Our “Life at New Relic” blog series continues with an interview featuring Miriam Rowley, the Engineering Manager for the PHP/C Agent, Go Agent, and Deployment Experience teams. Miriam joined New Relic a year ago, after leading a team of IT infrastructure specialists at a large manufacturing engineering company. With an undergraduate education focused on pre-med and psychology, Miriam says the through-line that connected her to engineering hinges on her fascination with complex systems. Based out of our Portland office, Miriam is interested in making software and teams more resilient. Read more about Miriam’s unorthodox career path into tech.
New Relic: What has it been like growing your career here?
Miriam: Initially, I was hired to lead a single team, and as of last month, my role has expanded, and I now have the privilege to manage three teams of brilliant engineers. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to step into the SaaS world with a nontraditional tech background. New Relic saw the value of my relatively unorthodox path into tech.
I shared a bit about my path into tech with the Women at New Relic employee resource group, participating in a panel discussion on the value of interdisciplinary thinkers in tech.
I’m fortunate to work with world-class thinkers who are generous with their expertise, and eager to help solve shared problems. New Relic is an incredible environment in which to learn, grow, and contribute.
New Relic: What made you want to join our company?
Miriam: I sought out New Relic for the values I saw embodied by their employees every time I visited the office for tech talks. Most folks are familiar with a set of corporate values that almost seem like an afterthought, but every time I set foot in the office, I met people living out authenticity, connectedness, and passionate engagement. They also were invested in each other’s success as well as New Relic’s overall success. This factor was the game-changer for me, and I wanted to be a part of it.
New Relic: What do you like most about working with our team?
Miriam: Hands-down, the people who work here are engaged, passionate, and connected. They care about the work they are doing for our customers. And they show up every day for our customers and each other. Given that baseline, I can allocate my energy, effort, and attention to the work that matters—delivering value to our customers.
New Relic: What are some things that you think makes this a great place to work?
Miriam: People genuinely care about helping those around them succeed. Before joining the company, a Relic who knew I was interested in joining the company invited me to lunch with three women in leadership roles. These four busy, successful women took time out of their schedules to have lunch and offer advice and encouragement, which speaks to the culture.
New Relic: How do you approach your day?
Miriam: I have a typical manager's schedule, which means I spend a lot of time talking to people. The week flows from Monday planning meetings to map out goals for the week, keeping stakeholders informed as we move forward on those goals, to one-on-one meetings with engineers on our teams, and ensuring they’re set up for success.
I try to block off one day a week as much as possible for focus time on what we call "staff work." This could look like re-imagining a subset of our hiring practices or finding ways to align workflow or management practices. There’s no shortage of compelling and valuable work to be done.
Since the pandemic, we’ve been working remotely, and New Relic has handled the shift admirably.
New Relic: What are three tips for success in your role?
Miriam: I wouldn’t say I have it all figured out, by any means. That said, these three things are crucial:
- Listening is key. Managers are in a position where it’s easy to say a lot of words. It’s even more important to listen first and seek to understand.
- Collaborate. Talk to your peers and your colleagues in different parts of the organization. Don’t be afraid to reach out to experts, and learn from others’ experiences. At New Relic, we’re lucky to have an open, collaborative culture, which means we can leverage the group’s collective knowledge. That’s not something I take for granted, and I’m so fortunate to have colleagues willing to help me better serve my teams.
- “Keep showing up.” I’m borrowing that phrase from one of my favorite athletes, Des Linden. Anything you care about doing well means giving everything you’ve got to do a better job than the day before. When it gets hard, and it inevitably will, that commitment to keep showing up for those around us, in service of each other, makes all the difference.
New Relic: Which New Relic value do you identify with the most?
Miriam: It’s contextual—I think in terms of “what serves this situation?” Sometimes a situation calls for boldness—to take a risk and demonstrate to others that it’s safe to do so. Likewise, it’s impossible (at least for me) to connect to others without authenticity; a genuine connection is crucial to helping each person grow their contributions and careers.
Similarly, before joining New Relic, I was passionate about the opportunity to join the company. Now that I’ve been here a year, I’m even more inspired by the incredible folks I work with, to be better every day, for the benefit of those around me. That passion for both the what and the how makes it easier to stretch yourself and get comfortable with being uncomfortable, which is necessary for growth.
Fundamentally, accountability is at the core of all of those things for me. I can’t be bold, authentic, passionate, or connected if I’m not also accountable to those around me. It doesn’t matter how passionate, authentic, bold, and connected I am if I don’t follow through on my commitments to others, or hold myself accountable for the impact my words, actions, and decisions have on those around me.
New Relic: What’s a project you’re particularly proud of?
Miriam: I worked on a deep dive into how we use our own products internally to better understand how to improve our customers' experience using our products. In completing this project, I had the opportunity to talk to a very diverse group of internal users and experts. I was still pretty new to the company, so I didn’t have much familiarity with the range of services.
Every single person I talked to modeled patience and connectedness in sitting with me and sharing their stories as we discovered the little challenges our customers might be facing. I loved learning from experts and getting an overview of how the work we do fits together.
New Relic: What three tips would you give to someone interested in joining New Relic?
- Read up. When I knew I wanted to join the company, I read as much as possible on the blog. I wanted to understand how New Relic approached its mission, the organizational mindset, and where I could contribute.
- Reach out. I spoke with folks I knew worked there, and they were generous enough to meet with me and have those exploratory conversations.
- Keep showing up. I also attended New Relic-hosted events and chatted with people there. While that might look different now, given the pandemic, we’re still hosting virtual events—these are great ways to engage with folks and learn more. In my experience, Relics are always looking to help connect people.
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