Women in Big Data is spotlighting amazing women during Women’s History Month.
Harper Webb is a Talent Acquisition Manager with Slalom. She focuses on bringing the best talent in the Bay Area to the Data & Analytics team.
I grew up in a small town west of Seattle (yes, there’s land west of Seattle, it’s not just the Pacific Ocean). My parents, both educators, constantly reminded me the world was bigger than just where we lived, and they continue to empower me to make decisions for myself (even if that means I may fail). I graduated from Whitman College with a BA in Psychology, and a week after graduation started my first job as a technical recruiter. At Slalom, I own recruiting for our Data & Analytics team in our Silicon Valley market. Along the way I’ve discovered a passion for bringing more women into the worlds of technology and consulting.
When not at work, I’m spending time with my husband and our corgi. We’ve loved exploring California during our short time here. Weekend mornings on the beaches in Half Moon Bay are a must for us.
I’m incredibly lucky to be where I’m at in my career. I’m usually quite the planner; neither recruiting nor living in the Bay Area were ever in the plan, yet here I am, and I’m really amazed it’s worked out the way it has. I never imagined myself in recruiting and went all through college thinking I’d head to nursing school after graduating college, but a month prior to graduation I realized I was ready to get to work. A friend recommended recruiting–I had no idea recruiting was even a career! Not even a month later I was on the phone with recruiters at Slalom, and while I didn’t join Slalom right then, I’m grateful to them because they continued to build a relationship with me and stay in contact. A year and a half later, I joined Slalom!
My first role was providing support to our West Coast markets, which is when I was introduced to the team in Silicon Valley. As I continued to support recruiting efforts in Silicon Valley more and more, the conversation about moving down came up several times. At first, I resisted. There was no way I could move away from my parents and the beautiful Pacific Northwest. But then I was given the advice “everyone should move away from home at some point in their life,” and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity any longer.
It’s been almost two years now (wow!) since my husband and I moved down, and it has proven to be the best decision we’ve ever made, personally and professionally. The move opened up so many opportunities for me, from transitioning to supporting recruiting efforts to owning recruiting for my own team, co-facilitating our inclusion and diversity trainings, serving as the liaison between the recruiting team and our women’s affinity group, and mentoring other recruiters along the way. All in all, I’ve found embracing the discomfort creates the most growth.
What motivates me…
Building relationships with amazing people! Every now and then I talk to a person who reminds me of why I do what I do. They want to make an impact, align with our values, and it just clicks. I’m always on the search for people who have the potential to grow Slalom, improve the way we do things, and not only make a difference with us but also with our clients. In the meantime, I love learning about people’s journeys, hearing their stories, and understanding how those experiences have shaped who they are today.
I’m always surprised when people don’t ask questions. Be inquisitive! Be curious! There are plenty of environments and situations where we don’t have the opportunity or are unable to ask questions. So when you can ask questions, take advantage of it! There’s always, always, always something new to learn. Curiosity is highly valued in consulting, as it is in many businesses.
My favorite quote and then some…It’s as simple as smiling!
It might seem like I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but I think regardless of company affiliation, Slalom’s core values are great north stars and easily relatable. “Do what is right always,” “Inspire passion and adventure,” and “Smile” are my favorites. If I had to pick one favorite, I’d choose “Smile” because it’s so much more than just the act of smiling, but the idea that you can be taken seriously even with a smile on your face. It also serves as a good personal reminder to take it easy when I get worked up over something.
Two things. One, understand the business and the why. I see women in technology get so heads down focused on he technology they overlook the initial business problem and fail to understand why they’re doing the technical work in the first place. Business and technology are so intertwined now that you have to understand both. Two, fill in the white space! Don’t be afraid to get involved in areas related to your passions and work to improve your environment.