REVEAL Q2 2017 - Page 32

What The Tech?! An Interview with Aly Merritt By Ash Serrano Atlanta tech and startup advocate Aly Merritt talks to ASC about what it means to be a woman in the technology industry. Aly, you have achieved a lot in the start-up and technology industry. How did you get your start? Thank you! Though I don’t feel I’ve achieved that much compared with some of the incredible women on the tech scene here in Atlanta, I will say that’s part of how I started and what drives me forward -- having these amazing role models to look up to. Seeing them in action made me look at where they started, and many of them were founders or key players at tech startups. I ended up going to a lot of startup events trying to learn more, and the scene at Atlanta Tech Village really resonated with me. The passion, excitement and dedication of the entrepreneurs and the team there drew me in ... I basically showed up at ATV until someone hired me. I was incredibly lucky it was Kyle Porter with SalesLoft! You were one of the original employees of SalesLoft. What was it like leaving corporate America to work for a start-up? Would you recommend it? How is it different? I had worked at a fairly traditional corporate company for several years and it just wasn’t fulfilling. I missed the camaraderie, culture and team aspect of jobs I’d had at smaller companies and departments in the past, and I started looking to recreate that. Finding SalesLoft was a lot like coming home; it just “felt right.” It’s definitely a change, though -- you wear a lot of different hats, especially in the early stages, and you have to be ready for anything and everything. If you’re into direction, a roadmap and a plan ... startups may not be for you. If you prefer getting the general gist of something and just figuring out how to make it work, take a look at startups. There’s not a lot of structure, but there’s so much opportunity! The possibilities in every role are boundless, and you can truly make your mark on a role, a company and a culture. It’s exciting to help build something so meaningful! I can honestly say I’ll never go back to corporate world; it would feel so limiting after the flexibility, friendship, trust and freedom at SalesLoft. I will also add that you don’t have to go it alone as an entrepreneur or joining a small team; find the right community for you and your business. Hubs like ATV and Switchyards (where I have a part-time membership because the people there are doing such creative, inspirational things!) are amazing for helping build your brand and your network. There are a lot of options, and I always suggest people try out multiple places until they find their “tribe.” What’s it like to be a woman in technology? Tell us about your experience. Oh boy, this is a soapbox for me, so apologies for the long-winded-ness. This is a hard question, because it varies so much for every woman, and it’s a hot topic right now due to some high-profile stories like the one from Susan Fowler at Uber. I’ve heard from women who have said they never felt impacted by diversity issues, and REVEAL | Q2 2017 32