Jennifer is the Digital Content Specialist for MATRIX. Her mission is to understand what information our various communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football, and the great state of Texas.
MATRIX Employee Spotlight: Phyllis Gray
Our latest spotlight is on Phyllis Gray, who has been with MATRIX for over 20 years. Phyllis left her former career as a technology executive to join our sales team, and has recently moved into the role of Director of Strategic Accounts. Read how her IT background led her to the career she’s passionate about today.
Tell me about yourself.
I was born and raised outside Charlotte, but have spent most of my life here in Atlanta. I majored in Mathematics and minored in Computer Science and Business at Winthrop University before starting my career. Growing up in a small town, I watched my dad succeed as a self-made man and all I wanted was to have a successful career one day. I have always been very driven and goal-oriented – I was class officer in college and involved in many committees. I’ve also been working since I was 16, when I started out working for banks and insurance companies during the summers.
What has your career path looked like?
After college, I started out as a developer but quickly moved into management. I worked in project management for software companies specializing in insurance systems and eventually moved into the roles of IT Director, VP of Technology, and CIO. I joined the other side of the house when I came to work for MATRIX.
I had used MATRIX at my past companies for staffing services, so we already had a relationship. I was interviewing for VP roles when the MATRIX partners made me an offer to come work for them. I didn't consider myself a salesperson, so this was a whole new world for me. I had two small children at the time, so this job gave me the flexibility to choose my hours vs. having the demands of an executive role with 85 people reporting to me. I decided to give it a try, and 20 years later I’m still here. From years of being an Account Executive to my role now, this job has allowed me to use my experience to relate to managers as someone who knows how to get products to the marketplace. My background as a software consultant taught me how to be customer-focused and always see things from their angle, so this career was a natural transition for me.
What’s unique about what you do now?
As Director of Strategic Accounts, I’m focused on growth and new opportunities – and honestly, it’s a two-way street. Working with clients to reach their goals teaches me what MATRIX should be focusing on and whether there’s anything we should be doing differently. The interesting part about my background is that I bring in a more consultative approach; I’m able to go in no matter what level you're at in the organization (developer, manager, CIO) to listen to what you're trying to accomplish and determine the best solution. In my former years as a developer and project manager, I was a true consultant. So today when talking with clients, I can honestly say I have walked in their shoes and I know what's important to make them successful. My experience allows me to be a mentor and advisor more than anything else. Many people I work with call me to consult on their jobs as well as their children who are graduating and joining the marketplace. The best part of what I do is getting to take my accomplishments and help others achieve theirs.
What’s a common piece of advice you give to managers?
People are your most valuable commodity. When you see good talent, you need to move quickly, since they always have options.
What does your life look like outside of work?
I love running marathons. I’ve always been a big believer in eating right and exercising to present my best self in my career and life in general. I’m a breast cancer survivor and I’ve done the Susan G. Komen 2-Day walk every year since 2005, the year after I was diagnosed. This is one of my favorite events of the year, spending two days walking 30+ miles across Atlanta to raise money. Running and music both run in my family – both my son and daughter ran cross country and track in school, and we all play a different instrument. I’m also a Tar Heel fan after growing up in North Carolina and having a son graduate from UNC.