Rebecca DeNell once believed she had to earn the right to have a voice.
Early on in her tech career, DeNell felt as though she had to constantly prove herself to be taken seriously. Whether she was in a meeting or working on a project, she was always looking for ways to show that she had the skills she needed to do her job.
But all of that changed when DeNell met another woman working at her company who radically changed her perception of herself and her worth. This colleague began spending time coaching her to help her build up her communication skills and self-confidence.
“It was transformative,” DeNell recalled. “It was through her kindness that I understood that my perception determined my presence, and learned how much control I actually had over the way people saw me.”
With a renewed belief in herself, DeNell pursued an impressive career path, ultimately landing her current role as a senior manager of product marketing at CompanyCam. Since joining the company, she has become part of a highly supportive and inclusive group of women. By creating a sense of community through group activities, happy hours and other initiatives, DeNell and fellow women across the organization get the chance to empower each other in ways similar to how DeNell was once empowered by her coworker.
“I feel that I can actively be a part of the change we want to see in the tech world by creating more opportunities for women and all of our underrepresented neighbors,” she said.
Opportunities to evolve abound for women at CompanyCam, and are spurred by peer-to-peer support. Senior Quality Assurance Engineer Jen Shaeffer has benefited from the company’s focus on professional development — she has built her skill sets by leveraging different tools and resources, receiving encouragement from her coworkers along the way.
“What I love about CompanyCam is that if there’s a space you can fill, there’s no need to get permission to fill it,” she said.
“What I love about CompanyCam is that if there’s a space you can fill, there’s no need to get permission to fill it.”
There are many ways for women across the company to “fill spaces” — whether those areas are related to work or culture. Senior Product Manager Ming-Ming Chen said she has had the chance to celebrate diversity by sharing information related to important cultural moments, such as Lunar New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival, with the wider company.
For Chen, this ability to showcase cultural heritages is simply one example of the ways in which the company gives its women a platform to share their voices and make a difference.
“If you have great ideas you’d like to see come to fruition, there are opportunities to make that happen,” she said.
Being a woman at CompanyCam is defined by the opportunity to create change. While their career journeys and personal experiences may be unique, DeNell, Shaeffer and Chen all have one thing in common — they’ve embraced the chance to grow and help cultivate a culture grounded in transparency and diversity.
CompanyCam offers a job site capture and communication tool for contractors. With unlimited cloud storage, the company’s platform enables contractors to capture images and videos, get real-time updates from crew members, share live updates about project timelines and more.
Space to Evolve
Underestimated and overlooked.
This is how Chen felt when she was a young professional trying to gain her peers’ trust by demonstrating the value she could bring to the table. But over time, she realized that her main goal was to become the professional she aspired to be — not what others expected of her.
Guided by this mindset, Chen found her way to CompanyCam, where she was excited to see a refreshing product culture and an abundance of successful professional women.
“It’s so inspiring to be here and see everyone excel at what they do,” she said.
While Chen has enjoyed watching other women thrive in their roles at the company, she has also had the chance to evolve significantly herself. Besides getting to lead the company’s foundation group with the goal to evolve global functionality, she also served as the product manager for the engineering platform and data teams.
“Being a part of these three teams enabled me to understand the needs across our departments and think holistically about how the product team can support them while servicing our customers,” Chen said.
Taking on multiple leadership roles has allowed Chen to not only hone her own skills, but learn from those around her. This has also been the case for DeNell, who stepped into her role when the company was doubling in size over the course of six months.
To say DeNell hit the ground running is an understatement. She was entrusted to create, build out and develop the company’s product marketing department, which allowed her to take on new responsibilities.
“I hadn’t yet had the experience of managing others, so in addition to developing a department, I was also given the chance to learn leadership skills alongside two other product marketing managers who were hired within my first year of joining the company,” DeNell said.
“In addition to developing a department, I was also given the chance to learn leadership skills within my first year of joining the company.”
With this level of responsibility and support from her peers, DeNell helped assist with the market research and launch of over seven new features, countless updates and more than 10 new integration connections. For her, the impact of this growth is rivaled only by the passion she has for the work itself.
“From a technical standpoint, I love the work I do in product marketing,” DeNell said. “The puzzles, communities and skills I have been able to master over the years tap into all my natural strengths while continuously enabling me to learn new things.”
For women across the company, passion takes many forms — such as Shaeffer’s passion for engineering, a discipline she has enjoyed pursuing since graduating from college.
When she joined CompanyCam, she had the chance to take this interest to new heights by experimenting with an automation software tool. While Shaeffer had automation experience, she had never leveraged this specific tool, yet the encouragement she received from her coworkers made it easy for her to get acquainted with the technology.
“It was exciting to learn, and I felt very supported by the company along the way, without pressure to make any timeline goals,” she said.
Every day at CompanyCam is different for Shaeffer. Regardless of what task she’s working on, she always has the opportunity to build her knowledge or learn a new skill.
“I get to work on new and interesting projects every few weeks, which keeps the job exciting,” she said.
Creating a culture that champions women doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it’s an ongoing process that involves putting the right practices — and people — in place.
Chen feels proud to work at an organization with many women in leadership roles. In fact, she considers having the chance to report directly to VP of Product Tifany Albrecht to be one of the highlights of her CompanyCam career so far.
“I can’t rave about her enough,” Chen said. “I consider it a privilege as well as an honor to see her in action as a woman in tech.”
Besides embracing female representation, the company’s leadership team also walks the walk when it comes to work-life balance and taking time off to recharge. According to Shaeffer, encouraging employees to take advantage of unlimited PTO has been especially impactful for the company’s women.
“Having this flexibility can be a game-changer for women regarding how they manage parenting, working and other priorities,” she said.
While CompanyCam has been successful in its efforts to empower women, there’s always room for stronger inclusion, which is why the company regularly sends out anonymous surveys to gauge employees’ feelings and perspectives. What’s most impressive about these surveys, DeNell noted, is that the company actually acts on employees’ feedback.
“I’ve directly seen suggestions provided by fellow employees get turned into reality within weeks of the idea being shared,” she said.
Shaeffer added that this focus on feedback extends beyond companywide surveys. She feels comfortable communicating concerns with anyone at the organization, including the VP of engineering, who hosts regular office hours and has had various conversations with her regarding improving the work on her team.
For Shaeffer, perhaps the clearest evidence of CompanyCam’s diversity efforts has been reflected in its recent hiring endeavors. As she has personally taken part in the interview process, she has been impressed with the diverse candidates she has met, whom she believes reflect a wider focus on putting real commitments into action.
“It takes a lot of work to make equitable processes happen, but in the end, it results in greater DEI,” Shaeffer said.
‘RISE UP TO THE OCCASION’
Naan bread made from scratch, dumplings, curry and empanadas. These are just some of the culinary masterpieces that CompanyCam employees have shared with their colleagues through the company’s food-focused Slack channel. Chen said that avenues such as this one reinforce diversity in different ways across the company, bringing team members together to share their heritages and unique experiences with each other.
When employees aren’t busy exchanging recipes, they have plenty of opportunities to grow together. According to Chen, team members can leverage various internal resources, including book clubs and lunch-and-learn sessions, as well as internal workshops, such as Product Strategy Week and Product Tech Talks. “Whenever there are initiatives to grow and improve, people rise up to the occasion,” she said.
‘Be a Part of The Rebrand’
When reflecting upon societal norms in her lifetime, DeNell said she was raised in a world where women had very black-and-white roles within their careers, relationships and appearances. But over the years, things have changed.
“What has been such a treat to be alive in the era I am in is seeing those ‘rules’ get broken down and witnessing living proof that those opinions aren’t real,” DeNell said.
Women embrace this “living proof” every day at CompanyCam, whether they’re chatting about career goals over lunch or leading a companywide meeting. And according to Chen, this all comes down to encouraging women to embrace their unique “superpowers,” which is made possible when other women, including herself, lead by example.
“I understand that the work we do not only represents ourselves, but helps amplify what women can bring to the table, so I try to be a role model as much as I possibly can be,” Chen said.
“I understand that the work we do not only represents ourselves, but helps amplify what women can bring to the table, so I try to be a role model as much as I possibly can be.”
Support among women is essential to instilling female empowerment in the workplace. That’s why Shaeffer believes women should always strive to help each other work in the way that’s best for them while celebrating their achievements.
“Look for ways to say ‘yes’ to accommodations, workplace flexibility and time off, and focus on the results and the value they’re providing,” she said.
For DeNell, fostering an environment that embraces women’s differences and strengths comes down to one universal aim: “Be a part of the rebrand that being feminine is a strength, not something to water down.”
DeNell believes that the power of femininity cannot be summed up in one single word or phrase. And to embrace it, women should share everything with each other, from funny stories to salary ranges — and never stop doing so.
“Being a woman is nuanced, intricate and beautiful,” DeNell said. “It is what we say it is, and it will continually evolve as we come together and keep communicating with each other.”