Welcome to another edition of IntelePeer’s Tech Tuesday series. This week Keli Davis, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, shares her journey into tech, how AI and security will be critical, and how necessary it is to learn your product.
1. How did you end up in the tech industry?
Honestly, getting into tech was a fluke. I got laid off, and a friend recommended me for a marketing role at his company. During my tenure at Cable and Wireless people took one of two approaches – learn the technology or fake it. I chose to take a deep dive into the engineering and technical side.
2. What AI or machine learning capabilities are you most looking forward to?
The link between machine learning, AI, and cybersecurity is essential. With hyper-aggressive attackers, keeping up on security goes beyond human intervention. I expect the largest growth for AI and machine learning will be to align with information security. With AI, the ability to capture and understand the velocity of information will transition security practices immensely.
3. What was the most challenging aspect of your career and how did you overcome it?
I started my career using a desk phone with a cord, a computer with a green screen, and a pager. Now, I can work off one device that combines all three of those and more. Technology is changing rapidly. I had to learn it or be left behind. Thankfully, engineers were my teachers until the web was available.
4. Any advice for women who want to join the tech industry?
Jump in, learn to be uncomfortable, and accept that you will fail. Don’t sit on the sidelines – listen and learn the technology. Do the work, ask for more, be ready to talk about the complexity of your company’s technology. Be tough, excel over your expectations, thank others, set new expectations, ask for help, ignore the doubts, learn to rein in pride, inspire others, and you will earn a seat at the table.
And if you are a sales rep, learn the technology. Don’t be reliant on your solution engineer. You will build more credibility with your customers.
5. What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting in the workforce?
Don’t get caught up in titles or advancement. Instead, balance the time between work and family, especially if you have kids as they’re only young once and that is a flash in your life. Focus on your work ethic and will to learn. Your time will come.
Bonus: Who is your tech role model?
I have been blessed to be surrounded by many role models. Gerda Yearwood challenged me to learn the technology. Elizabeth Hirsh inspired me to stick my neck out. Brad Wise encouraged me to move from marketing to sales and saw something I didn’t. And all the solution engineers through my sales career. They were patient, passionate, and essential to me learning and presenting technology. Through their enablement, I grew beyond my expectations to not only drive sales but became a trusted advisor to my partners and customers.