Red Hat's Products and Technologies organization is doing game-changing work in the IT industry. In showcasing the unique stories of Red Hatters around the world, it's clear that there's no one path to finding success at Red Hat. For each of us, it's about open collaboration and building something together.
For Og Maciel, open has always been about empowerment. "I spent the 90s destroying and rebuilding my dad’s computer, playing around with different Linux distributions," Maciel remembers. "But eventually I got it to work. I got comfortable using Linux for my school work and other day-to-day stuff." He soon found a lot to explore in open source software. "I was able to do so much—to learn so much—that I wanted to give something back. I needed to find some way to pay it forward."
Opening up open source
Maciel was still new to programming, though. "Back then, desktop Linux applications were written in C or C++. And I was not a C developer by any stretch of the imagination." But Maciel realized that programming was not the only way he could contribute to open source.
"That’s when I realized that translation was something I could do," he says. "I was born in Brazil, and I’m fluent in Portuguese. I thought about the number of people around the world that may not have access to the freedom that I was experiencing through open source. People cut off just because they didn’t speak English. So I got engaged with open source communities, and I learned how to translate."
He spent the next few years translating applications from GNOME, KDE and other programming languages into Brazilian Portuguese. "It was very rewarding and helped me build some long-lasting relationships within the open source community. And it led to a pivotal moment in my career: coming to work for Red Hat."
Defining what’s next
Maciel now works as the senior manager for the Fleet Management Engineering team within Red Hat’s Products and Technologies (PnT) organization.
"It’s a new team helping to provide solutions and technologies around edge computing for the automotive industry," he says. "It’s really exciting because we’re being given a unique opportunity to create something brand new. The open source solutions we’re formulating for customers haven’t existed before. We get to define what’s next. The next version of a product. The next solution for a customer. We’re still building out the team, looking for top talent. This is a really cool time."
Red Hat’s open culture has proved a natural fit for Maciel’s drive to empower others. "Red Hat has given me opportunities that I don’t think I would have had at other organizations," says Maciel.
"Working as part of the PnT organization, I feel we are really trusted to make the best decisions for our customers based on our own experience and insight. Customers come to Red Hat because they believe in our products. They believe in open source. Sure, there are other products, other options, but Red Hat is synonymous with the freedom of open source. Red Hat gives employees the freedom to make their own decisions and have the conversations that are required to foster collaboration and innovation. That is, unfortunately, not something you see in many organizations."
Finding the path
Maciel joined Red Hat as a senior quality engineer in 2011, but that role was only his first step. "My manager saw that I was very hungry to do something positive—to make a difference. I wanted to hit the ground running, and he gave me the freedom to do just that. The more I asked to be involved, the more opportunities I was given." Within a year, Maciel was promoted to team lead, and later he was offered the position of associate manager.
"It was a big decision to take on a leadership position," he says, "but I realized that there were members on the team that were feeling like they weren’t acknowledged. In some ways, there was a lack of effective coaching and mentorship. So I saw this as not just an opportunity for me, but a chance to help others on the team. The position would allow me to be part of development conversations and help my colleagues grow. After a while, I got to see the positive impact that I could have, the way I could help my teammates get on track with their careers. It’s been very rewarding."
Maciel’s enthusiasm for empowering others is infectious, and it’s easy to see why others look to him as a leader. "It was a pretty rapid series of promotions, from manager to senior manager and now managing a brand new business unit. It’s the culmination of my dream when I came to Red Hat. Everything I’ve been able to achieve—making that vision a reality wouldn’t have been possible without the freedom my managers gave me to draw my own road map and find my own path."
Not surprisingly, a big part of that path for Maciel has involved empowering others, even outside of his core role. "I was invited to participate in forming a new Diversity and Inclusion community called Diverse Abilities. It’s been a great experience, seeing everyone committed to raising awareness for the individual needs of those with diverse abilities. Even small things like where mugs are located in the break rooms. It’s all about inclusion and helping Red Hatters feel like they can bring their full selves to work. I’m really grateful that I’m able to be a part of it."
"As someone with a disability, I know how it feels to have assumptions made about your capabilities. But at Red Hat I’ve been empowered from the beginning to do what I do best, to participate fully. I’ve been given the freedom to be who I am and do what I want to do." If the results are any indication, the thing that Maciel has most wanted to do throughout his career is empower other people.
About the author
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies.