All the potential: Galen, CX Principal Solutions Architect
I've always been driven to learn more, grow in my career, build on strengths and work on weaknesses. If I got bored in my position, it was time to stretch up or move on. Qualtrics is a different animal than my previous employers. First, the XM industry is very different than other industries whose operational platforms I've helped design, build, and support. Second, I can see a direct correlation between the products and services and helping business customers trying to improve the lives of their customers and employees. While I'm not usually driven by how customers use a platform operationally, I can't deny that it is motivating knowing that effective use of the Qualtrics platform affects positive outcomes in the lives of others. Third, unlike other verticals of health insurance claims processing, employment screenings, HRMS, and other systems I've managed, I cannot think of a single business that wouldn't benefit from the Qualtrics suite of products and services. Lastly, the XM industry has so much more potential given the increasing avenues of customer and employee touch-points, the global potential of products and brands, the computing power today to drive AI and ML, and the enormity of data that Qualtrics already has collected from which to analyze and provide actionable options to decision-makers.
What attracted you to Qualtrics in the first place?
A former co-worker of mine started at Qualtrics and would go on and on about how wonderful it was. He's not given to being effusive, so it was a bit odd. Fast forward a couple of years, and he told me about an opening that looked interesting.
What was the turning point where you knew you 'had to have the job' at Qualtrics?
I went through eight interviews and a one-hour case study presentation and Q&A. In all interactions, all the Qualtrics staff were so kind, intelligent, enthusiastic, and committed to the mission and purpose of Qualtrics. It was then that it started to resonate that Qualtrics is unique.
What does your day look like?
At the moment I'm still learning the products and services. A typical day for a Solutions Architect is engaging with the Sales teams, prospects, and our Professional Services (PS) peers to identify the needs of the prospects, craft the right solution for them based on inputs from PS, and explain the value to prospects of the Qualtrics ecosystem in helping them establish and grow their Experience Management (XM) competencies and embed an XM culture in their organization. XM maturity is much more than just stellar technology.
What is your favorite part of your role?
Guiding prospects from pre-sales through implementation and deployment so that they realize the desired outcomes discussed before becoming customers.
You’ve travelled to so many places! Tell us about that, and about the move to Utah.
I am originally from Florida, have also lived in Alabama, and traveled extensively up the East Coast over the decades. I was hired to work in St. Petersburg, FL but my boss was in Salt Lake City (SLC). I commuted working one week per month in Utah and the other three in FL. After 18 months of that, I fell in love with Utah and moved here on my own dime! I learned that SLC is a running hub; there are races year-round within a tank of gas. In a two-hour drive, you can be in Idaho, Wyoming, or Nevada, four hours to Colorado. I was worried about the snow being a Floridian, but SLC is a “high desert,” and you can easily run in forty-degree weather and not be cold, as long as you’re in the sun. Even in the summers, it isn’t sweltering like Florida due to the low humidity. And the history! There’s Golden Spike nearby where the transcontinental railroad met, Wendover Army Air Base where B-29 pilots trained during WWII, the Bonneville Salt Flats where so many speed records were and still are set, and Park City with mining relics. For the outdoor types, there’s fishing, hiking, camping, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snow skiing, snowboarding, 4-wheeling in Moab, paragliding, cycling, and much more.
Any tips for someone who is considering a role at Qualtrics? Or advice for someone looking to get into a career like yours? Tips for someone in general?
It's not easy to get hired at Qualtrics; they're not seeking warm bodies to fill roles. If you're interested in a role at Qualtrics, be patient, persistent, and diligent; it's worth the effort. As for the Solutions Architect role, it is usually the culmination of work experience marrying technological understanding with business acumen. Companies purchase technology solutions not for the bells and whistles or fancy, convincing sales presentations. They are purchasing expected solutions. Solutions Architects are to elicit expected outcomes, advise on the products and services required to achieve them, and craft a plan to bridge the gap from their current state to the desired future state.
In general? I’ve always been a full-time employee and full-time student.. I’m in a fantastic global running club started in the Seattle area called Marathon Maniacs. We like to run marathons all over the world with each other. It combines travel, socializing, and new experiences. One member taught me that “If you run fast, you earn a good time. If you run slowly, you have a good time.” While I qualified for and ran the 2015 Boston Marathon, it is much more fun to run many races annually catching up with friends along the way than to solely run for speed. After all, life is a marathon not a sprint.
What has surprised you most about working at Qualtrics?
The people of Qualtrics are genuinely happy. The work is challenging, but it is also fulfilling. Working with glum people can make for long days. When your teammates are eager and enthusiastic, the time flies.
What made you want to get into technology?
I was drawn toward technology because it combines problem-solving and creativity. I have relatives in the “arts” who seem to think that they have a monopoly on creativity. Can you imagine your life today without your smartphone? Who would deny that Steve Jobs didn’t create things? In technology, people create using programming languages which results in elegant user interfaces for customers to use to solve problems, provide answers, capture ideas and pain points, and make their businesses better. I’m grateful for artists whose products please the eyes and ears, but I am more grateful for the artists who create with variables and algorithms. Because of them, astronauts went to the moon!
What are your aspirations in career/life?
To be good.
What is your top #LifeHack?
Eat the Frog.
What's a favorite moment/memory of your time at Qualtrics so far? Or an impactful moment?
My team and I went on a 25-mile bike ride together for 5 For The Fight. We socialized along the way, but we passed a cemetery where a teammate’s father was buried. We stopped. It was a healthy reminder that business may bring us together, but “we work to live not live to work.” People are important, as we never know if someone is in our lives for just a day, a season, or a lifetime and the purpose they fulfill.
How have you become involved in the community at Qualtrics? What has that meant to you?
I started participating in QSalute, Qualtrics' community for former and current military. It continues the camaraderie that many experienced when they were active duty. Few have experienced a job where you didn't know if you would be alive tomorrow because of it. QSalute gives members and their allies an opportunity to talk, to listen, to be heard and understood. Semper Fidelis.
What 3 words would you use to describe Qualtrics to someone?
One innovative team.
|Galen Garrison is an alumnus of The University of Tampa (BSc), Saint Leo University (MBA) and started his career at Dun & Bradstreet straight out of high school. He dressed up smartly and interviewed well, and was fortunate to have executives who encouraged him to take advantage of their education reimbursement program, which helped pay for his undergraduate degree.|
September 1, 2021