As an undergraduate majoring in cultural anthropology, Karesha McGee couldn’t have predicted that her studies would lead to a communications career in the tech industry. But that major, she says, was the perfect training ground.
The transition to tech happened naturally enough. In her last year of college, Silicon Valley was becoming the place to be. “I knew something was bubbling there,” McGee says, “and I wanted to be part of it.” She didn’t know much about tech, but it was a culture she was eager to explore.
Her anthropologist’s affinity for storytelling found a home in global communications. “I love figuring out the interesting stories within a company that need to be told,” she says.
She’s done that at some big-name companies, including BEA Systems, Uber, and Cisco, where she worked in both executive communications and global marketing. While at Cisco, she enrolled at Haas, seeking a deeper understanding of business fundamentals. She says the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program allowed her to grow while staying in a job she loved. “I had the opportunity to go to school on Friday, come back to work on Monday, and put my experience to use.”
McGee is head of global communications at Slack, the collaboration hub used by everyone from large tech and media companies to dairy farmers and dentists.
McGee values Slack’s international reach and the opportunity to explore how technology is changing the way people work around the world. “What is the story that resonates with a customer in Munich versus a customer in Mumbai?” she says. It’s a question that delights the anthropologist in her.