Role: Technical Customer Support
Team: Customer Success
Where did you grow up, and how did you get to Fast?
I'm originally from Nashville, Tennessee. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area about a year ago, and everyone that you meet in the Bay Area is in tech, and so I was really interested in joining the tech industry because in my previous industry, there was a lot of the same application work that I had to do every day, and I didn't find any value in it. So I knew in the tech industry that, especially in software engineering, you're solving different problems every day. So I enrolled into a boot camp to be a software engineer, and I started applying for jobs in July.
What was it about Fast that made you say yes to the job offer?
When I interviewed with Vanessa (Fast’s director of customer success), she was the first woman manager that I had actually encountered and interviewed with during my interview process, that really stuck out to me. And also when I did more research on the company, I saw that Allison was also the COO. I also saw that Calanthia (Fast’s head of strategy) was in a high-level position in the company, as well, and I also saw that there were so many women-led teams at Fast. I thought that was something that was really cool that I hadn't seen in my previous interviews with other companies.
Seeing women in leadership positions at Fast clearly made a big impression on you. Why is it important to have women in the industry?
It's important because in a lot of industries, the workforce has always been geared toward men . Everything has been geared toward men. And so when more opportunities opened up for women, it was a lot harder for women to get into the same roles that men were able to get into. And especially in the tech industry, when you have tech bros and engineering teams, specifically, most of them you'll see are all men. And if you do see a woman, then it's like, “Whoa, how does she get there?” “Did she just get there because she's a woman?” “Is she trying to fill a diversity card?” For the tech industry, it's important to have women on the team and women in the workforce because we bring a different perspective to the environment of the company and also culture.
MORE ABOUT BRENA
What were you like as a child?
I grew up on a farm and we had horses, and I enjoyed being outside more than I enjoyed being inside. That's probably why I didn't spend a long time in front of the computer and why I probably didn’t study computer science in college, but I was a tomboy and I loved being around horses and then also played sports. And I was also very geeky as well. I was majorly into “Harry Potter.” I think I can quote the entire first movie. Also, I love “Star Wars.”
You mentioned “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars.” So who’s your favorite TV or film character?
My ultimate favorite is Ron Swanson in “Parks and Recreation.” I think during my interview for Fast, I mentioned that I was a combination of Leslie Knope, her work ethic, and then also Ron Swanson, because I'm more, I guess, quiet, but also I don't put up with people's crap.
What is your worst neighbor or roommate story?
So recently at my apartment complex, we had a family, a mom and two kids live right upstairs from us. And for the first year that I was here, we didn't hear them because we weren't working at home that often. But this year, especially, we heard them every day. Their kids would be stomping all the time and they had their workout routine at 6 p.m. every night because I would hear it and I know their routine. Also, 11 o'clock was their pre-bedtime playtime. I don't know why their kids were up at 11, because they were pretty young.. And so there were a couple times where it was so bad that I would take my broom and just hit on their window, try to make them stop running around.
What would you say is your greatest achievement?
This is going to sound a little odd, but my greatest achievement, but also my pivot point was probably getting my master's degree in student affairs and higher education because I planned on going into higher education to work with college students for the rest of my life. And then, working as a hall director, I realized that college students are annoying, and I can't deal with them. So rather than just quitting the program, I decided to just go ahead and complete it, so then I'd have that degree. After that, that's when I started thinking this is not the industry for me. So I did work in marketing for about almost two years, but then because of the COVID, I decided to pivot to the tech industry. So because I did not enjoy student affairs, it led me to tech. So my greatest achievement was realizing that that was not the path for me.
What app on your phone do you use the most?
Twitter, because not only do I doom scroll on Twitter, but I found a Tech Twitter community. They're so supportive, and there are so many resources on there.
What food do you uncontrollably eat?
Pizza. I can eat an entire large, extra large pizza in one sitting. And my two favorite toppings are pepperoni and pineapple, and pineapples do belong on pizza.
What would you blow $1 million on? You can’t be responsible with it.
OK, I would probably do an entire year's trip traveling the world. So I would visit Japan first, because it's my top destination, and then Greece is second, and then just randomly go around Europe, going hiking, different major cities, going to a lot of the architectural locations, go to some historical places, go to all the cool museums. And then, of course, I’ll try all the foods in the different places, as well.
What public figure do you admire most and why?
My favorite public figure is also my role model: Taylor Swift, because not only is she a musical goddess, like a gift from Heaven, but that she's also a great role model in how she does her business. And then also her more vocal political views, as well.
All new Fast employees share something interesting about themselves during their first all-staff meeting. What was your backup plan or story if someone else had said the same thing?
Oh, shoot. I forgot what I said. I think I said I was from Nashville and I have two cats. Something else I would say: I am adopted from Wuhan. Wuhan, China. Also, my sister is adopted from China as well, so, my two brothers are White and then the two girls are Chinese.
What Fast-branded swag do you wish we had?
I wish that we had a Fast water bottle, because I always carry this Nalgene water bottle around, but it's kind of old. So I'd love to see if Nalgene and Fast partner, or another company similar to this, so then I could not only be hydrated and healthy but also promote Fast as well.