When Yimei Lin left Taiwan for the Netherlands at 18 years old to pursue her bachelor’s degree, she fell in love.
Not with a single person or place, but with the country as a whole. So she decided to stay a bit longer — 10 years, to be exact.
Today, Lin still lives in the Netherlands and works as a senior account executive at GitLab, supporting the company’s SMB clients that are based in the Netherlands as well as in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Nordic countries. She provides them with strategic advice regarding licensing and different product tiers.
When Lin decided to pursue a role at GitLab, she knew she needed to prepare properly in order to explain the intricacies of the company’s product. That’s why she reached out to one of the company’s account executives based in Singapore, who was willing to schedule a call. With her support, Lin received an offer for her current position.
For Lin, this experience shed light on the impact of the company’s culture and values.
“This was my introduction to GitLab’s CREDIT Values, particularly our ‘collaboration’ value, considering someone I had never met was willing to go above and beyond to help me with my interview preparation.”
While Lin may not have known her new peers would be so supportive when she decided to apply to the company, there was one thing she knew for certain: tech is the future, and she wanted to be a part of this growing movement.
Over the past year, Lin has embraced her role while bonding with her teammates over dinners and trips to exciting locales, including Morocco and Spain. So far, GitLab has given her everything one could ask for in a career: opportunities for professional development, freedom to live your life and chances to create meaningful connections.
Below, Lin describes how the company has allowed her to grow professionally, seek support from others and pursue her passion for world travel.
WHAT GITLAB DOES
GitLab’s DevSecOps platform enables teams to deliver secure and compliant applications more quickly and efficiently. The company’s CREDIT Values, or core values, include “collaboration,” “results,” “efficiency,” “diversity, inclusion and belonging,” “iteration” and “transparency.”
What brought you to GitLab, and what convinced you to join the team?
One of the reasons I took on this role is because I believe technology is the future. There is always new knowledge to learn, especially considering GitLab is a DevSecOps tool that covers 10 stages of the development lifecycle. There are always things to learn about the product and how customers could benefit from it.
GitLab was my point of entry into tech sales, and I had to do a lot of research to prepare for my interviews. To support this, I reached out to a GitLab account executive based in Singapore who was willing to schedule a call to help me with the preparation. She ultimately helped me land the job. Interestingly enough, she has a similar background in advertising sales, which gave me a lot of confidence. I’ve learned that, if you can show your eagerness to learn, the door will always be open for you. We met each other in person earlier this year at SKO, our internal company conference, which took place in Denver. This was an eye-opening experience for me and successfully showcased how we work as a team across different time zones.
How have you grown professionally at GitLab, and what skills have you learned?
I’ve experienced significant professional growth during my time at GitLab. My confidence and communication skills have increased exponentially. For example, one of our daily tasks is to make different presentations for calls based on customer profiles, which helps us understand how we can improve their operational efficiency and help them develop better products more quickly. I’ve strengthened my presentation skills by watching call recordings from previous AEs and shadowing senior team members.
Additionally, I’m constantly learning new skills and growing my internal brand to ensure I represent myself as wholly as possible. At GitLab, we constantly strive to improve our personal development through skills development. For instance, organizational skills are constantly used to manage our agendas and prioritize tasks. Balancing internal and external meetings along with inbound requests and administrative tasks has resulted in extremely effective time management.
COUNTLESS AVENUES FOR EVOLUTION
GitLab has enabled Lin to reach her career development goals in the following ways:
- “I completed a professional certificate, which helped me improve my foreign language skills and has enabled me to provide a greater level of local communication with Dutch-speaking customers.”
- “I’ve built strong working relationships. One of my favorite things about GitLab is that you can book a 30-minute virtual ‘coffee chat’ with anyone across the company, which, after doing at least 50 chats, has helped me quickly build my product knowledge and better understand our company culture.”
- “I’ve advocated for change. During the first three months of onboarding, I spoke with as many new hires as possible. We felt like there was some room for improvement with the onboarding plan, so I created an Excel spreadsheet with the input I gathered from different team members. I shared this with both the new hires and the enablement team because, at GitLab, everyone can contribute.”
What professional development resources have you utilized, and what are some you’re interested in pursuing?
I’ve taken advantage of GitLab’s growth and development budget, which helps all employees train and develop their skills. I’ve used it to expand my knowledge and understanding of the Dutch language, which has made it easier to communicate with both my customers and my coworkers. Having this support has put me in a better position to progress within the company and has boosted my resume credentials.
I’m also looking forward to taking part in the GitLab Companywide Mentorship Program, which will help me learn new skills related to my current role as well as those tied to my future career ambitions. The program will enable me to engage regularly with senior employees who can share their experiences and wisdom to help me prepare for future opportunities. The program lasts for at least five months, and everyone is paired with a mentor who works on a different team.
“Many companies claim to encourage professional growth, but GitLab is the first company where I’ve worked that actually commits to this promise.”
How are managers involved in the development of their direct reports?
Many companies claim to encourage professional growth, but GitLab is the first company where I’ve worked that actually commits to this promise. During my interview for a promotion to a senior position, my manager invited a mid-market manager to join the call. My manager told me, “It’s common for SMB AEs to move to a mid-market management position after one to two years, and I want the manager to see how well you’re performing and recognize it would be an easy transition for you to take on next year.”
Besides this, GitLab has a career development plan in place to help SDRs move to AE roles. This plan involves coaching with an area sales manager, call shadowing as well as shadowing an AE’s daily routine. Additionally, the management team encourages cross-departmental collaboration in many ways. For example, we have bi-weekly workshops with solution architects where we learn more about industry knowledge and trends.
DIVERSITY DRIVES CREATIVITY
According to Lin, there’s a reason why diversity is one of GitLab’s core values. “Having diverse teams makes us more creative because a person’s individual creativity is enhanced by their ability to integrate different viewpoints,” she said. The company’s commercial team, which focuses on Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is made up of more than 10 different nationalities.
How has joining GitLab positively impacted your life?
I joined Gitlab in January of 2022 when Europe was in a semi-post-pandemic stage and travel restrictions were dwindling. I decided to travel around the world while working full-time. During my first year at the company, I visited 15 countries across Asia, Europe and North America. I was able to do this because the company encourages a healthy work-life balance and rewards hard work. For this reason, I was trusted to work remotely and was even promoted while traveling.
One of my philosophies for life is, “Build a life that you enjoy to the max so you do not need to wait for vacation.” GitLab allows me to build the dream life that I’ve been looking for.