When Jade Bowen joined Confluent as an account executive for the enterprise market and 11th employee in the ANZ region, there was only one client for her to work with. Three years later, she’s heading up the entire APAC Customer Success team, having expanded the New Zealand regional client base to 20 companies—and growing.
The key to her success? A love of tech and a passion for helping customers stand at the forefront of the data streaming revolution.
We sat down with Jade to talk about her journey through the tech industry, what led her to Confluent, and why data in motion is so important for organizations today.
Tell us about yourself and your role at Confluent
I moved into a new role here at Confluent last year. I’m now the senior manager for ANZ customer success, heading up a brilliant team of customer success technical architects and technical managers.
Before that, I was an account executive for the enterprise market in the New Zealand region. In that role, I established the region over three years, growing from one client to what we are currently working with—around 20 customers. It’s been a busy few years!
Can you describe your journey in the tech industry and to Confluent?
I started in tech when I was 18 and fresh out of school. I got into it because my mum is a software developer, manager, and technical expert. I also really love computers and coding!
I worked my way up from software licensing and selling data centres into consulting for Gartner where I advised CEOs on what technologies to purchase and how to drive new technologies in the market. I then went into cloud engineering at Microsoft as a Cloud Azure specialist.
I’ve always worked for big corporate organizations, but as I learned more about startups I realized that they were developing new technologies based on real problems that were so relevant at the time. There’s something revolutionary about that. And if you believe in it, you’re able to articulate what that means to other companies—and get them to join the revolution with you.
Confluent completely embodies that ethos for me.
What we’re doing is at the forefront of the conversation of where companies are headed. The impact of the pandemic, climate change, economic instability, etc., are just a few of the many moving parts that are pushing companies to adopt data streaming in a very different way.
Why is data in motion so important today?
I always look for the meaning of data in a company—the purpose and the why. Why do they need to be consuming data in real time? What is that doing for their customer who is using their application, or submitting an insurance claim, for example?
Data is the new oil and event streaming is at the forefront of every economy. How companies evolve, especially when it comes to addressing their economic and environmental processes, comes down to how they model their data. This has a huge impact on organizations from government entities to energy to telecommunications to banking—and in turn, on all our lives.
Companies like Confluent are modernizing the status quo by innovating the ways governments, banks, and utilities operate and function.
How have you helped customers achieve success with data streaming?
We have a client with a software solution in 300 different countries. With Confluent, they are able to leverage stream processing to personalize the experience for all of their customers across the globe, tailored to what they are doing in specific regions. They can now assess and analyze how they can service their customers better, and understand what could be optimized based on the socio-economic climate, trends, etc.
Within eight months, after we launched the first platform, they’ve already developed new products for particular countries based on trends that they observed. When you look at the client’s ROI and quantify the impact, it’s a ‘wow’ moment and feels amazing. The CEO is also very happy.
Another example is what we’re doing across government entities. We’re working with one public organization to increase road safety and achieve a target of zero deaths over the next several years. To do this they need highly accurate, easily accessible data in real time, which is exactly what we’re able to give them. In this way, Confluent is helping to build the stability of places and promoting the safety of people. That’s so motivating for me.
What do you like about working at Confluent?
Working fully remote is such a blessing because Confluent is a completely digital company. We have perks like wellness days where we get one day off every month to spend on our personal health and well-being. I’m also the APAC lead for the LGBTQI employee group. We’ve hosted a lot of virtual initiatives in the past and are now hosting in-person events too. There are so many great communities to join throughout the company.
Interestingly, and a key motivator for me, I have never worked with so many women in tech before. My boss, my boss’s boss, and my directors are all women. Some of the most successful people at Confluent are women.
I think it’s really cool that Confluent focuses on giving women and minorities opportunities. And while it is difficult to create virtually, they have established a very safe, trusting environment.
Any tips or advice for someone wanting to work at Confluent?
Confluent is an exciting company to work at, especially if you are creative, ambitious, and want to help companies with their digital transformation efforts.
There are a lot of opportunities at Confluent, and not all of them require a deep background in technology. Yes, it’s a complex technology, but ultimately, it’s a simple concept: whenever you access an app or web interface, you are using Kafka.
Come join us!