Solarian Spotlight: Colbea Smith, Demand Generation Manager
August 23, 2022 |
When Colbea Smith was looking to get back to her first love, IT, and combine it with her passion, marketing, she found SolarWinds. “I found SolarWinds to be a gem of a company by way of company culture, competitiveness, size, and growth,” she notes, which made the decision to join the company a simple one. After starting as a contractor, Colbea quickly proved herself in the demand generation space and was soon offered a permanent position – which she enthusiastically accepted.
As an integral part of the marketing team here at SolarWinds, Colbea has found a work home she feels cares for herself and her wellbeing. Professionally, she has been able to pursue her love for marketing and be a part of several acquisitions enabling her to expand her role since she started in 2019. Personally, Colbea has found SolarWinds is as tied into the community and concerned for its wellbeing as she is. Through SolarWinds, Colbea has found a way to pursue not only a fulfilling career but a fulfilling charitable outreach as well.
Colbea is a perfect example of the Solarian CARE (collaborative, accountable, ready, empathetic) values, proving to be collaborative and accountable, but also tied to her community and interested in improving any situation she can with empathy. As we prepare for our first annual Holistic Wellness & Wellbeing Week at SolarWinds, I had a chat with Colbea to learn how she got started in her career, how she has grown, and how she feels the company supports her overall wellbeing.
Tell me about your background and career path. How many years have you been at SolarWinds?
I graduated from Texas State University (“Eat ‘em up, Cats!”) with a degree in mass communications and journalism, a concentration in advertising, and a minor in psychology. My first role was in corporate communications at Hewlett-Packard, or HP. Over time, my roles in corporate communications merged with marketing initiatives, and I quickly developed a deep passion for all things marketing—to me, it’s a perfect balance of strategy, creativity, and analytics. I started at SolarWinds just over three years ago, and I haven’t looked back.
Tell me about your role now. What do you do as a demand generation manager?
After working in various industries, I was ready to return to my roots in the information technology industry. Through my research, I found SolarWinds to be a gem of a company by way of company culture, competitiveness, size, and growth. A couple of additional bonuses for me were that SolarWinds was looking to fill a marketing position and was headquartered where I live in Austin, Texas.
I was hired initially as a contractor, and after a few months, my manager asked if I would like to join full-time. I was stoked. I started in demand generation with our database products and was a part of two acquisitions that grew our database portfolio. In 2021, I started managing our suite of security products. My day-to-day is filled with spreadsheets, writing copy, and ideating ways to optimize our promotional efforts.
How has marketing or demand generation changed from your perspective?
The most significant change I’ve seen over time is the shift from traditional marketing (i.e., television, flyers, billboards) to digital marketing. As for demand gen, I think it’s changed in that everyone uses social media platforms, produces whitepapers, and sends emails, so the strategy and execution behind campaigns to build a community with educational content in a creative yet tactile way is even more important this day in age. Does that make me sound old? LOL
What do you love about marketing?
Everything! It’s a perfect balance of analytical, strategical, and creative.
I hear you’ve been handing out extra food to the less fortunate in the Austin community. How did that start? What motivated you?
We all love and appreciate the catered food SolarWinds provides its employees every week (if not more often, depending on what larger meetings may occur). But I noticed there are usually leftovers and it hurt my heart knowing the extra food was being thrown away. One day I asked corporate services if, instead of them throwing it away, I could pack up the food and drive around Austin to pass it out to the homeless community.
Since I was about 18 years old, it’s been a passion of mine to make sure our community is never without water or food. During university, I always carried around a case of water bottles and peanut butter or cheese crackers to pass out. Now it’s a win-win for everyone; no food is wasted, countless stomachs in our community are full, and I’m still able to pursue a passion of mine!
Tell us about the Wellness and Wellbeing community at SolarWinds.
It’s really wonderful to see how much SolarWinds cares about all aspects of our wellbeing, including our physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and cyber wellness. Not only are we encouraged with various challenges around those categories, but we also are encouraged to take courses and learn how we can be better wholly. SolarWinds provides a lot of free resources designed to help us with things like career success or legal and financial advice, as well. We even receive one work day off each quarter for a mental health day. Pretty dang cool. #LifeAtSolarWinds
How are you involved with the communities in Austin? Do you see the CARE values aligning with your daily life?
Although my primary community involvement is with the homeless community, I also participate in local and national groups that promote inclusivity for LGBTQIA and women communities. For example, on August 20th, more than 50 SolarWinds employees and friends walked in Austin’s pride parade thanks to the PRIDE @ SolarWinds organization. I found that very empowering.
The CARE values integrate into my life regularly; we are collaborative, we stay accountable to one another and to SolarWinds, we remain ready for all life’s possibilities both professionally and personally, and we are authentically and undoubtedly empathetic.
What do you like to do outside of the office? What are your hobbies?
Here in Austin, you can find me by the water (the greenbelt, river, or lake), either paddle boarding, swimming, or tubing. You’ll also likely catch me at a free local show or a concert for a big named artist. Outside of Austin, I’m traveling to new cities or countries, taking in the culture, cuisine, fun, and excursions. I’m also dancing probably 90% of the time outside the office.
Learn more about SolarWinds
As a company that prides itself on its people-first culture, SolarWinds cares about our employees' wellness and wellbeing. We work to foster holistic wellness for our internal communities through various initiatives and are thrilled to launch our first Holistic Wellness Week on August 22-26. The week will focus on the six pillars of wellness and wellbeing, providing Solarians with the skills and knowledge to incorporate them into their lives.
SolarWinds is acutely aware mental and emotional wellbeing helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy decisions in our personal and professional lives. A team is only as strong as its weakest member, and SolarWinds wants to ensure it supports all employees to be their best selves so they can be the best for their teams at work and their families at home.
SolarWinds continues to grow across all sites and departments (engineering, IT, marketing, and sales), constantly adding new positions. If you’re interested in working for an industry leader and joining a culture focused on learning and collaboration, check out our complete listing of job opportunities.