Inside Aperian Global: Amanda Paulson
In our monthly interview series, Inside Aperian Global, you will get to know the passionate people that drive Aperian Global’s mission, values, and day-to-day operations. Aperian Global’s employees will provide you with a sneak peek into their work lives and share stories about themselves. This month, we asked Amanda Paulson, our Director of Product Development, based in the Bay Area, California, a few questions about maximizing the performance of her globally dispersed team.
We asked Amanda a few questions about her role and her daily work challenges:
1. What drew you to Aperian Global? (0:51)
2. What are the biggest challenges in your role and for global tech project teams? (1:10)
3. What benefits can a team expect to see with improved global communication? (1:40)
4. How do you maintain effective virtual relationships? (2:01)
5. Where are your team members located? (2:33)
6. What’s something people may not know about you yet? (3:06)
Stay put until the end, so you don’t miss Amanda’s suggestion of her favorite vineyard in the Bay Area!
You may’ve noticed that this is the first Inside Aperian Global that we’ve tried out in a video format. Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Amanda: My name is Amanda Paulson, and I’m the Director of Product Development at Aperian Global. Prior to working at Aperian Global, I was doing more IT generalist work, and I was really interested in focusing on the product development side. So I started doing a lot of networking in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, and eventually was connected through different networks of friends to Aperian Global. They were hiring a Technical Project Manager at the time but that focused a lot on products so I was happy to take the job.
What drew you to Aperian Global?
Amanda: Well, in addition to the development work I could be doing there, I wanted to work somewhere that had a broader mission, that was interested in helping people around the world.
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
Amanda: As a global product lead, there can be a lot of challenges, but namely I would say communication – and this isn’t just specific to IT and tech-related teams, it’s really related to any global team. In IT, however, or in tech, there can be extra problems if you don’t have really good communication. Systems need to line up really well; people need to check about why they’re doing what they’re doing; and communicate really effectively about progress made.
What benefits can a team expect to see with improved global communication?
Amanda: If you can get communication flowing really well, and team members trust each other, there can be huge benefits to working in a globally distributed team. Like things happen over night! We have somebody working on a project in one time zone and when they sign off for the day they’re handing it over to somebody else who is working in the next time zone, and things can happen doubly-fast.
How do you maintain effective virtual relationships?
Amanda: Another strategy that’s crucial is making sure you’re having regular check-ins with each team member – probably more than once a week. It’s important to be flexible across time zones, so making sure some team members are meeting off hours where others are not, and moving that responsibility around.
Where are your team members located?
Amanda: So on my globally dispersed team, we have team members in India and we also have team members on both of the coasts of the United States. So it’s important to have regular check-in meetings with everybody on the team, but because everybody is in distributed time zones, some people are going to have work in the evening and some people are going to have to work in the morning to make sure that we can all stay communicating effectively. It’s important for everyone on the team to be flexible to make sure that we all succeed.
What’s something that people may not know about you?
Amanda: Well, I’m originally from the Seattle area, and while I still love to visit the Pacific Northwest, in my free time in the Bay Area I love to take advantage of the wonderful restaurants, and wine country, and weekend travel destinations all around the Bay Area. I love to go up to Healdsburg, and visit our favorite winery, Preston Vineyards. They have a wonderful picnic day on Sundays where the winemaker actually bakes fresh bread.