When RingCentral acquired Connect First earlier this year, the value add for the cloud-based communications company’s bottom line was clear, as was the opportunity to expand into a new vertical. Just as importantly, it also opened new doors for its employees across the business.
For Senior Manager of Contact Center Support Rachele Burton, that meant seeing first-hand growth on her own team. Software Engineer Danielle Books gained access to hundreds of engineers from around the world. And Director of Engineering Chris Mina, who left the company seven years ago only to come back earlier this year, returned to an evolved version of the company.
All three of these RingCentral members offered their perspective on how their jobs have changed for the better now that they’re all part of the same company.
EMPLOYEES: 5,500 total, 600 local
WHAT THEY DO: RingCentral helps companies communicate effectively with cloud communication tools that offer voice services, video conferencing and messaging options, among others.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Boulder and Denver
NO MORE BAG LUNCH: Enjoy saving up on groceries every week — RingCentral offers employees free catered lunch.
GET SOME REST TO BE YOUR BEST: Employees need to be able to enjoy their lives outside of the office to put forth their best work, which is why RingCentral offers a flexible PTO policy.
Danielle Books, Senior Software Engineer
What has the engineering team gained from RingCentral’s acquisition of Connect First?
More resources and a more standardized process. In short order, we went from a local engineering team of about 10 to an international team of over 500. Even though the engineers I actually interact with on a daily basis are only a fraction of that total, there is still a sense of having a much larger group involved. Along with more engineers, we also benefit from having dedicated project managers and project owners to direct and organize engineering projects. Oh, and catered lunch three times a week!
You’ve experienced a commendable amount of growth in your own career. What was it like to go through this kind of professional development while RingCentral was continuing to grow as a company?
In a lot of ways, it just felt like an organic progression to become more knowledgeable in our technology stack and find myself in a more senior role as the company and engineering team grew.
As the engineering team in Boulder has been working on transferring knowledge of the previous Connect First application to the rest of the company in the last 10 months, I’ve really felt the benefit of having more structure and organization to provide visibility and consistency to the other departments in RingCentral. Part of that was seeing the lead role as a place where I could contribute to that effort and leverage my domain knowledge gathered over the years.
In a lot of ways, it just felt like an organic progression to become more knowledgeable in our technology stack and find myself in a more senior role...”
As a whole, women in tech are underrepresented. What steps have you seen RingCentral take to change this for the better?
Placing women in leadership roles. When I first started with Connect First, my direct manager and then-technology director was a wonderfully dedicated and smart woman. Seeing Kira Makagon as Chief Innovation Officer is another example.
I think it has been invaluable seeing women in tech leadership positions as well as having female peers. I definitely feel the underrepresentation in this field, which generally just encourages me to bring my unique perspective and approach to programming and interacting with the people on my team.
Chris Mina, Director of Engineering
Chris is responsible for overseeing all engineering for RingCentral’s Engage Voice product line, which includes managing a team split between Boulder and St. Petersburg, Russia. Chris has perhaps the deepest insight into RingCentral’s growth given his unique relationship with the company.
You worked for RingCentral in the early 10s, left for a few years, and made your way back with the company again. What differences do you see in RingCentral now compared to when you first joined in the early days of the company?
When I rejoined RingCentral, the feeling was that I had been here before, but it was very, very different. What I came back to was a more mature, culturally elevated and fun version of its earlier self. I was glad to be back and driven to see it succeed.
RingCentral now is a large organization (around 5,000 total people!). It’s very different from the startup we once were, and the career and product growth opportunities are now enormous. It’s a different mentality, but even more challenging and much more rewarding.
What did your team at Connect First gain through the acquisition by RingCentral?
Our team gained opportunities through the acquisition, such as career growth, international travel, the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with counterparts in Russia, the ability to learn from each other, and the freedom to experience different points of view. Because of the resources RingCentral can offer, we now have the opportunity to build a truly world-class product.
It’s very different from the startup we once were, and the career and product growth opportunities are now enormous.”
How have you seen your team develop both before and after the acquisition? What further developments do you hope to see?
We have been given the opportunity to move forward with greater innovative development, to experience and use newer technologies on the front end and the back end, and to have a greater budget for attending conferences, training courses and travel. Each of these offers new opportunities for engineers to learn and grow.
Rachele Burton, Senior Manager, Contact Center Support
RingCentral is rooted in ensuring that customers have access to high-quality communications. The idea of efficient communication is just as important for RingCentral’s support center, and Rachele is there to make sure it lives up to the standard.
What kind of growth have you seen since you joined RingCentral? What has it been like to grow in your own career along with the company?
I joined RingCentral as a tier 1 technical support agent in September 2014. At this time, we were supporting customers with 20-plus digital lines. Our support team has seen 65 percent growth over the last couple of years, and we are expecting the same growth going forward.
It is amazing to see how much has changed over the years and how far our team has come. Today, U.S. support consists of enterprise engineers that focus on providing white-glove support to the enterprise customer base.
It was very exciting to acquire a small team with a very high skill set that fits the current culture we have today.”
How did you help Connect First team members adjust to joining the RingCentral team following the acquisition?
We welcomed the Boulder support team with open arms. Different leaders from the Denver team went to Boulder to better understand how their support organization is currently running. It was very exciting to acquire a small team with a very high skill set that fits the current culture we have today.
Is there one event that really encapsulates how much growth you’ve seen at RingCentral?
When we outgrew the first floor of the building and moved to the third floor — after a year on the third floor, we are about to run out of seats!