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Shannon Katschilo – Embracing the Future of Data

Shannon Katschilo is a recognized name in the tech and innovation sector as a pioneer and champion for customer and employee engagement as a drive towards productivity enhancement. Katschilo also advocates for the inclusion of women in male dominated vocations, or roles considered too challenging for women because “why not?” and also because “women bring extraordinary talents and skills to the table.” 

The Edge, A Leader’s Magazine met up with Shannon to discuss her current endeavour. We also spoke about her journey in the field of tech and innovation, and of course, how her impact continues to be felt in the industry.

As a software development establishment, what makes Snowflake unique in the technology and innovation industry, and how has that quality been leveraged? 

Snowflake enables every organization to mobilize their data with Snowflake’s data cloud. We’re a signal platform that delivers a unified data experience that spans multiple clouds and geographies. So, our customers in Canada can share data and drive value with organizations from the same platform around the globe. We handle all types of data, which includes structured and unstructured data. We can also span multiple work clouds, workloads, which would include data science, security, warehousing. So, pretty comprehensive technology that I’m really excited to be behind.

Let’s talk about the company’s efforts at delivering Data Cloud, what are some of its influences in the tech space? How has the company been able to impact its target audience with its vision? And what has been the Canadian experience, in terms of result alignment? 

I’ll just go back and talk a little bit more about Snowflake and maybe it’s applicability within Canadian organizations. And I think the best example that I try to use here about the impact that we’re having across Canada––one of the areas that I like to liken it to is the power of Snowflake––if you are a customer, and within the airline industry. There’s so much power at Snowflake, and I think this example really brings us to life. Snowflake, when we first started was really breaking down data silos internally within an organization. So, if you are a customer thinking about the airline industry, an airline needs data from their people to figure out which flight attendants, and which pilots can fly that day, and where customers are coming from, and weather data. The next phase of data cloud concept is about breaking down external silos of data. So, let’s say, last night I arrived from Calgary, now, that airline knows that about Shannon, and then they can start to feed that data, or start to bring data to me on the taxi service that’s going to be there to pick me up, they can purchase weather data and bring that in-house. They can also connect their loyalty which they have on me with different providers and get greater share of wallet for my favorite coffee shop. So, I think that example of the power of data cloud really makes it clear. And I think across Canada, we’re seeing so much innovation from Canadian organizations where every organization is thinking about their own data cloud. So, not only internally breaking down data silos, but then thinking externally, and all of their ecosystem that they work with, and how do they bring that data in, and then how do they also work with those external partners by driving data out? What I’m really excited about is our investment in the public sector across Canada and the impact that we’re gonna have on the Canadian citizens.

Coming to you personally, Shannon; as Snowflake’s Country Manager, Canada, what does your role entail and how strategic is it to the accomplishment of the company’s set goals. 

My role as a country manager is to scale our presence in the market, and take a data first approach to improving experience at all levels of the operation. So, I spend a lot of time getting in front of our customers, our prospects, our partners, and our people to really understand their goals. I really wanna understand their North Star, and then my job is aligning our teams to that and ensuring we’re delivering upon that. As a country manager, I also act as an internal advocate for Canada. I’m really proud that in 2022 we opened up our first Canadian office in Toronto. And as you know, Canada is one of the fastest growing industries with data, and Toronto is ranked one of the top three best tech hubs in the world. So, to be able to build an engineering hub up here was just personally very exciting. Also, as a country manager, just building up momentum across this incredible Canada, because I really feel there’s just such a large impact that Snowflake can have on our country, and it’s been really exciting to pull our internal resources to really make that happen.

Regarding corporate culture, as a female in the tech and engineering industry known for its male dominance, what are some of the challenges you encountered, and how were you able to successfully navigate them?

This is a great question. I think throughout my career in the technology sector, I’ve been continually faced or confronted by what I think people would refer to as the confidence gap, right? Am I experienced enough? Am I smart enough? Do I understand this technology enough to make a real big impact here? And not only have I seen this in myself, but I’ve also interviewed many different women across various roles where that sentiment is very common. They’re hesitant, even though I know that they are phenomenal, and they’ve got great potential, and they’ve got all these great skills. They sometimes are quite hesitant to dive deep in the technology sector because they’re a bit nervous that they can’t be great at it.  And the same advice that I give young women, I continually give myself. I gave myself that same advice when the opportunity to join Snowflake came to me, I was like, why not me? I give the same advice to young women–why not you, why not take a place? And when it comes to data and technology, this is the future. Also, I want women to be part of the wealth creation from this, you know, we deserve a share of that wallet. I’m so quite passionate about it, and we’re seeing a lot of momentum improvement in the space. 

As a champion for customer and employee engagement, can you elaborate how this initiative has enhanced productivity for establishments in the course of your career.

So, customer and employee engagement is my North Star as a leader, and I’m so proud to work for Snowflake. We have values and our number one value is put customers first. And so, in order to scale our presence, I really truly believe in cultivating meaningful relationships with our clients, with fellow executives, and then of course our employees. And so, just spending a lot of time listening, providing phenomenal customer success to our organizations. You do these two things by creating great customer engagement alongside employee engagement, you’re going to create a phenomenal organization. I really try to spend as much time as possible in front of people, in front of employees, and in front of our clients, to really listen and understand what I need to do as a leader here to remove barriers, and to ensure that it’s a phenomenal experience. And again, like going back to diversity, I spend a lot of time mentoring young women because I want them to know that there’s a path here. And I think that goes again to supporting a really great company culture here at Snowflake Canada.

Chinenye Emezie | Assistant Editor

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