2018 AZ Top Tech Awards

2018 AZ Top Tech Awards

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With the AZ Top Tech Awards, the Phoenix Business Journal honored 17 CEOs, chief information officers, advocates and community heroes who are making a difference in the local ecosystem.

Awards were given in six categories, and the winners revealed at our annual event May 10 at Phoenix Art Museum.

Name:
Erica Sietsma

Education:
Bachelor’s degree, Cornell University

Occupation:
Senior vice president of consumer engagement and product strategy

Employer:
Digital Air Strike

Age:
38

Years in industry:
16

First computer:
Macintosh II

Winner: Technology Innovator

What was the first time you knew tech would be your career? When I started with a CRM company in 2001. I was hooked on both technology and its intersection with the automotive industry.

What’s your biggest accomplishment in tech? Working with our engineering teams at DAS and building out some industry-revolutionizing products that have helped business owners compete and succeed in the world of social media.

What’s the best thing about working in a tech-related field? I’m always learning. You can’t ever be a subject matter expert as the subject matter continues to shift and change and that makes it exciting and keeps me young.,

What’s the hardest thing about working in a tech-related field? Not being able to move as fast as the tech is changing. Once you set a course, in many cases you have to see it through to completion or convince your board why you need to delay the launch in order to incorporate the latest tech. You’re constantly balancing the speed of innovation with the underlying business cases.

Who is your tech industry inspiration? While this may be controversial right now, I look up to Mark Zuckerberg. He is one of the only “unicorn” CEOs to have made it from the early days to now. Yes, he’s got a board, and yes, as a public company they need to appease that board by driving revenue/profits, but he continues to push Facebook in new directions that aim to serve the greater good.

What’s the biggest challenge in adapting to the pace of technology in your work? Finding team members who can work in the ever-changing environment and have the experience and maturity to drive us forward. We find the average person usually can’t keep up with our fast-paced environment.

What piece of technology you can’t live without? This may seem antiquated, but my laptop. I just can’t get into the tablets and keyboard. I think I could adjust over time to no longer having a cell phone, but trying to type things on a tablet or my phone is a pain.

Favorite tech-related book or movie? I’m looking for recommendations! Most tech-related books/movies I’ve read/watched are all “doomsday” depressing visions of the world ruined by technology. Where is the one that shows people being saved by technology!

At the end of the day, how do you step away from technology? I charge my phone in an obscure place in the house, this way I forget about it. I’ve become especially cognizant of my phone usage now that I have a toddler and don’t want him to associate the phone with me ignoring him.

What technology that doesn’t exist are you most looking forward to? I would totally install a chip in my head that would transcribe my thoughts and record my “sights” for me. With this tech, I would always be able to keep my “baby book” updated!

What’s the No. 1 question you get with regard to technology in your office? “What’s your roadmap for the next 12 months”….it’s always about what’s coming.


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