At Conga, our team culture is a core part of who we are as a company. We think Conga is a great place to work, and we want to share our experiences—and our team!—with the world. In our Employee Spotlight blog series, we’re introducing readers to the talented folks in the Conga offices, and sharing how they’re finding success on this high-growth, fast-paced team.
Today we’re talking to Kelly Stern to learn more about engineering and development, her early journey in tech, and how she finds inspiration from her new place in the Conga engineering organization.
Name: Kelly Stern
Title: Software Development Engineer
How long have you worked at Conga, and why did you decide to join the team?
I started in May 2019 and chose Conga because… free food! Seriously though, the culture here really stood out to me during my interviews and the position was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a role where I could flex my existing React skills, while also learning new back-end technologies.
What’s a little known fact about you?
Growing up, I was a state champion alpine ski racer. But I grew up in South Carolina, so I was the only one in my age group…
What inspires you as an engineer?
It’s inspiring to work closely with motivated engineers who have a variety of experiences and industry knowledge. Seeing their passion and genuine desire to help others really drives me to be the best engineer I can be. The people you surround yourself with are so instrumental to achieving your goals. I couldn’t ask to be in a better place.
How would you describe the culture on your team?
My team has been so supportive and enthusiastic about my growth and development. They are passionate about the quality of the work we produce and hold each other accountable to high coding standards. I was welcomed immediately, not only by my team, but by the engineering department as a whole. This industry is often seen as cold, so finding somewhere that accepted me so quickly was the best thing I could’ve hoped for, and really made me feel like this is where I belong.
What’s something that surprised you about Conga?
I wasn’t expecting the flexibility I’ve experienced while working here. Everyone accepts that life gets in the way sometimes, and they’re willing to help you work around it. If the cable guy says he’s going to be at my house sometime between 8 am and 8 pm, I know it will be okay for me to work from home that day. Having that kind of flexibility is invaluable in a workplace.
What does your career path look like? How is Conga helping you get there?
For now my main focus is to keep learning and growing my skills as a software engineer. This industry is ever-changing and there is always a new technology to learn. Long term, I want to develop the skill set to be able to impact the larger scope of the product I’m working on, or the industry as a whole. By constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone, Conga is preparing me for future roles and even bigger challenges. Being in this kind of environment is paramount to getting where I want to be in 10 years.
What excites you most about working for Conga?
The people! Our engineering department is amazing. It’s an incredibly fun and engaging atmosphere to be in. I could talk for hours about how amazing my colleagues are. Everyone, company-wide, has been so nice. I love the passion for volunteering, the motivation and determination, and how everyone at Conga knows how to have a good time.
How do you like to spend your time outside of Conga?
Video games are my escape from stress. I love playing them and making them! In the winter, you can find me in the mountains almost every weekend. I’m an avid skier and snowboarder. I love to go out dancing with my friends and I try to travel to new places anytime I have the opportunity. I have 25 countries under my belt and am always looking to add new ones!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
After graduating, I had a teacher tell me “Don’t stop kicking ass. This industry is difficult to break into, especially as a female. Don’t sell yourself short and be confident in what you know.” When I started my career search, I was scared about having to accept a position where I knew I wouldn’t be happy, just to get my foot in the door. I was beyond thrilled when Conga reached out to me. My manager, who helped recruit me, told me that he saw great potential in me and genuinely wanted to help me succeed and reach my goals. I knew this would be a place where I wouldn’t have to sell myself short and would have all the room in the world to grow.
If you’re interested in a career where you’ll be empowered to make technical decisions and can be seen as an expert in your space, take a look at the opportunities in Conga’s engineering organization! We’re looking for talented developers in mid- to senior-level roles in test automation, DevOps, and management in our Broomfield, Orlando, and Indianapolis locations. Check out the open roles and see where you fit on the Conga team.