How To Build Relationships In Localization – Stephanie Cardwell

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Healthy relationships at the workplace will make work enjoyable, make teams highly productive and help you advance your career! So, how do you build and maintain flourishing relationships? Find out in this interview with Stephanie Cardwell.


Andrej Zito 

Stephanie, welcome to the podcast.

Stephanie Cardwell 

Thank you so much for having me.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, thank you for finally making it. For starters, maybe tell us where you’re joining us from?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I’m based in Colorado, and I’m joining you from my home. Because I work remotely. Yeah. And I’m originally from Chicago. But I moved to Colorado, like, eight years ago now. And I love it here. It’s a gorgeous sunny day outside, actually.

Andrej Zito 

Where exactly do you work?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I work at Reddit.

Andrej Zito 

What exactly do you do there?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I lead the localization program at Reddit.

Andrej Zito 

I think that you joined the team only recently, right? It’s not like you have years of experience with them.

Stephanie Cardwell 

No, no. I joined last summer. Previously, I was working at a company called Alteryx, which is a data analytics company. Then before that, I was on the vendor side working at LSPs. But now that I’ve made my jump into tech, I’m never going back.

Andrej Zito 

What is so exciting about tech for you?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think that starting off on like the vendor side gave me a really good foundation, to have an understanding of like the inner workings, like a localization project from end to end and, and understanding all of the this, like the mechanisms and like the people that end up touching your project from like, the project managers, to the linguist to the file engineers. And so I think that was a key part of like building my expertise in the in the industry. But being in tech, I love the challenge of building the localization program from the ground up. And being sort of like the advocate for localization within a company, it just, it gets me a lot of visibility into other teams. And so were, you know, if you’re on the vendor side, previously, I was really focused on a on to clients, when I was a program manager, and it was just, I manage those projects. And that was it. Now on the tech side, I am managing software localization, marketing, I partner with their legal team, our community team. And so ever since I’ve made that jump, it’s kind of opened my eyes to different areas of the business. And it helps me learn more, which I love to learn. If I’m not learning something, I’m very bored. And so within tech, I just feel that I have a broader scope of work, which is really enjoyable for me.

Andrej Zito 

Would you say that in the tech world, like the thing that you like, is also that things change a lot. So it kind of like forces you to learn more? I think, like, I would say that the learning opportunities are probably far bigger. And like you mentioned, like it’s cross functional, rather than just working on the LSP site.

Stephanie Cardwell 

You definitely have to be flexible, that’s for sure. I mean, change is constant, especially. I mean, it depends on what kind of company you join, you know, when I joined my last company Alteryx right after we IPO, and it was just a rocket ship, like we are opening offices left and right. And like internationally, that is, and you really have to be flexible with change, as well as with that rapid growth. Because, you know, especially when companies have their eyes on international, you get busy, which is a good thing for me, but definitely not for everybody.

Andrej Zito 

So would you there’s a lot of discussion, you know, like what is better? Is it working better to work on the client side or working on the vendor side? So now that you have experienced both? I mean, what would be your recommendation? Or what do you think are the pros and cons of working on either side?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think it depends on the person. Some people thrive on that vendor side, like they’re great consultants, they’re really great problem solvers. And they understand how to speak to people, whether they’re somebody like me with localization experience, or if you’re working with an enterprise that doesn’t have an in house localization staff, and you really have to, like handhold them a little bit more. And so some people really excel in that environment. And then working on the tech side is similar in the sense that education is non-stop, you know, evangelizing, you know, localization and what it is, especially if it’s a new function within a business, some people are like, what does that even mean? You know, what is L10n?

Andrej Zito 

Why are we paying you a salary?

Stephanie Cardwell 

It’s so, you know, I think I think the pros and cons aren’t the same for everybody. And so for me, the biggest pro is because the cross-functional impact that I can have on a company, and it gives me a lot of visibility with, you know, senior leadership, because everybody’s interested in how their team, you know, is achieving their International goals. And so I really like that. Yeah. So it just depends on who you are, I think.

Andrej Zito 

Do you think that localization on the client side is really kind of like a glue between different departments of that company?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think it can definitely be seen as a glue. I, I mean, there are there are a couple of other teams that I think act as like those shared services, you know, that work, you know, sometimes companies will try to like pigeonhole you and say, “Okay, this is what localization is,” and, and I think a lot of times that always starts within product. Because when a company is thinking about going international, it’s usually the software team, whether engineering or the product management team that are like, Okay, we need to internationalize our product. But then as soon as you start talking about them, you know, marketing will raise their hand and say, “Hey, no, what about us over here.” And so, you know, I like to say that localization is like one of the foundational pieces because it touches or it should touch every areas of the business. Even when even things like HR, you know, when you’re hiring internationally, and maybe you need to localize your training, because there’s a lack of English fluency with your new coworkers that are being on boarded, like it touches every single aspect. And that’s the part that I get excited about, about teaching people. Because it’s not just, “oh! you’re going to work on product, and you’re going to translate some UI strings.” It’s much more than that.

Andrej Zito 

Right. Right. So let’s go back to the basics to your early beginnings. So my my usual question is, how did you get into localization?

Stephanie Cardwell 

So my best friend growing up, she’s Colombian, and I used to spend a lot of time with her and her family, like her parents are like my second parents. And so that’s where I first started learning Spanish. And I ended up just loving the culture. And I decided to major that in an undergrad. And I volunteered in Ecuador, and I was just really excited about trying to find a career within language. And at the time, I was thinking, “Well, what am I going to do with the Spanish degree?” Like I didn’t really want to be a teacher, I wanted to do something else. And around this time towards like my junior senior year of undergrad, I started learning Italian as well. And I studied in Southern Italy at the University of Salento and fell in love with Italy, first of all, like, Italy definitely has part of my heart. And I’m hoping to go back there now that international travel is up and running again. But I was very lucky that at my senior year of undergraduate, our university decided to open up a Master’s program in localization and translation. And so I said, “Okay, I’m going to do this.” And I had this grand vision that I was going to be an expat, I was going to move to Europe, and I was going to be a translator, and like, live this glorious life. And then I got my first student loan bill. And I was like, “No, I can’t. I’m in so much debt, you know, I have to find something that’s a little bit more lucrative than being a translator in Europe.” And so I started just looking into what are the roles that I can do outside of translation. And that’s when I found like LSPs. And that was really the start of my career, because I wanted to do something that I actually liked. And I love I love language. I love being able to work with people from different cultures, being able to learn from them, and just help a company thrive. It’s just like a perfect mesh of like, my passions. And so I guess yeah, that’s how I got started. It feels like a long time ago, now, I feel very old.

Andrej Zito 

But I’m wondering about the, you know, like your decision not to go the translation route? Because you’ve thought at the rates were that bad. Did you? Did you have to confirm? Because when I started, and I think maybe I don’t know, I don’t want to ask about your age. But I started, maybe now it’s like, what, 16, 17 years ago. And I know that when I was working at Moravia, as an engineer, my colleagues were telling me that the translators, their friends are making like tons of money. Maybe it was at that time. So did you really have the idea that you wouldn’t be paid enough as a translator?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think I think it was a little bit of there’s there are a couple of variables in play there. I think the biggest one was one that when I was trying to get translation projects, I was in the US. And obviously, as a native English speaker, there’s not you know, a huge need for people like me in the States. And secondly, I was really, really overwhelmed and trying to figure out how do I get a visa? How do I get to Europe and stay there and get, you know, a career started and so it was a combination of the projects that I was working on, were not paying as much as well as just, I just was like, “How do I even do this? Like, am I just gonna move alone?” And so that’s why I just had to change gears a little bit.

Andrej Zito 

Would you consider moving to Italy in your current like, position like because you can work remotely technically. But now you You have a different like you have a family, right? You have you mentioned the husband. So is that still somewhere in the back of your head? Or no? Like, are you like settled like, USA is forever,

Stephanie Cardwell 

USA, definitely not forever for me, my husband and I were talking about, maybe sometime in the future, moving to Germany, he only speaks English. And it would take him a little while to learn a new language. And we’re thinking about Germany. But yeah, we’re definitely open to moving to Europe, it’s just it’s a different lifestyle. There, I think there’s different values compared to the US. And I’m actually taking him on a Euro vacation in September. So it’ll be a first time in Europe. And we’re going to try to hit London, Paris, Florence, Venice and Munich for about two and a half weeks. And so I’m going to try to give him the lay of the land in Europe. If there’s any country that sparks his interest, or maybe some food that he loves more than anything else.

Andrej Zito 

I see. I see. But why did you change from Italy to Germany?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think the economy in Germany is a little bit stronger. There’s better English fluency for my husband, and I’ve never been to Germany. So this is just like preliminary, my husband and I having a conversation over a glass of whiskey trying to figure out, you know, where could we envision ourselves in the future? You know, and, and one of the other big thing is, you know, for my future children and being able to attend a university, that’s not going to have them in debt until they’re 45. And so I think I’m personally really invested in my children, experiencing different cultures, and learning different languages. And so I’m really hoping to ship them off to Europe, for school. And I’d like to be there as well. So yeah, so it’ll be convincing my husband of just the, the differences between countries.

Andrej Zito 

Have you ever thought about Asia as another, you know, culture to the mix?

Stephanie Cardwell 

So I have, not as much mainly because I’m hoping that it’s that Europe is a little bit closer to my, to where my family lives in the US. I’ve been to Japan, I spend a lot of time in Japan in my last company, specifically in Tokyo. And it was a beautiful, beautiful country. I actually was able to one of my trips out there was during the cherry blossoms. And oh my gosh, like once in a lifetime. I I timed it perfectly. I don’t know how it happened. But it was just remarkable. And but that’s really it. That’s the only country I’ve been to in Asia, I haven’t really traveled, you know, elsewhere, and it’s on my bucket list for sure. But I feel at home, you know, have you ever been to a place where you’re just like sitting outside, you know, drinking a beer or a cup of coffee and your people watching and, and you just feel like at peace. I don’t feel that way. In the US. It’s it’s much more chaotic here. And there’s also not kind of like that outside. As much as there is in Europe, like right now in my house. I cannot walk anywhere, like I can walk outside, but it would take me 45 minutes to reach a coffee shop. You know, and it’s just, it’s just a different, I think it’s a different flow. And so yeah, Europe is just there are so many places where it just feels right. And so I do have to expand my travels to Asia. But yeah, I love Europe.

Andrej Zito 

Let’s start slowly moving towards our main theme of our interview, which we decided and agreed that it will be about relationships, because you told me that that is one of your strongest, if not sweet. So maybe let me start by asking you that, why do you think you are good at building and managing relationships?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Well, I think it’s a necessary skill set. If you’re running a localization program in a company, because like you’re primarily don’t have a lot of direct authority. You have to influence others. And in order to do that, you really have to have excellent communication skills. You have to understand other people’s motivations, what drives them, and what they really need. And so to me, it’s I don’t want to I don’t know if it’s my best quality. Maybe I’ll ask my peers about that at our next at our next like feedback cycle. But it is like one of the skill sets that I continue to try to develop. And you know, for example, last December, I took a course at MIT on cultural awareness for business executives, and it’s all about how do you communicate with other people. And so that’s something that I keep, I keep trying to improve upon. But I just think it’s a vital skill set well, for really anybody in business, but definitely somebody in localization.

Andrej Zito 

So what is the what is the main thing that you remember from training from MIT about communication?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Have you ever read the Culture Map? No, no? Okay, well, you should go read it, because it is, it is excellent. It is a book or? Yes. And basically, it talks about how different cultures have different communication styles, you know, based on just like their country and their culture, and how their culture shapes language and, and how important trust is, how important leadership is. And it makes you take a step back as somebody who works internationally and understanding that maybe when, when somebody in Germany, for example, is being very direct, they’re not doing it in a negative way. That’s just how they communicate. And when you can understand that it helps build the communication styles. Or, for example, when you’re doing business in Japan, you building that trust is imperative, for being able to conduct any business there. The sales cycle might take a little bit longer, because you need to build that relationship, especially face to face, it helps you just take another perspective of how do you best communicate to other people, even if you’re speaking the same language. Sometimes you need to adapt your communication styles to accommodate others.

Andrej Zito 

One thing that I’m always curious about, you know, like, these tips for communication, and how to be a better leader, or be better at managing relationships, do you think like, the people who are good at managing relationships are mostly thinking about the others versus thinking about themselves? Because to me, it’s like, like, from, from what you’re saying is that, like, we should always be aware of how other people talk? And what is their I don’t know, culture, what is their communication style, and so on, and adapt to it. But why are we the ones adapting and not the other people adapting to us? If it makes sense?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Well, everybody learns how other people communicate. I think, I think that’s something that you can share at a company as part of like, your, your training, personally. But for me, like, first and foremost, I have to hold myself accountable. If I want to be a leader at a company, then the first person that needs to make that effort is me. And if somebody is, I don’t want to if they’re not adapting their communication style, but if they’re coming across in a negative way, then that’s my opportunity to give that person feedback. Because and have a conversation about it. Because, you know, if you say, “hey, you know, I took, you know what you said, very, I don’t know, came across wrong, or I don’t think this was your intention,” then you build that understanding. One thing that I like to do is even even when you’re working with people in the US where we all have at least, I don’t want to say the same culture. Because obviously, east coast to west coast of the South, we’re all very different. But the first thing you can do is just ask them, “How do you prefer to communicate?” If you are managing somebody, you ask them? “How do you prefer to receive feedback?” Some people thrive on getting that like public recognition. Other people get really embarrassed, and they hate it. And they would rather receive that positive feedback on like a one-on-one. And so just asking those questions, and understanding who the person is, like, as an individual, can really help take that next step in your relationship and effectively communicating with each other.

Andrej Zito 

This, to me is quite interesting. And also maybe important, because I think like asking the people and finding out everyone’s preference, I think is more more valuable than I don’t know, let’s say following like the cultural generalization, right? Like if you say, Okay, you’re German, so it means you’re going to give me a straightforward feedback. I’m not going to get offended but maybe the individual person is completely different. Do you think like this would be or I don’t know your suggestion or your tip for everyone like to always ask like explicitly, like, how would you like to communicate? Or like, what is your style?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Definitely. Yeah. I think cuz everybody’s different. Like the, the cultural awareness, to me is more of a guiding post to because some people, if you if you only have one viewpoint, and you only see within yourself, you won’t understand other people and to me, learning about different cultures helps open your eyes to like, different perspective. So, but that doesn’t mean that everybody falls under like that specific umbrella. And so yeah, definitely just ask, you know, there’s nothing wrong with just, you know, taking that step. And, and personally, when somebody asks that, that makes me feel like, wow, they’re really invested in, you know?

Andrej Zito 

Right, right. It’s, it may seem like an awkward question, right? Especially like if you meet someone for the first time. Hello, my name is Stephanie, how do you communicate? But But you’re right, right? It’s kind of like a deeper question. So what do you do with all this information? Because I know that before we started, I ask you, like, if you took some notes about, you know, our interview about questions, if you prepared. But let’s say you ask people around their their communication style, do you like keep the information somewhere? Or do you like, try to memorize it? Because it’s kind of like, the more people you communicate with, I think it’s like, like, more stressful for you to actually, like, keep an idea of like, how I should communicate with each one. And then the question, the second question will be, how do you communicate with a mix of people like we’re in a group, and you’re talking to a group, but you know that there are different people with different communication preferences.

Stephanie Cardwell 

So I do take a lot of notes, I actually write down everything because I’m a psycho. Like, I don’t like to type things down, I like to write like, handwrite them down. Because that helps prove my memorization. And so initially, I will take as many notes as possible as during meeting, you know, if I’m typing up notes, I will always try to annotate those things, so that I can, you know, recall them or look back on them. And so I do take notes, I just don’t reference notes. Because then it like kind of throws me off a little bit. And for communication styles in a group, I tried to be as neutral as possible. And I tried to speak slowly, especially for me, if I’m, you know, talking to my team and their native languages isn’t English, but each of their native language is different. I try to speak slowly, I try not to use too many colloquialisms or slang, you know, things like that. And just try to be as positive as possible. Like, there are basic guidelines that I think are important, because you can’t you can’t adapt to every single person at once, you know, but I think even just recognizing your communication style is important, you know, and not reacting emotionally and taking the time to pause and to think, before you respond.

Andrej Zito 

Okay. Maybe one thing that we should have maybe started with, is how would you even define a relationship with someone? Especially in the workplace? Because I think that when I asked you initially, you told me that it’s more about like communication, and you know, like, understanding their expectation, like, you know, trying to provide them value. These are like, very, I don’t know, let’s say, rational, you know, aspects of relationship. What about like, the personal like, like, emotional, like, are we trying to become friends with the people? Or, or? No.

Stephanie Cardwell 

That’s a difficult question. I mean, it’s not that I don’t want to be friends with people, I just don’t always think it’s necessary. Meaning we can be friendly in the workplace. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to call you to hang out and go, like, watch a movie or something, you know, but I think part of building that relationship is understanding them as a person, I don’t want to say it’s like the same thing as being a friend, like being a friend. But I also do want to be that type of person, at least with my close peers that when there’s something wrong, if they need something, they will come to me and, and they know that I will do my best to help. And so there is like a, like a gray area of being friends and being co workers. I don’t really like how companies say, Oh, we’re family here. Like, that’s really bizarre to me. You know, I do, I do want to have like that relationship where, you know, if my colleague has a problem, or their project is running late, and they need help, they know that I’m the person to reach out to so it’s working in an in a company like that, it just depends. It also depends on the company culture as well. Luckily, in my career, I have had for the most part really positive company culture and that values, you know, building those relationships even even if you’re not the best of friends. Now, I will say I have made plenty of really great friends through work but you know, not everybody not everybody gets that that title.

Andrej Zito 

Right? Right. Right. You have to earn it. But But do you think that like being somewhat friendly or like having someone as a sort of like, closer person closer P or slash friend at a workplace is a good thing or a bad thing?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think it depends, I think a lot of times it’s a good thing, because you want to be well liked. And if you’re well liked, then I think you perform better. I think you’re given more opportunities to excel and, and possibly even like promotions and things like that then if you’re not well liked. And I would say there are some disadvantages, but whenever I think about that, that’s primarily in a more toxic environment, where people are taking advantage of your kindness. And so I don’t want to say that that always happens, but it is something to be aware of as well.

Andrej Zito 

So you joined Reddit only recently, we talked about this. So my question is, how did you start building the relationships at your new workplace? Since it’s quite fresh think?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Yeah. So I would say at any new workplace, you just have to the first step that you have to do besides, before you even look to build relationships, you have to understand how the business works. If you don’t understand like, the core aspects, like what are your company goals, then you’re not going to understand how to build those relationships. You know, especially, my last company was data analytics. And now I’m at Reddit. And those are two very different organizations with different specialties. And so for me, I would always tell somebody, like your first week, when you’re going through all the HR onboarding, and things like that, you should be focused on like, what are your business objectives for the year? Like, what are they trying to achieve? Are they expanding into a certain country that you need to focus on? Which team needs a lot of assistance? And that’s where I would start. And then from there, I would understand, you know, if you sit within product, obviously, understanding who is who are the people who built, you know, the tools or have you from your first day, and then start expanding elsewhere. A lot of times, what I like to do is I will just schedule one on ones with people, like I go into our HR systems, and I’m like, okay, who’s who, and sometimes I’ll just schedule a quick, you know, 15 minute chat, and especially, you know, working remotely, it’s not the same as if you’re in an office, and you can just go get a cup of coffee in the kitchen, or, you know, go look at somebody’s desk or something like that. And so sometimes just scheduling a quick chat and be like, “Hi, you know, I’m new. I’d love to learn more about you. What are you doing? If there’s any opportunity for us to work together?” You know, things like that. And I also say that I’m an extroverted introvert, and so that I’m okay reaching out saying, be like, “Hi, Stephanie, who are you?” But, I’m actually super introverted. And so you know, that those are the first steps like understand your business, understand the key stakeholders, and don’t be afraid to reach out.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, you have to explain to me the definition of an extroverted introvert. Because I don’t know, maybe I’m the same, or maybe I’m the opposite. Who knows.

Stephanie Cardwell 

So I think the biggest difference between an extrovert and introvert is like when you go, let’s say, it’s a Friday night, and you’re gonna go to a party. At the end of the night, are you just exhausted from talking to everybody? And like, you’re just ready to go home?

Andrej Zito 

We had this discussion a couple of times on previous interviews, and yes, I think I know where you’re going with this is that extroverts, let’s say gain power and energy from being with people and introverts get exhausted. But I’m going to complicate this for you. Because to me, a lot of the times how I feel at the end of the night, depends on how the night goes. So if I feel like I’m really like, like, like, having a good time with the people and like, feel like I can be myself express myself. We’re having fun, and I’m making people laugh or something like that, then yes, I would not want the night to end I would want to do anything with the people. But if I feel like I’m like, quiet, I’m shy, and feel like maybe I cannot be myself. I would be like, Please, let’s get this over with. I just want to go home and sleep. So

Stephanie Cardwell 

I mean, there’s, like I said, Everybody’s different. And there’s not like one mold for every person. But yeah, like there are times where on the weekend where I literally want to do nothing but read a book and hang out with my cat like, nobody talked to me for the entire day. So yeah, so it just depends on the person.

Andrej Zito 

So going back to how you started making can building relationships at Reddit, you mentioned that you would schedule some calls or something like that. So would your initial calls with people be mostly about their work and business? And do you think it’s too much if you start asking, I don’t know, personal questions on the first thing, because we were discussing this with some other folks from some other podcast. Like what are the best topics to make, I don’t know, new friends. It was not a work-related podcast. But my idea was based on my experience that I know that initially when you meet someone is very awkward to start talking about I don’t know, like, what is your childhood trauma or something like that? Fears, but at the same time, I know from my experience of actually asking these deeper questions actually opens up people if they are comfortable like sharing these these things, because it’s what makes us kind of like vulnerable. And you feel like you are way, way closer with a person instead of just focusing on I don’t know, work or business or like the usual topics like I don’t know, what is the weather and what, I don’t know, what is your favorite movie?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I can’t really talk about specifics that Reddit, unfortunately.

Andrej Zito 

Of course, just in general.

Stephanie Cardwell 

I mean, in general, I don’t think I’ve ever asked a super versatile question. But that’s probably because I, I don’t think I would like to be asked, unless we’re friends, you know? Well, actually, no, that’s not true. Even if no, no, it’s not, it’s not for me, I think there’s different ways of building relationship. And the foundation’s to me would just be trust and accountability. Yeah, I don’t I don’t know if I could dig into those like, super deep questions. Unless they’re like fun, deep questions like, what’s your spirit animal or something like that?

Andrej Zito 

You talked about trust. To me, trust is very important in the workplace. Because, you know, like, a lot of the work that we do depends on like other people doing their stuff as well, you know, so you need to trust the other people that they will be able to pull their weight. So I think I was also saying several times, to me, trust is mostly built by actually delivering and keeping your word. So how does trust get built for you? And what does trust mean for you?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Well, I agree with what you said, and I’m trying to think about it from like, a localization perspective. For me, like think about it as localization inherently, and an enterprise is about helping others to deliver their goals a lot of times. So if you’re supporting marketing on a local campaign in Italy, for example, you know, if you don’t like meet their deadlines, and keep them apprised, they lose trust in your ability, because then it affects their bottom line. And so for me, building trust is going up and proactively communicating. You know, because things happen, but it’s about being able to say, “Hey, you know what, this is gonna be a little late because of a, b, and c.” And that’s how you build trust is by delivering on and doing what you what you agreed to. And I think, I think being open and honest, is the first step.

Andrej Zito 

Okay. We talked about the extroverted introverts? Is there a different approach to building relationships with introverts versus extroverts? Or do is that even the one thing that you ask the people like, are you introverted, extroverted? Do you just try to pick it up from their behavior?

Stephanie Cardwell 

No, I just tried to pick it up from their behavior. And I mean, it’s not, it’s not something you’re gonna like, everybody’s walking around with like, a little sign of like, this is my communication style. This is how I prefer to hang out with people or like, I love hugs, or don’t touch me, you know, like, and so I think I think it’s just something that happens over time. And it’s something that you just have to, to work towards, I think there’s value in learning about the person as an individual, and making like that commitment to understanding more about them than, you know, your first impression, necessarily,

Andrej Zito 

right? Is there a different approach to I don’t know, building relationship with your team and building relationship with your, let’s say, internal clients, or stakeholders? And again, like speaking generally, like, how would you approach this different? Or should it be approached different? Or do you think it’s about the same thing?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Well, I do think it’s different when if you’re a people leader, and you’re communicating with your team, because, to me, it’s all about understanding, you know, what their desires are, what their career path is, what areas do they need to focus on to get to that next level? And so for me, it’s much more about how can I, you know, serve them and getting them to achieve, like, their greatest level? And when the end clients like, Yes, I’m still trying to facilitate and helping them achieve their goals as well. But it’s just a little bit different. I want to say I’m not as personally invested as I am with my team. And it’s just it’s just a different type of relationship also, where I still want to be seen as like the go to person, whether you’re on my team or whether you’re a colleague, there’s a different effort and like my motivations are different. And so that just kind of changes the working relationship a little bit.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, now that you mentioned the, the word effort What this makes me think about is how do you like, intentionally try to maintain some relationships, because so far, we were mostly focusing about, let’s say, like building the relationship, you know, like going from strangers to someone who trusts you, and you have some certain relationship. But once you build that relationship, how do you actually try to maintain it? Like, is there different levels? You know, like, based on the different groups that you have relationship with?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Absolutely. I keep going back to like, it depends on the person, it depends on the person. You know, because it does. And, you know, for example, when you said that it made me think of one of my mentors I actually hadn’t spoken to in a while. She was on our executive team at the last company I worked with, and building that relationship and maintaining that relationship with her, her name’s Libby, was definitely something that occurred over many years. And it was a back and forth where there was a project that she was working on. And she thought of me. And so she reached out. And so it’s always about me, trying to find opportunities to just, you know, step in and say hi, but recognizing that, you know, she was one of our executives and doesn’t have as much time, you know, to dedicate to herself or to other things, you know, and so it’s being respectful, and understanding that they’re super busy. But when you build that relationship, I just, I got so much value out of like our friendship, our mentorship.

Andrej Zito 

okay. But like, let’s say a practical example, it’s talking about your team, you know, like having one on ones with your team. It’s kind of like a standard practice. But what if somebody from your team doesn’t like one on ones? And they’re more like introverted? Would you change the frequency of the one to ones? Or would you just say, okay, like, this is what we do, like, this is the standard and just please try to show up and do your best?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Well, we could change the frequency, if it’s not necessary to meet, like, there were times where I’ve had I was having an hour long one on one for a week, like weekly, it could be as simple as a quick check in because I do want to make sure that they have the support that they need. And, you know, if they’re not able to directly reach out at the time I want, I want to have that, that FaceTime, to be available for them. And that were my, my focus is directly on you. Especially, you know, if you’re running a super lean localization program, you might have like a million other objectives. And you don’t always have time to dedicate, you know, to individual teammates. And so that one on one time is really like, my focus is directly and only on you. And so I do think it’s an invaluable opportunity to communicate. And the other thing that I think is missing, if you don’t have those one on ones is you don’t have the opportunity to ask for help to figure out what’s your next step in your career, to give feedback, both I want to hear feedback from my team and give you feedback as well, like all of that’s missing. And so while we get ready to change the frequency, I would really encourage them to work towards feeling comfortable on on at least communicating with me, like, how’s your week go? You know, is there? Do you have a roadblock that you need my help with? You know, because that could that can negatively impact whatever they’re working on, it could negatively impact their career performance. And I just think those conversations need to be had. And there could be a balance, but they’re super important.

Andrej Zito 

Where you building or more like managing relationships when you were on the vendor side?

Stephanie Cardwell 

When I was on the vendor side, it was it was a lot of building relationships via emails and like monthly calls. And I also did try to build that personal relationship. Where I reach, it was it turned out that one of my clients and I were from the same neighborhood in Chicago, I went home from Colorado for Christmas. And I reached out and said, “Hey, I’m in town, would you like to meet up?” Just for some face FaceTime since we wouldn’t get it. And she said yes. And it was an annual occurrence that we would meet even after I left that previous company, I was going back every Christmas and we would have like a Christmas cocktail and just catch up. And so like, if I didn’t reach out, that never would have happened, and that helped build the trust, that helped just build our relationship. You know, she ended up giving us more projects to work on. And, you know, it’s it’s sometimes a small thing where she could have said, “No, you know, no, it’s the holiday time. I’m way too busy.” But a quick hour long conversation at a local restaurant, ended up taking, you know, our both our working and our personal relationship up.

Andrej Zito 

most of the vendors are not so lucky to live in the same neighborhood as their you know, like With COVID, you know, like the travel was sort of banned. But now that the restrictions are lifted, do you think like taking the time to visit your client in person is a must for the relationship?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I don’t want to say it’s a must. But it’s very close to being a must. Because as much as I love the opportunity of working remotely, there is something that’s inherently missing from a face to face communication, of just being able to learn more about each other. And it’s just, there’s just something missing, you know, and so I do think it’s incredibly valuable to have that face to face time. Now, at the same time, I’ve been able to communicate with way more people before COVID, or during COVID. And after COVID, than before, because everybody’s able to, you know, meet virtually. And so, I do think there were some positives that came out of this new working environment where, like, for example, were able to meet, you know, through LinkedIn, and have those conversations where, you know, it didn’t require us to meet in person to build a relationship. And so while I do think there is some benefits, to meeting, face to face, even if your clients in another country, I still think having this a regular call, whether weekly, or, you know, whatever works best for you is something that you should dedicate time to, even if it’s just a quick, “all of our projects have been going great. I want to let you know, the translations have been excellent. There’s no, like negative feedback, or critical feedback or anything like that, I just want to say that you guys are doing a great job. And here’s what’s coming up for me,” like even those small, you know, converse quick conversations, and just help stay engaged.

Andrej Zito 

Well, so far, we only talking about the positive things, you know, but yeah, I’m wondering, like, if you ever got to a point where you felt like the relationship, like should be ended?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Of course, I mean, that happens? Well, I mean, there, there are some, there’s some people that were just naturally ends. You know, you move on, you know, whether, whether it’s a friend from college or a co worker from, you know, your, your previous experiences those, those relationships naturally, like fizzle out. And if there is a relationship where, let’s say, one of your co workers, like your active current coworkers, where it’s just no longer a positive relationship, for whatever reason, then my recommendation is to just pull yourself out of that situation. And figure out, you know, do you need to work together still? Okay? If so, how do you do that quarterly. And if you don’t have to work together, then just figure out how to set boundaries that maintain your own, you know, personal success in in the position, as well as not draining you emotionally either, because that can get really heavy in a workplace that, you know, with all of the things going on, you don’t need that extra baggage. And so setting up boundaries is super important.

Andrej Zito 

Talking about the boundaries, and like, everything going around, like we touched on the culture before. So I’m not going to ask about the culture of Reddit. But like, in general, what kind of role do you think that company culture plays in? I don’t know, building or maintaining relationships within the workplace.

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think a company culture is everything. But at the same time, I also think that we are directly responsible, responsible for building that company culture, like it’s not the executive team or the senior leadership team saying, “We have a great culture. And this is why…” No, it’s me and you making it a great culture and abiding by like our company values. You know, one thing that I used to do at my previous company, is we used to have a roaming localization potluck so so each of my team members were from a different country. And we would always bring in some, like a dish that like our mom made or something that was really unique to our individual culture. And we would meet with different teams like specifically on the product and engineering side. And we would use this lunch as an opportunity to get face time with the team. So that were top of mind of why we need to localize their features and understand what’s coming up on their roadmap. But also, we just wanted to have fun. Like, we wanted to introduce you guys to like an empanada or whatever it is, like something that’s just delicious. And just have a moment to to eat really good food. And I was lucky that my team we were all excited. And so you know, to me that that was like how I wanted to encourage us to build the culture that we wanted, like we loved we were all very very food motivated. So we loved getting together and just chatting over food. And so by bringing like that, like our inherent team culture to other teams that, you know, was part of like our company culture, you know, and so yeah, I hold myself accountable as well for building that culture, not just whatever the website says our values are, you know?

Andrej Zito 

Right, right. But But do you think that there can be an environment or culture where the relationships are, let’s say, not going to succeed that like, by default, or literally connection culture?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I don’t know. Yeah, there’s, there’s toxic cultures everywhere, there are toxic managers, you know, and those are things that you can’t, you don’t have a lot of control over that, I would try to shield my team from experiencing any of that. But that happens. There, there are unfortunately, you know, people who behave differently than I would, you know, they step on each other to get ahead, or they’re not honest, and they’re very self motivated, where, besides us having a successful localization program, I would always say that my team is number one for me, like, I want each of them to succeed. And not everybody’s like that. And it’s just the way the world works.

Andrej Zito 

Do you try to deal with such people in certain way? Like,

Stephanie Cardwell 

I mean, if I have to, like, you know, if I have to work with them, then then you just kill them with kindness, and just be a good person in focus and just focus on yourself, you’re not going to change another person’s behavior, especially if you know they are narcissistic, or arrogant or whatever, whatever quality it is, that makes them not your ideal ideal colleague to work with, you’re not going to have to change that about them. And so you just have to figure out how do we work together, effectively, and then minimize that contact entirely, just be the best person you can, you can only focus on what you can control now.

Andrej Zito 

It’s funny that you mentioned that like, like, you can change change them, do you think like, like, once we get to a certain point, like people can change or, like the change needs to be triggered by something, like really spectacular? Like, is that like something like that? You can change through one on one, right?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Yeah, I don’t, I don’t know. Once people show you their true colors, believe them, I think, I think people can learn from their mistakes. I mean, I’m definitely not, you know, a perfect person. And I have flaws. And but it’s having that self awareness, like I can actively talk about, like what I need to prove improve upon as a person. And that self awareness is what will help me will hopefully, keep improving, you know, it’s not, but like my personalities and personality, I don’t know how much it’s going to change, really. But some people, they just, they also just don’t care, you know, they are who they’re, they’re like somebody close to, like, I am who I am. Or if you don’t accept me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best. Like, I think that’s a load of nonsense. And so, yeah, you’re not going to I don’t think people inherently change who they are. I won’t say maybe there, maybe there’s a, there’s a few that can be excluded from that general rule.

Andrej Zito 

Do you think that everyone can learn to be good at building relationships? Do you think there’s something like a methodology? Or do you? Or is it mostly about, like you said, your self awareness? Like everything started with your self awareness? And then you I don’t know, try to bring to two other people and accept their self?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I mean, I think it depends on the person, I don’t think. I don’t think everybody cares. For me. It’s an it’s a critical part of my job. And so that’s why it’s super important to me. I want to understand, like, how can I help you, but not everybody either needs to feel that way. Because their work is completely different. Or just personally, they just don’t think that way. And that’s also okay, that’s not necessarily a negative trait all the time. And it’s just it’s recognizing those motivations, like the personal motivations of like, why are you doing the way that Why are you acting in that way? Is it because this is who you are? Is it because this is what you need to do to be successful? I’ve met a lot of people who are just like steamrollers. But that’s what they had to do to to get where they are. And there’s something to learn from that as well.

Andrej Zito 

I think you shared a lot about relationships. Is there anything that that maybe I didn’t ask you about relationships? Like some some important thing that you want to share?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I don’t think so. I think you covered it.

Andrej Zito 

I still have some more questions. But these are these are more like general questions they ask this kind of people so do you work for Reddit which is known for for their community? The so I’m wondering, what are you curious about right now? Curious about? Yes. Like you personally, what are its workwise? Maybe localization wise, because we didn’t specifically talk about localization per se, but I don’t know anything that comes to your mind. You can give us both like workwise. and personal. Well, I guess you’re curious about the European culture and where to move to.

Stephanie Cardwell 

Right now, I am, I’m really just trying to figure out what’s my, my next step like I try to, I don’t mean next step. I mean, next, like learning block, there are there are different personality quizzes that in love, personality quizzes, and one of those results came out that like, my number one trait is that I was a learner. And so I’m always trying to figure out what I want to learn next. I like to take online courses or certificates, just to keep learning even like after college, I was just thinking, what can I learn that? And so that’s kind of for me is like, I’m trying to identify, what do I want to focus on? I guess this is both personally and professionally, because they kind of relate to each other. What’s something that I don’t know that I want to learn? Like, just like I told you, before, I was really learning a lot about cultural awareness and communication. And so for me, I’m trying to figure out what I want to learn next. So do you have any recommendations for somebody in localization, or

Andrej Zito 

I was going to say, first thing that came to my mind was, try to learn bouldering. Because I just discovered that recently, and I really got into it, and it’s something that I never thought about. And I had a similar discussion with with one of my ex managers from the last company. So I think after you were saying, like, like, what should you learn next? I guess my kind of like, tip or advice would be, learn to experiment, like, learn to try things just just for the sake of trying. It’s not like, like, you rationalize it like, Okay, I’m going to learn, I don’t know, cultural awareness, because it helps my work. Because I work in localization, and I work in multicultural company, right. But just, I would say, like, try different things that that you would never even think about. Because they don’t I don’t know, serve your job or anything like that. It’s like, like, forget about the rational arguments for something, just try something like totally random. And maybe you will be surprised. Something that and you’re really going to like feel very passionate about.

Stephanie Cardwell 

Okay, do you have like a hobby? That is like your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Andrej Zito 

Oh right now? It would be definitely bouldering. Bouldering? Yes, yeah. And it’s really funny, because I didn’t think about it. And that’s another thing that maybe give you some guidance. It’s about what you used to like to do when you were a child. To me, like, like, what we do as kids I think is very important. Because like, when you’re a child, you don’t rationalize things and you don’t do things to I don’t know, look better in front of people or you’re not feeling shy or something like that. It’s just pure you, I would say so, and I remembered that when I was younger, when I was when I was a kid, I definitely like to climb on everything. I would climb on all the trees and everything like that, you know? And then you start you know, like going through the school and you know, first love breakouts first word, and you work in localization for 16 years, and then maybe one day somebody asks you like, Hey, do you want to go try bouldering? And I’m like, Okay, I’ll give it a try. And then I tried it. I was like, instantly hooked on that. And I really stopped thinking about anything else. Yeah. And then I kind of like associated it back to what I was doing when I was a young kid. So yeah, I think like, especially if you’re like, that’s what I’m getting from from you. Is that like, you’re very job focused, like you really want to do your job. Well. I think like trying to sometimes disconnect from the job place like like that could open up new things for you. At least it did for me, you know.

Stephanie Cardwell  

I am going fishing tomorrow. Oh.

Andrej Zito 

Is that a new thing?

Stephanie Cardwell 

No, no, I like to fly fish mostly.

Andrej Zito 

What is it fly fish.

Stephanie Cardwell 

Fly Fishing is a type of fishing where we use a really, really long rod. It’s nine feet long. And instead of using like worms, for example, we use what are called flies and they imitate bugs. You know that? on or live in the water? Yes, I’m going fly fishing on a lake tomorrow. And that’s the best way that that I’ve learned to disconnect even though it’s not like sometimes when I think I want to disconnect I just want to do nothing. You know, you just want to sit and relax. But I also recognize that sometimes we You get on the water, you just get outside. It’s very peaceful, you know, you’re just your mind is just kind of focused right on like exactly what you’re doing. And that’s trying to catch your massive fish. And so that’s my goal for tomorrow, we’re going to get up really early and hit the water right at sunrise and hopefully catch a big one.

Andrej Zito 

So it’s splendid to me because I never tried fishing. So maybe that’s another, you know, secret passion. Just have to try it once. But from all the movies, from all the videos that I just just seen, you know, seems like you just, you just throw it in, and then you just wait. Oh, yeah. Because why should we have to focus on like doing something while you’re waiting? Or is the waiting time mostly use for conversation or thinking about something.

Stephanie Cardwell 

So, there is a type of fishing called spin casting, and that’s where you just see like, there’s like a little bobber right in the water, and they’re just waiting, and they’re just staring at it and fly fishing is a little bit different. Because you have to make sure that, that what you’re imitating, like, the bug that you’re imitating looks exactly correct. Otherwise, the fish won’t eat it. You know, if you’re if you’re just have a worm in the water, I mean, worms looked delicious to fish, they’ll come up and eat it anyway, you know, but you have to be very, very precise, you’re in a river, you have to watch how the how it’s flowing. You know, because it has to look natural. You can’t have it dragging along in the water, because then the fish, you know, most fish aren’t stupid. You know. And so you do have to pay very strict attention. When you’re fly fishing, there’s a lot more action. I don’t want to call action. There’s a lot more activity where it’s not just cast and wait. You’re repeatedly casting, depending on what your fishing. So it’s a little bit more exciting than than just sitting in waiting a little bit.

Andrej Zito 

Let’s see. How did you get to this?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I started fishing when I was really little. My dad is a is a big fisherman and he got us like a little Mickey Mouse fly fishing rod, and you’d put push his nose like lead out the line. And so I started fishing then. And then when I moved to Colorado, and I met my now husband, he was into fly fishing, which is just a different type of fishing. And he taught me that. And one thing about me is that I’m highly competitive. And as soon as I saw him catch a big fish, I was like, That’s it. I’m catching a bigger one. Like I need to focus, like, give me the best tools. And so I got I was gonna say I got hooked, but that’s a lame pun, talking about fishing.

Andrej Zito 

Are you part of the fly fishing subreddit or something like that?

Stephanie Cardwell 

You know, I am I’m not very active on it. But my husband does post like when he catches fish. And I was a longtime Lurker on Reddit. I joined Reddit like I don’t know, five or six years ago. And mainly I like to look at communities that are about either the Green Bay Packers, or like my favorite TV show or whatever TV show, I’m binging or like something I’m reading because there are a lot of communities that where people are talking about books and theories and things like that. And so yeah, I don’t I don’t post too much. My husband has picked up photography on the side and so whenever I catch a big fish we do what’s called a gripping grin where you grip the fish out of the water and you granted you take a picture and so I don’t know I like I do like fishing but it’s not for everybody. Some people do find it boring.

Andrej Zito 

Right, right. It’s part of the, I don’t know, the tradition to always throw the fish back or do eat it?

Stephanie Cardwell 

So, because I live in Colorado, there are protected waters here where you do have to let them go you’re not allowed to take them and so you always have to do your research before you go fishing so that you know exactly like what are the rules of the water you’re fishing and so we mainly catch trout and I’ve tried cooking trout but I hate it, like I’m just I’m not good at it. So it’s not for me. so we typically do throw them all back.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, so that was that was a good fishing segment. See, but it’s also related to your to your childhood something that you carried over but I guess in your case, it’s different because I assume that you kept go fishing since childhood, or did you have like a long break and then you get back to it?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Well, I mean, I fished a couple of times in college with some friends. But there’s definitely a long break just because I wasn’t doing it as regularly because I was in school I started working you know it’s just didn’t have the time. And also I didn’t have the money either for a long time, fishing is expensive, like getting all the rods and the reels and like all the gear, because like we have full waders and boots so that we can stand in the water. It’s all very expensive. So it took me a while I think about for everything as well.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, what’s something that people seem to misunderstand about you? And I think it’s related to what we were talking about, because we were talking about the first impression that I guess, maybe to rephrase the question is, let’s say, people meet you in the workplace, workplace or in person. And they, I don’t know, have some first impression about you. But after the time, like, once they get to know you, they’re like, oh, like, that’s definitely that’s definitely like what I initially thought,

Stephanie Cardwell 

it’s a great question. I would say that I’m generally very, very friendly, but I’m also very assertive as well. My nickname at my last company was the Bulldogs. So and it all came apart. Because I, you know, when I, when I started Alteryx, we, the team had tried localization for their products. And it basically they were, they were scraping all of the code bases, and compiling all the strings into an Excel file, emailing it over to a translation vendor, and then manually updating it. And it was just, they weren’t calling us to really like the best practices of software localization.

Andrej Zito 

I think that is a standard practice for many companies.

Stephanie Cardwell 

And so one of the big issues is that we were able to retro actively resolve some of the bugs. But when teams were writing new features, they weren’t thinking about localization. And so I would go up to meetings, I’d be like, “Hi, everyone. I’m joining the meeting today, did you think about localization?” and they used to say that they wanted, you know, build a bear, where you can record your voice, there’s a company where you can like, Build A Bear like a teddy bear, and you can record something where you when you squeeze its hand, it will say

Andrej Zito 

I saw it on Shark Tank?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Maybe maybe. But basically, the head of product wanted to record my voice. Did you think about localization, because I would say it all of the time. And it got to a point where like, if engineers saw me walking up to their desks, they would try to run away. They know I would need something. And so you know, getting the nickname of Bulldog, I found it a little endearing. Because it talks, I think, is a good reflection of my personality, because I’m a huge advocate for localization. But I’m also friendly, like, I’m not like super vicious, but when I’m talking about my work, I can be very, very direct and assertive, and some people can I have received feedback that people have taken that negatively. And so I’ve had to try to resolve that unintentional like abrasiveness almost. But I’m still a little bit of a bulldog.

Andrej Zito 

I was gonna ask you, like, if you’ve learned something from, from that experience, like, engineers running away from you.

Stephanie Cardwell 

I mean, I love it, I don’t, it doesn’t bother me, because because they know that I need something. And the learning experience for me was that a lot of times, localization is not necessarily their priority, because they have their own priorities, like they have their own backlog of work. And you have to show teams their impact. And so one of the things that I did, though, even if they kept running away, they would understand like the value that they’re providing the business. And so there was one team in particular, that resolved the bug that was pertinent to our Japanese customer, because it related to multibyte character sets. And I got feedback from the Japanese team, after it was, was resolved that a customer was so thankful, they wrote a really nice, nice message. And I pass that along to the engineering team as a thank you guys so much, the customers are so happy. And so even if they see me coming, and they know I need them to like work on something, they can at least understand the impact that their work is having on our international business and on our customers. And so I try to circle it back to demonstrate their value. Or I tried to give them recognition at the company level where I might, there’s some companies that will do like spot Awards, where they went above and beyond and so I also would do that where I would recommend them for a small bonus because they thought like internationally and they really helped us you know, push that lever and so even if they ran away i i still tried to find ways to make it a positive experience. And so that’s what I’ve learned is like, how do you help them like see what they’re working on is important.

Andrej Zito 

So what is actually the thing that people misunderstand about you? Is it like, your first impression is the friendly one or the bulldog one?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think it depends on on how do we meet? You know, I would say most the time I, I am I think it’s the friendly one, like during Halloween. I have you seen like those T Rex costume? Where are they like blow up and you run around? And yeah, so I used to do that. And I would like tiptoe like past offices. And like, I’m also super weird. And so like, I try to be friendly and stuff. And so sometimes people forget that I can, like, you know, get like super directed and focused on like localization when I need to, because I can also be like, playful and, and weird.

Andrej Zito 

Going back to what we were discussing earlier, is that like, you know, like, once you meet someone, you try to understand their communication style. So do you think like, somebody, somebody, I think from Moravia, somebody from HR gave me this recommendation that may be talking about you now? In your case, like, do you think it would be well talking about you as an example, but let’s, let’s make it general for everyone. Like, let’s say that you know that you are a friendly person, but you’re also can be a bulldog, and very assertive and straight straight to the point sometimes, do you think it’s like a good, good practice to when you meet someone for the first time to tell them this like in advance? Or do you just wait for it to happen, which may result in someone or surprise for them?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I don’t, I don’t really tell them in advance. You know, I would, let’s say, let’s say, let’s say you’re a marketing leader, and I’m about and this is our first introduction, because you need localization for it, I will say that I’m very friendly, but I’m directing that, like, I will tell you exactly what we need in order to be successful. And so I think it’s a mixture of like, being friendly, and nice and welcoming, and, and like a kind of person, but also getting straight to the point. So I think I think there’s always a little bit of that assertiveness within me, because I don’t like to waste people’s time. I like to be respectful in that manner. But I also I like to ensure that everybody goes into a meeting, knowing exactly what we’re talking about, and comes away knowing exactly what do we have to do next. And so part of that directness, I think is inherent to my communication style, personally. And so I don’t know if it’s ever necessarily a surprise. I think more people, especially remotely, you don’t get like people’s quirks, you know? And like when I was in the office, for the first time when I went to San Francisco, at the beginning of last month, gosh, I don’t even know. You know, people didn’t realize like how competitive I am, like we were doing. We were running a play test and like, trying to test our mobile app. And so I was just like, Okay, I found this bug, this bug and this bug, what price do I win? And they’re like, there’s no prize. I’m like, Are you joking? Like, why? And so, you know, I think it’s fun. Like when you get to learn more aspects of a person where you don’t have to be like, This is who I am day one, you know, where you get that opportunity to, to learn more about somebody? I think, I think it’s part of like the ride.

Andrej Zito 

Do you think that competitiveness of yours? And the reason why I’m asking is because I may be also considered myself to be competitive? Do you think that it’s sometimes lead to damaging relationships?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Yeah, of course, definitely. It’s because it’s like one of it is probably one of my, like, biggest strength. But it can also, I don’t want to say it’s necessarily a weakness, but it can also have negative consequences, you know, my competitiveness is, is not to beat you. It’s really more for me to be the best version of myself. And I will use you as like a guiding point of like, okay, this this is this is like the standard, right? And like, how do I make myself the best version? And I think that ties into my desire to constantly be learning new things. Like I think it’s all intrinsically related, in that I have a certain drive for excellence. Not necessarily perfection, but excellence.

Andrej Zito 

That’s another important thing. Like how do you distinguish between being perfectionist? And like just excelling at something?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I think I think if you’re trying to achieve perfection, you won’t ever get it. And I think if you’re instead trying to achieve excellence, that you will get farther in Whatever it is that you’re working towards, like me, I’m not the type of person who, where I want to be the smartest person in the room. Absolutely not. Because if I’m the smartest person in the room, that I’m not challenging myself, I’m not learning, I’m stagnating at that point. And so I always want to surround myself with people I can learn from, who are better than me, so that I can keep moving towards excellence. And if you if you are moving towards perfection, I think you’re always gonna let yourself down. Because there’s always something more that you can learn is always something that you can improve upon. Whether it’s personally, professionally, emotionally, whatever it is, like, there’s always gonna be something missing. But when you are motivated to be the best version of yourself, that’s how you keep on achieving your end goals. And you can keep pushing yourself further.

Andrej Zito 

My notorious question, what do you think is wrong with our industry?

Stephanie Cardwell 

The first thing that comes to mind is I don’t think there’s enough value given to the linguists, I think, depending on where you are, some of them, you know, get really poor rates, where I’ve seen people talk about this on LinkedIn, especially, of you know, companies are just trying to give them pennies on the dollar, you know, and they’re just not appreciated. A lot of times, you know, I’ll get the recognition at my company, but I’m not the one translating, and doing all of these work, you know, and so I wish there was an opportunity to better learn who’s actually doing this work, especially when you’re working with an LSP don’t always have direct access to the linguist. And so I wish I could, like, you know, showcase, like, let’s say, we launched a new language, I could be like, “This person was instrumental in doing this,” and giving them the recognition. And I think that’s just something that’s missing where everything is, is either on like, the vendors’ name like, like the big LSPs, but not the linguist themselves.

Andrej Zito 

But But why would it not be possible? Because, in my opinion, like, it’s the clients who kind of like, dictate like, like, if you as a client came to your LSPs? And would be like, hey, we want to I don’t know, publicly? Like, share who were the linguists who helped us, I don’t know, translate this new feature, do you think they would be opposed to that?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I don’t, I don’t know. I will say that the times where I’ve tried to have direct communication with the linguist, I’ve been told no, I will say that’s not true of the current LSP that we partner with. And I don’t, and it’s not that I don’t think it’s possible. I think a lot of people don’t think to do it, myself included, you know, in my previous time, where we were launching, and we got, for example, when I was at Alteryx, we launched into Japan, and we had the Japanese flagship product available. Like, that could have been a perfect opportunity for me to do that. And I didn’t think about it. And so I think there’s just a little bit more accountability that we need to have on the client side, as well.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I think like, especially like with Reddit, you know, like, just create some subreddit or something like that, you know, like, these are the Reddit users that helped us translate this feature. So like my that, I think it would perfectly go well, with Reddit and what Reddit is for?

Stephanie Cardwell 

Well, I do agree that I mean, with social media these days, and like being able to connect with others on LinkedIn, and giving people like that visibility, you know, even if it’s, like, there’s recommendations on LinkedIn that you can do for other people and being able to think about, about all of the people that had an impact on your project and help make it successful. I think it’s an easy thing to do. And, and now that we’re talking about, it’s something that I will try to do, because you know, it’s about holding yourself accountable. Like, again, like I did not do this and I’m I was part of the problem, you know. And so I would love to see, I’d love to encourage like major fire companies like it’s particularly in the tech industry. You know, we can make the change and give that give those people the recognition.

Andrej Zito 

Good, we did something good. All right. A lot of people struggle with this question, but maybe you will come up with something. Okay. What is the absurd or stupid thing that you do? That let’s say most of the people would like when they see you do it, they would be like, Are you crazy or something like that, but for you, it’s like very normal.

Stephanie Cardwell 

And like in relation to what like at work?

Andrej Zito 

anything you eat can be also person doesn’t have to be work?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I don’t know. That’s okay. I mean, there there are definitely like weird things that I do. But I think that’s I don’t I don’t know if people would think I’m crazy. I like to have dance parties with my cat.

Andrej Zito 

Okay. That one that I would consider the crazy. Yes. So describe what does it mean? That’s what I was like you were saying dance party I was like, that sounds normal and then with the cat

Stephanie Cardwell 

Sometimes sometimes, you know, like let’s say, let’s say you’re having a couple of drinks on a Friday night and you have music playing, you’re just having a good time, I will pick up my cat and we will dance together. And he, he loves it. And as little ahead, we’ll just bought back and forth. And I’ve done it with him ever since he was a kitten. Like, you know, some cats are more skittish and they don’t like to be held or whatever. I can do like anything I can. He don’t want to be thrown. I don’t throw him but like, we have dance parties. And yeah, and there’s videos of it. So maybe one day I will, I will share but yeah, I just like to have fun. So I don’t know.

Andrej Zito 

I smell a new Subreddit for that – parties with cats. Okay, yeah, but that’s good. I think I think there was a very dramatic, you know, like, introduction to this, but you were like, initially, like, which one?

Stephanie Cardwell 

I just don’t know, like, there’s like, at work. I just don’t can’t think of anything that I do that people are like, “You’re crazy.” I mean, besides me running around a T-Rex costume, you know?

Andrej Zito 

I really think like the dance party with a cat is one of the best things that I’ve heard. So yeah, even like your competitive spirit can be can be satisfied because. Stephanie, so we’re getting to the to the end of our interview. And this is my final question. So what would be your final parting words? For everyone in the industry? So if if you had like the opportunity to say one thing to everyone in the industry, what would it be? Dum Dum, dum,

Stephanie Cardwell 

dum, dum, dum, dum dum? I would say for for everybody. Is that everybody in the industry? Or is it everybody, like on the buyer side, the side of the industry, because what I would say would be different depending on that.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, let’s say for everybody.

Stephanie Cardwell 

For everybody, I would say, I guess this could be generic too, is to recognize and cherish your own value, whether it’s as a person as a co worker, you know, as an employee, I think a lot of times, localization doesn’t always get the visibility that it needs, unless there’s a problem. Like, if there’s a bad translation that gets escaped, or, or something like that, and so you won’t always get the recognition that you might deserve. And so I think you should always remember, your own personal value.

Andrej Zito 

Is there something that you would say to the buyers?

Stephanie Cardwell 

To the buyers, I would always say, it’s kind of I think, this is what I first mentioned, is to learn your business. Because when I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know when people leadership would ask me, well, “Where should you? Where should you report into?” You know, like, “Should you be in product? Should you be in marketing? Should you be in operations?” Like, there is not, there is not one box, that localization fits in at every company. And it’s up to you to define what that looks like, once you learn all the areas of your business and what you’re trying to achieve. And so, like, I when I first started, I was looking for that box of like, what’s the right answer? Like, what should I be doing next? And there isn’t a there isn’t the right answer. And you have to figure that out yourself. There’s a lot of guidance. And there are a lot of people, I’ve seen a lot of VP roles opening up, director level wrote roles of localization. And so I think it’s definitely growing within companies. And there’s a lot of people to learn from. But there’s just there’s not a box that you’re necessarily going to fit in. And you have to define, define that yourself.

Andrej Zito 

Thank you, Stephanie, for that. So thank you again.

Stephanie Cardwell 

No, thank you so much. This was really fun. I really enjoyed our conversations, and I hope that you take away that I’m not some like weird, competitive, crazy bulldog person. But you know, I really enjoyed I really enjoyed my time and thank you very much.

Andrej Zito  Thank you. Bye bye. Bye.

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