Team Spotlight: Caleb's Journey to Twingate
Ferren (Fe) Warner, VP of People at Twingate, recently sat down with Caleb Norris, SDR Manager, to discuss what it is like to work at Twingate. He covers why he joined the company and why he’ll be a #Gater for life.
You can listen to their conversation above or read the below transcript.
Fe: Caleb, thanks so much for joining us and being able to chat with us today. Maybe we start off with you just telling us a little bit about yourself and your role here at Twingate.
Caleb: Yeah, for sure. Thank you so much for having me. I am the SDR manager here. I joined in late November 2021. I started the new outbounding SDR team here from scratch and we’re continuing to grow into Q2, which is really, really exciting. I’ve worked in outbound sales for almost eight-ish years going into September, and I just got accepted into grad school for Business Analytics and Coding, so I’m really, really excited. That’s a little bit about me, high level, and about my experiences.
Fe: Awesome. Well, first, a little congrats on that next step for you. And I’m so excited that you’re here at Twingate bringing all of your eight plus years of knowledge to the table and helping us grow this wonderful team. I ask this question a lot, but why Twingate? Why did you choose to join here?
Caleb: Yeah, great question. I ask that question to everybody that joins. The week I accepted the offer from Twingate, I had three other offer letters all come in within 72 hours. I chose Twingate primarily because I really trusted the leadership that was here. Their experiences, their backgrounds, all of the different companies that they had worked at, the projects that they had worked on. I had great trust that we were gonna be in really good hands with them. Also the product has a total addressable market consisting of anybody with a device and a wifi connection, so the product was really easy to understand when they were explaining it to me. I’m a big believer in the Stevie Wonder line from the song Superstition, “when you believe in things that you don’t understand, you will suffer.” Twingate was just a very easy concept for me to wrap my brain around in terms of what I would be selling and its place in the market.
Fe: Yeah. I think that we all can relate to its applicability today, especially with remote working culture. Let’s talk a little bit more about that. Share with us your experience at Twingate thus far.
Caleb: I’ve been here going on five months and my experience so far has been amazing. Every startup or early company has their challenges and struggles and nobody is perfect, but honestly, I’m just really thankful that as I’ve stepped into this role, I’ve had much support from the team. There’s such an energy and dedication to excellence and transparency that I’ve honestly just never seen before. I cannot say enough good things about the leaders that I work with. The people that I report into, it really is just such an amazing crew. I enjoy promoting something or putting a product in front of people that really makes the world a better place. I think the culture here, especially for our size, is really amazing. People have been super welcoming and open. It sounds like a cliché, but I really do feel incredibly valued for who I am here and for the ideas and the experiences that I bring to the table. I think culture is everything.
Fe: It’s not cliché, you are valued. And we are so excited that you are here. So more about the culture, just so we can help people understand that a little bit and unpack it. How would you say the culture here impacts your day-to-day?
Caleb: Yeah. Great question. I think there are several things that I would call out about our culture. I think number one, honesty is huge here and humility. Those are huge aspects. People are very open to admit, “hey, I’m really good at this” or “this might not be something I’m super knowledgeable in in this specific area, but I’m more than willing to learn. I’m more than willing to consult help or find resources.”
The room is given for people to admit all of those things without fear of any repercussions. I’m very comfortable with saying to my boss, “you know, I really thought that this would work. But after these findings, I’m going back to the drawing board.” And that is encouraged. We’re really dedicated to building something that is sustainable and that is going to last.
It’s comforting knowing that I’m working at a place that doesn’t ask me to change or code switch or be anything but myself. I had a mentor one time say when I was struggling within another organization that the problem is that “you’re young, you’re smart, you’re gay and you’re black.” She said, “most people are comfortable with one of those things at a time, not a combination of them.” I’ve had coworkers write slurs on my desk or supervisors ask me to deepen my voice before presenting. I’ve been put in uncomfortable situations. I’ve been asked what my opinions on black issues are publicly around people.
Instead of people saying, “oh, well, you know, you’re really young.” They’ll say, “oh, well, you know, you’re incredibly junior”, you know? Or like you’re very junior to discredit your work or ideas. No one here has ever referred to me as junior, or, has told me that saying y’all is unprofessional.
Nobody’s ever done those things. Nobody’s ever asked me to soften my expressions or deepen my voice or do any of those things. I feel very much respected for who I am and allowed to be myself. I personally can’t say enough good things about the culture here at Twingate.
Fe: Thank you for sharing those things. I feel like everybody is motivated by different opportunities, different experiences, and what you shared about your personal identity and the connection to the company is something that I also share. I have heard and have had many conversations with other individuals here at the organization around similar sentiments. You’re not alone. It’s really cool to hear that that’s fueling you and that’s keeping you really engaged and excited to be here. Thank you for sharing that perspective.
Fe: I guess one closing question here. What would you tell somebody that’s considering Twingate, seeing as we’re trying to grow the team? What would be the one thing that you would put out there for people to consider?
Caleb: Yeah, I would tell somebody that you should consider what are the things that you value in an organization? Culture is huge for me. For myself, I work in sales, but honestly I hate “sales bro culture.” Coffee is not for closers. Greed is not good. This is not the nineties. I like that we’re solving a real problem in the world with our products. I’m not promoting or telling people about Twingate, just for a paycheck. I think that good technology changes the world for the better and our dedication to helping make the world a better place for our customers, and our future customers, is huge for me.
I feel no guilt or hesitation to tell people about Twingate because zero trust really is the future for securing remote and hybrid work. If you’re wanting to work with a company that I’ve consistently seen do the right thing for both their customers and their employees, then I think Twingate is for you. I am a #Gater for life, and I encourage everybody to join the Gater community.
Fe: And before we sign off, I have to tell everyone listening out there that Caleb coined the word “Gater” for us at the company, which we use very fondly. Caleb, thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences about Twingate and allow us to learn more about you.
Caleb: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Fe.