Cloudflare U: Kicking Off Your Career at Cloudflare
Cloudflare U is a series for students interested in learning about roles and opportunities within the company. Kyra Meier-Klodt is a Graduate Marketing Associate in the UK. We will be talking to her about her interview experience, onboarding virtually, her role and projects as well as joining Afroflare, our Employee Resource Group for the Afrocultural community at Cloudflare.
Thank you everyone for tuning in to another episode of Cloudflare University or we call it Cloudflare U.
The whole purpose of this series is to give more information to people that are interested in learning more about Cloudflare, what we do, who we are, and just give more depth into what we do here at Cloudflare because we want you to give more information rather than just a Google search.
And so today I'm really excited.
We have a guest speaker, Kyra, and we'll be introducing ourselves quickly.
Again, my name is Ellie Jamison. I am on the recruiting team and I'm usually based in San Francisco, but right now I'm in Florida.
I graduated from university in 2018 and with that I'll pass it to Kyra.
Yeah, hi. Thanks for having me on.
I'm Kyra Meier-Klodt. I am a graduate marketing associate and I started two months ago, but I graduated last year in September.
I studied at King's College. I studied psychology, but I'm now working here in the marketing department and happy to be on.
Great. So I thought it'd be fun to do a quickfire round of icebreakers just before we dive in.
And so with that, would you pick Snapchat or Instagram? Instagram, definitely.
Same. What is your hidden talent? I had to think about this a bit, but it is I can hold my breath for more than two minutes.
A little bit of a strange one.
Are you a swimmer? Yeah, I used to dive. Yeah, that makes sense. That's awesome.
What is your favorite food? I love all Japanese food, specifically sushi.
Of course, yeah. What is your favorite vacation spot? I would actually say I'm from Ghana and I actually like going to Ghana.
It's like being home, but at the same time, it's a beach location.
So I would say Accra. I've been to Ghana before and it is so beautiful.
Gorgeous. I know we never spoke about that before, but that's incredible.
That's great. Awesome. Okay, great. And so tell us a little bit more about your academic career since you graduated just last year.
What interests you in psychology?
What were some of your favorite courses, things like that?
Yeah, sure. Like I said, I graduated last year. I studied at King's College in London, which is part of the University of London.
And while I majored in psychology in my final year, I could choose my subjects.
And there I focused on behavioral economics, which is psychology of economic life, essentially how choices are made, decision-making behavior.
I also took work in occupational psychology, which is all about organizational cultures, how to make people make the right decisions, like recycle or print less, things like that, and create communities within workplaces.
And I also did some coding and research methods, which I enjoyed a lot.
So my favorites were really those three when I was able to choose my courses, but I liked the course overall.
I remember when I was applying and I wrote my application essay, I very much wanted to study psychology to see how it would play out in the commercial world and business, how people make decisions, buying behavior, all those things.
And I was really able to explore it and I really loved it.
Absolutely. I think that psychology is such an incredible major because people can go in a million different directions afterwards, and it's just so important.
So I think that's really, really cool. Definitely. Awesome. So what interested you in marketing and how do you see, is there like a tie between psychology and marketing?
Does it give you a better background studying that?
Yeah, I think I, like I said, I went in really thinking that that's where I was going to apply psychology.
And once I finished, I actually worried a bit where the crossover was because I was doing a lot of research, understanding, but how would that play out in corporations?
And also would a qualification in psychology really be transferable to a job in marketing?
But I found that that was actually quite seamless.
And I think with opportunities like this, when you can enter in a place that doesn't demand that you have previous marketing qualifications or things like that, it makes it a lot easier, of course.
But I think it's hard to find a career where psychology isn't somehow applicable and marketing definitely how decisions are made.
But as well as I remember, I interned in banks as well and looking at biases and at errors that investment managers were making and how their own basically lives and choices influence their decisions.
And in every single role, I feel like I could see how psychology played a role, but of course, in marketing, I think the surface level, you see it a lot.
You see how you can create things that would be more attractive or look at the buyer persona and how you can market something to be more pleasing or interesting to them.
Absolutely. I think that is such a unique perspective. We do also get a lot of marketing folks from MBAs and business courses, but I think that that is highly transferable, like you said.
So I'm interested, how did you first hear about Cloudflare?
And because you were interested in marketing, did you feel any type of way about marketing at a tech company versus, you know, any type of different industry?
No, definitely. And if I'm completely honest, after university, I worked in a SaaS company.
I worked in a tech company and I was always interested in tech, but it was definitely the toss up between working in tech from a consumer, like a B2C perspective or a B2B, because I think sometimes the kind of B2C experience seems like it could be more interesting because you're marketing to the everyday person and you are the everyday person.
So you can get into that mindset. But I definitely think that there is very little difference between the two.
Businesses are still people.
People are still making the decisions about what they want. You, instead of catering to their individual needs, you're catering to what they have to explain to their managers or what they want for their organizations.
But it's kind of the same setup.
So for me, when I was applying for jobs, I actually, and I probably shouldn't admit this, but I remember I Googled best tech companies or best SaaS companies to work for in 2020.
And out of those, I made a list of places that I wanted to apply to and I applied to them.
And Cloudflare, of course, came up. And I felt like after I started my application process that everybody was talking about Cloudflare.
All of a sudden, it was like either my friends were talking about the stock or, because I was working in sales at the time, a client would mention it or a colleague would mention it.
And so it was really on my radar. But I think when I interviewed or when I started interviewing and I started speaking to the team and they were all so nice and it seemed like a really great culture, I thought, okay, maybe this is actually the place I want to go and I really want to make it.
Right. No, I don't think that you should be embarrassed to admit that because I think a lot of people find Cloudflare that way.
Two years ago, I was also looking for different companies and I found there was this list of tech companies.
I can't remember the exact name, but it's basically like rocket ship startups, just really high growth, successful startups.
And Cloudflare was one of them.
And that's how I first learned about it. And so I think a lot of people hear about us that way as well.
Well, that's great. So tell us about your day to day.
What is your team like? What are some of the projects that you're working on?
Yeah. So my team sits under the larger global marketing organization, which is split up into really many things.
And I'll probably miss one of them, but it's just brand and design and marketing operations and demand generation, which is the team that I sit on.
And demand generation is split up into regions, EMEA, being in Europe and Middle East and Africa, the Americas and APAC, Asia Pacific.
And so I sit on the EMEA team, which means that we run various marketing activities to generate leads across the region.
I sit in a team of seven, and we focus on marketing activities through different channels, ABM, account based marketing, pay per click, content syndication, and social through B2B social streams, social media channels.
And also what I work on specifically, which is field marketing, which is essentially all marketing activities that were out in the field back in the day before the pandemic, which is things like events and conferences and summits and managing all the logistics behind that, as well as the messaging for that, how to present our product in front of a wide audience in person virtually.
And that's what I work on on a daily basis. But there's kind of subprojects that come in to that.
And right now, what I'm really excited about is that we're working on basically positioning ourselves more as thought leaders.
We have a lot of success in thought leadership endeavors, and now working on creating our own events that belong to us where people can come from different organizations to learn from us through what we can offer and also position ourselves in a way that we are really technology leaders, not just good providers of a service, but we have a lot of infrastructure that is pioneering, I guess.
So that's my day to day, I guess. No, I think that's incredible. And I'd like to hear a little bit more about thought leadership, because I think that that is a huge, huge portion of not only marketing, but just our business in general.
And just a very interesting aspect of things. Yeah, definitely. I think it's, it's important.
And we have also seen that it is where we're successful in when we are being thought leaders.
I think what is interesting to see is that often, of course, you're sold to and with events, it's really hard to strike the balance of just pitching your product and people seeing that as, okay, another product in the marketplace could be great.
And we have success in doing that.
But a real strength comes from how we're able to position ourselves, how we are pioneers with the Internet, how much is behind us when people really learn the statistics of how many Internet properties Cloudflare is sitting in front of and how much is being done.
I think people are continuously surprised and also think that there's so much that we can offer the great thing about working in marketing at Cloudflare or working in my team is that even though it's a team of seven, I don't think it doesn't feel like I work with a small team, because I'm working with the sales team on a daily and weekly basis and thinking about messaging that is working with what we can change our messaging, what works well, working with the product managers who are creating new, new things and how we can, we can message according to that, how we can personalize according to that, working with operations, working with every single team really, really closely to have this larger message of what Cloudflare does.
Because I think what I wish I'd also known before I started this role is the opportunity to learn from other teams, as well as just the marketing organization.
There's just so much contact between anything. You'll be able to learn skills about marketing, but also skills about in any other part of the organization, whether it's even how we recruit or how we sell or how everything works.
I think that it's a great opportunity to just learn. Absolutely. That's something I actually learned in the past two years at Cloudflare, just how much marketing almost sits like in the middle of the company, because you have touch points with every single team, even recruiting, the amount of marketing we do to get our name out there, to get great candidates interested in us.
I mean, this whole series is basically marketing.
So I completely agree. I think it's such a great place to start your career and where you are now.
So I definitely agree. I'm curious because this is on everybody's mind.
How was interviewing virtually and how was it different than interviewing in person at different companies in the past for internships or full-time roles?
It was good. I think it was quite easy. I liked interviewing virtually because, A, I could wear sweatpants and a nice shirt.
But also just because it was a lot of interviews.
I think Cloudflare was one of the places that I interviewed for where there were, I think there's maybe six to eight interviews that took place.
But it was really easy. It felt a bit more easier to be relaxed.
And it's a bit intimate because we're also both at our homes. Like the interviewer and the person are sitting on their sofa or at their kitchen table or something.
And also the team just made it really easy. From the first interview to the last interview, regardless of position, the interview was the same and making me feel very comfortable.
I didn't really have to focus on not being nervous, but rather on really being able to show what I'm like and show what I've done.
And I think it was relatively easy and also as good as it can be virtually.
I know that it is sometimes nice to meet people in person, but I think it was done in the same fashion.
Some interviews were panel with a couple of people and some were one -to-one.
And I found it relatively easy. Definitely. Yeah, I would agree. I was reflecting on this the other day.
And I remembered a couple of years ago, I was interviewing for a company and I was in their office and their interview room was so warm, like very hot.
And I just remember being so uncomfortable. And when you're not just comfortable in yourself, then it's so hard to connect with people and interview well.
And so I remembered, I was thinking, I was like, you know, I think we do lose many things from not interviewing in person, but providing someone can interview comfortably in their own home, I think, you know, there definitely are positives to it.
Exactly. Yeah. So again, with the virtual theme, what was onboarding virtually like?
I think it was, it was like all onboarding, intense and a lot back to back.
You really learned about every part of Cloudflare from the technology and really in-depth learning about the technology and learning about the recruitment process, learning about how to interview, even learning about every team that you could possibly have contact with and how they work.
Speaking to Matthew and Michelle, the CEO and COO, it was four days, I think of high intensity learning a lot, but also pockets of being able to speak to the class that you started with, which I think I onboarded with quite a few people.
I'm not sure, over 20.
And so we had opportunities kind of a way to artificially create the, oh, let's just go grab a coffee or let's just go get some lunch or something.
We had those integrated into our day that made it a little bit more like orientation and made it feel that way.
But of course we missed out a bit on having that and having a longer session or having lunch together or things like that.
But I think overall it was good.
It was quick. I mean, short as in four days, but long days. And then from that on, I think the catch-ups, the networking didn't really end there.
We had weekly after that, that you had opportunities to meet other team members, which I think was really good.
So it did create that feeling of being introduced to the team.
No, that's great. I'm glad that that has been helpful for people onboarding virtually.
I'm curious, are you participating in the buddy program from orientation?
Yes, I am. And actually when I was, when I made it past, I think the application process, or I think even in between, they asked if I wanted to be buddied with anybody from one of the employee resource groups, which I think there's 16 of them.
And so I chose somebody from AfroFlare to buddy with, which is the ERG for the Afro-Caribbean Black community and allies.
And that was really good because when I started, I could immediately speak to somebody who looks like me and also learn from what orientation was like for them and getting settled into Cloudflare and just having a touch point from the beginning that was, I guess, outside of my orientation class and my team.
Absolutely. And I'm so glad that you brought up our employee resource groups and AfroFlare because many people don't know about them.
And we post them on our blog and our website, but I think you do have to do some digging to really discover.
We have ProudFlare, AfroFlare, we have, I think it's called ParentFlare now.
So we have tons of different ERGs. But yeah, tell me more about AfroFlare and tell me, have you ever heard of ERGs before you joined Cloudflare?
No, I hadn't actually. And that might come from, I guess, limited work experience.
But AfroFlare, I see it essentially as a group community where you can talk about what everyday life is like and have conversations that are about work and also not about work.
Because I realized through working that, I guess, being a Black person, being a person of color, sometimes it feels like you can't bring all of yourself to work or even close to all of yourself to work.
And I think seeing this group, learning of it, and being part of it has been able to change that a little bit and make me feel that, OK, there's a place where I can have these conversations.
I think especially in the climate that or what has just happened and the type of political unrest there has been.
And it's a place where you can talk about what's going on and not feel like, OK, this isn't part of work.
So I shouldn't really be talking about it, even though it affects how I work, for example.
So I just think it's a place where you can talk about things, talk about experience, how it relates to your work life, which is a little bit different to talking to friends and definitely different to talking to potentially any other colleagues.
So it's really great. And it's a really safe space.
And it's been great. I think joining, I was a bit apprehensive, not sure what it was all about or how it was, but it was so quick to feel really comfortable and everybody's very friendly and open and there's open for really there's opportunity for really open conversation.
Right. Definitely. Cloudflare is, you know, I wasn't expecting this when I joined, but Cloudflare is so dedicated to having really hard discussions and being very honest about where we're at rather than, you know, throwing out a lot of hopeful things and, oh, we'd love to increase our diversity, but never really taking serious action.
And so that is something that I really applaud Cloudflare for doing. And it's I definitely didn't have that at my last company.
So you're completely right. I'm so glad that we do have these communities to make people feel welcome, safe, comfortable, you know, all of the above.
Definitely. And it feels real. I must say it really does.
It feels like a genuine thing. I think sometimes these kinds of groups can feel like they aren't necessarily genuine, that it's something that is a token.
But I must say that it is for anybody who's looking for to apply to this to Cloudflare.
I think it's important to know that this is, from my perspective, really genuine.
Absolutely. So we just had Black History Month in the UK and I know Afroflare did a lot of different things for Black History Month.
And I'm curious, just did you participate in any of the virtual events?
What were they like? Because I'm sure this is your third month here.
And so I think having that as your second month, it must have been pretty fun and interesting.
Yeah, that was that was great because it was both the events were set up so that there was some where you could learn from other AfroCloudflare members, their experience, their role, what it takes, kind of their progression, learn about the career, which I think is really, really important in a community like this to know what your opportunities are, opportunities for progression, growth, all that.
So it was great to do that.
And starting, I mean, that's even a benefit because I can learn about all these roles.
And then there was also just conversations with technology leaders from African backgrounds, from Black backgrounds, and looking at their stories and their success and what they've done, which is great.
And also cultural events about movies to watch on Netflix, playlists to listen to.
I mean, it was everything and it was the full month and completely packed.
I think at least two things happening every week, at least.
I'm probably saying that too little. There were probably more.
And it was a great way to start to think that you start off and, I don't know, immediately felt very, very seen and also excited about what was going on.
And I watched as many as I could and took part in as many as I could. No, absolutely.
I think, you know, it's crazy because I've heard that Cloudflare can feel more U.S.
based, but we all knew about everything going on, you know, with Black History Month in the UK and we participated.
And, you know, I think it was very much a shared celebration across all of our different offices.
So I'm so glad that that happened during your second month.
That's awesome. Great. So just moving on a bit because I think we only have five more minutes.
Advice for students and new grads.
What do you think is the best advice you can get for someone looking for a full time role or just kind of, you know, their first role out of university?
Yeah, I would say just to look for, to create a short list of things that you're looking for from a company or you expect from a company in terms of if you're interested in the culture or you're interested in job progression or whatever it is, just to be sure that whatever that is, is met or the most important one of those is met.
And then secondly to, I mean, for me, the biggest thing that I wanted to know before applying and coming straight out of university is how to interview and how to do it well.
And not that I know how to do it well, but what I would recommend is just preparing about the classic things, learning about the company, about the products, a bit about the culture, something about the company that really aligns with you, that you can speak about with a genuine passion, something that's interesting to you about it.
And I would also take the opportunity to just position yourself as if you were already an employee.
I feel like that really helps me and when I was looking through all the materials about Cloudflare, seeing what I thought could be changed and what I thought is being done well and being able to offer that in my interview to make it seem that I can, there's already stuff that I have that I can offer.
And then I think just being yourself, I know it's always really cheesy, but you want to be able to be yourself once you make it past the interview process.
So to just lead in with that and of course, try to calm your nerves.
I always listen to some jams before I interview just to relax myself as much as possible.
I did that before this call as well, to just be able to try to focus on what you're trying to say and not focus on being nervous.
Absolutely. I think you just hit the nail on the head there.
I think, you know, I don't think that you can ever over prepare for an interview and learning how to interview well is such a skill.
And so if you're starting out right now for your first couple of interviews, don't beat yourself up.
Many times they can be awkward, uncomfortable. You're just, it's at the end of the day, you're just talking to another person.
And I love that you brought up listening to music because I do that as well.
And I think it's so important to have just like a little thing that, you know, calms you down before, before these conversations that naturally make anyone nervous.
And also no matter how many times you do it, you're always going to be a little bit nervous.
Yeah. My, I remember I had a piano teacher that was really strict when I was growing up and she always said, if you're nervous, it means you care.
Right. I completely agree. Right.
You want to be nervous. And I think it brings a good energy, you know, if you can hopefully hone those nerves.
Absolutely. Okay. So I think we only have 50 seconds left.
So not much time, but anyways, I just wanted to thank you so much for coming on this show today and just being super honest.
And, you know, I met you through someone who introduced us from Afroflare.
So I'm just really thankful for that.
And I hope that you enjoy, keep enjoying Cloudflare and keep getting involved because I know that we're just really happy that you're here.
Thank you so much.
And thanks for the opportunity and everything. And this has been really, really fun.
I hope it's somehow helpful. Yeah, definitely. All right.
Well, with that, I will sign off. Thank you again so much. And I'll talk to you soon.