Q&A with Amanda Matthews, Jungle Disk's Director of Customer Experience

This Q&A is from Amanda Matthews, a female leader in our organization.

First, I’d like to share some statistics on women in senior leadership roles globally. In 2019, 29% of senior management roles are held by women, the highest number ever on record. In the latest Fortune 500 list, published in May 2019, you’ll find a new record: As of June 1, 2019, 33 of the companies on the ranking of highest-grossing firms will be led by female CEOs for the first time ever. That sum represents a disproportionately small share of the group as a whole; just 6.6%. But it also marks a considerable jump from last year’s total of 24, or 4.8%.

Now, let’s get into it.

Question: What is your specific role on the leadership team at Jungle Disk?

Answer: Director of Customer Experience by title, though working for a small company I wear many hats outside of that. You have to be flexible and willing to do whatever is needed on a particular day, week or month to help the teams be successful for ourselves and for our customers.

Question: How did you get to this position?

Answer: I started my career in a technology-focused customer experience role at Rackspace in 2008 on a small support team as a level one support tech and was the only female on my team. I didn’t let that scare me away from wanting to be and do more in a male dominated industry. Through showing career drive, a passion for helping customers and effective problem solving, I took it upon myself to use my short time of experiences as a level one support tech to develop and evolve that role into one that was much more efficient and effective for the email support organization at Rackspace, which now has over 100 employees. The initiative of creating this new role allowed my work ethic and leadership skills to shine. Through the years, I was promoted many times first to an escalation tech (level two), then shift leader, then team lead of a 12-person team, and then in 2013 asked to move over to the Jungle Disk team within Rackspace to help grow and stabilize the existing team and processes. At the time, the team only had ticket support, so I helped the team grow and expand into offering phone and chat support. When I started on the team, the support team was fairly nonexistent in terms of active customer interactions and eventually, over time we worked hard to increase the Net Promoter Score (NPS) by over three times, which was a huge feat! Improving the customer experience and support organization played a key role in making the business even more attractive to spin off as a private company from Rackspace. Fast forward to January 2016, Jungle Disk was taken private by current leaders Bret Piatt and Huw Edwards where I was offered the role I am now in, Director of Customer Experience. In my promotion, I played a major role in helping with the company’s transition from Rackspace to its new headquarters in downtown San Antonio. After going private, I hired local talent to double the size of the customer experience team in two months from 5 to 10 people. I also lead the company’s internal human resources activities, technical account management, accounts receivable, technical support and team event planning. Over the past three years since going private, I have also lead and organized the team in a way to transition from supporting one core product (cloud backup) to all six products in Jungle Disk’s cybersecurity suite, including cloud backup, password management, email archiving, network protection and support for Microsoft Office365 and Google G Suite.

Question: How do you try and stand out as a woman in leadership in San Antonio?

Answer: I’m an active member of the Vistage Key Executive Leadership Group and was the chair of the 2019 Women in Leadership Event. For that event, I was responsible for coordinating the run of show, speakers, securing sponsors, inviting influencer attendees, developing and implementing social media assets to promote the event, and achieving the attendee goal of 200. At Jungle Disk, I mentor my team’s growth and career development. I meet with my team members on a regular basis to ensure that they have the tools and resources to expand their professional knowledge whether it's technical expertise, business acumen, and/or more exposure to different areas of the business. In my personal life, I also play an active role in my daughter’s PTA at Northwood Elementary.

Question: Which female leader did you choose to speak at the 2019 Women in Leadership event and what was the topic?  

Answer: Corinne Hancock — she is is a globally recognized expert in building world-class leaders, effective teams and cultural proficiency in chaotic environments. She has over a decade of experience in international aid and development experience working around the world developing bold leaders, building highly effective teams, conducting medical trainings and directly delivering medical care.

'Thriving in Chaos' was the event's topic. As a mom, wife and leader, life can be pretty chaotic. And business can be equally chaotic. Corrine gives tools and tips around being prepared for the chaos and learning how to thrive in it. She talked about a few key questions you can ask yourself when thinking about the chaos in your world.

  1. Prepare: Is your company ready for chaos? You can be chaos ready, but not chaos proof.
  2. Do: What do YOU DO when chaos hits? Are you focused on the mission?
  3. Be: Who are you being in the chaos? Are you focused on the solution?
  4. Adjust: How can you use chaos to your advantage? What improvements is your team going to make?

To learn more about this talk, visit Corrine's website.

Question: What advice would you give someone who would like to work in a similar position?

Answer: My advice for someone looking to be promoted to any next level role within a company is, don’t settle in the comfort of your role, job description or title. Always be hungry to do more, learn more, volunteer more, and become increasing valuable to your team and company. You’ll rise above your peers and be noticed when promotion time comes around. And lead by example — never think you’re too good to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

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