Life at Goodnotes

Celebrating Women in Tech: Meet Akmaral, Global Community Manager at Goodnotes

March 6, 2024

On the 8th of March, International Women’s Day is celebrated globally. Same as last year, we decided that one day was not enough to highlight the exceptional women amongst our GoodPeople, so we are celebrating with a weekly blog post to give insight into what it’s like being a woman in tech at Goodnotes.

First up this year, we’d like to introduce you to Akmaral. Akmaral joined Goodnotes about 3 years ago as an intern and made an immediate impact on our product and teams. Read on to learn more about her journey from social media intern to becoming our Global Community Manager.

Hi Akmaral! We can’t wait to hear more about your experience at Goodnotes! Tell us about the journey that lead you to your current role as Global Community Manager.

Absolutely! Well, my journey started back when I was doing my undergraduate (BA) degree, where I found my passion for communications. I was obsessed with learning about people, how they think, the techniques of marketing, and media, or going deeper into psychology. At that time I also had marketing internships to learn more about the field.

I remember how many of my past colleagues and classmates recognized that I was always the first one to learn about new trends, whether it was predicting or reacting to them, as well as how I prioritized creativity instead of “what’s common”. That’s when I pursued social media & studied Media & Communication Science for my graduate (MA) degree. For my graduate degree dissertation, I focused on Building Brand Communities in Online Communication, and that’s how I got excited about the newly rising field of Community Management and its game-changing potential in different industries.

Fun fact: I used Goodnotes for all my research papers, starting from building the framework of the study, annotating literature, taking notes during my lectures, and then using it to plan my action steps.

It all came to the point that I truly loved the product and became an avid user of it. I am a person of passion, so if I get excited about something, I want to be a part of it. That led to the point where I just randomly applied for an internship through one of the talent acquisition specialists at Goodnotes, and little did I know that they needed a Community Manager to test out the beta version of a newly built feature. Once I went through all the interviews, I joined as the second person on the marketing team and officially helped shape the department of Marketing at Goodnotes. Looking back at it now, it’s incredible to see how much the Marketing team has grown and how far we’ve come, from being a small team of 2 to 9 people now.

Could you give us an example of community management to understand the field better?

Sure! This can be a dinner discussion with your family about the latest exciting purchase you made or a recommendation to a friend to start taking notes digitally; it can be a choice to leave paper behind or a mission to change your approach to productivity and education - I make sure all that happens through various projects and marketing techniques. However, as a Global Community Manager, my main purpose is to build a sense of community no matter where our users are located, so that they feel united through the love of our product. For human beings, this feeling is essential to survive in this crazy world, so I’m glad that there are more and more tech companies that prioritize this.

Have you found Goodnotes supportive when it comes to your growth and development?

Yes. I have worked at Goodnotes for 3 years already, and looking back, I can see how much progress I’ve made in my professional life. Thanks to my marketing teammates, I have never felt nervous about doing something new. In fact, I was more experienced in social media and influencer marketing, so everything that comes to community management was somewhat new to me: leading our first brand activation in London and then globally, building the Ambassador Program, and many other projects that were launched for the first time in the history of Goodnotes.

What do you like most about working at Goodnotes?

I am very proud to work at Goodnotes not only because of our mission and what we do but also because of the values we incorporate into our culture. Each one of them resonates deeply with me, but my favorite one is “Taking Ownership”. I believe every member of Goodnotes feel that they are part of something big and something to be proud of, which gives a deep understanding of the role that one has, which naturally encourages people take the lead.

When starting your career, some company cultures might make you feel like you are too junior or not good enough. However, at Goodnotes, due to our rigorous interview process, trust in your expertise starts from day one. That helps not only to challenge your career growth but also gives space for more ideas and new approaches that Goodnotes supports, which makes work even more exciting!

What are you most proud of in your career, so far?

Hmm, this is a tough one… It’s hard to pick just one thing, as each milestone of my career is very dear to me, which is simply because I’m proud of what I do! Not many people understand exactly what I do for work when I introduce myself, and the reason is that it’s a fairly new field that many companies approach differently. To explain the concept better, I make sure that our brand is perceived not just as a product, but also as a lifestyle and a mission! Isn’t it cool?!

What questions do you think women in tech should be asking in interviews regarding diversity and inclusion?

Apart from the prior research of the company’s values, policies, and benefits to get a sense of whether diversity and inclusion are prioritized, I’d also raise the following questions:

  1. How many women are in management positions in the company?
  2. What steps has the company taken to address bias and discrimination in the workplace?
  3. How does leadership demonstrate its commitment to diversity and inclusion?

What advice would you give other women wanting to reach their career goals in the tech industry?

I remember reading a scientific study about the confidence gap by Cornell University, which suggested that men tend to overestimate both their skills and performance when presented with a task, while women, on the other hand, tend to underestimate themselves. I was both so frustrated and sad about the reality we are part of, but it was a huge push to my confidence when starting my career - to never feel afraid, even if I’m uncertain about my skills (nobody is perfect!), to never allow anyone to intimidate me because of my gender, background, or title, and lastly, to always be better than yesterday. I encourage all women to approach their career goals this way because confidence makes a big difference (anywhere).

Who is a woman you admire/look up to or want to thank?

I am very lucky to say that there is not one, and not even two women I must mention… There are three superhumans in my life who affect me every single day: my mom Aigul and two older sisters Meirgul and Anel with whom I grew up.

I am from a culture (Kazakhstan) where there are gender gaps in many industries as most women choose even harder jobs than we all do - to be stay-at-home mothers. My mom is one of them, leaving her career behind to raise her four kids. That’s why all three of these women supported my goals every step of the way. My sisters have kids, businesses, jobs, and independent projects they focus on each day, so I have always felt that there is no limit when it comes to my self-development. However, my mom taught me to dream big, even though the size of my dreams would sometimes intimidate even me!

So, I’d like to thank them for who I am today. Because in every “did you eat?”, “don’t bother her, she’s working”, and “It’s okay, you’ll do better next time!”, I know that they are putting seeds of belief whenever I am close to giving up, hope when I wish for something better, and love that calms my mind and drives me forward.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2024 is ‘Inspire Inclusion’. How do you think Goodnotes inspires inclusion in the workplace?

There are so many initiatives that Goodnotes took to inspire inclusion, some of which are: hiring diversity, DEI training, mental health awareness, annual DEI surveys, parental leave policy, wellness benefits, charity or volunteering opportunities, and even adding pronouns on Slack to promote inclusive language. So I’m really excited about the future at Goodnotes!

Can you see yourself working with Akmaral? 

See our job openings today!

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