Shamima Lone, Senior Business Development Manager at Parkable
Shamima shares some really interesting insight into how working in tech gives her an outlet for her creativity and enables her engage in creative problem solving. Shamima also highlights the growing importance of finding a company culture that aligns, which she certainly seems to have found at Parkable. Thanks for sharing.
Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what you do?
I ask people if they want to share their toys (actually carparks) when they aren’t playing with them, in exchange for treats (money).
“I ask people if they want to share their toys (actually carparks) when they aren’t playing with them, in exchange for treats (money).”
Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?
Growing up I would have defined technology as something entirely different to what it is today, and I thought it had nothing to do with me and my ‘right-brain’ kind of personality. I only got my first computer when I was in second year of university - that late!
I did my degree in English and Psychology and always thought I’d end up doing something creative, but I never thought it would take the form of innovation through technology. I love efficiency so it makes sense that I work in technology - the only way to truly great efficiency.
Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Parkable?
I’ve taken a bit of a circuitous route to get to where I am now. I started off in advertising and PR, tried operations management, worked at a photography studio doing it all - I was a photographer, a business development manager and a photo editor.
The first tech startup I worked at was Fergus in 2014 when it had just launched. I was the only BDM for a couple of years and I really enjoyed templating how to present the product to different types of people.
I was good at creating scalable repeatable processes that I later trained others in, I enjoyed using my skills in lots of areas of the business (like writing, voicing training videos, demonstrating product, technical support, etc ). And I got so much satisfaction from being part of launching the company off the ground and the huge growth we made happen.
I knew I wanted to keep working in tech startups but ultimately wanted to join a company whose culture aligned with my values - so that’s the first thing I wanted to know about when I was introduced to Brody Nelson and his team at Parkable. I’m now in my third year here and it’s going great.
Can you share some more insight into what that transition was like?
I was originally hired as the Affiliate Manager for Campable which was under the same umbrella as Parkable. But because Campable was a little seasonal, I found myself with more time than work so I took the initiative to do business development for Parkable in my downtime.
I missed being able to introduce and discuss exciting new tech solutions with people. That’s one of the cool things about startups - if you show enthusiasm and results, your role can be as varied as you want, and you get to try out different types of jobs. After a year, I transitioned over to Parkable full time.
What is it specifically that you like about working in tech relative to your past jobs?
I like that by its very nature, we don’t get left behind or outdated. I like that we can think of a better way to do a thing, and do something about it. It’s powerful to know that I can lodge a new feature request with the developers, and see it happen. At my last job they built an entire CRM to my exact specifications.
Have you done anything unique in the past to get the attention of an employer or seen others that have been creative in this regard?
It is powerful to be introduced to a potential employer and come with a verified recommendation from someone they trust. I think it’s also important to know what kind of a workplace culture you want to be part of, because then you can find the right fit for yourself and the employer.
“There are so many different types of jobs in tech, I think you just have to show you want it, will work hard for it, and be open to trying new things.”
Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?
There are so many different types of jobs in tech, I think you just have to show you want it, will work hard for it, and be open to trying new things.
One of my dev colleagues loves to tell the story of how he got his job - fresh out of university he showed up at the office one day to report a bug he’d found on the app, and asked for an internship which eventually turned into a job.
What gets you excited about working at Parkable?
The people, the product and the culture. We have a big focus on wellbeing in our office. Before Covid we had established rhythms for cooked shared lunches twice a week, yoga, bootcamp, subsidised massages, and we’re always reminded to celebrate our wins together.
It really helps when there’s mutual trust, friendship and respect for the people you work for and alongside.
Lastly, Parkable continues to evolve. What kind of candidates do you think Parkable is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?
We hire people of diverse backgrounds and experience levels - we like to surround ourselves with people who are willing to learn and people who we can learn from. Our official team values are “commited game changers who have fun” so that kinda sums it up.