Today we’re sharing the third installment of our newest blog series: The Acorio Spotlight, a monthly blog series where we sit down to chat with different Acorio team members to learn about the work that they do. We’ve heard from Acorio Consultants covering everything from SecOps to ITSM.
May’s Acorio Spotlight focuses on Carleen Carter, our incredible Director of Technology Initiatives.
Without further ado, let’s meet Carleen.
The Elevator Pitch: Carleen in 30 Seconds
Carleen is Acorio’s Director of Technology Initiatives and is a seasoned IT veteran with over 20 years of experience (and 10 years’ experience in ServiceNow). Employee #99 at ServiceNow, she was one of the original Technical Consultants, moving up through the Professional Services team as a very strategic asset. She has worn multiple hats at both ServiceNow and Acorio, including developer, architect, business process consultant, and trainer.
Carleen has experience as both a user of ServiceNow technology and an administrator of the platform. Her specialties include custom architecture and applications, user experience-driven development, and the full range of ITSM process areas including asset management, procurement, contract management, request management and CMDB.
But, if you think that elevator pitch is impressive, wait until you actually get to know her.
How long have you been at Acorio?
I was hired on Sep 15, 2014, which means I’ve been working at Acorio for about 4 years and 8 months. Phew, time flies when you are having fun!
How did you get into IT?
Both of my parents are programmers so I’ve always been around IT. My first job right out of high school, I conducted verbal customer satisfaction surveys over the phone (clearly those have since been automated). After that, I converted emails received by the Service Desk into tickets. I answered phones for a while at the Service Desk an then eventually moved to Workflow/Queue Management, and yep, task assignment was automated too (is anyone else sensing a theme here?).
Eventually ended up moving into IT Asset Management for eight years before finally getting into ServiceNow.
When did you first hear of ServiceNow?
I first learned of the platform while I was working for Computer Sciences Corporation (now just “CSC”) – one of my former coworkers had left to join ServiceNow as a very early employee (somewhere around employee #15). At the time, I didn’t really know what working for a start-up meant, but he sure seemed to be having fun!
After graduating college, I was looking for something to do other than ITAM, but jobs were few and far between because of the recession. I kept feeling like I was either underqualified or overqualified for most positions and was unsure where to go next. I ended up grabbing lunch with my old coworker and he said ServiceNow had some jobs open in Professional Services. I started there not too long after as a Technical Consultant, and the rest is history!
How did you find Acorio?
It was sort of an overlap between me finding Acorio and Acorio finding me. I had a friend who I worked with at ServiceNow who contacted me about Acorio because he thought I’d be a good fit here. He also simultaneously contacted Acorio to tell them that I was on the market for a job. I didn’t know much about the company at that point and had been interviewing with some bigger firms, but I met with a few of Acorio’s executives and decided that this was the right place for me to go next.
What is the biggest difference between working for ServiceNow and working for a ServiceNow partner?
Definitely the overall company structure. One of the reasons that I left ServiceNow in 2013 was because the organization was undergoing huge changes to scale for growth. These shifts were absolutely necessary in order for ServiceNow to expand into the force that it is today, but I really valued the initial family feel and collaboration there and wanted to find a place to work that could provide that environment.
With a team of 200+ dedicated ServiceNow consultants, Acorio isn’t small anymore and we’ve done a really great job of cultivating a strong workplace culture. I really appreciate that our company’s size is one that allows us to know most people on the team and develop personal relationships with our coworkers across the business.
What does a typical day on-the-job look like for you?
Right now, plugging and playing anywhere Acorio needs me! I’m also starting to build some of the internal components that we need to take our business (and ServiceNow instance) to the next level, which is super rewarding.
I try to be active in our company’s open forum slack channel for help. I really value mentorship and it feels great to help out my coworkers. I really love it when I can dig into the archives of my brain and bring out knowledge of obscure and/or undocumented features that are the perfect solution to a team member’s problem.
Nearly 50% of the Acorio leadership team is female, including a female CEO. What does it mean to you to be a part of that?
To boil it down – it’s been life-changing. In fact, an external colleague asked me today if I still felt that it was hard to be a woman in tech and my gut response was “Well, not at Acorio.” There is still a lot of work to be done in the world for diversity in general, but I am so proud to be part of a company that is not part of the historical norm.
Sometimes, I can tell in meetings or workshops that certain people may not be taking me as seriously because I’m a woman. This is just sort of a reality in the business – it can be frustrating, but I never feel like I have to prove myself to them. Though I will say, it’s always fun to see their perspective shift by the end of our meeting.
One of my daily inspirations is our CEO, Ellen Daley. She is an incredible leader and sees a lot of value in supporting and empowering our team members. She’s one of the reasons I joined Acorio and after just speaking with her for 20 minutes, I knew that the opportunity was different. It can be difficult to find a place where you feel empowered, but the team my family at Acorio is pretty out of this world.
Who is your favorite or most inspirational woman in Tech?
Definitely Grace Hopper. She paved the way for so many women in tech and has left an incredible legacy. She’s had a pretty direct impact on my family as well:
- That’s my mom (pregnant with me) in the picture with Grace Hopper in the early 80s.
- My little sister, who works at Microsoft, recently attended a Grace Hopper conference (I’m jealous!)
Can you talk about your biggest professional achievement?
This isn’t one specific event, but I’m really proud of the fact that I’m one of the first people that many of our team thinks of to enlist when they need help solving a problem.
Knowing that I’m someone’s go-to when they’re having trouble with something technical makes me feel like I’ve demonstrated my knowledge of the platform and established myself as an expert within our ecosystem (both internally at Acorio but also among ServiceNow, clients, and other partners). I’m really driven by this; expertise is something that I can only keep improving upon.
What is the biggest change that you’ve seen in the ServiceNow since you started working in the platform?
The first thing that comes to mind is the recent emphasis that ServiceNow has put on staying close to out of the box. Forget credit card debt, technical debt is real and can be avoided! In the past, the ServiceNow ecosystem tended to celebrate customization (even on things that didn’t really need to be customized), but I think they’ve since recognized the barriers that customization creates for customers to scale, upgrade, and maintain their instance.
Do you have any predictions for where the platform is headed in the future?
Always and forever close to my heart, I’m very excited about IT Asset Management enhancements coming up in New York and Orlando. WOO, Hardware data normalization and Contract management is getting some love for the first time since Calgary! Outside of that, ServiceNow is really focusing on IT, Employee and Customer workflows, but my expectation is that they’ll be adding more to this list in the future. I know they’re choosing where they expand very carefully, so I’m eager to see the places they’ll go!
What is your next ServiceNow goal?
I’d really like to come up with a way to maximize our usage of Acorio’s internal instance. I want to make it the nexus of information for all of our own disparate platforms to help better support our business – just like we do for our clients.
Acorio Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights A-team members across platform areas who are doing extraordinary ServiceNow work. Stay tuned for our next piece to see which employee we’ll be covering next!