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Inside Gun.io

An interview with Victoria Stahr

Cal Evans

Mar 23, 2022 5:48:41 PM

One of the things that sets Gun.io apart from other job marketplaces is our personal connection with every developer and every client. Your resume isn't just another one thrown into the ether, and your job description isn't just another post to a scrolling list. With that in mind, we want to introduce you to some of the bright minds behind the scenes here at Gun.io.

This week, Cal Evans chats with Talent Growth Advocate, Victoria Stahr, to find out how she got here, what she loves about her job, and what her favorite music spots are in Nashville. 

 

Transcript of Conversation:

Cal Evans:
Welcome to the Frontier, the podcast by Gun.io. My special guest is Victoria Stahr, the Talent Growth Associate for Gun.io. Say hi to everybody, Victoria.

Victoria Stahr:
Hi everyone.

Cal:
Now, Victoria, we're gonna talk a little bit, we're gonna talk in a little bit, about what a Talent Growth Associate is, but first let's talk about, as I like to call it, your hero backstory. How did you get to the point where you are a Talent Growth Associate for a company as awesome as Gun.io?

Victoria:
I can dive into that for sure. I feel like it's an interesting pathway. A lot of people wonder the same thing. Honestly, I started my work career actually in events–live events–for the first four years out of college. I ran an amphitheater actually. So I worked with a mid-level venue. It was a 2,500 person amphitheater space, but did all the operations and management for that. Yeah, it was really fun. Worked with a lot of really cool people. Had a really good time. It was at the time, my dream job out of college. That's what I knew I wanted to do. Oddly enough, I moved to Nashville in 2018, knowing that I wasn't going to continue in music or live events.

Cal:
Wow, okay!

Victoria:
Yeah. And deciding to kind of opt out of that, see what other avenues I could pursue when I moved down here. I ended up landing a job with Lyft as an Operation Specialist, basically creating standard operating procedures for their bike and scooter program. So I wasn't even part of the rideshare side. It was a micro-mobility side, and did that for the first year that I was in Nashville before I got hired at Gun.io. Really, it was just looking for something still kind of in the tech world. I enjoyed working the startup aspect at Lyft. It was honestly very close to live events where it's fast-paced, everything's changing, but wasn't the weirder hours. (laugh) I mean the weird hours still exist, just not to the full extreme as live event hours. But the pace was the same and the concepts were still similar as far as, you know, how can we make things more efficient or, you know, how can we line up these processes to be better for the people involved? And so I knew I wanted to continue in tech after my time at Lyft and Gun.io kind of just fell into my lap, honestly, as a perfect opportunity and fit so far. It's been two years.

Cal:
Nice. Well, it is a fun place to work. I'll give you that. I've already learned something here, just talking with you. I have never heard the term ‘micro-mobility’, I assume that's the Lyft scooters, you said?

Victoria:
Yeah, it was bikes and scooters. I don't know if that is a real term. It's what I used to describe my time at Lyft, because that was also a hard concept for people to understand. 

Cal:
No, I like the term, that's cool.

Victoria:
I doubt that I made it up, but it's what I use.

Cal:
Yep. Hey, take credit for it. You know, I find things all over the place and forget that I found them from somebody else and think that I came up with 'em myself and, you know, I've made a career out of this, so hey–claim it. Anyhow, now you are here at Gun. You are a talent…? Gimme the full term.

Victoria:
It fluctuates in terms of what a job title name I think can be. I am in talent growth, Talent Growth Associate is what I have joined Gun.io as, and that has ever-evolved since my time starting with Gun.io. And so it's always had a hand in talent. It’s a mixture of talent relations and marketing, I would say, is like primarily where my field lies.

Cal:
Okay. Now talk to us a little bit about exactly what actions do you take, what do you do as a Talent Growth Associate?

Victoria:
In the current iteration, I do all external outreach for getting new developers on the platform, so more of a personal basis. So a good portion of my day is spent researching developers, just kind of out on the internet, whether that's through LinkedIn, whether that's through other Slack boards, just kind of different avenues where developers hang out, just seeing if there's people interested in at least joining another talent community, not even necessarily if they're looking for a role right now, but joining for future opportunities or just to kind of help expand how people can learn and grow within the developer world, would be one avenue of what I do currently. The second is more geared toward on-platform engagement, so as new developers join, we're kicking off a few new initiatives, especially now with what that looks like. So making sure that we have a really good welcoming environment that people feel comfortable to speak in our talent community. Because we do have a lot of developers doing really badass things. (Yeah.) And we wanna make sure that everyone knows about it. Not even just for our own internal team, but just amongst the community as well. Just making sure that we're facilitating an environment for developers.

Cal:
Very cool. That is one of the things that you talked about–or you touched on–one of the things I love about Gun is yes, we help developers find really cool clients to work with, but there's also a community aspect of it. We've got a community slack channel called the Cantina and conversations going on in there that are fascinating on several different levels. I've seen everything from you know, great customer-bad customer discussions on what people look for. I've seen technical discussions on new, the, the new shiny technology, whatever that may be at the most, just all kinds of things. And we've even got one channel that's called ‘Show and Tell’, which is when you create something cool, post it in there so that everybody else can see, and it gives you, it's just a place that you can brag on what you do. And that, to me, is a phenomenal idea because developers always love to show off what they've done, but you know, a lot of places other developers are like, ‘eh, you know, you're just self promoting,’ but that channel's just set up for that. So that is really cool.

Victoria:
The appreciation aspect! I mean, you are sharing amongst people that get what you're doing or can ask more questions or want to learn more. And to me that's the most exciting part.

Cal:
And I don't see a lot of the negative in there. There's not a lot of pooping on other people's project or other technologies or stuff like that. I mean, that might happen. I don't know. Maybe I just don't see it, but the Gun community just seems to be a fun place to hang out and, you know, it's worth the effort to join the system just to be able to hang out in a community like that.

Victoria:
Yeah. And I think that's part of what Gun.io has set to create when we want–when we started out developing a community, was making sure that it was a positive space. And I think that we develop that just from start to finish from, you know, external reach out to join the platform, all the way through being in Cantina and being on a project. Everything in between still has a personal aspect with people from the Gun.io internal team. So I think that there's a really strong community feel just from an interaction standpoint. You're not just blindly joining, you know, a Slack channel that happens to be part of your chosen tech stack. And you can kind of (yeah) run off in there. It really is a community that you've been invited to be a part of and to collaborate in. And I think that's pretty evident just how we've grown and have chosen to grow.

Cal:
And I've been consulting and doing contract work since… I think I took my first client in ‘96. So, you know, I've been doing this a while and I run across these communities. And so I go to these companies that want to get me hired or find me jobs or stuff like that in the gig economy. And that's really cool, but the Gun community is a lot of people like me, okay. Not just old white guys, but people that have been doing this for a while. It's not a lot of people just joining the workforce and saying, ‘I wanna get out there and get some experience.’ And so we have a lot in common and we can sit there and chit chat because we're all at a certain level or higher. And that's–there's a place for juniors to talk to seniors and learn from them. But there needs to be a space where mid-level and senior developers can just get together and talk without having to worry about, you know, are they gonna lead a junior wrong or is a junior gonna misunderstand something they say, and, you know, I just, I love that aspect of the Cantina. I’ve wandered a lot there.

Victoria:
That's great. (laugh)

Cal:
Hey last question for you. What is your favorite hobby?

Victoria:
My favorite hobby, and it's probably very obvious to everyone in the Gun.io internal team, and probably in Cantina, is going to live shows. I may be out of working in live music, but I still enjoy the atmosphere of going to concerts. So I would say the rest of my time when I'm not online, which feels like a good majority, I'm probably in a venue somewhere in Nashville catching a band play. And I think the city is great for that.

Cal:
Oh, it really is. I spent more than a few nights down at the Bluebird and down on Broadway at the honky tonks and all kinds of fun stuff in my–18 or 20 years? I forget what it was–that I lived in Nashville. I love live music. Matter of fact, where we used to live in Nashville, there was a little bar called Johnny's and it was, you know, right up the road from us. And so when Kathy would finish for the day on Fridays, we'd head up to Johnny's, you know, grab something to eat, listen to you know, whoever the house band was, it was never a name, but we had the house band playing and it was just, it was a fun time.

Victoria:
Where was Johnny's at?

Cal:
Bell Road right over at Antioch, right near the edge of Brentwood. It's no longer there. Last time I checked, I think they put a Chick-fil-A or something like that, but Barry Coggins was BC and The Big Head Band. They were the house band man, and we just, oh, we'd have a ball. It was, you know, probably for a year about every Friday night or every other Friday night, that's where we ended up. And it was a wonderful time. I miss that down here. We don't have as many live music venues as there are in Nashville, but you know…

Victoria:
I'm originally from Nebraska. So I would say that the amount of live music venues has grown exponentially in the move here. But I'm always at Basement East on the east side. There's always something good going on there.

Cal:
Always something. And the Cannery, I guess the Cannery is still there? I don't know.

Victoria:
The Cannery is still there, I think until May.

Cal:
Oh yeah, that was another, every now and then we'd head down there. Hey, look, I can sit here and reminisce all day, but I appreciate you taking the time to talk with us today and explain what you do for Gun, and how you help developers find awesome gigs with great clients. 

Audience, thank you for taking the time to join us. I know you have a busy schedule. Appreciate you taking the time. I hope you have found this both informative and educational. And hey–do us a favor. If you like what you saw here, go out to whatever podcaster you listen to us on. Give us a rating, give us five stars, five thumbs up, whichever, you know, whatever the rating is. Now, if there's something we can do better, drop me an email, cal@gun.io. I would love to hear from you. Until next week, we'll see you right here on the Frontier.

 

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Written By:

Cal Evans

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