Welcome to our Employee Spotlight series where we discuss #LifeAtPega with different team members across our organization. First up is Chris Venne. Chris, based out of our Cambridge office, has been a beloved Pega employee since 2011. He joined Pega as an Administrative Assistant in 2011 and has since been promoted to Operations Coordinator, Engineering Operations Lead, and most recently, Dedicated Scrum Master.
Learn more about Chris, including how he ended up at Pega and what he believes has been the most impactful piece of technology developed in his lifetime.
1. Chris, where did your passion for technology come from?
My passion for technology started at a very young age – I believe that it stemmed from exposure to learning games such as Gizmos and Gadgets, Oregon Trail, Windows Encarta, and the EA Sports franchise. I was amazed at the way in which I was able to use video games to simultaneously educate and entertain myself. I found that my interactions with different titles quickly translated into real world knowledge that enabled me to have informative discussions and heightened awareness regarding my favorite hobbies.
2. Describe your career journey. What led you to Pega?
It was 2011, and I was working in a role that didn’t match my career ambitions. While on vacation with a friend in Maine, I recall having a discussion with my friend’s parents regarding life after college and my personal goals. The conversation made me incredibly uncomfortable and upset with myself – I couldn’t believe that after four years of college, and numerous experiences, life had amounted to a job that was personally unfulfilling and didn’t provide a path for professional development. Immediately following that conversation I received a phone call that would change my life. It was my childhood best friend, Ahmed Abdullah. He had called to ask if I was interested in interviewing with his company, Pegasystems, for an administrative assistant role. Before he could say anymore, I confirmed – I would be in Boston for an interview the following week at any cost. Flash forward a few weeks and I was living on my friends couch on Mission Hill, preparing for my first day at Pega. Over the next five years I would find myself working alongside and learning from some of the smartest people in the world. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my skill set could benefit our organization in the context of facilitation and enablement. Through amazing mentorship, coaching, guidance, and personal commitment to growth, I found myself filling the role of Full Time Scrum Master in 2015 – I still serve Pega in this role today.
3. Do you have a favorite Pega memory thus far?
While there have been numerous enjoyable moments at Pega thus far, my favorite memory would have to be the international Scrum Tour that I set out on with colleague Brian Albere in February of 2016. Brian and I had been tasked with evangelizing Agile and Scrum across our global organization, encouraging others in our division of the company to invest and embrace the Agile Methodology more broadly. This trip enabled me to see new parts of the world, experience other cultures first hand, and learn from the experiences of my non-US based colleagues. It was my first international trip, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity and experiences that Pega and my management team were able to provide me with.
4. What skills were you looking to gain from your latest career move to Scrum Master? What drove your interest in this position?
I wanted to improve my ability to manage programs and initiatives on a much larger scale. My earlier years at Pega were littered with success on small, single team focused projects. In making the move to my current role, I was hoping to greatly improve my technical knowledge and awareness, while also expanding the scope and scale at which I was able to execute.
5. Any advice for people who want to expand their career at Pega?
Get your hands into anything and everything. I cannot overemphasize how many times a random project on something outside of my skill set has resulted in an exceptional amount of learning and networking within the company. Having knowledge of all of the parts of the business you work for is an incredibly valuable asset to that company. You never know when an opportunity that intrigues you will be made available – the more diverse your knowledge and skill set is, the more capable you are to take on new challenges.
6. What do you enjoy about Pega’s culture?
Everyone here is genuinely thoughtful and willing to help one another. I consider these traits to be incredibly rare in the world, yet somehow, at Pega, they seem inherent with each and every one of our employees.
7. A strong work-life balance is important. What do you like to do outside of the office?
My greatest passions are sports, game design, music, street art, and tattooing.
8. In your lifetime, what do you think has been the most impactful piece of technology? Why?
I would have to say that the smart phone, and its availability to the public, has been the most impactful piece of technology in my lifetime. For the first time ever, generations are being raised never knowing a world where computer technology was not readily available. I’m interested to see the impact this has on the future leaders of our planet.
9. On your phone/tablet, what’s your favorite app?
My personal favorite would have to be Spotify – I am an absolute music junkie, and an application that gives me limitless access to the music I love is a homerun.
Want to work with Chris? Pega is currently hiring for varying positions across the globe. For a full listing of available opportunities visit our careers site and don’t forget to follow Pega careers on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor.