My name is Noe and I am an application development portfolio specialist solution architect. My team works as a trusted advisor for customers all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). We support them with product presentations, demos, architectural questions and Requests For X (RFX).
I am currently based in Berlin, Germany. I have always been a remote employee, even before the pandemic, but I occasionally visit our local office for meetings and some socializing.
I’ve been at Red Hat for over six years now. Before, I could not imagine spending so much time with one company. It’s the career flexibility that’s kept me here. I am happy to say that I’ve been given opportunities to try different tasks and roles that have always presented a slightly different challenge, this helps the work stay interesting and keeps any possible boredom at bay.
From Argentina to Chile, gaining a new perspective on presales
I first heard about Red Hat back in university, where I studied IT. Linux was a basic part of our program and I discovered that Red Hat was the main enterprise player in the market.
I joined the Red Hat ecosystem by chance, when I applied to the Red Hat distributor in Argentina. The interviews were carried out by people from both the distributor and Red Hat, and I was glad to see that the interviewers seemed both knowledgeable and relaxed in spite of being in presales. I had previously considered sales a stressful field, and I was very sensitive about the impact that any work environment could have on my mental health. A healthy and balanced job was my main priority.
I ended up joining the regional distributor as a solutions architect dedicated to partners. I was focused on enabling our business partners in technical sales and building solutions for potential customers and labs. I had never worked with open source before and it felt strange in the beginning—it was a big change coming from "closed" solutions, and was a lot to take in.
A year later, life took me to Chile due to family relocation. I had to quit my job, and was heartbroken. Fortunately, I met someone in Chile who recommended me for a very similar role at Red Hat as I’d held with the regional distributor in Argentina.
The new role had an additional element of challenge—taking part in the first "Train-the-Trainer" program, aimed at rolling out specialized technical training from a global team to regional teams in Latin America, both for Red Hatters and our partners. I was excited at the prospect and accepted the offer in a heartbeat! Sharing knowledge is a big part of Red Hat’s culture, and I was excited to learn more about how our products were being implemented around the world and connect team members in need with the right contacts and information.
Later on my colleague let me know of a solutions architect position in the global team. I would continue working with the product I was familiar with, as well as OpenShift 3. During the interview process, I found out that there was an initiative to modernize the current demo system that I was using and my existing knowledge would be helpful. When I accepted this role, I didn’t imagine it was going to be so fulfilling. I was spreading knowledge, driving innovation and also traveling the world for work. As a Latin American woman in tech, I never thought I would have a job like this.
Onto new challenges in Germany
Later, my management supported my relocation to Germany. I started contributing to the build and support of lab environments for brand events like Red Hat Summit and Red Hat Tech Exchange. I did everything from requirements gathering, capacity planning and project management to onboarding and testing of the assets. It was super challenging, but I learned so much.
I was eventually promoted to senior solutions architect, and took a more active role as promoter and advocate for Red Hat Demo Platform (RHPD). I would talk to different teams to understand what they needed, connect them with the right person, and work with the team to help keep an updated and relevant product catalog available in the Demo System.
Transitioning to people management
My advocacy for RHDP and the results achieved eventually gave me the opportunity to move to a people manager role, as well as being awarded the Red Hat’s President Club award for exceptional sales performance.
I led a team responsible for technical support and operations of the platform—making sure it provided a great experience for both customers and Red Hatters, providing environments for brand events and testing and rolling out new functionalities for the portal. I happily connected with the team, promoted a number of associates for their amazing effort and dedication, and together we sliced our KPIs in half.
I stayed in that role for two years, and I am proud to say that our team delivered the first Red Hat Summit Labs without customer-facing incidents under my lead in 2020. It was far from easy and required detailed planning and the coordination of many people, but we made it happen with a lot of hard work. Overall, I have met a lot of exceptional people while doing labs for events and it is an experience that, though demanding, has been most satisfying.
Finding support through role changes—and a love for coaching
Over the last six years, I’ve had several role changes, and even though I was nervous about them, I knew I had plenty of support available from colleagues and formal programs. Red Hat offers programs that help support your decision to change roles along with enabling you during the journey.
For my managerial development, the Aspiring Manager Program and the M-Series were super helpful, and the facilitators had a huge impact on me. They introduced me to coaching, which I found that I enjoyed very much, and that led me to take additional training and continue to use it in other areas of my life.
Finding a way to help my team integrate and perform better and better during a global pandemic was probably the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far. I did a lot of training and reading, but reality and theory differ a lot. I am happy to say they not only are performing, even without my lead, but they still make me proud in every single interaction we have.
In any job, there are always easier times and more challenging times, but Red Hat supports everybody to act as a leader, especially when it comes to our careers. I am happy to say that I was also supported when my definition of success changed and I decided to take a different path.
I missed the updated knowledge that comes with customer interactions, so I recently decided to go back to basics and take a role in solution architecture again, where hopefully I will be able to use my knowledge in agile methodologies, active listening and technical skills to better support our customers. It was not an easy decision, but I feel I am being much more honest to myself and my needs right now—and that’s an amazing feeling that I wouldn’t change for anything.
An undercover "people person" all along
Coming from an IT background, I never realized I was such a people person! These days, I still focus on the things that will help us work smarter as a team while I continue to update my technical knowledge. I am happy to say my manager has been most supportive of my non-technical interests as well, as I also work to support minorities, through my participation in the Women’s Leadership and Pride Communities. I finally feel I can embrace the multipotentialite inside without feeling “it’s not my job.”
It’s great to be able to give back in this way. As I was moving from my prior tech experience to Red Hat technologies, the general Red Hat community was amazing—from accepting failure as part of the learning process to sharing all the knowledge all the time, even across countries. Over the years, other Red Hatters have been there to help me with my mistakes, to lend a hand during long nights of deployments for events, to answer all my technical questions, and to build solutions to help with our challenges.
About the author
Noelia is an awarded Red Hat Specialist Solution Architect with extensive experience working with and leading multicultural distributed teams. Her ability to balance technical knowledge, agile methodologies and people skills led to the successful design and implementation of complex customer-facing solutions in sales and services while building strong relationships with operators, developers and business stakeholders. When not architecting or gaming, she enjoys mentoring and coaching underrepresented groups on career transformation with an aim to increase their success in their existing or aspiring tech jobs.