It's not just our photographers that are helping to capture the world through photography, there are thousands of people working hard behind the scenes across the world to bring these images to you.
In this 'Who We Are' series, we look at the many job roles at a photography agency from picture editors, to sales and marketing to art directors.
In our latest installment, we get familiar with Amy Robertson a Senior Program Manager in our Technology Department.
What skills do you need for your job?
First and foremost, I have to listen; sometimes to the explicit problems people tell me about but more often to the implicit ones; the undercurrent of latent struggles that are difficult for people to see or articulate. It is through a great deal of listening and aggregating stories that I help to develop strategies for improving our content today and for the foreseeable future. Almost as important, I need to articulate those problems to the people who can help solve them (whether it’s a group of editors, a team of developers or back to photographers). Clearly communicating the right information to the right people at the right time is the key to empowering people to build solutions that not only overcome existing problems but to delight them with unexpected solutions that exceed their expectations.
Not too long ago, I sat down with one of our technical teams and talked about the ups and downs of the last year with our product. We came up with lists of techniques that pushed our technical success, but, in the end, we decided that the greatest factor was that everyone cared and believed in the impact of the product. Whether it’s through hard data, anecdotes, vision statements, or field trips, I need to use my skills to help others understand why what they are doing really matters.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Strictly speaking, hunger. Breakfast is the best meal of the day; everything is better with an egg. What makes me want to leave my kitchen is the desire to change the world, even if it is just making a photographer's or videographer's life a tiny bit easier today. Stagnation freaks me out, so I judge my days by the opportunity to make something better.
What excites you about photography?
Photography allows you to capture a moment in time and hold it still. In an increasingly fast paced world where we can hardly find time between the barrage of emails, text messages and push notifications to see reality passing us by, photos wait for us and allow the viewer to savor an experience, whether theirs or that of a photographer 1000s of miles away - they allow you to see stories (real and imaginary) unfold that would have been missed otherwise.
What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
Slow down. You have a unique opportunity to focus on learning how to think - don't rush it because later in life you will constantly be looking for the time to do this.
Be Yourself. Being anything else for any other reason may bring you success, but not happiness.
Who has been one of the biggest influences in your life?
My brother and I were not close growing up - 6 years of difference seemed like a lifetime back then. When we became closer, years later in Chicago, we found we both loved food (violently so). He was, then, a reluctant, but very successful accountant - he committed to giving up the creature comforts that life gave him to leave the mark he wanted on the world. Today he develops and runs bars and restaurants in Chicago, applying his business savvy with creativity and passion to building something he can call his own.
His story, his continued passion and his consistent support of me remind me that being uncomfortable (and giving up comfort) is good; it is never too late to follow your dreams, but, dammit, stop making excuses for delaying them.
When was the last time you made a resolution and what was it?
Last month, I committed to working smarter. For over a year, I used Rescuetime to track all of the time I spent on computers (at home and work). I spent a lot of time in IM applications, email, chat applications - communicating is, after all, a lot of what I do. However, less and less time was spent in thoughtful activities (reading, meditating, less tactical discussion) that fueled my passion and gave me the insight to guide the folks around me (rather than instructing them). So, fewer emails and more thinking.
What’s the best thing about the city you live in?
Wait, what's not great about New York? The people - they make NYC what it is. They may be in a rush and not overtly friendly (and maybe a bit too forthright with opinions), but I have always found them to be kind, good natured, and truly open minded when you need it. Of course, they have to be on their way in about 90 seconds so you have to get by on short bursts of that.
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