Laserfiche was founded by Nien-Ling Wacker, a woman who began her career building custom solutions out of her home in the 1970s. She grew her business into the world’s leading ECM software company, which works to enable the digital workplace of the future. Today, she is recognized as a visionary leader and a pioneer in her field.
This March, the U.S. will celebrate Women’s History Month. To celebrate, Laserfiche will highlight some of the employees that have been inspired by Nien-Ling’s legacy.
Catie Kolander is a Product Marketing Manager at Laserfiche and has been with the company for over a year. In her role, Catie works closely with the marketing and development teams to develop product strategies, build Laserfiche demand through marketing campaigns and generate resources to enable more sales wins. Read on to learn more about Catie and what inspired her to work in the tech industry.
1. How did you become interested in a career in technology? Have you always worked in tech, or did you transfer from another industry?
If you had asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, it probably wasn’t anything to do with technology. However, I’ve had strong, positive, influential women in my life who steered me in that direction. My mom taught me to use a computer and type in elementary school and my aunt was a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force as a flight navigator who showed me that I could pursue anything I wanted, regardless of gender stereotypes. My formal education is in business and marketing and I’ve been able to transfer those skills into a technology career.
A college professor and mentor of mine had me oversee user testing of a software program he had developed for his business program. The project sparked my interest in technology and ended up leading me down the path to my current career. I’ve worked in tech support and in the mobile industry and I’ve found the fast pace and endless opportunities to be appealing. The constant change is challenging and energizing at the same time.
2. During your time at Laserfiche, what are some of the projects or achievements of which you are most proud?
One of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on was for our 2018 Empower Conference, which had more than 3,000 attendees. I created an experiential marketing campaign that engaged our users by asking them to provide aspirational quotes on how they’d like to digitally transform their organizations. There was an interactive wall that featured the aspirational quotes as well as video testimonials and transformation statistics.
I worked with a company to code the wall that collected the user sentiment posts and displayed them on a TV. The experiential display drew people in to talk about digital transformation and everyone loved seeing their posts displayed on the big screen. It was great to see the hard work come together and the audience engagement.
3. What advice would you give to other women who are interested in joining the tech industry? What about if they have no experience or formal education in technology?
You don’t have to be writing code to be an integral part of a technology company. Technology companies need everything from marketing and sales to HR and learning management.
If you’re interested in joining the tech industry but don’t have a formal education, I would suggest that you find other positive people that will support you and advocate for what you’re interested in. Not only will they help you to grow professionally, but they’ll guide you when things are tough.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions–especially early on as you are learning!
4. What is the best career advice you have ever received?
The best career advice I’ve ever received was to learn to accept feedback and constructive criticism gracefully. Sometimes the criticism feels like a personal insult and makes us feel vulnerable, but a mentor of mine suggested taking a moment to consider how feedback can help to improve the quality of your work and your work relationships. Accept criticism as a challenge to have an open mind to change.
5. If you could spend a day with any woman in history, who would it be and why?
If I could meet any woman in history, it would be Eleanor Roosevelt. I have no doubt that her campaigning for women’s issues had a lasting impact on our lives today. She was a vocal advocate for fair wages and a champion for women in the workplace.
Mrs. Roosevelt once said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” She was the first First Lady to hold a press conference in the White House–only inviting female reporters. I can only imagine how terrifying, yet empowering, that moment must have been. I have the opportunity to choose any career I want because of courageous women like her! She was right when she said, “We make our own history!”
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Read the entire Women in Tech series:
Making Her Own History in Product Marketing
Embracing the Hustle of the Tech Industry