Hi SciCheer fans, Samantha here! The Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders have some pretty interesting careers! We met Annemarie, a cheerleader pursuing her career in the IT field. Her passion for technology is bigger than the field she dances on!
What do you do?
I have spent the last 3.5 years of my career in technology sales. Specifically on the network and storage side. I started first selling Cisco solutions and services. I now work for Comcast Business, as an Enterprise Account Executive, selling metro Ethernet connectivity to medium and large enterprises across the nation in need of extreme amounts of high capacity bandwidth, prioritization of traffic (voice and data) across their network, multi site connectivity providing secure private seamless connectivity, back up/ disaster recovery strategies, and providing for redundancy assuring no single point of failure in a network.
From a very young age, I have been exposed to technology from both of my parents. My mother has worked in data centers her entire life, and my dad sold Storage Networks. I became extremely passionate about technology when I first hand saw the changes of the world because of technology when I was in high school (through the age of the iPhone, Facebook, file sharing, live streaming of video/ music etc). I began to realize that ANY successful company was not a clothing company, or an airline company, or a hotel company… every successful company had to become a technology company specializing in their industry or they would fall off the map. I always wanted to make money and do something that constantly intrigued me and was constantly changing and technology soon proved to be the PERFECT FIT.
What qualities that make you a great cheerleader, benefit you in your tech career?
There are many qualities from a lifetime of dance/cheerleading that have made me successful in my career. Being able to function as a member of a team for instance, is invaluable to my career, and something that cheering and dancing instilled in me since I was three years old. Every single day, I have to be able to work cohesively with numerous different personality types to accomplish a common goal. Another quality that I think often goes unnoticed is the ability to be coach-able. Growing up dancing every day three hours a day 7 days a week, I went to class for a purpose and with a goal to get better. You can’t get better without constant constructive criticism and without an open-mindedness and willingness to get better, to push yourself, to be uncomfortable, and to even fail. One of the reasons I came out of the gate so successful is because I asked my coworkers to coach me and to critique me and sometimes I failed, and a lot of times I was uncomfortable, but those experiences and that willingness to be open to criticisms helped me learn and grow in this industry.
How do you feel about challenging common stereotypes around both of your careers?
THIS IS MY FAVORITE QUESTION!!! It’s my favorite because it is something I personally have let affect myself and my confidence ever since the technology field. It is beyond intimidating starting a job where you are the youngest by 10+ years, where the industry is male dominated, where you are known as “the cheerleader,” and where unfortunately most people do have a skewed perception of cheerleaders. I really let this “feeling of being inadequate” hinder my confidence especially in my first year of my career but because of these stereotypes. I was and am inspired to work that much harder and show fellow employees, customers, managers and all who know me that I am intelligent, and I can achieve and exceed sales quotas and get challenging technology certifications, and understand abstract complex technologies while being a proud NFL cheerleader at the same time. This is the day and age to challenge these stereotypes, and I am not just the only one doing it and it feels pretty good. It feels pretty good to start somewhere feeling inadequate and insecure, fast forwarding a couple years to being able to explain a technology concept to a customer who’s been in the technology field for longer than I have been alive. It feels pretty good to work for a fortune 50 company while being one of youngest women to hold this role, and to do well in the role. I would suggest to any young woman to challenge any stereotype, and to prove to people cheerleaders are much more than beautiful women that just cheer or dance, and to show people how extraordinary they are that they can literally do it all with a lovely smile on their face!
You can watch Annemarie and her team as the Falcons take on the Seahawks Saturday January 14, 2017.