This post is from the Numerify blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.
Numerify Women in Tech Spotlight: Jolyn Cafferata
Jolyn, the senior manager of account development at Numerify, has been in tech sales for over seven years, with four of those being with Numerify. On top of managing the SDR team, she's a wife, a mother of two kids, and an avid barre and pilates lover.
Journey to sales
Jolyn didn't grow up wanting to sell SaaS software or even work in tech despite being from the San Francisco Bay Area. She thought she was going to be a nurse or work at a nonprofit because she loved to help people. Tech wasn't on her radar until her friend recommended she apply for a sales development position at Adaptive Insights. Despite some hesitation about not having the right background, she decided to take the role.
The next few months Jolyn immersed herself in tech and sales podcasts, blogs, books, and webinars. She leveraged her network and asked for professional advice. She knew that she had to put in the extra work to be successful.
On being a young mother in tech
After two years at Adaptive Insights, Jolyn took another sales development role at Visier. She was also balancing her career with being a new mom. Coincidentally, her manager at the time was also a young mother in Silicon Valley. This visibility was important to her because it showed her that having both a family and a career aren't mutually exclusive.
"It's hard to be a mom or even a new mom when there's so much competition"
Jolyn continued to juggle her job with raising a family as she watched her peers — some younger and newer to the role — get promoted before her. But she didn't view this as a negative. Instead, she took this time to learn as much as she could from her boss and team.
"I had a job to do and a quota to hit. And I loved my manager so I was okay with it. I also knew I had a priority for my family. To juggle both is hard. It's okay if your life doesn't permit you to get promoted right away. Your time is going to come. You're going to learn so much in the meantime. And when that opportunity is ready for you, you're going to have so much more to give."
Journey to Numerify
In 2016 Jolyn joined the Numerify team as a Sales Development Representative (SDR). Despite being intimidated by IT, she was impressed with how humble, smart, and genuine the executive team was during her interview. She knew this is the team she wanted to grow her career with.
By this time, Jolyn knew that she wanted to go into management. She wanted to influence and motivate SDRs just as her former boss did at Visier. After a year as an SDR, she was promoted to SDR manager. This was not only a new role for Jolyn but also for the company. Once again, she leveraged her network to learn best practices on how to manage a team.
"I went into this thinking I can do it. I can be the best manager. I may not be that manager that's speaking at conferences or events, but don't think that. Just do it and love what you do. You never know when an opportunity passes you."
Today, Jolyn is much more than the SDR manager, she's the team's psychologist, friend, and mentor. In the mornings you can find her chatting with the team about the latest drama on The Bachelor but also whipping out top-notch Salesforce reports. She keeps the SDRs in check but also fights for them.
"Jolyn is, simply put, the best manager I've ever had. She is the biggest reason for my continued success and growth at Numerify. I would not be where I am today without her," said Gabe Kaplan, one of her first SDRs.
On Numerify culture
Recently, Jolyn came back from maternity leave after the birth of her second child. One of her highlights has been the flexibility and support she's received from the team. She recounted how there have been times when she had to bring her first son into work because she couldn't find a babysitter last minute. The team understood and welcomed him into the office. The CEO, Gaurav Rewari, even encouraged her to bring him more.
"Our team is very close. It's such a small office," says Jolyn. "Our culture is we take care of each other. We aren't ID numbers or badges." Numerify is as much a company as it is a family. "I love the executives here. Four years can feel like a decade at a startup, but I will pick who I get to work for and with over money every time."
Often, society views having a family or a career as a choice a woman has to make. Jolyn proves that isn't the case if you are patient, work hard, and have a supportive team.
Jolyn's advice to young women professionals
On working towards a goal:
"Always work hard from the get-go. Be curious all of the time. Don't give up and be persistent."
On adjusting to a new role:
"Leverage your network. Ask for advice. Take the VP of Sales or the SDR manager for coffee. Learn through their growth."
On overcoming challenges:
"Get used to being uncomfortable. Be open to change."
On successful teamwork:
"Transparency is key. Set clear expectations for the management team. This will help communication and collaboration."