From Marketing grad to PR intern to Culture to Product & Engineering, Melissa's journey at HubSpot has been one filled with change, learning, and growth. We caught up with Melissa to understand how they got to where they are, what they've learned along the way, and what they do outside of HubSpot. Sneak peek: They have an adorable puppy called Mango (featured below).
Let's get to know Melissa!
Can you tell us a little about your background and journey to HubSpot?
I'm originally from Central New Jersey and came to Boston to study Marketing Communication at Emerson College in Boston. I've been at HubSpot for so long, but I've never been in the same role for more than 2-3ish years. I initially interned at HubSpot on the PR team. I mainly helped with graphic design needs leading up to INBOUND 2014 and the Initial Public Offering (when we became a publicly traded company).
When our now-Chief People Officer Katie Burke started the Culture team, I then moved there as an intern and then as the first full-time hire. I focused on a bunch of things but found that I was most passionate about DEI/DI&B work. I spent the next few years focused on building the foundation of our Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging programs and Employee Resource Groups, like POCaH and the LGBTQIA+ Alliance. I had a lot of fun and worked super hard, then in 2020, I pivoted careers to join the UX team as an Associate in our (discontinued) UX rotational program.
I went in thinking I'd be a Product Designer, then over the course of the 18-month program realized I was instead drawn to research. I love talking to our customers, users, and people who've never come across our platform before. It's always eye-opening and I enjoy getting to share insights with our product managers, designers, analysts, and engineers.
Describe a typical day in your role.
I get up around 7, walk my dog, get caffeinated, and log on at 8 am. I work on the Growth Adoption team, and almost all of my team is in Ireland and Berlin, which are 5 and 6 hours ahead. Because of this, I take meetings and 1:1s in the morning so I can have my afternoon -- when teams in Europe are offline -- to work.
I meet with Product Managers and Product Designers from the teams I work with to align on their current work, future goals, and share what I'm currently working on from a research POV. If applicable, we talk about what Support Teams may need from me on current projects and studies, or we talk through areas we have questions about and may want to research in the future.
Every few weeks the researchers in my department meet to discuss current work and provide feedback and support to one another. I also occasionally attend my team's design critique to stay close to what teams are working on. Depending on what phase of research I am in, I may be drafting a study, putting together a screener to recruit participants, running a study by conducting interviews or tests, or synthesizing qualitative data to share with my teams. I work from home with my 3-legged poodle, Mango, by my side.
Tell us about a challenge you're working to solve right now.
HubSpot has a robust suite of Free tools, which are perfect for smaller businesses that are just getting started. My team, Growth Adoption, focuses on the onboarding experience for these mostly small (and very small) businesses that use our Free and Starter tier tools. My team and I are thinking about how to best onboard a new Free user who has little to no previous CRM experience so that they are both told what a CRM can do, while also getting able to use the product quickly to get started quickly.
How are you solving for the customer?
I see myself as the voice of the customer and future user when it comes to the internal conversations we have within product and engineering. I see myself as an unbiased messenger, without a specific solution in mind when I set out to do research. This helps me explore problem spaces more freely, and also push back when I feel we've lost the plot.
In your own words, what makes working at HubSpot unique?
The people. The trust and autonomy we're given is possible because I feel that HubSpotters are trustworthy folks who are great at what they do. I also love that we're a bigger tech company that focuses on the SMB space. I love knowing that smaller businesses are using our tools to make their day-to-day processes easier.
If you could go back to the beginning of your career and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? Don't stress! You're so young, and you have so much time and space to grow. In fact, you'll never stop learning and growing — especially at HubSpot. Listen to people when they tell you what you're good at, and also take the time to find out what you enjoy doing. You'll figure it out.
Outside of HubSpot, what do you like to do in your free time? I love spending time with my girlfriend, dog, traveling, and being with friends and family. I'm into shopping sustainably, so second-hand stores (or on Facebook marketplace) is where you'll find me on the weekends. I have to give a shoutout to my gym, Innercity Weightlifting, a nonprofit that works with youth and previously incarcerated folks in Boston.
I am currently in pursuit of the perfect hobby because I tried woodworking and that wasn't it. I'm thinking about sewing, so I can alter and upcycle clothes I have thrifted or need to breathe new life into. Also, food. I love food, whether it's homemade or at a restaurant with loved ones. What's something that nobody would know about you? Growing up, I wanted to be a professional basketball player. Nobody would know that because today I'm only 5'2.