Q&A Blog Series | Employee Interview
Carolina Advanced Digital started with a single brown phone and a stack of plain business cards in the basement of John Jabbusch’s Siler City home. Today, our business employs just under twenty individuals across North Carolina, South Carolina, and the DC area.
Our dedicated team members continue to drive the success of our business and propel our upward trajectory. We sat down with Julie Allen, Director of Sales Operations, to discuss her position at Carolina Advanced Digital, what effective management looks like, and where Carolina Advanced Digital is headed.
Tell us about yourself and your position at Carolina Advanced Digital.
I’ve worked at Carolina Advanced Digital for 13 years as of July 2019. I started in an administrative support role and have had a few different roles over the years in admin and sales, which led to my current role as Director of Sales Operations. In this position, I am responsible for our internal systems and processes as well as making sure our account managers (sales team) have the resources they need to be successful.
Have you always been interested in technology and security?
Not as a career path – my degree is in Psychology, actually. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do going into college, but I always enjoyed learning about human behavior and cognitive science, so I focused on that. I’m originally from the Syracuse/Rochester area of upstate New York, and after college I moved to the south for more opportunities, and of course, better weather. I found Carolina Advanced Digital by chance, but quickly became interested in the solutions and technology we work with.
Why did you decide to work at Carolina Advanced Digital?
My admin support role at Carolina Advanced Digital was my first ‘real’ job after college. I knew I wanted to work with a company where I could contribute and grow with an organization instead of being a cog as they say. Carolina Advanced Digital proved to be that kind of environment and company for me.
What sets Carolina Advanced Digital apart from competitors?
Our people and our values. We have very talented and knowledgeable leadership that mentor employees and encourage professional development and learning so that we are better able to serve our customers. We also strive for a high level of customer service, and the emphasis on customer service has been around since the inception of the company. It’s something we pride ourselves on and try to make evident every time we talk with a potential customer or a customer that’s been working with us for 20+ years.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
This might reveal my inner nerd, but the most exciting part for me is the data analysis and analytics piece. I have access to historical and current data that I can use to see trends and current progress and ultimately use that to help make decisions to help the company succeed and grow.
How have you grown professionally and personally during your time at Carolina Advanced Digital?
I started fresh out of college in the admin support/office manager role with the company. From there, John, Susan and Jennifer mentored me to help me figure out my strengths and how to apply those in the workplace to be successful. They helped me grow into more advanced roles within the company which led to my current role as Director of Sales Operations. The mentorship and responsibility I received within the company helped me develop confidence and leadership skills which flow into my personal life. I coach youth volleyball seasonally, and the confidence and leadership skills in particular help me succeed there as well.
What is the most important part of managing a team? Do you have any advice for directors on effective leadership?
Everyone needs to be moving in the same direction and toward the same goal. You need buy-in from all of the members on your team so that everyone feels a connection to the team and the goal. Without that, you end up with individuals contributing in a way that they feel is best, but may not be helping the team achieve the overall goal. I’ve found that asking questions and being available to explain the ‘why’ behind a process or policy gives people an avenue to contribute ideas as well as understand the purpose behind a goal so that they are on board.
How do you ensure Carolina Advanced Digital is upholding it standards and values?
I personally try to live out the company’s standards and values daily so that I can set an example for the team and company. The company owners and our management team lead by example as well, and I think that helps everyone in the company understand the importance and service our customers to the company values on a daily basis.
Where do you see Carolina Advanced Digital in 5 years?
We have been growing steadily over the last several years, and I expect that to continue over the next 5+ years as well. Our engineering team does a great job of keeping a pulse on cutting edge technology solutions and trends, and as a result, we’re in the process of rolling out some new programs based on customer feedback and general industry trends to continue to provide best-of-breed solutions for our customers.