At Movable Ink, our vibrant culture is a big part of what makes us unique. In honor of Pride Month, we are spotlighting members from our LGBTQ+ employee resource group, Inklusive. The goal of Inklusive is to inspire, engage, and inform LGBTQ+ individuals and allies while working to create a space where LGBTQ+ individuals can share their stories with their peers and allies and feel even more at home at Movable Ink.
Traditionally, Inklusive hosts a variety of events throughout Pride Month – in the past, we’ve hosted a movie night, a LGBTQ+ history tour, and marched in the annual Pride March in New York City. There’s no denying that Pride Month looks different in 2020, but Inklusive will continue to host weekly virtual events for all Movable Ink employees.
Below, get to know two of the New York City-based leaders of Inklusive, Amber Britton and Joe Entenman.
What are your titles, and how long have you worked at Movable Ink?
Amber: Senior Product Manager. 4 years this month!
Joe: Associate Product Manager. 3 years!
Can you tell us about Inklusive and your roles in it?
Amber: Inklusive is very special to me. I cofounded this ERG 3 years ago, when a few of us really wanted to take part in Pride as a company. The executive team was so supportive of our plan to not only march in Pride, but to create a group to plan programming for our LGBTQ employees and allies throughout the year. It’s been something I’m so proud to be a part of!
Joe: Our roles as ‘Group Leaders’ in Pride 2018 have grown over the past few years as Inklusive has grown its scope to provide programming throughout the year to serve the Queer community at MI. It has been so rewarding to be a part of this organization as we become a fully-realized, resourced ERG at MI.
What does Inklusive mean to you as a resource at MI?
Amber: Safety and belonging. It means that I’m not alone, and that I have not only other members of my community that are here with me but a huge group of allies. It means I have people to go to when I want to raise an issue, celebrate something, or ask questions.
Joe: Inklusive means knowing I’m not alone at MI, and that I have the space at work to be my whole self. It means that MI and its people are more than just my coworkers; they’re a community who care about each other and about me.
You both changed departments – can you talk about that experience?
Joe: How lucky am I? To work at a place like Movable Ink where leadership has made it a priority to build opportunities for folks to explore and grow in their careers like I have. My Client Experience background, and Sales background before that, serve me every day as an APM: helping me to better understand and so better support the day-to-day goals of the digital marketers using our tools and the long-term business goals of MI.
Movable Ink is one of those singular places where it seems like every team here (at least every team I’ve worked on) is made up of extraordinarily talented & empathetic people who are truly willing to take hours out of their own days to help you figure something out or teach you something new. I think this energy plays a big part in making folks like me feel comfortable taking a risk and trying something new.
Amber: It’s definitely been a huge change, and a scary one. For me, I spent years in a technical customer service role, eventually moving to becoming a digital marketer, and then combining those two worlds as an account manager. Being on the front lines with clients and users, I felt like I really understood them and how they think about software. For me, my natural problem solving nature led me to the path of Product where I really wanted to spend time solving problems. It’s been a big learning curve for me in terms of how to develop a product but my background gives me an edge in knowing what will really resonate. There are definitely days where I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing but I’ve learned I’m not the only one who has felt like that, especially when changing a career path. For me, I’m so grateful that Movable was supportive of letting me make that change here.
What do you do at Movable Ink? What makes you excited about your role?
Joe: Whatever it takes! As an Associate Product Manager for the Studio team, my job is to identify (by working with stakeholders from across the business, coordinating & reviewing research from clients and internal users, and keeping my ear to the ground for external trends, etc) and then move towards opportunities and problem spaces where the Product can deliver more value. More value to our users, and move value to our business. It’s a role where, in the best times, you get to really have a positive impact on the company and on individual users. And, in the worst times, you get to learn learn learn learn learn. Two of my favorite things!
Amber: I solve problems! My role is all about taking a variety of inputs (feedback from customers, executives, sales, etc., market research, competitor research, trends, business needs, etc.) and focus on finding the most important problems to solve. Sometimes that means convincing everyone that this is THE problem to focus on and rallying them behind me. And as a team, we decide what that solution might look like, but we can only get there if we truly have an understanding of the core issue. It’s such a challenging role! It’s not easy to say no (and that’s part of the job, and a lot of it) but it is SO rewarding to have a team of engineers and product designers come together to create this incredible solution and then watch how that resonates with our users. There is no greater feeling!
There are some really exciting things going on in the product organization right now at Movable, in spite of everyone WFH indefinitely- can you share some details about what you’re particularly excited about?
Joe: The work we’re doing right now to put new and even more powerful content-creation tools in the hands of digital marketers has me pretty excited. For years, power users of Movable Ink have been figuring out how to use Studio to deliver marketing strategies beyond our wildest dreams through creative hacks, custom code, and general scrappy genius. My team is working on getting those superpowers into the hands of everyone.
Amber: I’m excited at the new life we’re breathing into the product. We’ve been around for 10 years, and that means there have been a lot of changes. I’ve seen the evolution of our platform from code heavy customization to Studio, and our expansion beyond Email. That evolution isn’t over and there are other areas of the platform that still are evolving, and our initial ideas about certain features are evolving with it. How clients use our data and analytics is a big thing I’m excited about – last year our team introduced the self-service Reports tool, and we’re expanding the offerings within that this year. Right now we’re even targeting users in the platform with a survey to learn more about how they use data, which will inform the future of that work!
What has been the highlight of your time at Movable Ink?
Joe: Oh man, Pride 2018 (my first in NYC and MI’s first ever) was a good moment.
Amber: The biggest highlight for me is the culture that we have here. I’ve never worked somewhere like Movable Ink and there’s a reason I’ve been here so long. The people I work with every day truly embody our core values of empathy, curiosity, and grit. People do the right thing. They look out for one another. They treat each other like friends and nurture each other. There is something so special about that and it resonates from the top down.
Can you share some professional milestones that we can celebrate that are related to your experience as a professional in the LGBTQ+ community?
Joe: Movable Ink was my first real job after school, and so the big milestones have all been here. My move to Client Experience 2 years ago and then my most recent move to Product are both key events in the ‘figuring out what I want to be when I grow up’ timeline.
Amber: Movable Ink is really the place I’ve felt the most comfortable at in terms of being an out member of the community. My biggest milestones are probably my recent promotion to Senior Product Manager (and Movable’s support in my career change), and surviving my first presentation to our board and CAB this year!
Pride looks very different in 2020. How are you celebrating?
Amber: What a year this has been! Pride is about celebrating the fight for equality for LGBTQ individuals. And this year, it seems especially fitting. We’re using this year as a way to talk about the intersectionality of what it means to be a person of color and queer, and bring additional light and emphasis to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We’re also using this year as the opportunity to educate others on those that paved the way before us, like Marsha P. Johnson, a trans black woman who was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising.
Joe: Pride Marches in June are the hold-overs from the ‘Annual Reminders’ or ‘Reminder Day’ Protests that pre-date the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Reminder Day Protests used to take place on July 4th, and served to remind city governments that LGBTQ+ folks could not live freely under the law. Pride this year does look very different than it has in the past few years; Pride Marches in cities around the world have been canceled or postponed to accommodate social distancing. But Black folks & allies will be in the streets this month, demanding that their bodies and their lives be valued equally. And, for me personally, Pride this year is going to be about listening to and amplifying those voices.
What advice do you have for others in the LGBTQ+ community working in or looking to break into Martech?
Joe: As someone who still feels like they’re figuring this whole ‘career’ thing out, I feel a little silly giving too much advice. I will say this: I have never once had someone tell me ‘no’ in response to a request for a 30 min coffee chat. If you’re looking around and see someone doing the thing you want to be doing one day (or something you think you might want to do someday), get 30 minutes on their calendar and then just ask them questions about how they did it. Everyone likes talking about themselves!
Amber: Do the research and use your network. Look into the type of company you want to work for and see if they are public about their support of our community (this blog post is an example of that!). Reach out to people who work at that company and ask for a virtual coffee date to learn more about the culture, the roles, and the application process. Even if you aren’t interested in a specific company, research other individuals in a position you admire and get on a Zoom video call to talk about how they got there and what advice you have. And don’t be afraid to let your light shine – life is too short to work somewhere you have to dim your light for. Find somewhere that lets you turn up the brightness.