The first tech girl at Clay!

A team of 24 bricks, 8 nationalities; all technology lovers, and innovative thinkers. Meet Chantal, the first girl employee of Clay!

It was an ordinary Wednesday afternoon 3 years ago on my previous job, ok no, I’m making that up. Nothing about my previous job was ordinary, nor do I remember whether it was a Wednesday or a Tuesday that turned my life up side down. What I do remember is that I was doing nothing special that day at the credit card company in Brighton England, where I worked at the time. I just handled my day-to-day calls with customers asking where their money had gone.
A very abnormal phone call came in after my daily dose of angry customers. It was Clay.

“I was just doing my job, but Rick had a different opinion about that.”

Clay had contacted me in desperate need of my help, because something had gone utterly wrong when they had tried to charge a customer’s credit card. Their case was a little different than normal, as their money disappeared completely from their account, which intrigued me tremendously. I went out of my way to solve it and it took many unauthorized unrecorded phone calls to now my boss Rick, to get to the bottom of what was going on. Looking back I was not doing anything extraordinary, I was just doing my job, but Rick had a different opinion about that. He was quite impressed with what I had done in terms of customer support and so it happened that on our last conversation he offered me a job, which I casually accepted. I told him he could send the job description to my private email address. In reality the situation was not very casual, I was dancing around the office telling all my colleagues that someone offered me a job, which afterwards everyone teased me about and no one took it quite serious. People offer you stuff all the time, which you are not supposed to accept when you work at a credit card company, as it can be considered bribing, but this was different, so I told myself.

“I initially thought it was a beauty company that sold clay masks, but boy was I wrong.”

Then the debating began and the doubts kicked in. First with my boyfriend: ‘Should I take this job?’ ‘Should we move back to the Netherlands?’ ‘What if we do move and it’s going to be a disaster?’ I think I discussed it with everyone I knew and whom would listen. I did a thorough research to see what kind of company Clay was. I initially thought it was a beauty company that sold clay masks, but boy was I wrong. Which kick started another doubt; is an IT start-up that is selling remote controlled locks something for me? In the end it just seemed like a great adventure and we decided to take the risk and move back to the Netherlands.

“It takes hard work and a little bit of luck, but being a girl in the technology business is worth it!”

We took a little detour through Australia and on November 3rd 2014 I had my first day at Clay. I don’t want to sound like an old lady, but I remember my first day like it was yesterday. I saw Rick for the first time in real life that day, which was a bit surreal, before that day I’d only seen him once for a Skype call. When I walked into the office you could hear a pin drop, everyone was just busy being in their own little developer world. You must know that I was used to being in an office with about a thousand other people constantly talking, the noise was deafening.
The contradiction with the Clay office could not be more apparent at the time. After that shocking introduction followed a two-day training course given by mister Clay himself about what it meant to be working at Clay and what the hell they were actually selling. It blew my mind, I think I never had a headache that was more throbbing than the one I had at the end of those two days. I learned things about ZigBee, mac addresses, encryption and so on. I had to pretend I understood everything, because everyone around me seemed to know what they were talking about. Fast-forward three years and now I’m giving those trainings myself!

I have been very lucky Clay gave me the opportunity to be part of an amazing company! And I am proud to be the first girl brick of our team! Now we even have our own girls channel on Slack!

Ladies, it takes hard work and a little bit of luck, but being a girl in the technology business is worth it! Who run the world? Tech girls!

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