports tech company. What prompted your decision to enter the tech world?
A: One of my friends started working at SportsEngine. She spoke highly of the manager and people, so I decided to interview and got the job. I wasn't looking for a role in tech, but once I started engaging with the platform at SportsEngine and saw how technology is used to essentially make our lives easier, I kinda fell in love.
Q: After now working in tech for several years, how has your perception of it changed?
A: My perception of it is still the same. I think with the right attitude and tools, you can build things that will help make our lives better and efficient.
Q: Can you elaborate a bit further about your sales philosophy?
A: I believe the point of sales is to help people navigate different solutions and help them land on the right one. People open up to me about issues they are having with their workflow and it is my job to help them decide if our solution makes sense for them.
Q: Sales can often seem like a 24/7 job. How do you maintain a strong work-life balance?
A: It's important for me to take care of myself. Before GitLab, I learned how to be efficient at work and even practiced not taking my computer home. We live in a world where everything seems urgent, but that is not the case. Even with my personal life I practice turning off my notifications.
Q: Much like PowerToFly, GitLab is a fully remote company. How do you maintain clear communication?
A: We practice asynchronous communication, which helps people understand the difference between urgent and important. With remote work, it can be easy to blend your work life with your personal, so we set boundaries.
Q: You came into your career somewhat unexpectedly. What advice would you give to other women who are recent college graduates and are trying to decide their career direction?
A: I would say you are smart, capable, competitive, and you need to go for it. I was told "no" for about a year. And it was hard dealing with that rejection but it also probably helped prepare me for sales. I had a good support system, so getting through the hard days was easier. I think building a community of people that will root for you is key. It makes a difference.
Q: What steps do you think companies, and GitLab in particular, can make to build a team that is racially and gender diverse?
A: If companies want to be "diverse and inclusive" they need to be honest about where they are currently. I think that acknowledging a problem exists is where we start, and recognizing that it may be different for different companies. We need to start challenging our biases. At GitLab, we recognize that we are far from perfect, which is a start. It's awesome we are a fully remote company as it allows people from all over the world to join and contribute to GitLab, while accommodating those who cannot and/or prefer not to work 9-5. We are also family friendly, which can be a huge plus for those with children.
Growing Your Career in Technical Support: 4 Tips for Getting Hired at Elastic from Support Director Heidi Sager
Heidi Sager loves math, but she also loves working with people.
She always has, which is why she enjoyed her part-time job working at the IT department of the University of Colorado while she was studying electrical engineering. (She'd started in computer science, but explains that it "wasn't for her" and switched her major.) She helped students and professors with word processors, basic programming, and software checkout, and took a full-time job after graduation as a UNIX system administrator.
Working at Relativity—the global tech company that equips legal and compliance professionals with a powerful data-organizing and discovery platform—looked different in 2020. The highly collaborative environment of their Chicago headquarters transitioned to a virtual setting, and just like companies around the country, Relativity adapted their goals and major projects to a completely remote environment.
Diversity Reboot 2021: The One Hundred Day Kickoff<p><strong>When</strong>: February 1-5, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free!</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://summit.powertofly.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>We had to include our own Diversity Reboot on our list of the best diversity and inclusion events to attend in 2021 because we know firsthand how the quality of 100+ expert speakers, the enthusiasm of 10,000 participants, and the cutting-edge tech that enables meaningful virtual networking and job fairs combine to create a truly epic five-day experience. This year, the theme 100 Day Kickoff harnesses the energy of the new government's first 100 days in office to help jump-start personal and professional plans to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces. </p><p>Following the February summit, we'll have a monthly series of smaller virtual summits on topics spanning everything from returnships to LGBTQ+ advocacy, so be sure to stay tuned for updates!<br></p>
The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When</strong>: February 3-4, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Free</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hr.com/en/webcasts_events/virtual_events/upcoming_virtual_events/the-future-of-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-2021_kcxf8glq.html#detail" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This virtual conference put on by HR.com focuses on how social movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have pushed DEI at work beyond legal compliance and into a major factor of any company or brand's culture, employee engagement, and performance. Topics include how to uncover and resolve pay gaps across your team and hire top-level diverse talent.</p>
Workplace Revolution: From Talk to Collective Action<p><strong>When</strong>: March 8-12, 2021</p><p><strong>Where</strong>: Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$820</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://cvent.me/ZQ4BbE" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>The Forum on Workplace Inclusion's 33rd annual conference includes 12 session tracks, from DEI Strategy to Social Responsibility, along with 59 workshops and daily networking sessions. This year's theme focuses on one question: "What will it take to start a workplace revolution that moves us from talk to action?"</p>
Diversity: How Employers Can Match Words With Deeds<p><strong>When</strong><strong>: </strong>May 19, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register</strong><strong>: </strong>Early bird registration is $49 and general admission is $149</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://hopin.com/events/may-virtual-conference-diversity-how-employers-can-match-words-with-deeds" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Here</a></p><p>From Day One is hosting monthly conferences in 2021 focused on different ways for companies to foster strong relationships with their customers, communities, and employees. May's half-day virtual event is focused specifically on how companies can make diversity promises that don't fall flat and features workshops, panels, and a fireside chat.</p>
Hire with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion<p><strong>When:</strong> August 18, 2021</p><p><strong>Where: </strong>Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register: </strong>$195</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://www.hci.org/conferences/2021-virtual-conference-hire-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-august-18-2021" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>This conference put on by the Human Capital Institute is one of 12 virtual conferences that HCI has planned for 2021. This one focuses on fair and inclusive talent acquisition, including how to attract diverse talent, implement inclusive hiring practices, and addressing bias in employee selection. Other conferences will focus on optimizing talent strategy, engaging employees, and developing your workforce.</p>
Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> September 26-29, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual, broadcast from Chicago, Illinois</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Was $799 for regular access to the virtual conference in 2020; 2021 pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://ghc.anitab.org/attend/registration/" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>Grace Hopper might be the best-known conference for women in tech. Through keynote presentations, networking sessions, job fairs, and community-building activities, vGHC reached over 30,000 women for their 2020 conference and are expecting even more in 2021! While not a conference focused exclusively on diversity and inclusion, many speakers plan to focus their talks on creating environments for women to thrive in the male-dominated tech field.</p>
Inclusion 2021<p><strong>When:</strong> October 25-27, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual and in person in Austin, Texas as of now</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register: </strong><a href="https://conferences.shrm.org/inclusion" target="_blank">Here</a>, though 2021 registration wasn't live at the time of writing</p><p>The Society for Human Resource Management's biggest conference of the year saw 1,200 DEI leaders participate last year; SHRM hopes to see even more come to learn, be inspired, and to walk away with a playbook of implementable strategies to create truly inclusive workplace cultures.</p>
AfroTech 2021<p><strong></strong><strong>When:</strong> November 8-13, 2021</p><p><strong>Where:</strong> Virtual</p><p><strong>Price to register:</strong> Early bird pricing is $149 for individuals and $249 for corporate attendees; regular pricing hasn't yet been announced</p><p><strong>Where to register:</strong> <a href="https://experience.afrotech.com/" target="_blank">Here</a></p><p>AfroTech is a conference hosted by Blavity, a tech media platform for Black millennials. It focuses on emerging tech trends, connecting Black talent with top tech recruiters, and providing networking and educational opportunities, with an overall goal of building a strong Black tech community. Over 10,000 people participated in 2020. While the conference isn't focused specifically on DEI, its main audience of Black tech talent is an important one to understand and to engage at work and beyond, and several speakers plan to focus on issues of race and inclusion at work. </p>
A Conversation with Vouch's Lead Designer Carrie Phillips