Happy Wednesday everyone, enjoy this mid week edition of SnackWalls!
As someone who has been working in the technology industry for the last eight years, Christine agrees that it's difficult to find diversity in most tech companies. As challenging as it may be, she believes that this issue can be overcome. Christine has observed that ability for people to learn and be tenacious when preparing for a new career. When it comes to hiring people, it’s more important to look for capability and aptitude than for a degree. She agrees that the apprenticeship model works in so many roles there is no reason it wouldn't work in tech. Similarly, in sales it's called “ear hustling” when a trainee sits next to a seasoned person to listen and watch. Many tools and resources can be picked up just by watching a master work. In regards to retaining diverse staff, it is important to understand what people are looking to learn, how they are motivated, and where they want to go. Organizations should set up a mentorship and/or sponsorship program to help amplify and push forward employees.
Christine Rogers is a seasoned sales and marketing leader with over 15 years of recruiting, hiring, training, and managing high-performing sales teams. Her extensive background is complemented by individual experience owning a small business, giving a unique perspective to managing and growing organizations of any size. She is the Founder and COO of Aspireship, a career development and hiring platform for the SaaS industry.
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Welcome back to the SnackWalls podcast. I'm Mike Roberts, your host, and we're here to talk about increasing and maintaining diversity in tech, beyond the perks. While companies think they can lure people in with unlimited PTO and dogs in the office. We're here to talk about how you keep them
All right. I don't throw out a very special guest today in a few sentences. Can you tell us who you are and what it is that you do?
Christine Rogers 00:29
Hi, Mike, this is Christine Rogers. I'm the president and COO of Aspireship and Aspireship is, um, a platform that we created and a course for individuals that want to get into SaaS sales to take it complete, it get certified, and then we match them with great companies that are looking to hire great talent.
Awesome. I know of a few outfits that are kind of doing something similar. Um, there's a few up in the Bay area. There's one I really love in Chicago. It's called ReWork training and they help folks, basically they take like a weekend course and then get into doing SaaS sales, um, or just software sales in general. So they're very near and dear to my heart. Cause I think it's a great way for people to, to get into a space that's growing and, um, lots of opportunities.
Christine Rogers 01:16
Yeah. There's so much there. And so many opportunities for people to jump in and get in sales is so much fun. So this is, this has been great fun for us.
Absolutely. So I'm hearing from some leaders in tech that finding diverse talent is a challenge. What are your thoughts?
Christine Rogers 01:33
I tend to agree with that. You know, I've been in the technology space, the SaaS space for about the last eight years. And when I look around, um, I see a lot of the same and I absolutely agree that it's difficult to find, um, in a building in a, in a company, different types of diversity. So I absolutely agree that it's a challenge, but it can be overcome. We need to do better.
So what do you think about the push to remove the requirement for CS degrees in terms of, um, whether they're applicable for software engineering roles?
Christine Rogers 02:09
So I can't speak specifically to software engineering roles, but what I can speak to is what I'm seeing on the sales side and in the company. In general, people have the ability to learn and the desire to learn the tenacity, to push through and, and be agile in the process. I tend to think people can learn and be very highly productive and successful in many roles that don't require a, um, you know, four year degree, so to speak.
Yeah. And it's really about like, do they have the skills to do the job?
Christine Rogers 02:43
Yep. The proven, proven aptitude, right.
How they acquire them is not nearly as essential as can, they do the work.
Christine Rogers 02:51
Exactly well. And, and you know, one of our, one of our, our CTO, he does not have a technical degree and he's amazing. He built our entire platform, and I look at that and think what, what a, um, a huge mistake it would be to look at him, not as a whole person and test his capability and aptitude because he's the best there is. He's amazing. You know? So I, I look at that and think testing for capability is key.
Absolutely. So do you think an apprenticeship pattern would work for tech roles?
Christine Rogers 03:21
I think it works for many roles, so I don't see why it wouldn't work for tech as well. Um, you know, even in sales, when we are sitting next to people, when we're learning from people, you know, we call it, ear hustling, you're picking up on all of the things that are going on around you and that add, you know, add to your arsenal of talent and add to your arsenal of tools and resources. So I'd imagine that would be highly effective as well.
Yeah. And I love the fact that right away, you picked up on the, like the mentorship aspect of it, learning from somebody else, like learning from a master, I think is an invaluable way of picking up some of those things that, you know, work in practice because the person is like, look, this is just how it's done. The book might say, it's this way, but this is how we actually get it done out in their field. So, love it.
Christine Rogers 04:05
Well, and there's so many things that on paper sound good, but then you actually put it into practice and it's like, wow, that one went really flat, that didn't work at all. So I absolutely agree with really watching and experiencing someone else take you through this, I think is so valuable.
So what advice would you share with companies that do a good job of bringing people on training them, getting them ready? How do you retain diverse staff?
Christine Rogers 04:31
I think it is really important to understand what specifically, not, not in a larger, um, aspect, but individually what people are looking to learn, what they are motivated by and, and where they want to go. And I want to call it the difference between, and I've said this before, um, sponsorship and mentorship are different in my mind. And, um, I think it's an important thing to be available for people for mentorship, but also if I might not be, have the capacity as a leader to do a ton of one-on-one mentorship, which, which takes a little bit of time on both sides, you know, we're both doing homework, we're both coming to the table. Sometimes we're just not capable of, of giving that much time, but we can absolutely be good sponsors for people. So I can, I can know an individual's capability. I can feel confident that I am representing them in the room when they're not in the room. And I think about ways that we can keep those people and those individuals top of mind and do our, do our best to make sure that we're sponsoring them in a way that helps amplify their voice and pushes them forward. Even if I might not necessarily be able to do, you know, 15 mentors, um, that might be too much for me, but I can definitely sponsor quite a few people in, on an executive table.
Yeah. And I think people often undervalue the difference that can make in someone's career trajectory or the opportunities that it just, yeah, just being able to have them pulled into a meeting or have the ability to, you know, give some credit to someone in a room where they otherwise are just not going to be noticed. So love that the sponsorship aspect of things. So, um, who is someone like yourself that you would like to acknowledge as a leader and think might be a great guest on a podcast like this?
Christine Rogers 06:25
The first person that comes to mind is Amy Volas. I don't know if you've spoken with her yet, but she has been in sales for many, many years, uh, in both kind of an enterprise fashion. And now she has, um, an executive recruiting firm that specializes specifically in sales leadership roles. And, um, you know, if you know anything about sales, you know, sales leaders are it's about a 19 month. I mean, the tenure is very short and when we, um, in her, her placements are easily double that. So she does a lot of work to make sure that she's really working with the organization, with the leaders to find the right person for the organization. And she has just a lot to say about, um, women and diversity and, and really bringing in people that will be encouragers and supporters for that type of endeavor for an organization.
Nice. All right. So Amy is on the radar now. So talking about all the good stuff that she's got work in there, and especially just the raw, like stories that these, this is what they've seen work and be successful in the past. And this is what you want to stay away from. This is going to create problems and chaos within the organization. I think it's so valuable to learn those lessons from other people, like you said, this is like mentorship, right? Little lessons, little snack size lessons. Um, where can we find out more information about your company? This is a great time for any shameless plugs and the special programs that you've got going on.
Christine Rogers 07:53
Yeah. So Aspireship.com is our website. Um, we're all over LinkedIn. We're consistently looking for companies that are willing to hire people that might not have quote the perfect resume, you know, might not have all the bullet points there, but have proven capability like we're talking about and really, really the right character and attitude as well. That makes a big difference. Um, and we're always looking for individuals who are looking to get into sales. Um, you know, both sides of that are very, very important for, for, you know, for our mission.
Yeah, absolutely. So I will throw that information in the show notes so that people have an easy way to find your link and connect with you. It sounds like a great program. So last important question, uh, and this is might be tough. I don't know. What have you been snacking on lately? What's your favorite snack
Christine Rogers 08:43
Mike. Okay. I'm going to reach, I think it's funny that you just ask that because I literally just pulled this out. Have you ever heard of moon cheese? I literally just pulled this out of my lunch bag. Um, it's like, it's hard little cheese, it's just cheese. And so it's kind of crunchy. This is like one of my go-to snack. You could put it in soup, you can put it on salad, but it's kind of just, you know, when you need a little crunch, but you don't want to eat a whole bag of chips.
Yeah. I think I have had them and they're very strong tastes, right? Because they are so crunchy and salty, so I can only eat a few. Unlike chips, where I eat the whole bag. So.
Christine Rogers 09:26
I only eat a few. I only eat a few at a time, you know, a little handful, but you know, you get that crunch, sometimes you just gotta crunch, you know?
I like it. So crunchy version of cheese, cheese is great in string form. Cheese great in all kinds of forms. So I like that. Awesome. All right. Well, Christine, I really appreciate you coming on the program today.
Christine Rogers 09:47
Thank you for having me. This was great fun.
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