Welcome to a new feature on the Life at Articulate blog: employee interviews! We’ll help you get to know some Articulate employees doing amazing things all over the globe. In our inaugural interview, Success Coach Tanya Storm sat down for a conversation with QA Engineer Katrina Ohlemacher to talk Articulate, life in the Pacific Northwest, and the thrill of mastering a new mountain biking skill.
Katrina Ohlemacher: Hi Tanya! What’s your title at Articulate, and what does that mean?
Tanya Storm: My title is success coach, and that’s a good question. Most places, we Success Coaches would just be called the “sales team.” But here, that role is a little different. It’s a mix of sales, support, and customer service; all three of those together. There’s a balance challenge in this job, but it’s also what makes it nice. The work is varied. You’re not just doing one thing.
KO: It sounds like you’re doing a lot of different stuff.
TS: Yep, we do. I love that about the role. I also love how important my role is to our customers. One of the major things I hear—and I don’t think a week goes by that I don’t hear it—is that people are choosing Articulate for three reasons: There’s usability, there’s community, and there’s the service they’re getting.
KO: That was one of the things that I noticed about Articulate when I was applying to work here, how much the customers love it.
TS: Yes, and that makes you want a job here for sure. It makes it really easy to work at this job when people come in with a happy expectation.
KO: Absolutely! So, where do you live and work?
TS: I live and work in Bellingham, Washington, which is about 20 minutes south of the Canadian border and about an hour and half north of Seattle. It’s on the seaside and in the mountains— because the Pacific Northwest is an amazing place—so it’s this incredible recreation-hub town. Being paid well to work in technology, at an amazing company, with a job that challenges me and live in my recreational paradise…That’s huge.
KO: What’s your best trick for balancing work and the rest of your life?
TS: Oh Lord! Who knows? What’s your best trick? I need some tricks! You know, the thing about my job is that, for the most part, it happens in the hours we’re at work, because it’s an immediate job. If you’re doing QA or you’re doing development, well, you could do that any time, right? And you probably do.
KO: A lot of people do, yeah.
TS: Right. In general, most of my stuff happens during work hours. It’s a really intense eight hours sometimes, but when it’s done, it’s done. That particular fact does help me with that balance. Otherwise, my husband keeps me on track. He’s like, “What are you doing in there? Are you on Facebook or are you working? Don’t be working. You worked a lot this week.”
My boss is really good about listening to us when we say we feel burnt out. He’ll say, “Go work from a coffee shop and don’t take calls. Take your lunch at a different time, or don’t take a lunch and leave two hours early instead. Do what you have to do to not feel burnt out.”
KO: That’s great he’s got your back like that! Now let’s talk about some fun stuff: What do you do in your spare time?
TS: Mountain biking! That’s kind of a giant part of my life right now because I’m in the process of starting a women’s mountain biking club, the WMBC JoyRiders.
KO: How did you get started with the sport?
TS: I started mountain biking a little bit in college. At first, I was more of a roadie, then I met my future husband, who was a big mountain biker. My pick-up line to him was, “Hey, you want to teach me to mountain bike?” And it worked out for me!
We also had a fantastic women’s group called the Dirt Divas. They were amazing and really helped me progress my skills. Which is why I started a women’s group here because riding with women is a totally different experience.
KO: What are some of the other benefits of a women-only cycling environment?
TS: It’s low pressure. Men tend to be a little more like, “Just hit it!” The women are like, “I think you could do this. I’ll show you how I do it. ‘You want to follow me off it? Oh, it’s not your day today? We’ll try it another day. The rock isn’t going anywhere.” So it’s just a much more low-pressure approach.
KO: That sounds great. I can barely ride a road bike, so I’m jealous.
TS: We can help you with that!
(Photo credit: Kjell Redal)