We had the pleasure of interviewing Colton Powell, an advocate event marketer with Hootsuite. Colton was a part of our #aspiretotech campaign and we wanted to learn more about him and why he chose a career in tech. Here’s what he had to say: BC Tech: Tell us a bit about your early years and where you’re from… Colton: I was born in Ontario and moved out west at the age of two. I grew up in Whistler and was lucky enough to have skis strapped to my feet until I was ten. My family then made the move to White Rock and eventually I made my way to UBC where I studied Geography specialized in Environment and Sustainability. BC Tech: How did you end up in tech? Colton: When I graduated, I wanted to work in an industry that challenged me and had opportunities for growth and development. I had heard about Vancouver’s tech scene through the grapevine and also had a few friends in the industry that recommended looking for a job with a startup. I had a close friend who had started a small company and needed some help with web design and SEO. I helped him for a couple of months and eventually fell in love with the tech and the startup world. Hootsuite really attracted me due to how fast they were growing, their recent round of funding, and the amazing sense of community that was evident in their culture. I applied, and the rest is history. BC Tech: How were you were first introduced to the tech industry? Colton: I was first introduced to the Tech industry through a friend who had started his own business. He asked me to come and help produce a few videos for his company along with some design and SEO work. Working from home and in co-working spaces, all while being challenged to learn on the fly excited me, and I knew that I had found a home in Tech. BC Tech: Walk me through your work and tell us what you’re working on now… Colton: I am currently an Advocate Marketing Specialist, Events working on Hootsuite’s marketing team in Vancouver. Our advocacy team works with our brand advocates to empower them to advocate, educate, and provide feedback about our product. In my role, I am tasked with hosting events around North America to engage and interact with our customers, advocates, and influencers. With these events, we try to educate our customers and advocates about the latest trends in social while creating the ideal environment for networking and making connections. I am currently working on hosting events in Philadelphia, New York, LA, and San Francisco. BC Tech: Tell us about some of the bigger roadblocks and struggles that you’ve had to overcome in your career… Colton: Since I am still very early on in my career, I think the biggest roadblock was finding a job and deciding where I wanted to work. Knowing what you want to do is easy for some people, but was difficult for me. I found sticking to a field where I had the most experience and passion allowed me to find my first job. The great part about working at Hootsuite is that as a company it is very open to people making leaps across departments and into new teams and new roles. So even if my initial path didn’t work out, I am constantly empowered to try new positions or roles to find the best fit. BC Tech: What are the biggest motivators in your work? What drives you? Colton: The biggest motivators in my job are our customers and the people I work with. I love when I meet a customer or ambassador for Hootsuite and how excited they are about our product and the challenges it helps them solve. It is amazing to meet and interact with these people and hear their stories and how they came to work in social. The second driver for me is the people who I work with at the nest. I work with some of the smartest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Their constant hustle and ability to get s#!t done motivates me to work harder and think outside of the box. BC Tech: What does a typical day look like for you? Colton: A normal day for me would look like this. I would arrive at the office around 9:00 am, grab a banana and coffee and work through the emails from overnight and the morning. That would be followed by checking in on the status of various logistics for our upcoming events. At lunch, I would head up to the HootGym to participate in one of our Hootfit classes or yoga. The afternoon would consist of a team meeting and a few strategy or brainstorming sessions with the greater social team about upcoming campaigns. After working on projects and making sure our events are on schedule, I would say goodnight to my favourite #Hootdogs and head home. BC Tech: How do you feel about the state of tech in 2017, what excites you? Colton: I think tech is on the rise, especially in Vancouver. With the success of more and more companies on the west coast like Slack, Bench, and Hootsuite, we are able to grow the job market here locally. With increased success, we are going to see more and more companies choose Vancouver as their home base. BC Tech: What advice would you have for young people who are really hoping to get into tech but just don’t know where to start? Colton: I think, the biggest advice I have for young people looking to get into tech is to understand that working in this industry doesn’t always require having a technical background or a computer science degree. All companies have positions beyond the dev team, in marketing, sales, operations, and beyond. You just need to identify your skill set and your passion and sink your teeth into whatever area of the business you can add the most value.
Want to learn more about what it’s like to work in tech? check out our #aspiretotech page.