A few years ago, Eimear Fallon, a Senior Product Manager, transferred into a role where she was working with more technical teams than she had ever been in the past. “As someone with a non-technical background,” notes Fallon, “I was apprehensive about building trust with my new team since I lacked some of the vocabulary or knowledge they had.”
However, this worry was soon put to rest thanks to her supportive team. “On day one, my new engineering manager welcomed me with ‘first off, you’ve got this,’” shares Fallon. “I had a lot to learn, but it was clear that the team trusted that the right people were there, that each person was trusted to do their job well and that we were going to deliver good work. It makes a huge difference to be comfortable raising questions that feel basic and to trust that nobody is questioning anyone’s right to be there.”
This welcoming, open and trusting culture is a defining feature of Squarespace and is a key reason why women like Fallon choose to stay and grow their careers at the company. For Fallon, she says that, “My experience at Squarespace has been team after team of genuinely good people! This is ultimately why I like working here.”
And, for women in tech specifically, Squarespace is a great place to grow a lifelong career. “At Squarespace, I'm given the same level of implicit trust and respect, which is not always the case for women in tech,” says Fallon. To learn more about her experience as a woman at tech, and why she’s stayed at Squarespace, read on…
You’ve been at Squarespace for over seven years. At what moment did you realize that Squarespace was the place for you? What was your experience like when you first joined?
I had just built a Squarespace site for a project I was working on and really loved the Squarespace product and functionality, so when I heard that Squarespace was opening an office in Ireland, I knew I wanted to work there.
When I first joined, there were just eight of us working in Dublin. We were learning on our feet, but were also able to take on new opportunities because there were so few of us.
You’ve held five different positions at the company so far. How does Squarespace support the growth and development of their female employees?
The most valuable means for my development has been the opportunity to strengthen my skills and broaden my experience by collaborating on various projects.
I’ve also benefited from being surrounded by a lot of women role models at Squarespace. At every level, from the 50% female C-suite to my direct team, I see women who are incredibly smart, talented, interesting and great to work with. There’s an intangible but definite benefit to seeing women excel in so many different types of roles and to have the opportunity to learn from them.
What characteristics have you had to lean into to be successful at Squarespace?
I’ve worked in some roles where there was a certain amount of ambiguity or there wasn’t a clear path on how a problem should be solved, or even what the problem was in the first place. I think a willingness to dive into something that isn’t clearly defined and to be the person who creates that definition is valuable.
Early in my career, I found myself sometimes getting into a negative thought pattern when something went wrong. However, I realized through these situations that there was something I could have done differently. I could have aligned on expectations more clearly, asked the right question early on or had systems in place to test assumptions. Shifting my thoughts from “this person did something wrong” to “what could I have done to avoid this?” was hugely helpful and made me more successful in future work.
A lot of people believe that developing your career means changing companies, and not infrequently. What has enabled you to develop and advance your career without job hopping?
I used my experience at Squarespace to explore and learn what my career goals were. When I first joined Squarespace, I didn’t even know that “Product Manager” was a job title. Through my experience here, I learned that it was a career I found really interesting, I got more exposure to how this role worked and I learned what I’d need if I wanted to move into this career path.
I also tried to use resources beyond my day-to-day job to develop more quickly. Squarespace offers an educational grant for a postgraduate course that I took advantage of and that helped me upskill in some areas where I knew I needed to develop my knowledge.
However, the people I developed connections with inside my company were the biggest help to my career. When I had a career goal, I mentioned it to lots of people — my manager, my direct colleagues, the team I wanted to move into, the people I sit near, etc. This wasn’t a deliberate plan, but, over time, I realized it meant that people remembered my goals and thought of my name when opportunities arose. Over the months, several colleagues began reaching out to offer projects, collaboration opportunities and even advocated for me to consider a new role internally. This was an enormous help to my career, and I try to do the same now when others mention their goals to me.
What’s something you think most women don’t know about Squarespace that you think they should?
I think women should know that Squarespace makes it a priority to acknowledge that people have lives outside of work and that a person’s health and wellbeing ultimately matters more than any specific work situation at hand. People go through family changes, personal stresses and health issues, and it’s reiterated that we can and should take time off to take care of our non-work selves when needed. I think this can be especially important for women who are starting families, taking care of children or acting as a carer to family members.
One thing that helps is that Squarespace offers the same amount of parental leave to all new parents — mothers, fathers and adoptive parents. It’s not just offered, but encouraged to take this leave, and there’s a high uptake rate for all new parents. I think this creates a more supportive culture for women who are having children. There’s visible and vocal support for taking family time for every person who works here and no stark delineation between how family changes affect male and female employees’ time in work.
What’s a piece of career advice you’d like to offer women reading this?
Very often, my career progression has been sparked by exposure to new things; projects have led to an interest in something that I might not have considered before. Especially early on in a career, I think getting exposure to new areas or skills regularly is extremely valuable, whether that’s volunteering for the project nobody else wants to do, offering to be the person who connects with the other team or asking someone if they could use a hand with what they’re working on.
Many little exposures to something new lead to a much broader understanding of what interests you, what opportunities exist and maybe even the seed of a new career path you might not have discovered otherwise.
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