Listen to the Podcast, here! Transcription provided, below.
Janelle (Host): Hello, and welcome to the Own Your Career Podcast. My name is Janelle Jordan, and I’m a Program Manager on our Talent, Performance, and Engagement team, and I am so excited to be here with you. Throughout this series, you will hear inspiring interviews with employees who have achieved career growth at GoDaddy through internal promotions and movement. In addition, you will hear tips, best practices, and advice to support your career journey. Career management is necessary for a successful journey, and we hope you’ll walk away ready to Own Your Career. Thank you for spending time with us today. Now let’s jump into the Career Spotlight Podcast with our guest. I’m here today with Christine Perkins, who is a Senior Director of Program Management and Care and Services at GoDaddy. Hi, Christine. Welcome to the podcast.
Christine (guest): Hello. Thank you!
Janelle: Let’s get to know you quickly. Can you share with us a little about who you are and what brings you joy outside the office?
Christine: Absolutely. So like you said, Janelle, I’m Christine Perkins. I’m located here in the great state of Iowa, and what brings me joy outside the office is pretty easily my family. I’m married to David, who’s a wonderful husband, and we have five year old twins, Jane and Ryan, who are kind of the center of our world. We’ve also recently added a kitten to our family, Bruce Perkins, and he’s a cuddly little fluff ball that we are all obsessed with. But, yeah, outside the office, a lot of family, and we love to be outside playing tennis, trying to play golf, and being active in our community.
Janelle: I love that. Congratulations on your kitten. I love pets that have full names. Do you call him by his full name?
Christine: We call him Brucey. Or Brucey baby. He rarely goes by his full name.
Janelle: So I have to imagine that the twins also keep you busy. Five years old must be, what, kindergarten, first grade?
Christine: Yes, they’re in kindergarten.
Janelle: Wonderful. I’m a twin mommy, too, so I love that age. Mine are just ahead of you in second grade.
Christine: Awesome. Twin moms unite.
Janelle: All right, well, super excited to dig into this podcast with you. Can you start with sharing with our listeners an overview of your career journey here at GoDaddy and what that movement and experience has been like for you?
Christine: Yeah, absolutely. So I was hired straight out of college from a college career fair, where GoDaddy had a booth, into the Care Center, where I was a Sales and Support Representative. And that was a great experience for learning about our system, learning how to interact with our customers, and just learning about the business in general. And then a few months after that, I moved to a specialized product team called Domains by Proxy, which it was a privacy service for Domains. So basically, we handled advanced support issues as well as third party complaints. So that was a great opportunity to learn about the world of trademarks, copyright, making sure that customers had a superb experience even though sometimes we were contacting them about difficult things. And then just eventually on that mark on my career, I became a people leader on that Domains by Proxy team, as well. And then next kind of winding the path on my career journey, I entered the world of Program Management. So honestly, back when I was in Domains by Proxy, I had no idea that Program Management or Project Management was a career path. But I had a manager who told me that it might be something that I would be good at and I kind of started looking into it and I made introductions to other Program Managers on the company and that’s kind of what created that opportunity for me. So I was on the Domains team and I handled the TLDs program where we onboarded new TLDs, made changes to existing TLDs and just in general kind of helped make sure that the product was up to date and within compliance for our policies. That was a great opportunity to learn about all sorts of other functions because Project Management is often the glue between other teams as we handle these different initiatives. So, I was learning about business analysts, to legal, to accounting, to pricing, and policy — all these different teams that just kind of helped me understand more and more about Program Management and ultimately the business. And then after that, thanks to Program Management, I think I kind of took a slight dip out of that career field for a couple of years and I was a Partner Manager on the Domains team where I managed the relationship with our registry partners. So that meant negotiation of contracts, co-marketing agreements, just general operational matters and bringing new TLDs to market with these partners. So that was another great experience. But at that point, I was about eight years into my career here at GoDaddy and the large majority of that time was spent on the Domains team and I was kind of starting to get that itch to learn something new. And just about that time there was an opportunity that came up to move to the Marketing team to lead the Customer Marketing Program Management office. So, I jumped on that and it was a great opportunity to learn about another area of the business, just our central marketing function while still having that Program Management base where I could continue growing and sharpening those skills. I really jumped back into people leadership. So, I hired a few people and was able to build that team, which was something I really enjoyed and I still enjoy. That stint was a little bit shorter, it was about a year and a half and I, again, was starting to have that itch of wanting to apply something else or starting to learn something else in my career. So, I let my network know that I was interested in looking for some new opportunities and there was an opportunity to join Care and Service, where I am today to lead their Program Management office. I accepted that role about three years ago and it’s been super fun. I’ve learned tons. I now lead a team of eleven amazing Project and Program Managers and we ultimately help deliver initiatives within Care and Services that impact our Customers, our Guides, and that are directly impactful to GoDaddy’s strategy. I think when I look back at my LinkedIn profile, I’ve got over ten different job events here at GoDaddy, but it’s been an amazing journey and I just love that I’ve had these opportunities at GoDaddy to join. I haven’t really had the need to look outside of GoDaddy because there’s always been something that I’ve been able to jump to.
Janelle: And what I hear is that you listened to yourself and you knew when you were ready to make a change or when you were ready to take a risk and to jump into something different. I also hear that there’s lots of opportunities, it sounds like, to do different things. I mean, at one point you were in Domains for quite a few years, but you were doing different roles and holding different responsibilities within the Domains area. And that was because your interest changed or you wanted to learn and grow in a different way, do a different job, and then just this big jump to leave Care and Services and to go to Marketing, right?
Christine: Well, I left Domains, I went to Marketing. Yeah, that was the big jump.
Janelle: That was the big jump. And that’s a risk, right? And, and then doing that job and learning as much as you can and then again talking to yourself and reflecting and asking yourself where do you want to be, what do you want to do and where do you want to bring value? Right? And where do you want to take all of your knowledge and your expertise and where do you want to drive that within the organization to help them accomplish their goals? And it led you back to Care and Services and I love it. And you found a home here. And not only that, you’ve helped grow a part of this that is clearly making a lot of impact with eleven Program Managers delivering against the objectives for Care and Services is pretty awesome.
Christine: Yes, absolutely.
Janelle: Quite a journey. Okay, there is so much there, but let’s keep going. I think we’re going to jump into some of the juicier things in a second. So can you tell us what do you feel are the secrets behind getting you to where you are today?
Christine: Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, I’ll just start by saying I’m not sure if these are real big top secret, but just some little nuggets that I think have really been things that have helped me along the way and continue to grow in the career. So, the first is I feel like I’m generally curious. I’ve had an open mind and I’m really willing to do the work. I think this is a mindset that I’ve had to internalize, is that I have to do the work. I have to have a track record if I want to be able to do the next thing. If you’re going to be interviewing for a job, you should have examples to show how you’ve made an impact. And before you’re in those job interviews, you have to be willing to do that work. So I think it’s just learning, building relationships, and applying what you learned and just rinse and repeating. And then when those opportunities arise where it’s kind of like a step forward in your career, then you’re going to be ready to do that because you’ve been able to do that work. So, the second thing I think is consistency. We have done strength finders on our team and one of my top five strengths is consistency. I’m kind of more self aware that this is one of the things that I’m really good at. I’ve built a lot of just like, structures. So, I feel like one of the secrets is take a lot of the effort and calories spent on creating new things all the time and look at what you’ve done in the past and how you can build on that. So, just like that consistency of knowing how you do your best work, how you can apply that in the future, just continually growing is another trait of continuing to grow that career.
Janelle: It’s going back to the foundations of knowing your strengths and weaknesses. And we talk about this all the time, but I think people really glance over it, right? So I think it just comes up so much, your self reflections and your annual reviews and things like that. But along your journey, what you’re saying is you have known your strengths, you have known your opportunities, you’ve known your skills, behaviors, the things that you’re good at. You’ve been able to excel and grow those, whether they’re making them even stronger, or finding out maybe where you need to learn a little bit more and dig in a little bit deeper. And it kind of brings me back to something you had said earlier. A manager had said, “hey, I think that you might be good at Program Management,” and you didn’t know what that was. You weren’t necessarily looking at the Program Manager leveling guy trying to figure out how to get into this field of work, but somebody noticed that in you, and then you took that, you said, “okay,” and maybe you said, “well, what specifically are those skills that you’re seeing in me?” And then what you said was, you researched it. Somebody just noticed something in you and then you researched it. And then I’m sure you probably were like, “oh yeah, actually I would be really great at this.”
Christine: Yeah, absolutely. And there’s tons of information out there in our world or the Internet about Project and Program Management. But I did take courses, and I did do some self learning. But the other thing I did was I found other Program Managers here at GoDaddy. I learned from them, and I took examples of how they worked and was able to kind of tweak it or make it my own or apply it to the situation. I guess a piece of advice I’d have is if you’re interested in a career field, don’t be afraid to go and talk to someone who has that career and have just an informational interview so you can understand some of the skills and traits that they have that you can apply to your current role. So that when you’re ready to interview for that position, you’ve got some really concrete examples to say. Well, I put my work into a project plan and I was able to track it to Milestones, and I was able to keep all of these different teams on track. Those are great examples of some traits with Program Management that could show that you’ve got more of a track record.
Janelle: That’s wonderful advice. And what a lot of people don’t realize is that without having the title of Program Management or Project Manager, there are folks across the organization who are doing these responsibilities and these tasks, believe it or not, without the Project Management framework behind it, you’re doing these things. And so there is a way for you to demonstrate that you’ve successfully run a project from beginning to end. Just tracking that and finding your own way to tell that story, to show that you have concrete evidence that you have experience here and it doesn’t have to be with that title, right. Or on that team. There’s a wealth of folks here at GoDaddy. In fact, almost everybody I know was willing to talk to somebody in a mentorship capacity or just in a “hey, yeah, I’ll share.” I just I can’t think of anybody who would turn that away. It’s great advice and don’t be afraid to do that. Is there anything else? So we’ve talked about having the right mindset of knowing that you need to do the work, being consistent, knowing your skills. Is there anything else you feel has really led to you getting to where you are?
Christine: Yeah, maybe I’ll just double click on when you don’t feel like you are a subject matter expert on something or you feel like you are not understanding a piece of the business. I would just say if you really feel like that’s something you need to know then go learn about it. Like you’re not just going to receive that information someday. I would encourage spend some time just really understanding it. Like an example is remember when I was on the Domains team, I was a brand new Program Manager and I was expected to manage the TLD program. But the domain system, it was so complex and I had to ask all sorts of people different things and I remember just having that epiphany of like, “wow, I really need to go learn about this.” I would meet with all sorts of engineers or leaders and these people were willing to teach me and I was eventually able to just understand a lot of things and ask for access to tools that I probably wouldn’t have just received as a Program Manager so that I could do some of the work myself. And I became really effective because I was able to know this area so well. So I think that’s just another secret is just having that drive to really go learn about your craft or your subject area so that you can be more effective.
Janelle: Yeah, a growth mindset to always be learning and to always be curious. So how important is it as a Program Manager or Project Manager to know a little bit about what everybody else does and how they do it?
Christine: You know, that’s a great question, Janelle, because now most Project and Program Managers are hired for those specific skill sets. But if there is an area where they’re expected to be a Program Manager for a specific product line, they’re going to have to learn all about that product so that they can understand what they’re dealing with, what they’re managing, and that can be on the job training. My point is that’s what is going to make you exceptional is if you really learn the ins and outs so that when it does come to your tried and true skill set of being a Project or Program manager, that you can know the nuances and know who does what and just kind of know what skeletons are in the closet so that you can be a step ahead of the game. I often tell my team that as Project and Program Managers, we just need to be like three or four steps ahead. We can’t kind of be going at the same pace as the rest of the team because we have to anticipate the blockers or anticipate any problems that might come up so that we can mitigate them before they delay the project or cause an issue.
Janelle: 100%. And that’s the difference between good and great. You can be a subject matter expert (SME) and maybe you don’t necessarily have to be a SME, but you should dig in, you should learn, you should grow, you should understand. And I think that’s the difference between being good and being great. Thank you for sharing. That really excellent advice for anyone that is kind of curious about what it’s like to be a Program Manager here at GoDaddy. Onto our third question. Can you share with us what has been your biggest challenge as well as your biggest joy as a people leader and a manager?
Christine: Absolutely. So I’ll start with joy because more than anything, being a people leader brings me way more joy than anything else. If I had to paint the picture of what makes me the most joyful about being a People Manager, it’s when my team is confident, happy, enjoying their work, being efficient, being effective and just really kind of being on top of it. And I just love to see them be and feel successful. A lot of times in Program Management there’s things that go wrong because we’re a software company and things are going to go wrong. And it doesn’t mean that we are bad at our jobs, but it’s how we handle those things that happen that don’t make it a terrible day when we go off schedule or a bug pops up, that we’re able to handle it with grace and we’re able to remain confident that we can still deliver. So it’s just really fulfilling for me to help enable their success. The other thing I really love that makes me feel so joyful is when I see my direct team just thriving and learning from each other. One of the cool things I’ve been able to do is bring Program Managers from throughout Care and Services onto one team so we can continue to refine the craft, refine the motion of Project and Program Management in Care and Services. And they have learned so much from each other and they Slack each other if they know that one person is particularly good at something or will share a learning in a team meeting. That really helps someone else on their other project. And I love that we don’t have a spirit of competition in our team other than, like, we want to be great together, that we are willing to help each other. So I’m super proud my team thinks about our team that way. That brings me incredible joy.
Janelle: That really speaks to the culture that you have helped create within your team. Because to have that ability to knowledge share in that way means that they have an incredible amount of trust with each other and you can’t ask for anything better. To be a high performing team, there has to be a foundation of trust, and that’s an excellent and amazing culture to have on a team, especially one that that is working at the capacity, with the pressure that they have and the priorities, the responsibilities and as fast moving as the work is means that you probably do have a really efficient and effective and high performing team. And that’s wonderful. What makes it hard? What keeps you up at night.
Christine: Right. It probably goes without saying, but people management is hard. Like, as much joy as it brings me and the good days definitely outweigh the hard days. I mean, there are hard things that we have to do as people leaders. And I’d say the most challenging area is when you have someone on the team that you can see it’s just not working for them, whatever it is, the project, the role, and they’re not aware of it, yet. And sometimes it’s hard to hear feedback that you get from your leader, so I try to be conscious of that. But at the end of the day, it can just be really hard. It’s a hard situation if they’re not performing and the role is difficult. But it is the job of a people manager to provide the support, get the expectations in place so that they can perform at the level that they’re supposed to. But ultimately, at the end of the day, there are going to be those situations where they’re just not the best fit. So those are probably the hardest days that I have as a people leader.
Janelle: Delivering feedback and knowing it’s a sensitive conversation, but also having their best interests in mind throughout that. Right? So if they don’t know, helping them to know, and then coaching, and then if coaching isn’t enough, the harder conversation of like, hey, what can we do to get you where you will thrive? What does that look like?
Janelle: Yes, absolutely. And any good leader just wants their team to be happy and thriving. So when that’s not happening, it’s difficult for sure. And when your team is struggling with anything, a person, a colleague, a peer, a project, a task, a tool, you’re a little bit struggling too. But like you said, the good days outweighed, the bad days. Last question. Can you share with us what is a common myth about your job, your department or even your field of expertise?
Christine: I think go with Program or Project management and the common myth around that. It’s kind of a fun question because twelve years in at GoDaddy, I’ve been on the Program Management side of things for so long that I have noticed that there’s people that have different expectations about Project and Program Managers. I think the most incorrect thing that it is, is that we’re just like glorified notetakers for meetings or meeting schedulers or something like that. And I’m just like that couldn’t be more far from the truth. I mean, great Program Management is really just being the glue behind the initiative and helping to set the direction of what we’re going to deliver. And Program Management brings such value in times when there’s a lot of different people involved. It’s something that we haven’t done before and there’s stakes on the line or there’s high stakes for being delivered on time and on budget. I’d say kind of the other side of that is yes, we do take meeting notes. Absolutely. But beyond that, we are observing all the details. We are observing our team and understanding how they work best together. We have to know the business goals. We have to know the different nuances between how different teams operate, common risks on a certain program that we know could get in our way to delivering success. So I think just all those things help us bring the plan together, help keep things on track. And yeah, we are excellent notetakers as well.
Janelle: Yes. As a fellow Program Manager and People Operations, we are great listeners, great notetakers, super organized. You are all correct in all of those capacities. But we also dig in to ask really strategic questions. We are critical thinkers. We are problem solvers. We are communicating effectively the way that our business partners and cross functional partners will receive our information in a way that allows them to prioritize what we’re asking them to do so we can achieve a common goal. That is not easy. You’re right. It takes a lot of skills. Yes. Almost all of them.
Christine: Yeah. And it’s a great field for someone who you said is organized and really wants to keep moving, keep achieving, not doing the same thing every day. It’s an exciting career field because the definition of a project is something that has a start and an end. You’re going to be delivering something and then you’re moving on. So we’re not doing the same thing for any long period of time. We’re continually delivering milestones that bring value, which is the goal.
Janelle: I think, for folks that are listening to this call and are really interested in project management and program management, one thing to know is that in every area of the organization, these roles exist. They’re in Finance, they’re in Analytics, they’re in Care and Services, they’re in People Operations, they’re in HR, and there’s Technical Program Managers and there’s so many opportunities there. And to really just kind of dig into your skills, what type of work you love to do, what tools you love working with, what do you love most about what you do today and see if there’s something there. Christine, thank you so much for spending time with us. And if somebody wanted to chat with you a little bit more about this role and your team and just kind of this profession and all of your expertise, how could they get in touch with you?
Christine: Yeah, absolutely. They could find me on Slack, find me on email. I’ve also got a great team and they love to talk about Program Management. So, if you would like to get in contact with anyone on my team, I’d be happy to connect you. Yeah, my door is open.
Janelle: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Christine. This has been so much fun and appreciate you sharing your career story and your journey with our listeners and all about your team’s success here. And thank you to everyone for listening to the Own Your Career Podcast. We aim to inspire, motivate, and empower our employees to meet and achieve their professional goals. If you are interested in being a guest on a future episode of the podcast, please visit the MyCareer Portal Career Spotlight page and complete the interest form. While you’re there, please check out the many resources and articles available and reach out to us with feedback, questions and ideas. We would always love to hear from you. Thanks again, Christine and everyone. Make it a great day.
Christine: Thanks, Janelle. Thanks for having me.
Are you enjoying this series and want to know more about life at GoDaddy? Check out our GoDaddy Life social pages! Follow us to meet our team, learn more about our culture (Teams, ERGs, Locations), careers, and so much more. You’re more than just your day job, so come propel your career with us.