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Tackling the Next Challenge, Together: A Stellar Women Interview with Monica Harris

Blair Cohen

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Community: it’s kind of our thing here at Relativity. And it shows up in everything we do, from our presence at events like Legalweek and Relativity Fest to how we build our software.

The Stellar Women community empowers women in the legal technology field to harness the power of technology to thrive—both at work and in life, and Monica Harris is doing just that. My chat with Monica left me felling inspired and ready to tackle the next challenge, and I hope it does the same for you—because, as Monica says, anything is possible and everything will work out

Give the episode a listen below or in your favorite podcast app.

Monica Harris

Product Business Manager

Cellebrite
 

Blair: It's been really cool to see you go from behind the scenes to being a thought leader in this space. What has that transition been like for you?

Monica: It has been amazing. I'm a product manager, so I work a lot with our development team and with the marketing team as well. But as we began to develop these products, the one thing that came across clearly was the need for education—just helping our audience understand the benefits, the capabilities. And so it was very organic to transition into that. It wasn't enough to say, "Hey, we've got this new product and it does X, Y, and Z." Because folks will hear that say, "What's that? And why do we need this?” So it just kind of happened organically to help people understand what was happening at Cellebrite, how it could help them, and why it was valuable.

You create a really safe space, in those education sessions, where there is no dumb question. Which is so important because we know that for every hand raised, there are something like five hands that actually want to be raised.

Exactly. Being at Cellebrite for two years myself, I'm also learning. And so I understand a lot of those challenges. I feel that. And if I have the questions, then others have the questions too, right? And then Cellebrite also provides me with the opportunity to talk to people and understand. I don't have to guess. I get to come out and talk to you. I get to come out and talk to the community, and ask: "What are your challenges? Where are the pain points?" And then go back and develop content around that. So thank you for saying that. I like the idea of learning in a safe space. I think that's the best way.

I want to ask you about the power of community. How do you connect with your community? How are you able to do that?

That's a great question and it's interesting, right? Because I'm here talking to—you're with Relativity, and Relativity excels at creating community. We just left Relativity Fest, and that is the Relativity community. Part of the way that I stay connected with my community is just to be present: coming to conferences, being on LinkedIn, inviting people to have conversations. It's a new time, so sometimes, uh, being present means being virtual: having the Zoom conversation, having meetings when you can, that kind of thing. You just have to be there. You have to show up, in whatever form that takes. But I think that's a great way to stay connected. And then also being engaged with organizations like Relativity, like ACEDS, like Black Girls Code, you know, all of that, that really keeps you connected to communities.

Or like Black Tech Queens, which Karimah Campbell at Relativity heads up.

Yes. I just met Karimah earlier this week. She reached out on LinkedIn—speaking of staying connected. Um, and I thought, “Wow, this is amazing. Like, yes, I'm there.” She's absolutely amazing. I'm so glad that I had a chance to meet her and learn about everything that she's doing and connect her to my tribe. I think that's really important just to keep the good works going.

I love what you just said. I feel like we are in a new age of women in tech, in corporate America, where we are no longer, at least in my experience, put up against each other as competition. The elbows aren't as much up as we just have open arms to welcome in a hug.

Yes. I'm very fortunate; we have a great group of women in e-discovery. We are all connected. We're all supportive, and just there for each other. Whether it's looking for someone that has a certain resource and you're trying to get something done, or maybe you just need to vent and a safe space— whatever it might be—I'm very fortunate to have that community of women. They were here at Fest. They know who they are. Thank you. Thank you for being my tribe. I’m fortunate also for having the ability to continue to develop that and grow that as well.

I love it. And what's on the horizon next, Monica?

Oh, the whole world is open. What's on the horizon? Taking on the next challenge that's in the industry, taking on the next challenge that's in my personal life. Whether that's how we work with this new data source in short messages, whether that's how to foster, promote, and create opportunities for women and tech. I mean, anything is possible. Anything is possible. And I like challenges. So we'll see.

Everything will work out. It always does.

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Blair Cohen is a brand program manager at Relativity, representing the company with enthusiasm, authenticity, and her flair for humor. When she isn't shining a light on women in tech via Stellar Women or cracking jokes on the main stage at Relativity Fest, you can find her running around Chicago finding the best places to eat with her dog, Goose.

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