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The Paths That Led Us Here: 8 Nutshellers Discuss How They Joined the Team

an illustration of a man walking through a maze that says Nutshell

At Nutshell, we strive to create a workplace where anyone can feel welcome.

Many members of our team didn’t come from traditional tech backgrounds. They applied for positions at Nutshell after spending their early careers in entirely different fields, such as retail management, journalism, and domestic engineering.

And that’s a good thing. We believe that our team’s diversity of experience helps us relate to our customers more effectively and solve their problems with fresh perspectives. Read a few of our stories below, and you’ll see what we mean.

(By the way, we’re always looking for talented folks to join us, so even if you’ve never worked for a tech company before or don’t think you have the “right” background for what we do, feel free to drop an email to jobs@nutshell.com and put yourself on our radar.)

Skip ahead to your favorite Nutsheller:

Kendal Won

Software Engineer

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I went through many phases, but most often, I wanted to be a doctor.

What was your first actual job?

I started working in retail very young because my mom owned a store.

What did you study in college, and what did you think you were going to “do” with that education?

I majored in psychology, thinking I might want to do counseling or social work, but I ended up back in retail right after college.

What did you find rewarding about your initial career path, and what was frustrating about it?

I was a store manager, and it was fun to work with customers, but the schedule was hectic.

I have only been here a few months but have learned so much. My technical skills are always improving, and I’m excited to continue to grow.

Was there a moment when you knew you had to look for a different professional path?

I took time off when I had kids and knew I didn’t want to return to retail. I started studying to be a front-end engineer and was ready to apply for jobs after a couple of years.

How did you first hear about Nutshell, and why did you decide to apply for your role? 

I found a job listing for Nutshell online, and it was one of the first jobs I applied for. I was excited about the idea of working for a small company here in Ann Arbor.

What skills or interests from your past job experiences have you been able to apply at Nutshell?

I’ve always worked with people, and that helps in every workplace.

How has your professional skill-set broadened by working at Nutshell?

I have only been here a few months but have learned so much. My technical skills are always improving, and I’m excited to continue to grow.

What do you most like about working at Nutshell?

I like the people and the professional but caring atmosphere.

 

Drew White

Jr. Developer

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an author! I loved writing short stories as a child, ranging from scary to weird sci-fi. I kept the momentum up through grade school and managed to self-publish in college. It’s still something I love to do!

What was your first actual job?

My first actual job was at a local ice cream shop for two years. I did everything from taking orders and scooping ice cream to pouring out the nastiest bucket of melted ice cream sludge at the end of the night. It was a great first job, even during the days when we had lines of people and cars wrapped around the park. Plus, who doesn’t love some free ice cream?

What did you study in college, and what did you think you were going to “do” with that education?

I studied Computer Science at Michigan State University with a minor in Game Design and Development. I loved to code, but I also loved the creative freedom that something like game development gave me. 

There’s something very satisfying about writing a script for a new mechanic in-game and then being able to get that instant feedback on whether it’s fun or not. I felt the urge to pursue the game industry after graduating, whether at a AAA studio or at an up-and-coming indie studio.

What did you find rewarding about your initial career path, and what was frustrating about it?

This is a fun question because I’m still early in my initial career path! Post-graduation was a hectic time of applications, and what felt like a million directions opening up in front of me. 

The biggest frustrations were around the big flip from a school mindset to that of a career and all of the mental switches I had to flip to get there. Even just the difference in perspective from having my life be based around baked-in checkpoints via a school calendar to being a wide-open slate was equally exciting and daunting. 

However, it was incredibly rewarding to not only find an opportunity like Nutshell but also take in everything I’ve learned over the past (almost) year. 

How did you first hear about Nutshell, and why did you decide to apply for your role?

I first heard about Nutshell via active job searching, in this case, LinkedIn. I think what drew me to apply were a few things: the technologies involved in the role, the focus on creating clean and focused software, and the passion that the team had for the product.

What skills or interests from your past job experiences have you been able to apply at Nutshell?

The biggest thing that stands out to me is the focus on creating a great user experience for our customers, even as a backend developer. From my experience as a game developer and as a product consultant, I learned a ton about the importance of feedback, knowing how to intake and process that feedback, and then being able to translate it into actionable items so that users continue to have the experience they’re looking for. 

At Nutshell, instead of playtesters testing out a new game loop, it’s customers using our systems to better their workflow and reach new levels of growth. The focus on experience and usability is still there, and it’s been great to still be able to view the work I’m doing through the lens of how it will improve the day-to-day of our customers.

How has your professional skill-set broadened by working at Nutshell?

From a technical sense, I’ve learned a TON in a short amount of time, ranging from best practices to the abstract systems that make all of these crazy websites run. 

Outside of that, I’ve learned an equal amount about working with others and the ways in which I work best, such as knowing when to ask questions, figuring out the right questions to ask, and building habits that will help me for the rest of my career. It’s all a learning process!

What do you most like about working at Nutshell?

I think they care not only for the product but also for the learning and growth within the team. Also, everyone I get to work with!

 

Jewell July

Copywriting Specialist

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer, a baker, and a mom. Now I get to be all three *and* have an awesome job at Nutshell! 🙂 

What was your first actual job?

Ironically enough, in marketing! I worked for a family friend who weaves and sells baskets and holds basket-weaving workshops around the country. Among other tasks around her studio, I wrote and managed a monthly email newsletter for other basket weavers and managed her social media channels. 

What did you study in college, and what did you think you were going to “do” with that education?

I got a Bachelor’s in English with the plan to get an MFA in creative writing right after school and go into academia. 

What did you find rewarding about your initial career path, and what was frustrating about it?

I loved the teaching I got to do as part of the honors courses I was in during undergrad. There was a particularly rewarding day when I had the opportunity to prepare and teach a class to my peers about a Victorian poet that I loved. 

But breaking into a well-paying and secure job in academia is notoriously difficult, so I’m grateful to be in a field where opportunities for advancement are more available.

Was there a moment when you knew you had to look for a different professional path?

My husband and I married when we were both still in undergrad, so I needed a job right away instead of furthering my education. I found copywriting interesting and something I could do to build a different set of writing skills, and I began a career in marketing. It’s still a dream of mine to get an MFA and hone my poetry writing craft.

How did you first hear about Nutshell, and why did you decide to apply for your role?

I worked as a copywriter for WebFX for over a year before being offered a position on Nutshell’s marketing team. I didn’t even know what CRM stood for, but I was excited for a new challenge and loved the idea of being on a smaller team where I would get to know, work with, and learn from people across departments. That’s been one of the best things so far about working at Nutshell!

What skills or interests from your past job experiences have you been able to apply at Nutshell?

Being a former English major certainly has benefits when writing blog content that engages and converts readers. And having a personality that seeks out and enjoys new challenges has really been an asset in a field like marketing, where a successful strategy is one that’s constantly evolving. 

How has your professional skill-set broadened by working at Nutshell?

This answer could go on for paragraphs! I’ve learned so much about SEO, blog content writing, email marketing, and what it takes to provide customers with the resources they need to use software successfully. I’ve even had the opportunity to do more customer-facing marketing with our live webinars. And I’ve learned a lot about CRMs and their importance for businesses needing to optimize their sales processes. I truly believe Nutshell is the best CRM out there, which makes marketing it fun! 

What do you most like about working at Nutshell?

I love that I get to learn and take on new opportunities to grow as a marketer every day. And my coworkers are some of the kindest and most genuine people, so I’m really blessed!

 

Arjun Gupta

Software Engineer Intern

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An Architect

What was your first actual job?

I worked as a Web developer intern for a small company back in India.

What did you study in college, and what did you think you were going to “do” with that education?

I am studying Computer Science, and I have always wanted to become a Software Engineer through that.

How did you first hear about Nutshell, and why did you decide to apply for your role?

I heard about Nutshell through the MSU Career Fair, and I applied because Andy Jensen showed interest in my profile, and I felt that it would be a great fit for me.

How has your professional skill-set broadened by working at Nutshell?

I have learned so much about how to work as part of a team and have been able to grow beyond just being able to write code as an engineer.

What do you most like about working at Nutshell?

The mentorship I get from the team and the amazing software we work on!

Catarina Pedrão

Customer Support Specialist

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had all the usual dreams, but mostly ballerina and astronaut. There was also a long period where I wanted to be a wedding planner!

What was your first actual job?

My first job was working in a fashion accessories shop when I was still in college, followed by some other retail jobs. My first actual job was as a communication consultant at a communication and PR agency.

What did you study in college, and what did you think you were going to “do” with that education?

My degree was in Communication applied to Marketing, Advertisement, and PR. I really loved it and thought I would work at an advertising agency.

What did you find rewarding about your initial career path, and what was frustrating about it?

I worked in different retail stores and as a communication consultant while studying and after college. My favorite part of all of it was the people and the dynamic day-to-day. I really liked engaging with different people with different backgrounds and social statuses, and at the time, that made me feel I had chosen the right subject to study and work in. 

I also loved the dynamic of working in PR since every day was different, and the subjects I was working on were constantly changing. 

At Nutshell, the dynamic is something I really feel comfortable with, with the constant updates, improvements, and new features being released and added to the platform. I am really happy I have found an opportunity where I can keep the aspects that I loved from previous experiences.

Was there a moment when you knew you had to look for a different professional path?

Unfortunately, I left the PR agency I was working at right before the pandemic hit, which made it very hard to find a new job in this field (as it was for so many others at the time). 

I started looking into other areas where I could fit in, and technology is something I was always very passionate about, along with communicating with others, so it was a perfect fit.

How did you first hear about Nutshell, and why did you decide to apply for your role?

I found out about Nutshell through a friend who joined the company, as she knew I would love the culture and the people. She was absolutely right!

What skills or interests from your past job experiences have you been able to apply at Nutshell?

Each job taught me different things that I can apply at Nutshell. It is very important to adapt the way we communicate to each user, each subject, and each issue that may be occurring. We also need to make sure that the tech issues and functionalities are easy to understand and show empathy when needed.

The fast pace of previous jobs also helped, as the tech world changes every day, and we need to keep up.

How has your professional skill-set broadened by working at Nutshell?

Working in support is amazing in the sense that we learn something new every day. It is very dynamic and vibrant. 

What do you most like about working at Nutshell?

The team! Everyone is very welcoming and available to help, and there is a great friendly environment.

 

Christine Shontz

Financial Planner & Analyst

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, I really wanted to have my own luxury pet resort. I envisioned every pet having its own room and Animal Planet playing for them 24/7. 

What was your first actual job?

I was a lifeguard at Lake Raystown Resort. It’s amazing how each job shapes you for the next, and in this job, I’m particularly thankful for how much I learned about customer service and helping people!

What did you study in college, and what did you think you were going to “do” with that education?

I attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania and obtained dual degrees: one in Accounting and one in Management Information Systems. I knew I wanted to graduate and get experience within a public accounting firm. 

What did you find rewarding about your initial career path, and what was frustrating about it?

I’m forever thankful for the experience I gained while I was in public accounting. It often was long hours and difficult work, but it created so many learning opportunities for me to really grow. It’s really shaped who I am and what I’m capable of.

Was there a moment when you knew you had to look for a different professional path?

At one point, I thought I wanted to hone in on my accounting skills and do solely governmental/non-profit accounting to become really good at “one thing.” I did this for a year, and the whole time, I knew it wasn’t for me. That said, it also taught me what does make me excited to come to work each day.

How did you first hear about Nutshell, and why did you decide to apply for your role?

Before Nutshell, I was doing more “CFO for hire” work with primarily Software as a Service companies. The thought of joining Nutshell’s team and leveraging all of my skills to help one company was really exciting! 

What skills or interests from your past job experiences have you been able to apply at Nutshell?

I am a big believer that every prior experience I’ve had before this has played a role in who I am and what I know today. Having in-depth knowledge of the company’s financials allows me to provide really unique value to the company. 

I’m constantly looking for ways I can help improve processes, and I love every opportunity to create an impact on our employees/customers. 

How has your professional skill-set broadened by working at Nutshell?

Hands down, one of my most favorite ways to learn and grow here is just simply by listening to all the incredible execs/leaders/coaches/team members here at WebFX and Nutshell. Everybody really plays a unique role in it all coming together and being successful, and we all have something to learn from each other.

What do you most like about working at Nutshell?

I love the team at Nutshell and WebFX. We all really put our all into everything we do – it’s truly an incredible team!

 

Will Gordon

Director of Marketing

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

It was between Sports Center Anchor, 2nd Baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, or an SNL Cast Member.

What was your first actual job?

I was a referee for youth soccer and was paid $15 per game with one free drink and one free hot dog from the concession stand. The first job the IRS knew about was working part-time at a movie theatre.

What did you study in college, and what did you think you were going to “do” with that education?

I studied Communications in college, with minors in English, Journalism, and Multimedia. I started with the goal of being a screenplay writer. By the end of my 5th-year Masters, I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

What did you find rewarding about your initial career path, and what was frustrating about it?

My first “adult” job out of college was working for a branch of local government. The benefits were great, and the slow-paced environment made it possible for me to also coach soccer at the youth and collegiate level.

Was there a moment when you knew you had to look for a different professional path?

I knew my first job out of college was only a stepping stone to help me pay off student loans. I knew I needed to get into a more challenging environment that would be more interesting and more rewarding.

How did you first hear about Nutshell, and why did you decide to apply for your role?

Back in 2015, I started working for WebpageFX (now WebFX). I had worked myself up the ladder a few steps between 2015 and when WebFX acquired Nutshell in 2022. At that time, I was offered the Director of Marketing role. The leadership team at WebFX gets a 5-star review for caring about their employees (not just me). Over the years, they had done more than enough for me to trust them that this was the next right step forward in my career.

What skills or interests from your past job experiences have you been able to apply at Nutshell?

I spent nearly eight years at WebFX as an account manager for clients and as a Coach for fellow account managers (helping them broaden their skill set). Being able to take that “agency” approach and turn my efforts towards “in-house” results has been a great match.

How has your professional skill-set broadened by working at Nutshell?

I’ve definitely been challenged a lot more with being more responsible for actual business results and the growth (personal and professional) of our mighty marketing team. Doing both simultaneously has helped me become a better planner.

What do you most like about working at Nutshell?

Three things:

  1. The team is filled with a bunch of fun, smart people who care about their work and their coworkers.
  2. The leadership team is encouraging, open, and full of wisdom.
  3. I truly believe we are making a difference. We may “just” be a CRM, but we are educating sales and marketing teams around the world on how to get better in their roles while also offering them software that is often WAY cheaper AND WAY easier to use compared to what they’re currently using as their CRM.
 

Sam Poole

Jr. Marketing Specialist

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, I had it all figured out. I wanted to be an electrical engineer, like my dad, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, a doctor on Tuesdays and Thursdays (I’d heard the money was good), and a rock star on the weekends.

What was your first actual job?

My first real job was as a video store clerk, back in the day when people still hired VHS tapes and DVDs.

What did you study in college, and what did you think you were going to “do” with that education?

I studied architecture and thought I would become an architect, perhaps running my own architectural firm.

What did you find rewarding about your initial career path, and what was frustrating about it?

Studying architecture is great. The philosophy, fine art, design, and history of art and architecture—it was all magical and stimulating. However, I soon discovered that architecture as a career in the “real” world did not allow for as much creative freedom and expression as I’d experienced while studying.

Was there a moment when you knew you had to look for a different professional path?

It was when I started working at a lecturer’s private architectural firm that I saw first-hand what an architect’s day-to-day life looked like, and it did not appeal to me at all. So, I started over doing a few different things before discovering the world of marketing.

How did you first hear about Nutshell, and why did you decide to apply for your role?

I first heard about Nutshell when working as a copywriter at WebFX, as WebFX and Nutshell had recently joined forces. After six months as a copywriter at WebFX, I was offered the opportunity to join a growing marketing team at Nutshell—a chance to delve into several aspects of marketing, expand my experience, and learn from an absolutely brilliant team.

What skills or interests from your past job experiences have you been able to apply at Nutshell?

Because marketing has become so complex and ever-evolving, I find myself perpetually curious and hungry for knowledge, which has helped me adapt and learn the ropes in my role at Nutshell. 

Working as a copywriter, both at WebFX and as a freelancer before that, I’ve developed a passion for content marketing. This passion has sent me on a journey of knowledge and discovery through multiple courses, podcasts, and books, which have undoubtedly helped refine my copywriting skills.

How has your professional skill-set broadened by working at Nutshell?

I’m learning so much about the SaaS and CRM environments and cannot wait to discover more. I’ve also had the opportunity to delve into different aspects of digital marketing, helping me gain experience in more than just copywriting/content marketing.

What do you most like about working at Nutshell?

The people! I’ve worked for several different companies over my career, and I’ve never experienced such immense camaraderie, authentic teamwork, and overall positivity and support from my colleagues until I got to work at Nutshell.

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