From crypto to the cloud, here's how 5 women leaders in Colorado tech are changing their industries

by Michael Hines
July 17, 2019

The tech industry is known for larger-than-life figures who turned flashes of genius into products and software that changed the way companies of almost every kind think and operate. In reality, though, change isn’t always driven by iconoclasts who wear turtleneck sweaters or the same t-shirt and jeans every day. Instead, it’s driven by talented and visionary leaders — many of whom are women — dedicated to helping their teams and companies do more and make a real impact on their customers and industries.

We recently caught up with five of these local leaders to learn more about the change their work is driving and the challenges they’ve faced — and overcome — along the way.

 

ShapeShift Colorado tech jobs
Corin Daly, second from left. photo via shapeshift

The cryptocurrency trading industry is quickly evolving, and with that growth comes new expectations from traders. One of those expectations is for products that are not only safe and secure, but also look good and are intuitive to use. At ShapeShift, Director of Product Corin Daly is helping to usher in this new wave of trading technology by placing the focus of her team’s work on the user experience.

 

How are you driving a change in your industry through your work?

I am driving change in the crypto space through my unrelenting focus on the user in an industry that struggles with UX. ShapeShift’s vision is to create a borderless financial system that delights, protects, empowers and inspires users. Crypto is the future, and this industry must incorporate an excellent user-centric experience to achieve mass adoption. My team is continually finding opportunities to engage, test and gather feedback from our users. The products that succeed in this space will be the ones offering the best experience without compromising user safety or security. 

I am driving change in the crypto space through my unrelenting focus on the user in an industry that struggles with UX.”

 

What challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

ShapeShift has historically been known as “the exchange without accounts.” The practice of requiring personal information to create an account, while common in most industries, is delicate in the crypto space. With much reservation, we decided it was prudent to introduce membership accounts in late 2018. We anticipated we would lose some of our users because of this.

The product team saw this as an opportunity to build member perks and features that are beautiful and easy to use, while allowing users to maintain control over their funds. Implementing membership, while difficult, was the right choice and set ShapeShift on the path to leading the new frontier in crypto management.

 

Engrain Colorado tech jobs
PHOTO VIA ENGRAIN

Engrain has a lot on its plate. Not only is the company developing real estate technology to modernize an industry that still relies on stale tours and pamphlets to excite would-be renters and home buyers, but it’s also working with intent to close the tech industry’s staggering gender gap. Chief of Staff Olivia Jansons shared more about how the company is working to drive change on multiple fronts.

 

How are you driving a change in your industry through your work?

Our industry has struggled to define the resident’s story in a meaningful way. Historically, prospects are given a brochure, an in-person tour and are then asked a few canned questions and handed a form. The experience is bereft of excitement. At Engrain, we’re using technology to allow future residents to create their own stories. 

We’re crafting tactile and visual experiences through our touchscreen software so that prospects can imagine their lives in each community. We're providing proximity and location through our interactive maps, so residents can map their lives in new settings — or just make sure they're near the pool. And with our partners in self-touring, prospects now have the freedom to explore all aspects of the lifestyle on their own.

By bringing women into tech, we’re breaking stereotypes and showing that tech isn’t gendered or industry specific: It’s for everyone.”

 

What challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

Engrain is the nexus between two issues: a lack of women in tech and a lack of tech in the multi-family residential space. A recent Silicon Valley Bank study revealed that more than half of startups have no women on their leadership teams. I’m proud to say that Engrain’s not one of them. Our leadership team has multiple women, and their presence demonstrates that women are critical to the tech scene.

Many of our employees don’t come from a technical background, and we’re okay with that, because Engrain provides the opportunity to learn the lingo and get freaky with APIs and UX. Whether it’s an engineer or project manager, our women know tech. They pair up with savvy multi-family real estate experts at conferences, like Women Asset Managers, to get women out of their dated spreadsheets and into intuitive, visual tools. By bringing women into tech, we’re breaking stereotypes and showing that tech isn’t gendered or industry specific: It’s for everyone.

 

Documoto Colorado tech jobs
PHOTO VIA DOCUMOTO

Driving change in an industry sometimes requires effecting change within your own company first. That’s what Senior Professional Services Manager Christa Bemis encountered when she took over her team at Documoto. Bemis shared how she changed her team’s definition of customer success and the impact that’s had on the company.

 

How are you driving a change in your industry through your work?

To me, the work my team and I do is more than just renewals and churn rates. It’s about setting a precedent for creating the ultimate customer experience. When I took over the professional services team, I implemented a new model that changed the way we measured success. We moved from revenue-based to measuring customer satisfaction, usage and adoption. This has had a profound impact on both customer satisfaction and customer retention. 

To me, the work my team and I do is more than just renewals and churn rates. It’s about setting a precedent for creating the ultimate customer experience.”

 

What challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

When we initially transitioned customers to this model, we had to start from scratch by rebuilding our relationships with them. To drive change, I worked with my team to come up with the new model and mantra that helps reinforce how we engage with them. The mantra we work toward is, “success is consistently finding ways to bring value to our customers,” which drives each and every interaction we have with customers. We truly consider our customers our partners.

 

Snowflake Colorado tech jobs
PHOTO VIA SNOWFLAKE

Snowflake’s cloud data warehouse gives companies a single solution for storing, analyzing and deriving insights from all of their data. Its Denver-based office is scaling rapidly and is playing a key role in the company’s growth. Senior Director of Global Sales Development Nicolette Mullenix shared more about the challenges of building and scaling this new team along with what the company is looking for in candidates.

 

How are you driving a change in your industry through your work?

Our team is educating the global market very quickly and evangelizing Snowflake's differentiators in the industry. Legacy systems can’t match our ability to separate storage and compute and scale workloads up and down across a variety of data sets and data types. We’re finding opportunities with companies that are struggling to make fast and educated business decisions due to the limitations of their legacy systems and showing them that there’s significant value in modernizing their data warehouse with Snowflake.

Our market cap is massive and we have aggressive revenue goals, which means we also have aggressive hiring goals.”

 

What challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

Our market cap is massive and we have aggressive revenue goals, which means we also have aggressive hiring goals. It’s challenging to build, scale and optimize a team of 120 people. We have to hire the right people and make sure they are trained and delivering, all while creating and scaling a sales engine that produces exponential results to make up for the delta. We have to work smart and lean while we build the team. 

We look for people who are smart and collaborative but who can also work autonomously. At the rate we're growing, it’s important to remind employees of the larger goal and how their work directly impacts the business. It’s easy to get distracted with explosive growth, and it's important to stay focused on goals and remove obstacles and distractions. Working in silos is detrimental, so it’s important to build strong and collaborative relationships not just inside your department. Without those strong relationships, we won’t be able to scale as quickly or efficiently.

 

Pax8 Colorado tech jobs
Raven Dodge, center. photo via pax8

“One team, one dream” is a great way to describe Pax8, whose mission is to help companies do more with the cloud. Director of Ordering Operations Raven Dodge shared how her work helps drive forward the company’s mission, along with how the team overcomes obstacles.

 

How are you driving a change in your industry through your work?

The shared focus at Pax8 is to elevate the experience of our partners, vendors and employees. I work with internal stakeholders to prioritize development and process improvement efforts that will support our partners through their ordering experience. Through organizational buy-in and a shared understanding of priority and iterative feedback, we deliver value quickly in response to changing conditions. Agility and automation sets Pax8 apart from the competition by servicing our customers in areas underserved by traditional distribution: outstanding service in support, billing and provisioning. 

One of the most exciting aspects of Pax8 is a culture that celebrates innovation and consistently challenges the status quo.”

 

What challenges have you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?

One of the most exciting aspects of Pax8 is a culture that celebrates innovation and consistently challenges the status quo. Implementing change at a speed that’s necessary for disruption introduces new challenges every day. We problem solve together, which is not only more enjoyable, but also establishes ownership across teams and cultivates optimal solutions. That is why I am always excited to come to work, because every day at Pax8 is an opportunity to come together and innovate.

Jobs from companies in this blog24 open jobs
All Jobs
Finance
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
Marketing
Operations
Sales
Finance
new
ShapeShift
Denver
Sales
new
Pax8
Denver
Operations
new
Pax8
Denver
Marketing
new
Pax8
Denver
Developer
new
Pax8
Denver
Developer
new
Pax8
Denver
Developer
new
ShapeShift
Denver
Marketing
new
Pax8
Denver
Operations
new
Pax8
Denver
Developer
new
Pax8
Denver
Developer
new
ShapeShift
Denver
Design + UX
new
Engrain
Denver
Sales
new
Engrain
Denver
Operations
new
Snowflake
Denver
Operations
new
Documoto, Inc.
Denver
Sales
new
Snowflake
Denver
Sales
new
Snowflake
Denver
Sales
new
Snowflake
Denver
Sales
new
Snowflake
Denver
Sales
new
Snowflake
Denver

Colorado startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Denver & Boulder
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Denver & Colorado Tech
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in Denver & Colorado Tech
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Sales Jobs in Denver & Colorado Tech
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Colorado Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Marketing Jobs in Denver & Colorado Tech
LOCAL GUIDE
Your Guide to Healthtech in Denver & Boulder
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Design Jobs in Denver & Colorado Tech