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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 to bring new products to market. I can talk about some of these customers, if you like: 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 products, but also about out products in general, such as awards, features, benefits, etc.
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?
Not getting our company sued lol! We have to be very careful legally. There are FTC, SEC and trademark/intellectual property laws that we always need to be careful about. Other than that, 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 – between Dell and EMC. I’m also proud every day to advocate for our online audience and continually build trust with them by providing high-quality content.
What projects or goals are you currently pursuing?
We are gearing up to cover major events – SXSW, Dell Technologies World, etc. 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, who should we 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?
Probably the merger back in Sept 2016 – the biggest tech merger in history. TONS of planning went into it, and then we completely changed the way we work afterwards, 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 – this was back in 1984 and I actually don’t like to get into that level of detail with years, because it lets everyone know how old I am!
What educational accomplishments are you most proud of?
Getting my MBA at night while I had two tiny kids 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 that everyone around you is smarter.
In undergrad, I started out in electrical engineering, and I was one of only about 5 women in the freshman class of EE students. I estimate there were about 100 men or more. After about 2.5 years, I switched to computer science, which had more women students and at least one woman professor; the program seemed more welcoming AND it offered more electives.
Previous employers and positions that have lead to your current role:
After college, I worked for Hewlett Packard in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley as a technical writer, then sales development engineer, then systems engineer. Then I put my career on hold to have kids. (This was before the internet, so people couldn’t do remote work like they can now – it was a whole different world.) Also during this time, with young kids, I pursued my MBA at night. I then re-entered the workforce as a product manager at Sun Microsystems, where I did a job share with an amazing woman who I still keep in touch with. Then for personal reasons (my mother passed away), we moved back to Texas, where I decided to be a full-time mom. Did a bunch of volunteering during that time, which led to a board position in a local education foundation.
At that foundation, I worked on a Marketing Committee with someone I grew to highly respect. We realized after awhile that we shared values, backgrounds (we both had tech undergrad degrees and MBAs and had worked for high-tech companies before becoming stay-at-home parents) and future goals (returning to the workforce). We decided to start our own business – a boutique marketing agency to help local businesses with email marketing and social media. We taught ourselves these skills, and then sold and provided those services. We did this for about 3 years until we both moved on to bigger and better things: she is now digital marketing manager at ARM and I’m Social Media Editor in Chief at Dell.
Other positions not necessarily related to your current career:
lots of volunteer work while I was a stay-at-home mom. Serving on that foundation’s board of director was a valuable and interesting experience.
Best job you’ve ever had and why/Worst job you’ve ever had and why:
– current job is the best job – our team gets to know everything going on in the company, for starters. Worst job – waitressing at the age of 20ish. I felt expendable.
What were you like as a kid?
Favorite classes/coursework in elementary school, middle school, high school, college:
Math and english
What were your favorite books/shows/movies when you were a kid?
Scooby-Doo; comic books – Archie’s, Mad magazine; as a kid, I liked biographies. More recently, the harry potter books were a huge part of our family’s lives during the 1990s and 2000s.
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. At 18, I was just trying to survive 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 also 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, walk our dachshund, travel with family at least once a summer.
Do you play any musical instruments or play any sports?
No musical instruments. Used to play softball. 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.
Here are some of the sizzle videos from big events that our team covered over the last year:
— Dell Technologies (@DellTech) March 14, 2018
It's been non-stop action so far at the #DellExperience! If you're at #SXSW this week, stop by and explore the latest technology that's transforming the way we work, live, and play. https://t.co/kDK0l9YMyP pic.twitter.com/7CIWR3uVXp
— Dell Technologies (@DellTech) March 13, 2018
Match Play: https://twitter.com/DellTech/status/978054296439869441
Dell Tech World 2018: https://twitter.com/DellTech/status/992403278645350400
Ant-Man and The Wasp: https://twitter.com/Dell/status/1024417313817284610
CES 2019: https://twitter.com/Dell/status/1083554540379623424