Understanding People, Team Support and Other Key Ingredients in Growing a Tech Career: From a VP

Sponsored by Elastic

Meghan Zammett Cevey and husband.

Photo courtesy of Elastic.

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Fairygodboss
June 18, 2024 at 2:27AM UTC

“At the end of the day, my perspective and approach to leading people is understanding the person,” Meghan Zammett Cevey, the vice president of enterprise sales for the northeast region of Elastic, tells Fairygodboss. “What is their motivation? Is it money, or do they want to change lives? Understanding what makes my team tick is important. I want my team to be happy.”

As a coach, she tells us that there are times when all she needs to do is offer a pat on the back but, other times, she must provide constructive feedback. And, because she understands her employees well, she is able to give them the appropriate feedback to “help them be great.”

“I am empathetic and keep things in perspective,” she says. “My team knows it's important to show up, have fun and do our best to help our customers solve their problems.” And these problems are important and far-reaching at Elastic.

Elastic is a free and open search company that powers enterprise search, observability and security solutions that are built on one technology stack that can be deployed anywhere. The company is pressed with making data usable in real-time and at scale. And Cevey’s team is tasked with helping customers use Elastic to power mission-critical systems.

She credits her own career success to that team she keeps around her. These are people who advocate for each other — even at times when they don’t even know they need it — and who connect with each other to grow their network.

Here, Cevey tells us more about her leadership position and the career journey that brought her there.

Tell us a bit about your job. What’s your current role, how long have you been in this role, and what were you doing previously?

I have been in the tech space for 15 years. I am a coach. I am there to help my team be better. Previously, I was leading a team of cloud sellers on Global Accts. A leader I had worked with at my previous company reached out to me to take this role. I had seen Elastic in the media and watched them go public. 

I learned throughout the interview process about the direction the company was going in, so it was the perfect time to make a move and work for a fantastic company.

Photo courtesy of Elastic.

What’s something at work that you’re especially good at?

I help my reps see the forest through the trees. When you get too focused, sometimes you need someone to help pull you out to get the whole picture.

What’s one strategy you’ve used when managing an individual or team that you think has been particularly effective?

I treat each person on my team as an individual; we are all different with diversity in age, background, ethnicity, families, home situations and more. This affects how we show up at work. I am sensitive to these things and develop personal relationships so that I can be a better coach professionally. I like to figure out ways to build trust with my team.

What is your No. 1 piece of advice for other women who are moving into or want to move into leadership?

Build a really great network of mentors and people who you can turn to outside of the team that you will manage — and even outside of the company. I highly encourage you to have a diverse group of people with whom you can toss ideas around. We manage home, teams and projects, so having a network to vent and talk to helps keep you sane. 

And, what’s the No. 1 thing you hope your direct reports are getting out of working with you?

Ultimately, understanding people is key for me. I want them to know that I am here to help them achieve great success every day. I want them to know they are human, and I want them to serve their customers to the best of their ability. 

What do you believe managers must do when onboarding new employees? How did your own manager support you during this process?

Make time for them! Especially within tech companies, there are so many tools to help you onboard your employees. I do daily check-ins for my new hires and then weekly checkpoints. I’ve established a cadence for communication with each team member. 

What’s been your most valuable career mistake?

While I don't feel like I’ve made many mistakes, one thing I regret is not taking maternity leave for my first child. Being an individual contributor in a sales position, I would not have gotten paid, so I took five weeks, but stayed connected. I learned that I will never get that time with my newborn daughter, but I will get more commission checks. 

Photos courtesy of Elastic.

Now, I advocate for new moms to take the time they need. Life events will arise, but when you are focused on being successful or worried about what leadership thinks, you will miss out on important things that you can't get back. 



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