“When tasked with a seemingly insurmountable goal, ask yourself ‘how do we get there’ instead of ‘we can’t do it.’”Isaac Saldana

Throughout 2013, we had a number of our SendGrid team members share why they came to SendGrid and what they’ve learned from working at a growing company through our SendGrid Spotlight series. We know that many of our customers and blog readers are entrepreneurs, so to close out the year and kick start another great one, we’d like to highlight some of the inspiration that they’ve shared. Hopefully these insights will inspire you to take 2014 by storm!

Isaac Saldana, Co-founder, President

“I encourage anyone who is looking to build and grow a start-up to look for mentorship. My mentors also helped me hire our executive team and provided advice when hiring our CEO, Jim Franklin. Hiring an outside CEO allowed me to focus on my passion, which is building products and making email better. But more importantly, it helped me to understand that the biggest asset a company has is the people behind it.”

For more on what it takes personally and professional to build a company, read Isaac’s spotlight here.

Denise Hulce, VP of Sales and Business Development

“I knew [working at SendGrid] would be a sprint—it’s one of the many reasons I love start-ups. All that sprinting has gotten us pretty far. With a great team and great customers we’ve now delivered more than 100 billion emails. Billion with a B. Hard to imagine.”

To read more about Denise’s “start-up sprint,” read her the rest of her spotlight.


Keanon O’Keefe & Kyle Kern, Support Team

“Being a member of the Support Team is not just a support role, it’s a success role. We’re customer success engineers. We look for [team members] who are both proactive and re-active. It’s important to have a technical background and to be dedicated and forward thinking.” –Keanon

“We look for people who are hungry to help customers. Everyone on our team is skilled to be able to look at any type of code to help our customers fix things. We have such a wide user base—from developers with 20+ years of experience to customers who don’t know what an API is. So we need to make sure that we’re communicating with our customers in a way that makes the most sense to them.” –Kyle

For more on what it means to be the “front line” of communication with SendGrid customers, read the rest of Keanon and Kyle’s thoughts here.

Silvia Botros, MySQL DBA, Ops

“I came to SendGrid because the start-up environment was always very appealing to me. Working in Ops can be stressful. I think that’s why there tend to be fewer women in this role, but I really enjoy it… SendGrid has been a good fit for me—it’s home. Here I can ask questions about anything outside of DBA, I’m not pigeonholed. I’ve found the right balance here and I encourage other women who are looking for the same to look into opportunities here. If you do, you’re going to work your butt off, but you’re going to love it. The culture is awesome, the management team is awesome, you’re just going to have a great time.

To hear more about how Silvia got involved in engineering and her advice for fellow women in Operations roles, read her spotlight here.

Jose Lopez, Co-founder, Web Architect

“I’m often asked what advice I’d give to other entrepreneurs who are just starting out. Besides looking for strong team members and a good balance of personalities and strengths between your co-founders…I would say don’t be afraid of failure. I wasn’t afraid to fail before SendGrid. You see, if you give 100%, you’ll always learn something from a start-up. If you do that, you will never fail because you’ll never repeat the same mistake.”

To find out how Jose plans to keep this perspective strong at SendGrid moving forward, read the rest of his spotlight here.

Tim Jenkins, Co-founder, Chief Technology Officer

“A big part of my job is being a mentor. I can help my team learn the lessons that I’ve learned and prevent them from having to learn the hard way, because I’ve had to learn everything the hard way. That just comes with the territory of building a start-up. But now, it’s nice to be able to help answer questions so my teammates don’t get stuck. Isaac, Jose, and I have been provided with so much mentorship throughout SendGrid’s growth that it’s satisfying to be able to provide a similar support internally when I can.”

How did Tim learn the lessons he’s teaching today? Find out here.

Many thanks to our teammates for sharing their advice and an even bigger thanks to our mentors and our incredible customers who have helped teach us these lessons. We’re looking forward to learning more from you in 2014 and can’t wait to help you celebrate your achievements!

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Jillian Smith
As Twilio SendGrid's Sr. Director of Content, Jillian is responsible for ensuring that SendGrid provides valuable thought leadership content through the blog, whitepapers, webcasts, and more. When not writing and editing, you can find Jillian frequenting Denver restaurants in search of the best queso.