Liquid Web’s Director of Customer Success & Engineered Solutions on teamwork, supporting one another, and how we can actively work toward a more diverse workplace.
Ani King loves solving puzzles in her spare time. Her favorite puzzle to find a solution for in the world of tech is getting the right people to the table— a diverse team— and making sure that they are able to offer their input. “We have to actively build diverse teams,” says King. “Otherwise, our results will be homogenous and skewed towards our own understanding or experience. And that’s not how growth happens.”
If Ani King could tell women interested in technology one thing, it is this: you belong here. “You belong here,” she says, “and when you get here, let’s build a supportive network so that when challenges arise, you’re not on your own and neither are your colleagues.”
Community and teamwork are at the core of Ani King’s work ethos. As the Director of Customer Success & Engineered Solutions for Liquid Web’s Customer Enablement Team, her role pivots around creating synergy for those she works with and for Liquid Web’s customers. “My job is to work with our teams to create an outstanding full lifecycle experience for our most critical customers,” says King. From implementation and account management strategy to product engineering oversight, Ani King collaborates with her teams to ensure the success of Liquid Web’s customers.
King began her tech career in the late 1990s and has now been at Liquid Web for nearly 12 years. “I love how quickly things can change in technology,” King says. “It’s a field that forces you to be flexible and adaptable. The constant exchange of ideas and technological advances are exciting.” At Liquid Web, she was instrumental in growing the company’s Enterprise Support Team from six administrators to a holistic team that encompassed support, engineering, and account management. “I was able to work with people on each team who helped define our vision and mission, then worked tirelessly to make sure our clients were supported and succeeding,” says King. “I’m tremendously proud of what we accomplished.”
King attributes her success to a combination of hard work, opportunity, and actively seeking to work with people who could help her to learn and grow. From the people on the teams she helms, to the customers whose businesses she seeks to support, to dear friends and colleagues, people are at the core of Ani King’s work experience. “My best friend, benny Vasquez, was the one who kept encouraging me to get back into technology after a few years in the service industry,” says King. She and benny Vasquez worked together as they moved into various roles at Liquid Web. King cites this support as pivotal as she was discovering who she wishes to be and what she wishes to accomplish.
King is often motivated by the challenge of big or complex problems. This makes her adept at working with teams and offers this advice for those working with groups: “Be the management member of a team, not just a team manager,” she says. “Discussion is more effective than marching orders.” She says that making sure everyone shows up to the table is as vital as having seats for them when they do. “Their input is critical. I don’t care if they’ve been on the job for ten years or ten days, I want to hear them.” King, who works with a lot of high performing teams and people, isn’t afraid to ask for clarification or admit when she’s been wrong. “It’s so important to me to foster an environment where hierarchy doesn’t impact feedback,” she says.
But it’s not just the harmony of her teams that is important to Ani King. It’s their diversity. King says that diverse teams are better teams. “Women were critical to the development of modern technology fields, and they will be instrumental in our next leaps forward,” says King. “I hope to see more and more women, BIPOC, and LGTBQIA folks enter technology fields. I believe that’s how we’ll start seeing more responsible development of products and software. Empathy is not a replacement for diversity.”
King says that embracing this diversity is not about getting people interested in technology— the interest in already there. The task now is creating space for a more diverse workforce to step forward. “We have to make sure that we are deliberately paving paths so that people underrepresented in tech fields have the opportunity to do the work they are so capable of,” says King. “We have to create environments in which everyone can thrive and be supported.”