There tends to be a perception of technical work as being cold and impersonal, with more time spent interacting with machines than with people. But Jackie Callender knows the opposite to be true.
“Technology is not a department full of introverts like many think,” Callender, a Senior Technology Service Manager at Cox, said. “We are people who are focused on our work, yes, and so at times we seem quiet; but we love fun, we love chatter, we love cracking jokes on each other and hearing about our families’ latest accomplishments.”
All of this boils down to the distinct feeling that her colleagues are her “work family,” she said, and that bringing their full selves to work is the norm rather than an exception. This collaborative spirit not only helps them achieve more. It also means she feels a greater sense of joy in her day-to-day work — something that as many as 63% of people say they don’t get from their jobs, according to recent research from Harvard.
“We embrace each other’s differences and quirks — like letting me bust a move on the floor without any warning or sing randomly while I run a Change Advisory Board meeting,” Callender said. “Every team I have worked with has had great people that I have enjoyed seeing every day… I have stuck with technology because of the joy, the challenge, and the satisfaction that it has brought to my life.”
For Julie Park, who manages Cox Communications’ Integrated Network Planning (INP) team, bringing a people-first approach to technology is exhibited not only on the individual team level, but also in the company’s value system overall.
“It is embedded in the company’s culture to develop and grow talent,” Park said. “I am the prime example! Eight and half years ago, I was a young engineer with a fresh college degree trying to figure out my identity and purpose.”
Her purpose found an early foothold at Cox, where she started out as a video engineer, designing and developing infrastructure for cable TV while “living on Venti Americanos,” she adds with a laugh. Today, thanks to the personalized attention and growth opportunities that Cox — a privately held, family-owned business since 1898 — is able to offer, she’s been able to develop as a leader in network engineering.
“Today, I am a strong leader working with the brightest minds building tomorrow’s network today,” she said. “I am here today not only because Cox opened the door to me, but also gave me the opportunity to be mentored and taught by the most brilliant leaders in the industry.”
Callender, too, has had ample opportunity to grow and develop at Cox — and has used that license to flex across three different divisions at the company. In just five years’ time, her career path has taken her from Cox Enterprises to Cox Media Group to Cox Automotive, where today, she gets to “support all Cox Auto business units, literally learning something new about our company, our industry, our products or our support every single day.”
Unlike other lines of work, where one may have a looser understanding of their individual impact on bigger-picture business goals, Callender says that taking pride in her work is easy to do.
“Every tech project is meaningful to the business,” she said. “Each one has a weight that it carries, and we should all be proud of each project we successfully complete.”
And the scope of the projects at Cox — and the opportunities to make an impact within them — are limitless, Park added.
“From providing virtual cloud network and IT solutions to businesses to providing reliable connections to support health informatics for doctors, there are so many amazing opportunities to choose from and develop your subject matter of expertise (in) SD-WAN, cloud service, AWS, or machine learning… to name a few,” she said.
True to the company’s values, though, technical skills aren’t the only arena in which employees are encouraged to expand.
“I have a very ambitious dream to become a great leader who is not only influential, charismatic and forward-thinking, but also empathetic, inclusive and caring,” Park shared. “I want to be a leader who creates an environment where everyone feels valued and has an opportunity.”
Interested in learning more about the people who make innovation happen at Cox? Check out the Behind the Code series on their website, and follow along on social using #BehindTheCode.
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