Catherine Beaulieu’s story about Being Fearless
Catherine Beaulieu is Product Manager and Customer Success Manager at reDock. reDock finds the right content in a sea of documents. Through artificial intelligence, reDock is a powerful search engine for your corporate documents and dramatically reduces hours spent on proposal and grant creation, while giving anyone on your team the power to build compelling proposals that win more business.
Catherine’s contribution to her team at reDock is through her extraordinary efforts to be a continual learner. Catherine is a leading example of how those, even without a tech background, can bring new perspectives and functionality to a SaaS company!
When did you begin taking an interest in technology?
I’ve always been interested in technology. My interest in different kinds of technology came later in life when I realized the way new and innovative technology could be used in very unexpected ways.
I studied English in my undergrad and in my Shakespearean literature class (of all places) the professor gave us the option to use software called Wordsmith to write one of our papers. The software would analyze text to establish patterns and relationships in the language. I thought this was absolutely fascinating and jumped on it. I was the only one in the class who did!
Beyond that, my interest was truly sparked when I realized I had the potential to build a career in technology and join a startup, something I never expected to do.
What was your first significant memory with technology as a child, and/or a young adult?
Most of my childhood memories about technology revolve around computers and video games. I vividly remember the day my brother and I unwrapped an N64 for Christmas – we could not leave it alone, and would get so excited when our parents brought us to Blockbuster to rent a game. We loved Snowboard Kids and Clay Fighter.
When you were growing up did you think you’d be working in the tech industry today?
To be perfectly honest – not at all. Growing up I was very studious and I think my parents thought (or maybe hoped) I would become a doctor. But I ended up focusing more on arts and social sciences. I never thought I would end up working in the tech sector.
Did you go to post-secondary education with a study related to technology?
No, the complete opposite! I have an Honours Bachelor’s degree in History and English.
I pursued a Master’s degree in History but determined that it was not making me happy or setting me up for a career that excited me. So I left and joined the workforce, which ultimately set me on the path to joining reDock.
If not, what was your personal learning journey around technology?
I love to read and write so I have always been drawn to the Arts and thought that was the field I belonged in. What I eventually realized is that a lot of the skills I learned during my schooling, like research, analysis, and critical thinking, were extremely transferable and relevant to jobs in the tech industry.
I was working as a Proposal Manager at a consulting firm and was tasked with managing the implementation of reDock’s first product. I was so intrigued by the software and the entire process that I started thinking, “I like this! I’m good at this! I can do this!” So once the software was up and running, I joined reDock as a Customer Success Manager.
Since then, I have taken a more active interest in the product itself and in building something of value for our customers. Last year I transitioned into the dual role of also being reDock’s Product Manager. Shortly thereafter, based on market and customer feedback, we pivoted reDock’s software and began to create a tool that focused on one paint point – finding relevant corporate content fast. It continues to be an unbelievable adventure and constant learning experience for me.
How often do you take additional courses related to technology, or sharpening existing skills?
When I first joined reDock, I found myself wanting to learn a bit about the programming side of things. There were features in our first product that could be configured from the frontend using simple code, so I went to Ladies Learning Code events to learn HTML and CSS. Even though it was pretty basic stuff, I was happy to be able to contribute in this way and start to learn a new skill set. Since then my focus has been more on product-related webinars and events, like Product Camp.
I also lean on my colleagues and learn as much as I can from them. They are all brilliant and an incredibly supportive group of individuals. I turn to them every day for guidance.
When did you first start working in the tech industry?
I started working in tech when I joined reDock, three years ago now!
Do you have any involvement outside of work, within the tech industry? If so, how did you get involved and why?
I am currently getting more involved. I would like to continue to learn from others in the industry and share my personal experience. I’m registered for a few events and meetups to expand my network and I would love to hear from anyone about potential opportunities.
What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
Surround yourself with good people. In your personal life and at work. It is so important to be around people who share your values and drive you to be better, not put you down.
I have previously been in situations where my worth was not recognized and my voice was not heard. I have been told that my opinion does not matter, that I am overstepping and I should know my place. Hearing those things really shook my confidence, until someone told me that those statements say more about the person saying them than they do about me.
Recognizing this and doing my best to stand up for myself, to either overcome these situations or remove myself from them completely has really propelled me towards success.
What advice would you give another women, interested in entering the tech industry?
If you told me four years ago that I would be a Product Manager for a SaaS company, I would have laughed and asked “what’s SaaS?” I never thought I would be or even could be where I am today.
My advice? Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid that you do not know enough or have the required skills, or even that you did not study the right thing or have the right work experience. Be confident, be fearless. If you’re passionate about it, you can make it happen.
Catherine’s story demonstrates key characteristics of a truly driven professional. She highlights, through the transparency of her experience, that not all stages of your career are going to be easy. At times others around you can knock you down. It’s your will to move forward which will enable you to find your tribe within the workplace where your creativity can flow through positive encouragement.