Q&A Spotlight with Martha

by Danielle Borges - Marketing & Sales Director

At the end of summer, we had a new person joining Codence — Martha Zink!

Martha is a very strong leader in our community, including her work with PauseOnError. Enjoy getting to know about her role at Codence and other fun things with our Q&A spotlight:

– What is your role at Codence and what drew you to Codence originally?

I’m currently a Managing Director at Codence. I’m still learning about our company and how we do things, but the goal is to build a team around data visualization. Codence seems like a great place for my career goals – helping build a team, playing a leadership role at the company, and providing ideas on best practices.

– When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid, kid it was all about being a teacher or a firefighter. Once I got older, I thought advertising was going to be my thing. Turns out I don’t have the thick skin to handle that industry. I find myself really enjoying the marketing side of business though, so there’s still a hint of that “want” in my life. Plus, I’m a walking billboard of all the things I love, so maybe I’m just a more organic, less profitable version of an advertising firm. Maybe.

– If a kid walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?

If you always try, you should never feel like you failed. You may get it wrong, you may have to apologize, and you may have to devise a proper exit strategy, but not succeeding at stuff… that’s just part of life. When something doesn’t fill your needs (or doesn’t, in the words of my favorite spin instructor Cody Rigsby, “fulfill your fantasy”), come up with a plan and try to figure out what about it wasn’t right. And do your best to respect others impacted by your decisions. Learn from it. Feel your feelings about it and then do something about it. Don’t dwell, don’t punish yourself, don’t deny yourself good, future experiences. You can get back up again, and you’ll be wiser and more seasoned than before.

– Who is your biggest inspiration?

I tend to be most impressed by normal, everyday humans, and quite frankly, I’m most inspired by the women in my life. I’m surrounded by people who make it look easy (though we talk enough that I know it’s not actually easy). To watch women wear so many hats and so gracefully is motivating and breathtaking. It’s an art to watch them balance parenting responsibilities, work expectations, at-home tasks, extra-curricular kid stuff, along with the mental load of all of it. They’ve got this ability to put their own worries and concerns to the side to get things done and to prioritize their families and their work. And even more kudos to them when they take time for themselves, too. I know we’re all fighting our own silent battles as we make it through each day, but watching women balance so much is so inspiring.

– What do you think the future of diversity and inclusion in the workplace will look like?

I think the future is bright, though far. Take me for example – Latinx woman in her 30s in a leadership position for a tech company. And I’m just now realizing the importance of representation and standing up for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. There are many people out there more enlightened (and enlightened sooner) than me but a lot of us, even in the diverse category of our field, don’t know how to help or that we should be helping. It’s a process. The upside is that I hear people talk about it more – not with judgment but with curiosity, bringing up questions, sharing their thoughts about it. So if anyone wants to talk about it, shoot me an email. I’ve got a lot to learn and I’ve got my own experiences to share.

– What is your most important diversity goal at Codence right now?

I think Codence is off to the right start with having a diverse team, but there’s always more to do. I want Codence to continue to look for new hiring pools, as well as mentor and train people that are less represented in tech. I hope I can be a key player in explaining why it’s important, as well as being intentional about what gets put in place. I want diversity to be a conversation that people feel comfortable discussing both inside and outside of Codence, because without thoughtful discussion we won’t make much advancement.

– What advice would you give to women who want to improve their presenting skills?

The ability to present well stems from confidence and pride. That comes way before any type of training on pace or word choice. There’s this underlying fear that we’ll be seen as cocky or flagrant if we tout our own greatness. And then there’s the self doubt that creeps up and tells us we’re not really that good. You can be humble and thankful and still stand tall and proud. Be proud to be the expert and be excited to share what you know with others.

– How can women find mentors? How do we ask for mentoring?

In the FileMaker community, Women Innovating Together provides mentoring for both men and women. Look around your current work and social circles. If you’re impressed by someone or want to learn from somebody, reach out and say, “I really admire you how do [x]. Could we find some time to talk about it? It’d be great to learn from you.” Also, you’ll be more willing to ask for mentoring, first and foremost, by knowing that you are valuable and deserve to level up your skills.

– What is one piece of advice to all parents who are juggling between home and work?

I’ve got 2 young kids – 3 and 6 – and it’s been rough. I’d say: Commiserate with other parents about your experience. You’ll hear how others are struggling and if nothing else, it will make you feel less lonely. Be easy on yourself and know that your ability to commit to work or parenthood will ebb and flow. Do your best to realize it and own it. We can’t do it all even though we’re trying to. And find something that brings you joy – finding time to read a book, do a workout, watch something mindless, scream in your car – whatever it might be.

– What book are you currently reading?

I’m terrible at sitting still so I’ve struggled to read, especially since kids. I did start getting into audiobooks the past couple of years which is great during drives or when I’m getting stuff done around the house! Right now I’m listening to The Nightingale (shout out to my husband for recommending it). It’s so wonderful to listen to it because the narrator has various, wonderful French and German accents (among a few other accents for minor characters). I’m about halfway through and I’d highly recommend it. Right before that, I was listening to The Rosey Project (shout out to CJ Carbery for recommending it). It’s a really great, fun read/listen. 10 out of 10 for both!

– What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Gangstar’s Paradise, obviously. I’d rather try to rap something than sing something. It’s better for everyone that way.

– Any favorite line from a movie?

Funny enough, my husband’s, ahem, overused quote comes to mind before mine: “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning’s winning.” That’s from The Fast and the Furious and it’s what he says whenever he BARELY beats me at a board game. But it’s cool – I’m not bitter or anything.

On to my favorite quote – Can I pick a TV show instead?

“What matters isn’t if people are good or bad. What matters is, if they’re trying to be better today than they were yesterday. You asked me where my hope comes from? That’s my answer.” – Michael, The Good Place

– What trend do you hope makes a comeback?

TRAPPER KEEPERS. No questions asked. A little analog, a lot of bulk, so much organization. I’m guessing it comes with Lisa Frank stickers, too?

– What’s something you saw recently that made you smile?

It was a few months ago but I watched my daughter on stage for her ballet recital. It makes my heart swell just to think about it now! She’s just this confident 6 year old excited to be on stage, totally embracing the performative moment. And when she’s done, she’s got this ear to ear smile, so proud of herself!

– What’s one of your favorite memories from the past year?

From 2020? Oof.
Actually, it’s something that happened recently. As the CEO of PauseOnError, we’ve been working up a new community project (which has created a slew of amazing memories) since we weren’t able to see each other as planned earlier in the year. As we kicked off this new thing, I drove halfway to Austin to meet up (safely) with my friend, Lisette Wilson. We met at a park in La Grange, TX, ate some delicious bbq, dressed up as spies, and laughed and talked for hours. It was the break from reality and living amidst a pandemic that I needed so badly.

We are thrilled Martha has joined our organization in the role of Managing Director, focused on building out our analytics, data visualization, and design UI/UX capabilities. 

Want to learn more about awesome women who have built careers in tech? Check out our Women in Tech Series.

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