Women in Technology -- Melody Williams
This summer, we’re kicking off a Women in Technology blog series focusing on some fantastic women in leadership roles here at the Sage Intacct office of Sage. These women come from all walks of life, and are mentors, moms, bosses, and even beekeepers. Their stories and wisdom inspired me, and I trust you’ll find the same.
The first profile in this series is with Melody Williams, director of solution consulting for Sage Intacct. Here’s what she had to share…
Brittany: Thanks for chatting with me today, Melody! To start, can you tell me a little bit about what your role looks like at Sage, the types of people your team is comprised of, and what your day to day operation looks like?
Melody: Certainly. I've been around Sage Intacct since 2007 (ten years prior to Sage’s acquisition of Intacct); some would say that makes me a bit of an old timer! I first worked in implementation services and have a background in finance and accounting. When I started at Intacct, I was on the implementation services team and in 2008, I decided that I really didn't want to “own” the customer post sale, but I really wanted to stay with Intacct.
I began to transition from implementation services to sales engineering –now known as the solution consulting group. Today, I'm the director of that group, with around 20 field solution consultants that assist the account executives in demonstrating the product to prospects, as well as helping on webinars and the annual Sage Intacct customer and partner conference – Sage Intacct Advantage.
I work remotely, and I manage a team of professionals that are peppered across the country. It’s very important to me to ensure they’re excited about their jobs and, even though they may not be in a traditional office environment, my team still feels in the loop on all communications. I want them to be just as empowered as someone in an office amongst colleagues, and we have frequent meetings where lots of peer-to-peer learning takes place. I have a fantastic team!
My husband, Tom, also works at Sage. He started here in 2010, so he's been here nine and a half years. You could say our family is “all in” for Sage Intacct!
Brittany: That’s such a unique story! Was there anything else notable in your path to joining the company and how you got involved in the tech space?
Melody: Yes, I think so. I started out in a typical accounting role, working for an auditing firm and as an internal auditor. Then I went on to an assistant controller position and one of my first jobs there was to implement an accounting system. They said, “You're going to work with our solution consultants and our reseller.” The leader of that project was Susan Vincent, who is one of my best friends and is now Vice President of Partner Enablement for Sage Intacct.
I worked on that project for a year with Susan, and she finally said, “You need to come inside and work in technology.” And that’s how I made the transition.
Ironically, Susan, Tom, and I have followed each other around professionally – this is our third company to work at together. But Susan is the one that got me started in this space – even before I met my husband. Actually, I hired Tom to work for me at another company, but that’s a story for another day.
Brittany: Is there a woman you’ve worked with over the years that you’ve found to be particularly inspirational?
Melody: Absolutely. One of the women who influenced me is Carole McCluskey. She was the Interim Vice President of Client Services shortly after I started at Intacct and she taught me a lot about building teams, reaching my potential, and being true to myself about what I wanted to do.
I was in services for a bit, and while I enjoyed the work, it was tough to always be focused on solving problems. That’s a hard admission; but I was a manager and the only time people call you in my role, was if they were unhappy.
Carole realized that I had a lot of potential, but she also realized that I was in the wrong job. I knew that too, I just didn't know what to do about it. Carole knew that I wanted to stay at Intacct and helped me navigate through that season. She's gone on and done big things for herself: She was a CTO and has had an illustrious career. I’ll always follow her career progression because she knows how to manage people, how to bring out the best in people, and encourages those around her to challenge themselves. That is incredibly inspirational.
Brittany: If you could give your younger self advice about anything, what would it be? Or advice for women pursuing a career in technology?
Melody: Earlier in my career, I would like to tell my younger self not to overestimate the sense of self-importance at your job. You can sometimes get so wrapped up in your career that it overtakes things and it can become a larger part of your identity than maybe it needs to be. And I learned that the hard way at times.
If I were to give advice to other women, it would be to absolutely work hard; but also maintain a good career balance. Don't hinder yourself by what you think you can or can't do; or limiting yourself to only things you feel you can do well. That’s hard though – I sometimes even find myself doing it today, thinking, “I’m an accountant; do I really know technology?” But the truth is, I know a lot about technology and I’m continuing to learn more every day. I’m knowledgeable in both.
I would encourage women to not sell themselves short and to continuing educating themselves on the interests they’re passionate about. Find a technology that you're curious about, that your background supports, and you can make your way there. Be humble, work hard, and make sure that you still have a well-rounded life.
Brittany: What are some of the highlights of your job that really excites you?
Melody: I love, love the team that I'm on, and I love leading them. Especially now as we're in a season of growth and challenging ourselves do things differently and better. The best part of my job is the team in the company.
Little fact about me: In 2013, I did go to a competitor for seven months, but I wasn’t happy there and came right back to Intacct. I learned a lot from that experience and it gave me a deep appreciation for the value of a team environment and the importance of a supportive corporate culture.
And most importantly, I’m not the only person at Sage who places such an emphasis on the importance of being a team. Everyone I work with feels the same way; it’s like a family. We work together and we support each other to meet our goals. It’s an enormous strength.
Brittany: Yes, I 100% agree wholeheartedly. Your tenure here is incredible, and something to be so proud of. Do you have a vision for the future of where you would like to be professionally or personally? What kinds of things are you passionate about?
Melody: Professionally, I see myself ending my career at Sage and focused on growing Sage Intacct. The future of this organization is so bright, and I can’t wait to see what opportunities become available as we roll out Sage Intacct internationally. I’m excited to continuing to contribute to that success in any way I can.
On a personal level, I have a 12-year-old son that I absolutely love spending time with. He loves sports and is particularly interested in wrestling, football, and baseball. I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends in that community also.
Tom and I enjoy traveling as a family and creating special memories together. We try to do at least one international trip each year and experience different cultures and people. I foresee us doing more of that into the future.
Both personally and professionally, it’s been a wonderful journey thus far.
Brittany Benson is the Senior Corporate Communications Manager at Sage Intacct.