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August 29, 2022 By Melissa Beck

Why this employee believes diverse backgrounds make for better team collaboration

Sumo Spotlight highlights Libby Christensen, principal program manager

Sumo Spotlight highlights Sumo Logic employees from around the globe. This spotlight features Libby Christensen, principal program manager based in Washington.

What is your role at Sumo Logic?

I have been at Sumo Logic for a year and started in the middle of Covid, which was interesting. I was brought in to help launch the amazing work that the product and engineering teams create. In order to do this successfully, I get the opportunity to work collaboratively with almost every team at Sumo Logic.

What is your team like?

I absolutely love my team. I am a part of the products team and my teammates are located all over the world. They all come from such diverse personal and work backgrounds, so there is a good amount of healthy debate on topics, it’s great to be a part of a team that values individuals' thoughts.

What has your experience been with our company culture?

Because I started during the pandemic, I had to do a fair amount of onboarding remotely. Typically, this would make it challenging to connect with coworkers. But I was blown away by the number of Sumos that took 30 minutes out of their day just to chat with me virtually. Every single person I talked to wanted to help me get settled into my role. For a program manager like me, that was music to my ears and I think this is a great example of Sumo Logic’s collaborative culture.

Any lessons from the trenches when it comes to launching products?

A product launch is never written in stone and things will always change –– dates, scope, assignees and priorities. One of the biggest lessons I learned the hard way is that you can’t assume that communication in just a Slack message or just an email will be seen by all the impacted stakeholders. You need to communicate across all channels to ensure everyone is made aware.

Also, it’s critical to stay in close contact with the launch team so I can ensure everyone is on the same page. There have been times when I pulled parts of the team together to avoid any possible miscommunications. Sometimes a quick sync meeting can save hours of rework.

What have been your proudest accomplishments during your time at Sumo Logic?

When someone asks me about my time at Sumo Logic, three key moments come to mind:

  • I am so proud of any product launch that we do at Sumo. We have accomplished so much in a year, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here.
  • I am very proud to have been a part of the International Women's Day panel at Sumo. We had over 150 people on the call! The response during and after the call gave me a lot of hope for the future.
  • During a recent team offsite at Top Golf, I got the opportunity to teach many of my coworkers how to swing a golf club. It was an absolute blast to get to meet my coworkers in a setting outside of a Zoom call, and to be able to pass along my love of golf made it even more memorable.
Libby Christensen photo collage

Libby showing off her SKOL love, her garden, and in action at team offsites and the International Women’s Day panel discussion

How did your path shape who you are today?

My time at UW Eau Claire helped shape who I am today. My first Computer Science class at UWEC had more people in it than my high school graduating class. While I was outnumbered in the classroom, I felt like I was an equal. The classes were hard. Looking back I realized they were hard for everyone but each person showed it differently. I still had those moments of self-doubt but I stuck with it.

Now that I am out of college, I am very passionate about helping other women in CS find their voice and their confidence to enter this workforce. This field is challenging but so worth it.

I recently found out that I am a recipient of the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Alumni President’s Award for the work I have done for women in STEM. The President’s award is for unique professional and personal achievements and service to the University. Out of 93,000 alumni, only 92 people have been awarded this honor to date!

Who are some of your biggest inspirations?

My biggest inspiration at Sumo is our Chief Customer Officer, Dione Hedgpeth. She is actually the reason why I am here. Dione was my executive mentor back in 2013. Dione is the most authentic and genuine leader I know. After joining Sumo, on my first trip to headquarters, I ran into Dione. Her first question was “are you happy?” With a big smile on my face, I told her I was. She responded with, “I knew you would be.”

"Because I started during the pandemic, I had to do a fair amount of onboarding remotely... I was blown away by the number of Sumos that took time out of their day just to chat with me virtually. Every single person I talked to wanted to help me get settled into my role."

What’s the most unique part about working here?

It’s honestly the community here at Sumo and how inclusive it feels. From taking a random coffee virtual chat with folks when I joined, to jumping around to different golf teams at Top Golf, I always felt like I belonged here.

How do you spend your time outside of Sumo?

You can usually find me outside working in my yard. In the last few years, I have gotten into Dahlias, and this spring, I planted over 50 dahlias in my yard. I also have fruit trees (apple, figs, plums, raspberry, blueberry), a full veggie garden, and all my flower gardens. When I first bought my house, it was the worst yard on the entire block. Now I have neighbors that stop by to check out my backyard.

How have you grown professionally while on our team?

While intimidating, joining Sumo and needing to remap my network within the company really helped build my confidence. I created a program from scratch that is now adopted throughout all the product lines.

Best piece of advice you ever received?

My mom once sent me a quote in an email, “Be yourself because everyone else is taken.” It’s stuck with me. It’s easy to compare yourself to others, act a certain way, or think you need to be someone else to fit in. It’s taken ages to realize for me that it’s ok not to fit in. I am finally comfortable in my skin, and that’s when I feel like I have started to be the real me.

Share one thing that your co-workers don’t know about you

Most coworkers should understand that I am a die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan. I will travel for my team to see them play. SKOL!

However, most coworkers didn’t know that I was born with a condition called hip dysplasia, where my left hip socket wasn’t formed when I was born. I spent a good amount of time as a toddler in a body cast while they took bone from parts of my leg and formed the socket. Since the socket was made from my bone, it grew with me. Pretty cutting edge for the early 1980s!

Want to join our team? Sumo Logic is hiring around the globe! Check out our current openings here https://www.sumologic.com/company/careers/.

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Melissa Beck

Melissa Beck is the senior director of global communications at Sumo Logic where she drives communications and engagement across employees, customers, and the social media sphere.

More posts by Melissa Beck.

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