Ingrid Van Uden on making a career change after 20 years

A photo of Ingrid Van Uden

After spending 20 years at her previous company, Ingrid Van Uden knew she was ready for the next chapter of her career. And as she researched companies, Adobe kept standing out. She knew about Adobe’s world-class products, and the company’s growth really excited her. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to advance her career. Since joining a year ago, Van Uden has been thriving as a senior account executive and co-chairing the Australia/New Zealand Diversity & Inclusion Site Council. In our interview, we learned more about Ingrid’s switch to Adobe.

Can you tell me about your role at Adobe?

My role is senior account executive for the Adobe Experience Cloud team. I lead key strategic accounts in our enterprise business and help our clients with their transformation journey. In the accounts I manage, I bring together Adobe’s deep industry expertise and my experience managing customer journeys.

After 20 years at another organization, you made the jump to Adobe. Why did you make that decision?

Looking for another role started creeping into my mind once I was approaching the 20-year mark at my previous company. I joined them as graduate hire, and I stayed for a long time because it was a large diverse company with a lot of opportunities where I could experience different types of roles and balance it with starting a family. I started as a developer, then moved to business operations, then sales operations, then solution consulting and then finally to sales, so I was able to continue to grow and adapt to change. After 20 years, I felt like I needed to make a change and try something different.

It was scary to leave, and I didn’t have to leave, but ultimately, I made the choice to, and Adobe was a big reason for that.

Why did you decide Adobe was the right place to join?

I had watched Adobe in the market for a while, and I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to join a company that continues to grow substantially and is making a big impact in the area I work in. The more I spoke to Adobe the more I realized that I was ready to leave my old role and that Adobe would be an organisation that I could thrive in.

The other part is the creativity here, especially through the technology. I value a company that embraces creativity, and I believe creativity is important in my role with clients.

You started your career as an application developer. How were you able to make the moves into sales and how has your technical background helped you in your current role?

I graduated with a business degree and majored in information technology, and at that time a lot of tech organisations were looking for people who had both technical capability as well as business and communication skills—an all-rounder. In most IT organisations you have a wide breadth of skills, so when I realised I enjoyed relationship development I accepted the opportunity to move to a business and sales operations role, which was a bridge to sales. I also learnt the power of networking and found this a useful way to seek new opportunities.

Whenever new roles were available, I jumped at the opportunity to see if it was something I was interested in. Eventually I found my sweet spot and landed in sales. Despite the pressure of a sales quota, the satisfaction I get from working with clients and developing relationships outweighs the pressures. I enjoy bringing teams together and I found that being in a sales role is perfect for that. I was lucky enough to have some great mentors who were role models and coached me on how to be relevant to my clients and team. Focusing on these qualities enabled me to balance the sales quota pressure and achieve quota while bringing value and success to my clients.

You spent time in various programs like executive women’s councils and university mentorship programs, can you describe why these initiatives are important and what impact they have?

IT organisations typically do not have as many women as men and I saw that first-hand as an application developer and then when I joined sales, so I thought, “what can I do to help?” In my previous company we had a strong diversity group and I participated and ended up chairing the women’s group. Coming to Adobe, I wanted to continue that passion as there is something rewarding about participating in events or activities to drive this awareness. I became aware of the Adobe Diversity & Inclusion Site Council, and it was aligned to my passion. Despite being concerned about time management, I couldn’t help myself and volunteered to be the co-chair! The best way to learn about Adobe is to network and this was a great way to do it. I get to meet and build relationships with people on our Diversity & Inclusion team, outside of my direct team, which actually helped to close one of my deals!