Talk to a Tykling: Kayleigh Duggan, Regional Marketing Manager

Talk to a Tykling – getting to know Kayleigh Duggan, Regional Marketing Manager

Talk to a Tykling: we get to know Regional Marketing Manager, Kayleigh Duggan

Tyk provides cloud-native API management for the modern stack, empowering teams around the world to put their developers in the driving seat. But who are the Tyklings busy beavering away behind the scenes to deliver these multi-cloud, GraphQL and Kubernetes-ready solutions?

Let’s find out.

We recently had a chat with Kayleigh Duggan, Regional Marketing Manager for the Americas. She tells us why she loves Tyk’s flexible working and values, which allow her to balance her work life and her ‘life life’ like never before.

What do you do at Tyk?

I am the Regional Marketing Manager for the Americas region. My job, in a nutshell, is to ensure that as many leads come through the pipeline as possible. I help identify target markets, create campaigns and assets, report on success, and work closely with the sales team to grow the customer base in the Americas region.

I have a lot of experience working directly with sales, which is not always a walk in the park as a marketer, but I am so grateful for everyone that makes up the Americas sales team here at Tyk. I think we work very well together.

I also aid in content creation and out-of-the-box demand generation. Along with my counterparts in APAC and EMEA, we work together to implement new ideas for regionally relevant marketing success across the company.

Where are you based when working remotely?

I work from my home office in Atlanta, GA. I drop into the Tyk office (about 25-30 minutes away) from time to time but I’m grateful for the opportunity to work from home because I have a 14-year-old dog who can’t really be home alone for eight hours at a time.

I have also gotten VERY used to not wearing makeup or putting on office clothes every day! The thought of going back to that makes me cringe a little bit. Once things get back to normal a bit more, I would love to work while traveling, as it is a favourite pastime of mine.

Will you travel with work at all?

Yes, probably. I hope so. I started at Tyk last November which was mid-Covid, and my role was new so I’m not entirely sure how much travel will be involved. I know that previously the marketing team got together in-person for hideaways, and I would certainly travel for those. There also might be some in-person events that I have a hand in planning, or that we are throwing internally at Tyk, so I would travel for those too.

I also hope to travel for pleasure and work from different locations. One of my favourite things about Tyk is that they encourage that type of thing. We’ve got a Slack channel that is solely for the purpose of sending pictures of the lavish places that you are and the sights that you’re seeing. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop because a company that encourages you to take time to travel and see some sights on the way, is very, very rare, certainly here in the States. So I thank my stars every day!

Where is the best place you’ve been and why?

I haven’t done all that much international travel. The only places I’ve been outside the States are Paris, Mexico and the Bahamas. One of my favourite places to go is Key West in the Florida Keys.

I also really like Denver. It’s a really cool place and the weather is awesome. I’m not a huge skier but I’d like to get more into that. And I love New Orleans. I have family there and it’s great – the culture, the food, the air, everything. It’s such an awesome place. I used to go there at least twice a year, pre-Covid.

Which travel destination is top of your bucket list?

That’s easy. Greece. Santorini, in particular. I want to see the white buildings and blue skies, I want to eat Greek food, drink wine and go swimming and sailing. That’s been on my bucket list for years.

I did go to Mexico a couple of months ago for a wedding. It felt really good to travel again and go somewhere outside of the States, although it was very strange to experience the airport with so many fewer people than usual there.

What is something people in your role/industry have to deal with that you want to fix?

Regardless of whether I am marketing in a B2B or B2C setting, I am a consumer of marketing/advertising, which means that I can put myself in the consumer’s shoes. I shape the way I market accordingly. For instance, I get annoyed when a company sends me upwards of five emails per week – I usually unsubscribe immediately. I use that knowledge when deciding the email cadence at Tyk.

What is the background experience that led you to Tyk?

I grew up just outside of Atlanta and attended the University of South Carolina, where I was a cheerleader and in a sorority. In my spare time (lol), I earned a degree in advertising with a minor in digital art studio.

I have always been interested in marketing and advertising. My parents tell me that when I was young, I used to constantly quote commercials as they played. Not just the ones with catchy jingles, either. They said I had a future in advertising, which is not a surprise, given that my dad was a marketing VP until he retired last month. I grew up fascinated at the design work he’d done and I sat in on his campaign calls as early as middle school. I thought it would be such a dream to hold a creative role when I grew up.

My first job out of college was Marketing Coordinator for a new pizza restaurant, designing their signage and physical mailers, creating their email campaigns and so on. I fell in love with design software and using my creativity to create new things. Since then, I did field marketing for an IT hardware company and email marketing strategy for a healthcare staffing firm.

Before working at Tyk, I was at an ad agency, which taught me a lot. The most important of which is that I am not meant to work at an ad agency! I like to take my time with things and perfect them. I also like to jump back and forth on projects, which made it uncomfortable to put a price on my time. Covid forcing the company to downsize turned out to be such a blessing in disguise.

Before that, I was working at a company much more aligned with Tyk in many ways. It was a global tech company where we were working in a remote environment. That position prepared me wonderfully to work at Tyk. It taught me how to be disciplined enough to work remotely. It taught me how to deal with working with colleagues in every time zone across the globe.

I also learned how to look at a product that I really know nothing about and put that aside to let my knowledge and expertise in the marketing field shine through. Plus I learned how awesome it is to work with people all over the world. I see a lot of that company during my time here at Tyk and I have realized that this is the type of company I am meant to be at.

What do you like about working at Tyk?

What’s not to like is a MUCH shorter list. Every time I tell someone about Tyk, they follow up with the same question: are you guys hiring?

I love the sense of community at Tyk. I love that even though I’ve never met the majority of my co-workers in person, they still feel like family. I love that this company gives us the freedom to live our lives outside of work and still do amazing things at work. And I love who the founders are as people, in addition to leaders. Just take a look at who works here and what we have all accomplished! I believe that is a direct reflection of the leadership here at Tyk.

I also love that one of the only things that we are harped on is that we don’t take enough time off. I love that, as employees, our voices are heard and our ideas are accepted with open minds. I love the social events that we get to participate in with colleagues across the globe. I love the culture seeping from the many Slack channels we have. I love the emphasis on positive feedback and making people feel good about themselves. I truly feel like I have hit the ultimate jackpot being chosen to work for this amazing company.

What are your tips for working in a remote-first organisation?

Discipline is key. Know how you work best and create your workday/space around that. If you work better taking small breaks throughout the day, take them. If you know you will get too distracted, take longer work periods with shorter breaks. You’ve got to do what works for you.

Also, over-communicate. It’s really hard to collaborate, especially in a creative role, when you don’t have colleagues sitting next to you in an office, so you need to find other ways to collaborate and communicate with your team.

That being said, it’s important to let your teammates know when you are unavailable or not at your desk. Tyk allows us to live our lives off the “9-5 grind,” which is great, but it’s not going to work well if your co-workers don’t know that you are at the gym at 8:30 or picking up your kids at 3. Update your Slack status as well as your out of office so everyone will know you’re away.

I think that working with colleagues in different time zones is a huge benefit. It opens your eyes to the outside world and how things work outside of your bubble. I work with so many people in England that I legitimately find myself thinking in a British accent!

But working across time zones can also be very challenging, so my biggest tip there is to be flexible. You may have to be up for a 6am meeting or hop on a webinar at 10pm. You are also encouraged to take time off when things like this happen so that you don’t get burned out. Take it! Enjoy the freedom, flexibility, and uncommon format of our work structure.

What’s a mistake you made early on in your career, and what did you learn from it?

I think my biggest mistakes have stemmed from being scared to ask questions. I was always worried that I would be judged for not knowing about something enough to even ask a question about it, so I tried to go on without that information, which would typically lead to mistakes.

I have made an active effort to remedy this by asking ALL the questions, no matter how silly I think they may be. At Tyk, I am extremely grateful for colleagues who that are always there to answer my questions with a complete lack of judgment because it truly has helped me advance my career. There are no stupid questions at Tyk.

Now, I always try to offer myself up to new teammates to come to me with questions they might be scared to ask someone else because it has had such a positive effect on how I have done my job thus far.

In addition to not asking enough questions, a lack of attention to detail is what caused many mistakes early on in my career. The good thing is, it caused so many mistakes that now I am laser-focused on detail! I check, double-check and triple-check most of my work. I also learned to always get a second pair of eyes on whatever you are working on, because it is easy to get tunnel vision and miss some pretty important details.

What are the values that drive you?

First and foremost, I value honesty. This is a value that drives me in both my personal and professional life. I have been described as “brutally honest” many times and that’s something I actually pride myself on.

For instance, if I ask a colleague what they think about an email I put together, I truly want to know their opinion, no matter how harsh it may be. I also want to be able to have a constructive back and forth conversation about it, where one party isn’t afraid the other will get their feelings hurt because someone didn’t agree with them.

I value constructive criticism along with freedom of expression because I think that if we’re too scared to tell each other how we feel in a professional setting, we aren’t going to get any better. Also, if I am doing something that displeases a colleague or superior, I want to know about it so I can work on it and be better.

That said, I value kindness just as much. It costs nothing to be a good person and there is no place for rudeness or animosity either in the workplace or outside of it.

Do you feel your values are a good fit with the culture at Tyk?

I feel like the company values are very obvious in the people I work with. Our recruitment team and our leadership team have done a really good job recruiting for Tyk, really keeping those values in mind when hiring.

I think that everyone who works here is aligned with Tyk in terms of their values. I see it all the way up to Martin, James and Andrew. They’re very open and transparent.

I feel that when your values align with your company’s, it makes it easier for you to talk to your colleagues at every level in the business. At Tyk we’re all on the same page and all working towards the same thing.

What are your top three books or podcasts?

My favourite book is Into the Wild. I read it as part of an assignment in high school. It’s the only book from an assignment that I continued to reread beyond school. I love Jon Krakauer’s writing style and how he was able to graphically demonstrate the personal struggle that the main character, Chris McCandless, was going through. He does a brilliant job of putting into perspective the reasons behind the seemingly crazy decisions the character makes.

The whole premise of the book is about taking the initiative to bring happiness to yourself by experiencing new things and uncovering your adventurous spirit. My favourite quote from the book is:

“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

One of my favourite career-related podcasts is Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn. It features some great guests. My favourite part is that it discusses marketing strategy while always answering the “how,” which is so important in my field. I find that many of the questions I have surrounding business and marketing are answered in this podcast. It helps keep my mind sharp and my perspective balanced.

My other favourite podcast is a true-crime podcast called Sword and Scale, which covers different instances of real-life acts of crime and then delves into the psychology behind those acts. To be clear, I have no desire to murder or even so much as hurt another living thing! However, I am fascinated with the psyche behind a person’s decision to commit such acts of terror. It does get a little intense at times, but I believe that it’s a best practice to be fully aware of what is going on in the world around us, no matter how grim.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Fitness is a huge part of my life and I’m typically in the gym every morning before work (another huge perk of working at Tyk). I was never really a morning person until I started prioritising fitness. I realised that if I don’t go before work, I won’t go at all.

Now, even if I have a full morning of meetings, I will still get up and go at 6 am (I draw the line at 5!) because it’s important to me. I need those endorphins and that energy throughout the day.

I am so grateful to work for a company that allows me to block time out in my schedule to prioritise my mental and physical health in this way.

I’m also an extremely curious person. If I don’t know how to do something, I delve deep into researching it, reading about it, listening to things about it. I recently bought a house and I’ve realised that I have become quite handy, taking care of projects myself that a lot of people would hire someone for. I get a great sense of accomplishment knowing I was able to fix, solve, build or create something I didn’t think I could before, just by looking up how.

Lastly, I love to cook. I enjoy spending hours in the kitchen creating delicious masterpieces, although often I am too tired after cooking a really involved meal that I don’t even eat it right away! My favourite thing to do is to find recipes that look good and put my own spin on them. I love experimenting with flavours and textures and creating something amazing.

Is there a particular type of food that you like to cook?

There really isn’t any one kind of food that I particularly like to cook. I have a few recipes that I go back to but it’s all sorts of things. I really like Mexican food, I love pasta, and I like to cook Italian food. I like to make random casseroles of whatever I have in the house that I think will taste good together.

I like to say I have a refined palette but really I’m a picky eater! I don’t make lavish things. I do simple, basic recipes but with my own twists. I like to browse the internet for a recipe that looks good. One out of ten times I’ll make it exactly as I find it. Nine times out of ten I use the recipe as a base idea.

My mum and dad can both cook but I really didn’t start learning about marrying different flavours until I graduated from college. Then I started experimenting and seeing what works. I don’t want to toot my own horn but… there are lots of times I make something and it’s really good!

I like the Tyk food channel on Slack. The culture is so rich, we get to see how everyone cooks different foods from around the world, for occasions like birthdays and celebrations. Sometimes I don’t even know what the ingredients are – that’s one of the things that I love about being at Tyk. Saying it has a rich culture is an understatement. I love having co-workers from all over the world. It’s amazing. I am so thankful that I’m working here.