Most new hires spend their first day learning software tools and hanging pictures. On Dana McAlexander’s first day with Adobe, she flew to New York City.
She’s constantly jet-setting because advising Adobe’s global sales team and connecting with enterprise customers around the world is a key part of her role as Product Managing Marketer.
“What I love is that no two days are the same,” she said.
At her home base in Seattle, McAlexander helps set the direction for sales training sessions and works with the company’s marketing and technology teams to make sure everyone is working toward a common mission.
“Our team is pulled into a lot of pressing projects to ensure we are successfully setting up our teams for selling our solutions, so I really enjoy the urgency of getting things done and done right,” she said.
To unwind from a demanding and travel-heavy job, McAlexander hits the stables. Horseback riding is her favorite way to unplug.
We caught up with McAlexander for this installment of Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for her answers to our questionnaire.
Current Location: I am actually writing this from Adobe’s New York office overlooking Times Square.”
Computer types: “Lenovo ThinkPad.”
Mobile devices: “iPhone, iPad and Microsoft Surface Pro.”
Favorite apps, cloud services, and software tools: “Sure, I’m a little biased, but I live in Adobe tools daily! I frequently use Adobe Spark for presentations, and Adobe Document Cloud (Acrobat for document creation and Adobe Sign for signing agreements). Other tools that I use include SharePoint for projects I have in process, Slack for messaging and collaborating with teams, and Excel is always open on my computer.”
Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “I have an office in our Seattle location, which is always neat and tidy, as it is the only way to keep me focused. The office’s only window faces the hallway and an L-shaped desk and a comfortable ergonomic chair. I try and brighten it up with plants and photos.
I also have a home office that I use when I am not traveling. While I have several offices, I can be productive anywhere and everywhere with the use of technology. My laptop and iPhone keep me connected so I never miss a beat. I still am in shock and awe every time I’m connected to Gogo Inflight internet on a flight and able to accomplish just about anything I need to.”
Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “Stay planned and organized. I outline my week in advance to ensure I have adequate time to achieve all necessary meetings, enablement sessions for our sales team, and complete all projects on time. And don’t be afraid to say when you aren’t able to take something new on if you don’t have bandwidth. This will allow you to get your job done right!”
Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “LinkedIn. It allows me to connect to those in my industry or customers to share relevant information such as new releases, blog posts, publications, and more in an easy to distribute way.”
Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? “Seven. I cannot stand not having my emails up to date and responded to in an appropriate time. Those that are unread are read, then marked as unread, as they need some research or more time than I have allowed during the business day so I can remember to get to them this evening when my meetings are done.”
Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? “22 as of now.”
How do you run meetings? “I always review all details well in advance to allow adequate prep time. I start by preparing my agenda then building out necessary content. I always start with introductions, followed by agenda, so we can all agree to this and then content followed by a recap of the meeting and action items. I also believe it is important to send out a recap to attendees to ensure all are in agreement on next steps and that the objectives were accomplished.”
Everyday work uniform? “When I am in the office, it tends to be jeans, a blouse, and heels, but when I am meeting with a customer, I tend to put on a trendy, yet appropriate, suit.”
How do you make time for family? “I do my best not to travel on weekends so I can spend time with my family. I am a single working professional, so my priority is to spend time with them when I am home any chance I can. My sister and I have a standing girls night once a week that I make a priority.”
Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “Riding horses. Nothing clears my head like heading to the stable and getting a good workout riding a horse named, ‘Joe.’ There is something so relaxing about just even walking around the arena, or even better yet, focusing on jumping where there is no room to think about anything else.”
What are you listening to? “I love to find the new up-and-coming artists. I love Bishop Briggs and Kaleo currently.”
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “Wall Street Journal, Ted Talks, and national news.”
Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “I always have one business book going and one guilty pleasure book. Currently, it’s A Solid Handshake: Integrity Lessons for New Leaders, by Ed Roshitsh and Saving Grace by Jane Green. I think it’s important to balance growth and development with a mental escape.”
Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? “In between. I know it has been said that early rising helps people be more successful, but I just can’t do it. I am up around 6:30 a.m. every morning and working by 7:45 a.m. and in bed promptly by 11 p.m. at the latest.”
Where do you get your best ideas? “We have some amazing leaders here at Adobe so I feel like whenever I hear them speak about vision or strategy, the ideas start flying. I often spend my flight home rapidly typing out new ideas, reflect, revise, and add.”
Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “I know it sounds like I’m drinking the Kool-Aid here, but at Adobe we truly have some of the best leaders. More specifically, we have several women executives that I just find so impressive. One of my personal favorites is our former CTO, Gerry Martin-Flickinger. She is such a wonderful speaker and so forward thinking. I look forward to continuing to learn from her. Plus, she is also an alumna of WSU.