When solutions consultant Hazelle Sevilla asks her nearly three-year-old daughter whether she's excited to move to New Zealand, she never knows what response she'll get.
"Sometimes she says yes, sometimes she says no, but she's quite excited—she sees the boxes and will put your stuff in them," says Hazelle, who spent about five years post-grad in New Zealand, then moved back to her native Philippines, and is now based in Australia. She's getting ready to move back to New Zealand, where her sister still lives and where her company—web application performance service New Relic—is opening a new office.
The timing of New Relic's growth into New Zealand couldn't have been more serendipitous for Hazelle. "The pandemic highlighted how spread out our family was, and we decided that we should all pick one place and stay there. We all decided on New Zealand."
Hazelle was worried, though, that she might have to leave her role as a solutions engineer at New Relic in order to make the move. Then she heard that New Relic was looking to hire a solutions consultant in New Zealand and decided to tell her manager she was interested in relocating there, and that she could help out until they hired the solutions consultant they needed.
Instead, her manager responded by encouraging her to try for that role—and she got it. "It's a big challenge, but I'm so excited because it's a huge opportunity to grow my own skills as a solution consultant, while also helping New Relic to grow in a new market," says Hazelle.
We sat down with Hazelle to hear more about her role, how she's balanced her career with motherhood and her family, why she enjoys her work at New Relic, and what advice she has for other women thinking about pre-sales.
Pre-sales engineering: an empathetic introvert's paradise
Hazelle knew from a young age that she was interested in technical challenges, so computer science just made sense.
"I like solving problems, I like coding. I'm not going to lie, I'm a very introverted person; I can work all day at my computer without complaining," she says, smiling. And though she did exactly that as a software developer, she realized after a few years that she wanted something a little more dynamic.
She's always been a logical yet empathetic problem solver, whether dealing with arranging care for her father when he fell ill or tackling issues at work. She ended up finding a role that relied on all of her skills.
Hazelle found her way into pre-sales when an employer was looking for someone proficient with integration technology. She was hired as a solutions engineer and quickly realized that the job was a great mix of hands-on-keys technical work with client-facing thrills.
"I get to play with a lot of technology and I get to solve different types of problems. No problem is ever the same," she says. "I love the opportunity to influence how clients solve problems, and to be exposed to how technical problems are tied to their business or revenue."
The variety, problem-solving, and knowledge sharing elements of her role have kept her busy at New Relic for over a year—and now they're about to grow in scope with her recent promotion to solutions consultant and her move to New Relic's new office in New Zealand.
Finding the flexibility to pursue her goals at New Relic
As a solutions consultant, Hazelle will move away from focusing on just the technical aspects of a sale and will have more of a responsibility for the relationship with clients and prospects. "You want to be able to not only build long-term relationships with clients, but to be able to build champions," she says. "It's about working with your sales counterpart to navigate the organization, uncover opportunities, and become the trusted advisor to your clients."
That's an especially important set of responsibilities considering that New Relic will be entering the New Zealand market for the first time. "We're the ones who are going to be responsible for building the New Zealand business," says Hazelle. "There's more opportunity for me to prove my value."
Hazelle is especially appreciative of this opportunity after her priorities changed post the birth of her daughter.
When she first got pregnant, she'd switched from a role as a solutions engineer to a role in support. "It was a little easier to manage around, and it gave me the opportunity to have more time with my baby," says Hazelle, who enjoyed not having to travel or set her schedule around client meetings. But a big part of her missed the dynamism of the pre-sales environment, and she felt like she had more drive than ever to succeed in it.
"I felt like I wanted to become more successful for [my daughter], so I can be a good example for her," she says.
That's when she applied for an opening at New Relic for a solutions engineer role and transitioned back into the environment she'd missed. She was upfront with her recruiter about her commitment to her family and her desire to work from home some days, and wasn't sure that would work for them.
"I love solutions engineering; there's no question about that. I wanted to find a company that would not only challenge me technically, but also help me balance life as a mom. My daughter was my priority and New Relic never made me feel like I should change that." she says.
Hazelle found that to be true when she joined and was pleasantly surprised by the number of women in leadership roles, including working mothers. "Being in computer science, women are usually outnumbered, but you don't feel that in our Australian office," says Hazelle of the New Relic team.
That care for people has extended into Hazelle's promotion and move. When she mentioned she wanted to move to New Zealand, Hazelle wasn't expecting anything more than a "congratulations." But now that she's been promoted to that new office's solutions consultant and is being allowed to work from her future city of Wellington instead of being based in Auckland with the rest of the team, Hazelle finds herself truly impressed.
"They're my employer—they didn't have to be supportive at the level that they were with me," she says. "Them supporting me is what made me brave enough to do the actual move."
4 skills every solutions engineer should have, per Hazelle
- Problem-solving prowess. "You can't just showcase a product or features and hope that that's going to stick to your customer. You need to understand their problems and find a way to solve them."
- Flexibility. Hazelle once stayed with a client throughout the night until early the next morning to make sure that their launch went well. "It wasn't in my job description to stay with them during the big event, but they shouldn't have to ask you—you should be flexible enough to adjust to your client's needs," she says.
- Honesty. "Sometimes it's really hard, especially when you're selling," says Hazelle. "It's hard to say no; you always tend to just kind of say, 'Yes, yes, we can do that.' Be straight and mature with your clients. You gain their trust [that way]. Clients know that nothing's perfect, no product, no technology is perfect. It's about how you help your customer solve their problems"
- No fear of looking stupid. "Don't be scared to ask questions!" says Hazelle. "And if you're in a customer engagement and they mention something you have no idea about, tell them that even though you don't know the answer, you'll find out for them, you'll learn, you'll try."
After three global networking events with New Relic this year, partnered on a fourth event for US professionals across tech, sales, marketing, and customer success. Hear from the cloud-based platform's women leaders, explore industry trends, learn about career opportunities, and meet talent acquisition managers looking for your specific skills.
Speakers from New Relic included:
- Sarah Brooks, Portfolio Customer Success Manager
- Gayle Fitzpatrick, Vice President, Global Tech Support
- Disha Gosalia, Vice President, Customer Success
- Seema Kumar, Chief Marketing Officer
- Michaela Schopperle, Director of Enterprise Sales
- Stefanie Smith, Senior TA Manager
PowerToFly was thrilled to partner with New Relics' women leaders and male allies to learn about their platform and discuss how the company supports equity and inclusion. New Relic shared insight into why the world's best software and DevOps teams rely on their expertise and how a diverse workforce has helped them achieve the highest revenue of any pure cloud-based observability platform.
Speakers from New Relic included:
- Caroline Brennan, Manager of SDR
- Hilke Fredheim, Vice President of Marketing
- Guro McCrea, Senior Director Solution Consulting
- Mariia Shamota, Manager of Software Engineering
- Tracy Williams, VP, Global Business Partner Group and Chief Diversity Officer
When Danielle Satterfield attended a PowerToFly networking event with cloud-based observability platform New Relic last December, she wasn't actively looking for a job.
She was, however, looking forward to hearing from the event's panel of women and learning about potential new opportunities. Years of working in technical sales meant that it was rare for her to have a chance to network with other women in her field. "It's hard as a woman in a male-dominated field to find opportunities to be around other women who are just like me," she says. "I was really excited to hear the women speak about their experiences."
Four months later, she joined New Relic as an Enterprise Sales Executive.
We sat down (over video chat, that is) with Danielle to hear about her path from event attendee to a new employee, how New Relic is managing her onboarding during a pandemic, and how she's nurtured her career over the years by investing in out-of-the-box development opportunities.
Being open to change
Danielle had been to a few PowerToFly events when she saw one with New Relic was upcoming and it piqued her interest. She'd told a friend that she was interested in learning about new opportunities, and he'd suggested she check out New Relic. She wasn't ready to take a new job—she had a few big deals in process with her then-employer, and she didn't want to leave her customers and prospects in the lurch—but she was looking forward to seeing what New Relic was all about.
At the event, she enjoyed hearing from the panel of women and the openness and honesty with which they addressed questions and shared their experience. She knew that if she were to switch jobs eventually, she wanted to find a culture that was supportive and a product she could believe in, and the panel made it seem like New Relic could provide both. When a PowerToFly recruiter reached out on behalf of New Relic after the event, Danielle was flattered—and interested.
She didn't interview right away since she wanted to finish out the quarter with her company. But when New Relic's recruiting team reached out to touch base a couple of months later, she was ready.
Danielle went through the interview process completely remotely, since San Francisco, where New Relic is headquartered, was shut down due to COVID-19. "I must've had ten different BlueJeans calls. The last one was with Sara Coady, the GVP of sales, who was actually on the panel at the event that sold me on the culture of New Relic," says Danielle, smiling. "I was just thrilled with the opportunity. It was clear that they really invest in their people and that they're investing in women."
Joining a new company during a pandemic
When Danielle officially joined New Relic in April, two things were immediately different from her previous job.
First: the whole remote thing. Every April, New Relic has an annual sales kickoff event in Las Vegas to coincide with the start of their fiscal year, but this year, it all had to be done virtually. Danielle was immersed in learning about a host of new products, joining training, and getting to know her team.
Since the end of the conference, she's split her time between onboarding and getting up to speed on her accounts, all from home. She has a weekly call with her training specialist to check in on her onboarding process and up to "four video calls a day" with her team and new colleagues as she settles in.
"It's actually enabled me to get a lot more done in the day," says Danielle. "I was just telling one of my coworkers yesterday that not having to get up and do makeup and hair and then commute saves me probably two to three hours a day."
She explains, "It would be nice to be in the office to be able to ask people questions directly, but I've got those three hours back that I can do more. So I think it's worked out as best it could."
The second new thing? The chance to work with other women.
"On my new team of six, two of us are women, and my boss is also a woman. That's the most I've been around women in my career," says Danielle. "At my last job, I was one of 30 salespeople and only two of us were women."
Danielle says that she's happy to be working for a company that so clearly prioritizes diversity and inclusion. "Women are out there," she says. "You just have to find them. But when you take the time to do so, like New Relic has, you can find good people."
Nurturing her career by deepening her technical knowledge
Danielle hadn't always planned on going into sales. She studied finance in college, but an internship with Morgan Stanley turned her off of that field. Her first job after graduation was as a network analyst for a voice over IP (VOIP) company.
"That's where my love of technology started," she says. "I realized that was definitely what I wanted to do."
Subsequent job opportunities took her to San Francisco, and as she moved up in her career and took on more and more responsibility, she realized she wanted to invest in her technical knowledge.
"I realized that having a foundation of how everything actually works would help customers have a bit more trust and confidence in me as a rep because I'd taken the time to go and get those certifications," she says.
Danielle went to Colorado to take a 10-day course for her Cisco Certified Network Associate renewal exam. She was the only salesperson in the entire class—and also the only woman.
"People asked me, 'Why are you taking the exam?' and my response was always, 'Well if I understand everything down from the physical layer all the way to the application layer and how it all interacts, I can sell better. I can ask deeper questions and help troubleshoot potential issues,'" says Danielle. "And it's really helped me throughout my career."
Danielle now has her CCNA and CCDA (Cisco Certified Design Associate) certifications and encourages other women in tech sales to take those classes, too. "It sets the bar a little bit higher. Start with some courses and see how you like them," she recommends.
Looking to the future
Danielle is still getting up to speed with New Relic's products and her accounts, and for now, it looks like she'll continue to do so from home.
"New Relic had us fill out a survey about what we thought about potentially returning, and I think the majority of the feedback was 'let's take our time,' especially since a lot of us live outside of the city and use public transportation. Their approach seems to be 'it's better safe than sorry.' And we're set up for it—our customers are more than happy to jump on a video call," she says.
It's not just her customers. Danielle has been reaching out to colleagues across New Relic, including in engineering and product teams, to get to know them and start building relationships. "I must've had 30 meetings like that so far," she says. "Not one person has said, 'Oh, you know, I don't think I have time.' Everyone is just so helpful and going out of their way to make me feel welcome and part of the team already."
If you're interested in becoming part of the New Relic team, take a look at their open roles here, and feel free to ask Danielle any questions in the comments!