Engineering Development

Welcome to Automattic Women—conversations with some of the remarkable women working all over the world to design and develop Automattic software and make the web a better place. Today’s interviewee, Selena Jackson, talks to us from her home in New York.

Who are you, and what do you do? 

Hi, I’m Selena! I am originally from Atlanta, GA but live in New York City. I love learning about people, places, and cultures all over the world, and I consider myself lucky to have been able to study and work in a few cool places, including Boston, Los Angeles, Morocco, and London.

I am also a connoisseur of 80s and 90s tv shows. If it aired in the US between 8 pm–11 pm, I’ve probably watched it, and have an opinion. If you are a fan of Tootie, Buffy, Dawson, or any dance tv show, let’s talk. 

At Automattic, I am a part of the Engineering Development team supporting our awesome engineers across various career development initiatives. I help to facilitate our engineering leadership development program, a multi-month program for engineers to explore their interest in leadership at Automattic. I also connect engineering leads through our lead mentorship program, and provide opportunities for peer-to-peer learning through leadership dens.  

What’s a typical day like for you?

The easiest answer is to say—it depends! 

But on a typical day, I usually wake up around 7:30 am and (sometimes) take a cycling class before starting work around 9 am. I mainly work from my desk but may mix it up and sit on the couch or go to the Noho space for a change in scenery. 

Each day is spent moving forward with our various leadership development programs. There is a lot of async and sync facilitation across many of our initiatives. 

On a given day, I may facilitate a sync session with a program cohort discussing areas of leadership, including psychological safety, time management, or goal setting. Or facilitate a den session where engineering leads can connect and learn from each other. 

For the async work of the day, I am usually deep in Slack, Google Docs, or P2, planning out and sharing communications across cohorts to ensure that participants have what they need while going through our programs, and that we continue to connect in-between sync sessions. We also encourage participants to provide insights and feedback as they work through our programs. 

I also field questions about our different initiatives, and work with our engineers to decide what programs may fit them according to their goals.

What drew you to Automattic and what keeps you here?

My previous work before coming to Automattic was in entertainment marketing. I worked for different cable tv networks (MTV, VH1, TNT, Food Network, AMC), starting in marketing strategy and then gradually moved into event marketing. I had already been following Automattic because I loved that it was a fully distributed company with a set of values that I connected with, so when I saw an opening on the Events team, I went for it, and was thrilled to get the role!

Over the past few years, I have done some of my own career exploration by developing my coaching skills, and I was so fortunate to be able to join the Engineering Development team, which is doing work that matched my facilitation and learning development interests. Being able to make the transition onto this team and being able to focus on these interests has been amazing, and I am so happy I’ve had the opportunity to grow and evolve my work at Automattic.

What’s your favorite non-work activity?

One of my favorite activities is taking long walks across parts of New York City. With all of the different boroughs, neighborhoods, and outdoor activities happening around the city at any given time, you never know what you might see. Anything from celebrity sightings to impromptu street parties to weird moments of mayhem can happen on these walks, and I love it all. But…there must always be delicious food at the end of the long walk…no food, no move! (The saying I just made up for this interview but will now continue to say forever more). 

Connect with Selena on LinkedIn.

That’s it for this edition of Automattic Women. Follow Developer Resources and Automattic Design to meet more great women of Automattic. And if you’d like to do more than just read about these great people, consider working with us! Join our team of diverse, global perspectives building a better web, and connect your career to the power of Open Source.