Join us each month for a series highlighting the unique career journey of employees. This month, we talk to a Technical Architect in Seattle.

1. When did you start with Centric? Tell me about your career path.

I started with Centric in October 2015. The timing panned out just right, where I had a one-week break in between jobs so I could take my wife and kids to Maui without the usual anxiety of having to go back to the stress of catching up on work.

So I rebooted, and started my first day with a fresh mind and positive attitude – and it has been a pleasure ever since.

Prior to Centric, I worked at Salesforce for a few years and had some stints at eBay and Acxiom, all of which were centered around digital marketing consulting.

I also worked at a start-up and managed their paid search marketing and search engine optimization campaigns to round-out my tour of duty in digital marketing. My background in various roles helped shape experiences that have proven instrumental in my role here.

2. If you had to pinpoint a definitive moment in your career, what would that be?

Every person’s career has several defining moments, from when they select their major at their university or the moment they start their first job. I think my defining moment was when I started at Centric (and I’m not just saying this because I’m answering these questions).

The company culture here is something that I’ve never seen before. Unmatched client experiences, or UMCX as we call it, is what really drives the culture. There are stewards of each geographic business unit within the company that serve as UMCX champions to help the culture thrive.

This culture, with the belief that success comes from doing good work and creating value for those around you, has motivated me to be a better person in and outside of the company walls. It’s intangible, but it’s a feeling that fosters creativity and empowers employees.

We don’t just deliver completed projects to clients and move on. Instead, we strive to create an unmatched positive experience for our clients that is above and beyond the norm.

For the first time in my career, my mindset changed from “What can this company do for me?” to “What can I do that is mutually beneficial to help the company and help grow my career?” 

3. What are some unique, funny or interesting stories you can share about your career journey?

Two stories come to mind…

The first: While at eBay, I ended up living in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic for a year, while setting up their center of excellence in email marketing. It was quite an experience! I didn’t know the language or know a single person there, but I took the leap and stepped up to the role to pilot and integrate a B2C marketing automation tool to help the company better manage and optimize their digital marketing efforts. I learned that a lot of Czech people know English quite well, but some are too embarrassed to speak because they aren’t confident enough in their English-speaking skills. Prague is a beautiful city and should not be overlooked if you ever plan on traveling to Eastern Europe.

The second: Before the days of smartphones, I got lost on the way to an interview. It happened to be one of my first interviews right out of college. It was for a technology company in Palo Alto, and I didn’t know the area well. The directions I printed out online were wrong and didn’t help me find my way. They just got me more lost. I finally arrived 15 minutes late, but the interviewer refused to meet with me stating that it was a lesson to be learned to arrive early or on time as it is disrespectful to the person waiting. I will never live that one down, which is why I make it a point to be punctual and arrive at meetings early.

4. What motivates your career and drives you to keep going?

I am very goal-oriented and each year I define and divide my goals into three categories: health, wealth, and relationships:

  • The health bucket is both my physical health and also mental well-being. So this includes exercising, eating right, reading literature, and even just having time to reflect or meditate.
  • For wealth, it is not just monetary wealth, but also encompasses generosity and what I can give to help others.
  • Lastly, the relationship category is not limited to family and friends, but also includes co-workers and clients and anyone that I interact with.

At Centric, I meet all goals for each of the three categories almost on a daily basis.

  • The ability to be able to telecommute has reduced stress with not having to sit in traffic and with the flexibility to go to doctor appointments or anything to put my wellness first.
  • Centric gives back to the community and sponsors events such as school supply drives – and contributing to those in need helps to keep me going.
  • Lastly, the relationships I’ve built here and the culture itself helps to motivate me and grow my career in intangible ways.

5. Please describe consulting at Centric. What is this job like? Describe what your typical day looks like.

The client is the main focus as a consultant at Centric. This also means that my day-to-day can vary depending on the needs of clients and their goals since I focus my time on this goal.

On a recent project, it involved building a marketing campaign with web landing pages and an email journey around a product launch for a Fortune 500 health services company. We needed to be nimble and be able to change course on a dime as information was still being fleshed out by the client and the product launch was within a week.

We built a prototype for the client and had to change directions multiple times due to different tasks and needs by the client, which was expected. Every day was a sprint as we had short deadlines and ever-changing needs. We not only delivered a finished product but an unmatched experience to the client. The client was happy with the results and gave his compliments to the chef!

6. What did your recruiting process look like? Did you find Centric, or did we find you?

 My previous manager reached out to me about a role that was similar to what I was doing at Salesforce but with a lot more of a consultative approach. After speaking with the leadership team about the role and company, it was a no-brainer to go to Centric.

7. Is your practice currently hiring? If so, what positions are open?

Yes, we’re always hiring for roles such as Software Developers and Architects. In particular, .NET, Java, Oracle, Mobile, Business Intelligence. Head here to see what positions are open and to apply! 

8. What mix of skills, personality, and values do you find most important for your role?

Soft skills are important as the consultant role is a client-facing role, so communication would be a skill that would be most important — both written and oral communication.

This involves setting the right expectations, being thorough in communication, and most often overlooked is: getting to know your client well so that you can be on the same page and align goals.

9. What tips would you share with future Centric recruits?

Embrace the Centric culture. Unmatched experiences may feel strange at first if you’re not used to it but this simple change in attitude can go a long way in helping evolve your career, make you feel more fulfilled and more successful.

10. Share some of your hobbies or special interests outside of work.

I have a 1-year old boy and an (almost) 3-year old boy at home so my time spent outside of work is mostly with my wife and kids and trying to stop the boys from killing each other.

Go Further

About the Author

Jackson Chen is an experienced technical architect from our Seattle location with about 13 years of email marketing experience across various technologies. He has worked on integrations of SaaS systems, particularly Salesforce Marketing Cloud and is 3x Salesforce Marketing Cloud certified.