Liquid Web’s Customer Success Manager on her love of tech, who inspires her, and how she connects with Liquid Web’s customers.
Mackenzie Gladney’s introduction to the world of technology was an entertaining one—games. Growing up in Melvindale, a downriver industrial suburb of Detroit, Gladney spent hours as a kid gaming—a hobby she still enjoys today. “I’m a big gamer,” she says. “For me, a chill day where I can spend time in a virtual world is my idea of fun. I’ve always loved games. From floppy discs to cloud gaming, it’s been an expansive journey over the years.”
Though she’s had a long love of technology, joining the Liquid Web was Gladney’s first step on a career path in tech. “Liquid Web was my first dip into the Tech Industry waters, and what drew me to the company was the public opinion,” she says. “I’d always heard how great a place it was to work, and I also wanted to work in an industry that would give me opportunities to evolve.”
As a Customer Success Manager, her role is to help the customer bridge the gap between themselves and Liquid Web. “From the products we offer, to the interfaces, and support individuals there to help, I work with the customer to help them navigate everything we have to offer.” In this role, she’s been able to appreciate first-hand the ever-shifting landscape of the industry. “The field is always growing and evolving. It’s thrilling to have such a wide range of experiences in such a short amount of time.”
Gladney was raised by her parents, Jerome and Vanessa, who have been great supporters of her career journey. “Growing up, they always made sure that I had what I needed, and poured love and encouragement into me to help me grow.” From her youth spent in Melvindale to receiving her B.A. in Communications from Michigan State University, her parents’ encouragement has helped her remain focused and disciplined. “They’re hard-working, blue-collar folks,” she says. “I’ve seen struggle and success and the value of the lessons taught by both. As a black woman, I am also motivated by all those who came before me who were told they weren’t smart enough or human enough to be in the roles and rooms that shape our lives. Our voice matters, and through my voice, they speak.”
Her success and sense of self come from a wide range of people, places, and influences. “Of course,” she says, “things like where you grow up and how you were raised all affect who you become, but also the choices you make along the journey begin to shape who you are over time. I like to attribute my success to all those things. My dad gave me the foundation for what a work ethic should be, and my mom continually reminded me that I am capable of more than I may realize. And the mistakes I’ve made along the way have shown me who I was and what I could accomplish in times of great challenge.”
Gladney believes that women’s role will grow in the tech space, much as they have in every other facet of the workforce. “There are little girls growing up right now who know that technology is an option for them, that science and math are options for them. Knowing that the option exists for them will make all the difference.” According to Gladney, the reason men outnumber women in tech has little to do with lack of interest from women, and everything to do with barriers and limitations that have traditionally kept women out of tech spaces, barriers she is happily beginning to see dissolve.
“I think the question is not how would I convince young women to get into tech; the question is really how to convince young women to follow their interests and their passions without bounds. I would encourage them to follow their curiosities, listen when their intuition speaks, and keep pushing for a seat at the table. There are a lot of industries where you may not see a familiar face or a kindred spirit, but don’t let that be the barrier to keep you out of those spaces.” Given the chance to offer advice to women starting in the field of tech, Gladney says this: “Never dim your light. Know your worth—and then add tax.”