An Interview with Vania

Happy Thursday, everyone! And welcome back to the Automox Alive Interview Series. This month, we’re talking to @vaniaxu (Vania Xu), an awesome Product Manager here at Automox. And I’ll let her take it from here :slight_smile:

Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hi :wave:I’m Vania (pronounced Vuh-Nay)! Originally from Atlanta, GA but moved to Boulder, CO in 2016 and haven’t looked back since. Goodbye humidity, hello fresh mountain air! I studied computer science at Georgia Tech :honeybee:, so I know how to code, but you probably wouldn’t want me making commits in GitHub as I haven’t coded professionally since 2017 and am definitely not up-to-date with all the latest coding trends. I totally love the technology space, though, and feel very fortunate that I found a career that allows me to keep working in tech.

What do you do at Automox?
I’m a Product Manager here at Automox. I primarily work with engineering and design to help build cool new features in the Automox platform, but I also get to work with a bunch of different parts of the business, such as sales and marketing, as well as directly with the customer. It’s a great job for someone like me who’s a bit of a jack-of-all-trades type of person and who likes a little bit of chaos and open-ended-ness when it comes to working.

How did you get your start here?
I started my career as a front-end software engineer for SolidFire, which was eventually acquired by NetApp. After a few years in engineering, I moved into Product, because I found my passion in learning about customers and their pain points and collaborating with different parts of the company to build a product that end-users love. I joined Automox because I was really itching to work on a cloud-native SaaS platform, and I really love the world of IT and all the exciting, innovative things happening in this space.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
Empathizing with customers and working cross-functionally to turn that empathy into something awesome for our end users.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I never considered myself an outdoorsy person until I moved out to Colorado, but now my whole life revolves around it–camping & hiking with my sweet 7 year old Beagle mix in the summers; snowboarding in the winters. When I’m not outside, I enjoy peaceful mornings with a freshly brewed cup of coffee (pour-over method. always.), cooking new recipes and cuisines, and drinking fancy cocktails with my boyfriend and friends. This summer, I’m planning on getting into backpacking with the eventual goal of backpacking down the Grand Canyon!

Favorite food?
My parents immigrated to the US from China, so I grew up eating a lot of traditional Chinese food. My absolute favorite dish is “Mei Cai Kou Rou”, which is braised pork belly with preserved mustard greens, and I love eating it with a Chinese steamed bun (Mantou) and rice. It’s everything a comfort dish ought to be: rich, savory, and saucy. If you ever find a Chinese restaurant with this dish, DEFINITELY ORDER IT. On top of that, my mom taught me the importance of eating in-season fruit, so I like to keep a good pulse on seasonal fruits (my favorite is pomegranate). I eat so much fruit that my friends say I eat fruit like an island woman :joy:

Favorite color?
Forest green. It reminds me of nature and being around trees.

If you could be any kitchen utensil or appliance, what would you be and why?
A wine opener because 1) people are always so relieved when they find you, 2) you’re a spiral shape, so it’s kinda like being a ballerina, right?, and 3) you’re classy but strong as hell - you can pull an airtight cork from any bottle!

Favorite quote, saying, or motto?
“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” - East of Eden by John Steinbeck, one of my all-time favorite novels that I re-read every few years. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and this has caused me to be pretty hard on myself throughout my life. I love this quote because it reminds me that I don’t need to be perfect, I just need to be myself and true to my values, even if I sometimes make mistakes along the way. It reminds me to give myself a little grace and patience.

Thanks so much to Vania for participating! Feel free to leave additional comments and questions down below. And if you want to check out more in our Interview series, you can find them in our Interview tag.