Live Event: April 4, 2019 at 1:00pm Eastern (US)
Suzanne Doughty is the Social Media Editor in Chief at Dell where she combines technology and communication. She manages the top social media accounts with the goal to effectively communicate information on Dell’s products and stories about how people use these technologies.
Name: Suzanne M. Doughty
Title: Social Media Editor in Chief
Years in this organization/position?
5 years at Dell, 1 year in this position
What does your organization do?
Make computers and other technologies that enable our customers to do great things.
What is your role in the organization?
To watch over our top 11 social media accounts for the company
Describe your work and how it is important to society:
Our customers do the most important work for society – they use our technology to solve problems and bring their ideas to life. They make amazing things happen every day: https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-us/customer-stories.htm Our team’s role is to share this kind of information with the public – not only how people use our technology, but also how we as a company run our business – our values and culture and why we care about sustainability.
What type of science, technology, engineering or math do you use in your career? And how often do you use them?
As new technologies (AI, machine learning, blockchain, hyperconverged systems, cloud, cybersecurity) become part of the conversation in social media, having a tech background is helpful. I know I won’t understand each new technology in depth, but it’s helpful to have those computer science fundamentals as a foundation.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your current role?
Being the voice behind the logo every single day! First and foremost, we must “do no harm” when we are speaking on behalf of our company. It’s much different from being on social media as a private individual. For example, we have to be very careful legally. There are FTC, SEC and trademark/intellectual property laws that we always need to be careful about. There are also internal rules of the road that guide what we publish on our social media accounts. I’m also proud every day that our team advocates for our online audience and continually builds trust with them by providing high-quality content.
What projects or goals are you currently pursuing?
We are gearing up to cover major events – our big conference, Dell Technologies World, is later in April. We just finished covering SXSW and the Dell Match Play golf tournament. We cover a lot of events!
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?
With such a big company, sometimes it’s hard to figure out the organization – who does what, and whom we should be talking to about certain products or issues.
What is the most exciting, most amazing, or scariest thing that has happened to you during your work?
One of the accomplishments I’m most proud of was leading the social media editorial calendar for Dell during the largest tech merger in history in 2016 – between Dell and EMC. TONS of planning went into this merger in every part of the company. Hours upon hours, weeks upon weeks, months upon months. It changed us forever – we changed ourselves, rather – and we continue to change and improve every day.
Highest degree attained/ Schools attended?
MBA from Santa Clara University in 1997. BA in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin.
What educational accomplishments are you most proud of?
Getting my MBA at night while I had two little ones at home. For those 5 or so years, I was a stay-at-home mom by day and a student by night. Actually, the student part was easier than the mom part, quite frankly!
What kinds of challenges did you overcome during your education?
Time management is always a challenge. And in general, the feeling in college that everyone around you is smarter.
Previous employers and positions that have lead to your current role:
– Technical writer, then sales development engineer, then systems engineer at Hewlett-Packard in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley.
– Product manager at Sun Microsystems
– Board member and Marketing lead at Eanes Education Foundation
– Small business owner of a boutique marketing agency
Other positions not necessarily related to your current career:
Lots of volunteer work while I was a stay-at-home mom. Serving on the education foundation’s board of directors was a valuable and interesting experience.
Best job you’ve ever had and why/Worst job you’ve ever had and why:
My current job is the best job – our team gets to know everything going on in the company! Worst job – waitressing at the age of 20ish while in college.
What were you like as a kid?
Quite hard-working and introverted. When I was with close friends or family, however, I would become more expressive and extroverted.
Favorite classes/coursework in elementary school, middle school, high school, college:
Always Math and English! I had several aunts and uncles who were English teachers, so they corrected our grammar all the time as we were growing up!
What were your favorite books/shows/movies when you were a kid?
As a kid, I liked biographies. More recently, the Harry Potter books were a huge part of our family’s lives as our kids grew up.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up at age 12? At age 15? At age 18?
At 12, I thought I would be a lawyer. At 15, I had no idea, but I was grateful to be good at both Math and English because those opened up a lot of choices. At 18, I was just trying to survive the academic challenges of EE and CS courses in college.
When did you know you wanted to pursue your current career, and what drove you towards it?
When I was in college studying electrical engineering, I didn’t really enjoy it. But I took a programming course, which I really liked, and I later switched to computer science. I still had a love of English, so I took journalism courses as well. When it came time for on-campus interviews, it was that combination of English/journalism and computer science that made me a good fit for the technical writing position they were hiring for at HP.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what other career(s) might you have pursued?
A lawyer (because I like precision and logic) or an EMT (because I do well in emergencies).
What are your favorite hobbies or activities you do for fun?
Lots of family get-togethers, walking our dachshund, traveling with family at least once a summer.
Do you play any musical instruments or play any sports?
No musical instruments. I used to play softball in high school and college (intramurals). I like to do weight training and Pure Barre classes.
What is your favorite non-science book, magazine, or blog?
Pride and Prejudice. I like a number of podcasts – Marketing Over Coffee, Wizard of Ads, Trailblazers, Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me and more.
What’s the most frequently played song?
Anything from Hamilton!
Who do you look up to and admire?
Oprah, Michael Dell, actually; Michelle and Barack Obama. Other “self-made” people.
What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your career?
It’s important to know technology AND how to communicate well.
What advice would you give students in general?
In general, individual achievement is important, but it’s even more important to be able to work well with others.
What are some interesting places you’ve traveled?
One of the important things that our team does is to cover events. So various members of our team have gone to Sundance in Park City, Utah; the Ant-Man and the Wasp and Spiderman premieres in Hollywood; South by Southwest in Austin, Dell Match Play golf tournament in Austin; Dell Technologies World and VMworld in Las Vegas; training in Boston; IFA in Berlin.
Personally, I’ve traveled on family trips to the UK, Canada and Italy. In college, I spent one summer backpacking across Europe with two friends. Best trip ever!