by Kendall Shepherd
Curious what life is like working at Opal? You don’t have to take our word for it. In our latest Employee Spotlight, we ask longtime Opalite Emma Paul to share her story.
Emma Paul joined Opal as a back-end engineer in our very early startup days of 2015. Today, as our Technical Product Manager, Emma works cross-functionally with our product, development, and design teams to help build Opal, the planning platform used by marketing teams everywhere.
What do you enjoy most about your role at Opal?
I get to work with emotionally intelligent people. Everybody at Opal is a genuinely kind human being, and they really make you feel valued and heard constantly. That’s basically what makes me happy every day—working with people who are passionate and care about truly solving problems for our customers. And they’re just fun. The silly humor my teammates bring to the table every day makes me legit have FOMO when I’m on PTO.
What’s been the biggest professional challenge you’ve tackled?
Recognizing that I wasn’t doing what I was meant to be doing when I was a back-end engineer. That feeling started small and continued to grow and grow. It was a time in my life that I was feeling lost—questioning, “Do I even want a career in tech?”—after I’d invested four years into tech and engineering. I don’t think I would have found such a passion for product management if I didn’t have supportive coworkers who took the time to hear me out, ask me questions, and help me figure out what I wanted to do. And then they went the extra mile to advocate for me to be a product manager. It was definitely hard, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without my colleagues.
Now that we’ve all been working remote for over a year, how do you achieve work-life balance while working from home?
I think my work-life balance has improved. Opal’s always had a motto of “as long as you get your work done, spend your day how you see fit”, and that flexibility has just expanded with remote work. I really appreciate that because I’m naturally a night owl, and there are some nights when I’m in a creative, non-distracted zone and excited about working on a project. So I’ll work late on the project and if I’m sleepy the next day, I’ll take a 30-minute nap! It’s cool to be able to go with my body’s natural rhythms. And I love that I get to spend more time with my dog Milli.
What has surprised you most about working at Opal?
A few things! I think first and foremost, the fact that I don’t have to show up for work and just work. It feels like the entire company is full of realists that recognize that work is just one aspect of our lives. What has surprised me the most is that whenever I’ve had trials and tribulations in my life, from my boyfriend being diagnosed with cancer during a pandemic to dealing with my mental health — I have been made to feel completely comfortable to speak my truth about what was happening in my life, and my team created a safe space for me to be vulnerable. They were also so supportive. I could take the time I needed away from work to go to therapy, Opal sent me and my boyfriend flowers after his surgery, and coworkers sent me cards of support. It’s the feeling that no matter what happens in life outside of work, I know that Opal truly has my back. That’s been something I’ve truly appreciated from the bottom of my heart.
I’ve also been surprised by the fact that I can be myself 100 percent. I don’t feel that I have to change the way I naturally talk or dress or communicate. I can be my full self, which is something that is really important to me. I can wear my tie-dye and pink sunglasses, and it’s OK—and that’s how everybody’s treated.
Anything else you’d want future employees to know about working at Opal?
Opal doesn’t feel like a hierarchy. I collaborate with our Director and VP of Product to make decisions together, and we really focus on people being autonomous as much as possible. I really appreciate that there’s never a feeling of micro-management. Everyone collaborates together and is encouraged to bring ideas to the table. The tone has been set at the leadership level, and it permeates all the way down.
If Opal sounds like the kind of place you’d like to work, we’re hiring! Join our world-class team in celebrating a culture that supports our colleagues, promotes an inclusive and diverse environment, and recognizes great work at every level. See our open roles here.