Seven Questions with Nintex’s Kristin Treat
Aragon Research is gearing up for its second annual Women in Technology (WIT) Awards. We decided a great way to highlight the extensive contributions of last year’s winners was to personally interview them and share their knowledge, experiences, and insights.
I spoke with Kristin Treat, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Nintex, to find out more about her personal story and what it means to be a woman in the tech industry.
1. Please describe yourself in three words.
Driven. Passionate. Athletic.
2. What do you find most interesting about the technology field in which you work?
I’ve been in the communications field for more than 20 years and am amazed how much the industry has changed (and continues to change) because of technology. When I started in PR, we called reporters via the phone to pitch a story idea. We sent press kits via the postal service and faxed (and mailed) news releases to newsrooms. Eventually, we used AOL and dial-up internet to send pitches and news via email. That was cool. I used to love the “You’ve Got Mail” message. Today, that message could be “You’ve Got More Mail Than You Can Ever Read.” It is almost impossible to stay on top of email, text, social channels, and collaboration tools like Trello, Slack, and others. In many ways, technology has sidelined the importance of building trusted and real relationships with people.
3. How do you find work-life balance, or what do you enjoy outside of work?
PR is literally a 24/7 job—thanks to technology. The secret to my success is to be super organized, results-oriented, and to meet deadlines. I leverage my calendar extensively and make sure to prioritize exercise every day. It is the best stress-reliever and frees my mind to see the “big picture” and to be more creative. If I could spend the majority of my time outdoors, I would, but that is not realistic. So, I make time to get outside! I love the outdoors—swimming, hiking, running, walking, and boating. I love being disconnected from technology to hear birds chirping, leaves rustling in the wind, or watching waves crashing along a shore. Nature is powerful and a very calming influence in my hectic career.
4. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
Managing corporate and executive reputations is hard work. I mean really hard. I was told early in my career that PR is a thankless profession. There is truth to this statement. Senior leaders always want more—I’ve seen this behavior since 1995. It hasn’t changed. I also believe this mentality shouldn’t be surprising as enterprise businesses have quarterly financial targets to meet (and ideally exceed). Running a successful business is hard work.
Over the years, I have had many executives get very upset about what was written or not written about their company, product, or themselves in a news article or in an industry analyst report.The best thing to do when faced with this type of feedback is to listen. Process what the person is saying and determine what, if anything, you can do better in the future to achieve the desired outcome. If an executive truly wants to control “the message,” the most appropriate step is to take out a paid advertisement.
I am fortunate to have had a very good career in communications, both in public relations and analyst relations. I believe this is because I operate with high integrity and focus on the big picture while acknowledging there is always room for improvement.
5. Are there enough opportunities for women in tech? How would you assess the progress women have made in the tech industry?
No. We’re at the early stages of formally acknowledging women in technology. I applaud Aragon for launching its awards program in 2017 to recognize the contributions of female leaders in business. We need more of this as well as to see executive teams and boards comprised of more women. I also advocate for equality when it comes to career opportunities, advancement, and pay—regardless of your gender.
6. What are some things you think should be addressed on macro, peer, and educational levels to encourage women to feel empowered in the tech industry?
Every person on the planet should feel self-empowered. You are your best advocate. You control your future. Put in the time and effort required to do your job and do it well. If your employer doesn’t acknowledge or reward your contributions, then go find one that will! That’s empowerment.
7. Please provide a WIT call to action.
Stand up for what is right. Speak fairly, factually, and with conviction. If your voice isn’t heard, it’s time to move on and join a company that will appreciate everything that you have to offer.
Editor’s Note: Kristin and the other WIT winners from 2017 will be presenting the 2018 WIT winners at our annual event, which takes place this year on December 6th. Reserve your ticket now.