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Stu LeesApr 14, 2024 7:33:47 PM29 min read

CloudTalks: Rae Foote - Tech Support to Leading Atlassian Creator

CloudTalks: Rae Foote - Tech Support to Leading Atlassian Creator



We interviewed the well known Atlassian Creator, Consultant and Podcast Host, Rae Foote.  In this CloudTalk we explore Rae's journey from being dropped into the deep end of Jira, to learning to love the platform and then connecting with the community.  

Rae also shares her own challenges with mental health and how they've shaped her passion and mission as a consultant in her company, Hurricane Consulting.


Table of Contents 


Watch the Webinar



Discover Rae's transformative journey from tech support to an independent consultant in this enlightening webinar. Dive into how Atlassian tools like Jira catalyzed her career shift and deepened her engagement within the tech community. Rae discusses the significant role of Atlassian tools in her professional growth, highlighting her experiences from being thrown into product management to becoming a prominent member of the Atlassian creators' program.

Hear about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in enhancing business operations and the unique opportunities it creates for those adept in Atlassian products. Rae shares her insights on how AI can revolutionize project management and customer service, making a compelling case for the integration of AI in everyday business processes to optimize efficiency and enhance user interactions.

In this episode of CloudTalks, Rae also opens up about her personal challenges with mental health and how these struggles have shaped her professional pursuits. She passionately discusses her advocacy for mental health awareness in the tech industry, emphasizing the importance of accessible mental health resources and support systems in fostering healthier workplace environments.

This is a must-watch episode of Revyz CloudTalks for Atlassian enthusiasts, tech professionals, and anyone interested in the nexus of technology, business strategy, and mental wellness. Join Rae as she provides valuable perspectives on using tech tools for business innovation and the critical role of mental health in personal and professional success.

Webinar Highlights

Career Transition with Atlassian Tools

Rae shares her transformative journey from a tech support role to becoming an independent consultant. Her story begins with a spontaneous promotion to product management after showing initiative in a team meeting, highlighting the pivotal role that Atlassian tools played in her career development.

Deep Dive into Atlassian Community 

Rae discusses her active participation in the Atlassian community, which provided her with significant learning and networking opportunities. She details her involvement in the Atlassian creators' program, emphasizing how it amplified her professional visibility and allowed her to contribute more significantly to the community.

Artificial Intelligence in Business

Rae explores the emerging role of AI in enhancing business operations, particularly through Atlassian tools. She talks about the potential of AI to revolutionize project management and customer support, making a compelling case for integrating AI to improve efficiency and effectiveness in business processes.

Advocacy for Mental Health

Drawing from her personal struggles, Rae passionately advocates for mental health awareness in the tech industry. She emphasizes the importance of accessible mental health resources and discusses how her experiences have driven her to promote healthier workplace environments.

Future Visions and Projects

 Looking ahead, Rae outlines her ongoing and upcoming projects, including a podcast aimed at bringing authentic conversations back to business. She also discusses her philanthropic efforts, particularly in supporting veterans and theater students, illustrating her commitment to giving back to the community.

Webinar Transcript 

The following is a system generated transcript of the webinar

Rae: "Hi,, my name is Rae, former tech girl turned independent consultant  for Hurricane Consulting, and we focus on using aspects of mental health, personality science, and psychology to craft business strategies for teams based on unique team members and unique personality types, and we're really excited about it. And by we, I mean me, myself, and I, because that's the whole company."

Stu: " Love it. Awesome. And so how long have you been in the Atlassian community, Rae?"

Rae: "Oh gosh, officially in the community probably just over a year now, but I've been working with Atlassian tools probably going on three years.” 

Stu: “Gosh, so what was your journey into the community? So some people land in it from a job, some people get into it as a consultant, what was your journey into the community, what did that look like?"

Rae: "Yeah, it's actually a funny story. I joined my first tech company in a support capacity. I was on the support team answering chats, and I've always been a really inquisitive person. I showed up to a product meeting one day because they were explaining a new feature to us, and was asking all these different questions about different use cases, different things that could go wrong. Have you thought about this workflow? And our director of product at the time looks at me, and she goes, 'I... I need you as a PM.' So, she poached me from the support team, and I journeyed into product, and my first day on the job, she got COVID. So I was running a standup and sprint planning completely by myself. I had never used Jira before, but she said, 'This is what we use, this is how this works, I'm out, I'm sick, good luck.' So I really got kind of thrown in the deep end, which was honestly my preferred way of learning, and I just found it to be so incredibly intuitive and easy to use, and fell in love with it right away. My tagline on LinkedIn for a while was 'Menace to Society, Blessing to a Jira Board,' just because Jira and I have always gotten along, she's chaotic, I'm chaotic, we mesh well together. So that's really kind of how I got introduced to Atlassian tools, and then from there, started getting more involved in the community."

Stu: "That's awesome, and I, I love to hear the deep end story so often in this community, and it's often from people who you would think who like are completely methodical about it because, I don't know, created some sort of the structure of expertise and things. It's but so often it's like, well, actually I was  a network engineer, and then someday one day someone installed this thing called Jira, and I had to take care of it, and you know, now they're a Platinum solution partner company where they've got 25 consultants who are super experts in Atlassian admin, and it just blows my mind. So you've worked with the Jira tools for quite a while, you've enjoyed the community, and the support from Atlassian that's really clear, and at some stage, you jumped into the creator space?"

Rae: "Yes, yeah, so I started getting more involved in Atlassian events, especially once I moved to New York, just because they have a New York office, they have a lot of community events that happen in New York, in the company I was working for previously, our main integration was with Jira, so I went to, you know, meet people, to hear how they were using Jira, how they were using their product, and just to meet other people who are in the space, and from involvement in those events and the content that I was posting on LinkedIn about Atlassian tools in the community, I was invited to join the creators program, and it's honestly been one of the most fulfilling, wonderful things I've been a part of. There are some amazing people, there's some wickedly smart people, and the two people who help run the program on the Atlassian side, Lauren and Andrew, have just been absolutely amazing. I have nothing but high praise and wonderful things to say about them. They're so supportive, so incredible, so responsive. They're doing an amazing job herding all of us like cats because, you know, everyone's got their niche and their thing that they're trying to accomplish, and, and they handle it all so seamlessly, and it's been a wonderful experience."

Stu: "Nice, and so if you, like me, went onto the creative page and I was thinking geez maybe I'll become one, and I'm like, understand I'm maybe a year in this community and like and I feel like I'm all in already and one thing is I went to the page and missed the cut off but from someone who's gone down this journey of becoming a Creator from being in the Ace community and going to events, what are some other reasons that someone would want to go from that kind of ‘I'm just going to be a person in the community towards wanting to be a Creator. Now help people who might be watching this kind of flesh out if they're on the fence, what does it look like and why would you do it?"

Rae: "Yeah definitely so I think one of the main reasons to make the jump from the community to the creators program is when you love Atlassian and you have your own personal brand right. If you have no interest in being on social media and creating content and you just love Atlassian, the community is the perfect place for you to be. But you have people like Rodney the Jira guy or you know Dr Jira, Alex Ortiz, people who've created these brands and these careers from Atlassian products and their knowledge of these products and so it makes sense for them to be part of the creators program because they're creating content for their personal brand and now they get to officially partner with Atlassian and work together to create content, and to be first on the front lines to announce new features and to attend events and to kind of really be ambassadors of the Atlassian ecosystem and bring everybody together while also promoting content that they're passionate about and that they're producing so it creates a really symbiotic relationship for people who have kind of their own passions and goals but also who want to support and and produce content for the Atlassian ecosystem."

Stu: "Nice, I know Alex and and I know Rodney and I remember as an example I saw Alex kind of really pushing to get to a certain number of subscribers on his YouTube channel and he reached that number a few months ago and then I dove into his YouTube channel the other day and now he's gone up another 50%. It's like this platform has helped him get to this. A lot of the software people out there, this inflection point of growth becomes exponential once you reach the stage,s and I think even at a pure basic level of the incredibly broad and powerful platform that Atlassian bring to the community that shouldn't be looked past. As you said if people are looking to build their personal brand get known, be it as a consultant or as a trainer or or as an emerging business model, I think that's a good time for me to break away from the questions that I promised you that we would talk about and come up with a new one."

"My new question is, you know it's a really fascinating last six months with technology coming out such as AI. A lot of people sitting second guessing their career choices or career trajectories as a result of seeing what technology is now evolving to and shaping into. you are really fascinated,I know because we talked about it, around things such as psychology. I think you're a bit of a neuroscience nerd too like me um so here's what I'm curious about. What do you think or have you got any thoughts or ideas around if people who are in the Atlassian community, in particular who might have a whole lot of skills experience talents. Have you seen any sort of emerging opportunities for people in terms of career or jobs or roles or kind of purposes for people outside of today, what's your thoughts on it?"

Rae: "Yeah definitely,I think the most fascinating part of it is going to be teaching, and actually optimizing how it's used and what it's used for and there's going to be probably a space for people who help you craft the perfect prompt to get what you need out of AI or people who you know have courses where they're using AI as an addendum to that, like as something where it's like ‘okay I'm still here as a person teaching you how to do something offering you a service, but AI is helping’. I know when I was making my website for Hurricane Consulting Squarespace has a tool where you can use AI and so what I would do is I would have it generate a couple of sentences for me where I need to say this but a little bit different and then I would go through and I would rewrite it, but it really does help I think with writer's block for example, because sometimes you need to say the same thing 18 different ways, especially when you're in marketing, there's only so many different ways you can say your value prop for any given product at any given time and I think that's where AI is helpful for existing careers. But obviously teaching AI and using AI to its maximum capacity is also going to be a career path that we see for people because we've seen all the horror stories of ChatGPT where you give it the world's most basic prompt and it gives you something out of left field and there's probably an artistry or a specific way to phrase a question to get exactly what you need. I see a path where we're going to have emerging experts in that area for writing prompts for machine learning for all of these different things and also for AI implementation in existing businesses people who know how to use these tools incredibly well and can go into businesses as a consultant or as a full-time hire and teach businesses how to use AI to actually maximize their efficiency into to its highest capacity, because a lot of people are just slapping AI on their product or into their workflows without a really good idea of how to get the most from it. So I could see that as an emerging Consulting path that we see moving forward."

Stu: "Yeah I'm totally with you, and do you think, again just putting this into the Atlassian realm, that we're only just getting started with these tools and that there's going to be niche opportunities. So I think a lot of people are sitting there going ‘oh you know AI will come up with really uh good answers can write stuff for you’ like a content writer and sometimes it's off the mark like you said. What I'm fascinated with is, as large organizations who own frameworks such as Jira, so they own the framework and they're layering in AI in  a very small space at the moment which is a smart and careful way. I think that Atlassian should be incorporating the product but then I think if you drop AI into um Confluence -  mind-blowing in terms of go back over my tickets and come up with notes over here, and there's already apps Partners who are doing similar types of things based on Atlassian Niche data. I feel like we're just at the start. Are there any areas that you think would be that AI could incorporate or help if you were a blue sky kind of AI inside the Atlassian world? What's your thoughts on that? Is there anything that springs to mind and I am putting you on the spot I get it?"

Rae: "Yeah no worries, I'm gonna tell you something they already have and then I'll spin it into how it could be even more amazing. One of the things that I absolutely loved at the latest High Velocity event I went to was how they're using AI side of Jira service manager. which was basically you can select a tone to inject into your service messaging because I think that our customer support and customer success teams are often severely overlooked, they're overworked they are on the front lines dealing with customers usually at a very frustrated or agitated point in their in their product journey, and I really think, obviously there's amazing AI as far as you know code goes where you can see different conflicts or where you could take something in Confluence and turn it into a Jira ticket, that would be all blue sky stuff but because I'm a people person right, like my whole thing is people first. I just know so many burnt out and absolutely emotionally drained support and success people who could truly benefit from the help that AI would bring them especially when you got multiple cases at once or you've got something going on in your personal life and you are at the end of your rope injecting empathy into a message that your customer or user needs at that specific junction can be incredibly difficult. I know I've struggled with it before where it's like I'm having the worst day ever and now I've got to add fluff to this message where someone's yelling at me at the other end of the chat box, it's hard and so I think Blue Sky for me would just be how can we leverage AI to help our our success and support teams, the people who are dealing with people that they're most emotional or they're most upset in the customer journey how do we use AI to make that a easier experience for everyone. The customer gets the message they need to hear, the support agent gets a little bit of relief from having to craft these messages and inject empathy and pour from their emotional cup to keep the customer happy. That would be a blue sky for me, especially when it comes to JSM,  if Atlassian kept building out the AI capabilities to make support and success a little bit easier for people."

Stu: "Nice! One of the analogies that I really like around AI is the analogy of, and we use this analogy in tech and software building all the time, it's the house building analogy. You know builders for many many years had this thing called a hammer, r then all of a sudden some someone came out with this pneumatic tool which was a nail gun. It did precisely the same thing but, it did it at hyper velocity. You can put in 20 nails in a minute, whereas a hammer you're going to put in maybe two, so 10 times your potential productivity. Now did that nail gun mean that there were less builders on construction sites? No it didn't what it meant was they could build more things and they could also build them better, and t what you found, what you saw in the building industry and the construction industry when the advent of these tools and many other tools that increased efficiency and performance and productivity, the houses became better, they could do more with less time, you could have bigger houses, more bedrooms, more bathrooms, a wider variety of architecture options within the same amount of materials and time. So it didn't mean less builders in a lot of cases, it often meant much better products and outcomes for people. I like to say that because so many people I talk to are like ‘oh I'm not going to have a career anymore, I’m not going to have a job anymore’, and I think you might have exactly the same job in 10 years time, but it might just be a lot easier to do some things, and you might be doing a bunch of other things that are way more interesting and way more creative because you've got AI doing some of the more annoying stuff, like banging a nail and breaking your back banging  nails in all day was not what builders loved doing. So I really connect with your answer on that one."

"So let's talk about community a little bit more and then I'm going to talk a bit more about you. So are you going to team?"

Rae: "Absolutely I'm going to team. I'm really excited! The flights are booked, the hotel's booked, the tickets, I'm really excited to go. So yes I will be there."

Stu: "And have you been before?"

Rae: "No this will actually be my first year so I'm a newbie I'm a rookie."

Stu: "What are you looking forward to most?"

Rae: "Oh gosh, honestly and this is such a cheesy answer, I’m looking forward to being able to hug all of the people I've been working with over the last year in person. I think I told Britney Joiner I'm going to tackle her which I apologize for in advance, but there's just so many wonderful people that I've met virtually and been working with for for the better part of a year now that I haven't met in person, and so just to feel that energy in the room and to collaborate in real time I think is going to be the part I I look forward to the most. It’s just the community in person because so much of the community is virtual. Just the energy of getting everyone together who's passionate about a similar thing and have those conversations live, I think is going to be an absolutely rewarding experience."

Stu:  "Is there such a thing as an oxytocin overdose?"

Rae: "Oh gosh. Probably, yeah,  I know there's serotonin syndrome but I don't know about oxytocin overdose. So I will look into that and probably be suffering from it at team 24."

Stu: "I feel like you might be a prime candidate for the first case of OO." 

Rae: "I know I might shed a tear or two. If you see me crying at team it's just from joy, ignore me I'll be fine."

Stu: "So your profile, currently on LinkedIn, says that you're a ‘former tech girl who's passionate about mental health’. So tell me all about that."

Rae: "It's a personal journey for me. I became passionate about mental health after deeply deeply struggling with it for a large portion of my life. I got pretty sick in my late teens early 20s and was in a really really bad place. I had a lot going on up here that I didn't know how to put words to, didn't know how to cope with, didn't know how to handle. It  affected a lot of my personal relationships and my life and I finally started seeking therapy around 2019. I think, for me, what got me passionate about helping others was, it felt unfair. Because I came from a family that had the resources to help me go to therapy. And because of that I dealt with a lot of childhood trauma. I grew and evolved as a person and  when you have certain struggles you're not operating at your full capacity, so all of a sudden it's like someone took a brick rock off of a brake pedal and my confidence was up, I was making better choices, I was feeling more intelligent because I wasn't exhausted and weighed down by the weight of this trauma. It really ticked me off because it made me realize that not everyone has this opportunity and that the opportunity to get better is only awarded to a few very fortunate individuals, and only to those individuals who do seek help. I just have this, you know we talked about blue sky dreams, I have a blue sky dream that anyone who wants help and wants to get better can and does. There's you know the stigma around mental health is definitely changing, but I don't think that improvement and healing is an opportunity that should just be awarded to those who can afford it or those who are told to go to therapy, I think everyone should go to therapy, whatever the therapy of your choice is whether it's a licensed professional, it's yoga, it's running, just whatever makes you feel less heavy. Everyone deserves that. And that's really when I started writing about it and getting into the work that I do. Wanting to make an impact in that space was because it felt unfair that I got to get better and other people didn't. So that's kind of where that started."

Stu: "Nice. I love how you mention young people not having the language in order to express the hard feelings, the deep feelings, the complicated feelings, the physical feelings, that they're going through. And even the recognition that what I'm thinking and what I'm feeling are two different things."

Rae: "Yes"

Stu: "And sometimes I'm just interpreting this thing that I'm feeling, through one frame because that's the only frame I know how to interpret it from. So I love when I hear people in business, in particular, normalizing this conversation. I think this conversation should be something that employees have with their employers and with their colleagues and with their friends and spouses and children and parents. So I'm all for you and in support of that where can people read what you're writing? Where's the best place for people to sort of start looking at what you're experiencing in that space?"

Rae: "Yeah absolutely. So I have a newsletter on LinkedIn called ‘Oxytocin Chronicles Buttoned Up’, where I focus more on just kind of psychology from a professional standpoint. But if you do want the nitty-gritty kind of my personal journey I have a substack called the Oxytocin Chronicles as well where I talk a little bit more about my childhood, my experiences, things that I've gone through. I'm an open book you can always just DM me and say hey Rae what's your trauma and I will happily tell you. I am not private about it. I share it with the world because it was a very lonely experience and I don't want people to feel the way that I felt when I was going through it. So check me out on LinkedIn. I think everything's linked there, the blog is linked there, the professional newsletter is linked there, and my DMs are open any time for someone who wants to talk."

Stu: "Awesome and what do they say in podcast World, it will be in the show notes, whatever that means, I'll make sure those links are everywhere we put this video." 

"So tell me about what's your day job these days?"

Rae: "Yeah, so hurricane Consulting, it was at the end of my Five-Year Plan, and then life happened. So one year into The Five-Year Plan, here I am. But my day job is basically, right now, I work with clients to kind of it's, okay how do I say this? What I do is, it's people, but it's not HR, because so many times you see a role and it's like people manager or people operations and it's just a fancy way of saying HR. What I do as far as people management goes is I go into companies, I always used to joke like I've been a culture hire everywhere I've worked right I like to walk into a room and get the conversation going make people laugh bring people together figure out how to have fun, figure out how different personality types work together, and I've been really good at that candidly speaking everywhere I've gone. And I realized that that's a service that I could offer other companies, its how kind of, like you were saying, some people aren't comfortable having a conversation of ‘hey here's what I'm going on at home personally that's affecting my work’, with their boss so how do I enter a space, I can have those hard conversations with people to distill that into information that helps create better processes, or you know, waters it down to report it to leadership, and that's really what I ended up doing is being a buffer for for people who want to have hard conversations, or for people who maybe are a little bit neurodiverse who need to be able to maximize their efficiency or figure out work processes that work for them or have leadership who really care about who they are but don't know how to work with their brain. So my day job now is going into spaces and making sure that people feel like people, helping leadership treat their people like people, and building processes that take the unique aspects and idiosyncrasies of who people are and use it to their full advantage."

Stu: "Nice, absolutely and I think the world needs a lot more of this, so I'm glad that people like you are, I hate that term people like you, I'm glad that you are thank you along with your cohorts within this burgeoning industry which doesn't really have an industry category right now, because as you said it's not HR, are really taking this leap into you know discovering and refining and helping humans be better humans in a drastically evolving workplace, with a drastically revolving social circle, sociology experiment going around, like the world shifts on a daily basis, and us poor humans are sit there going you know how do I even concentrate on my job anymore? I'm working from home, my kids are over there, and then people are resenting that I'm working from home and all of these little things that are so new and different we need a lot of support. I'm really stoked that you're helping people."

"You know looking through your profile and watching your content come streaming through LinkedIn, which is my primary channel in this world, there is more to Rae and what she's doing. So tell me a little bit about some of your other stuff and we can round off with what else is Rae up to in 2024?"

Rae: "Yeah so Rae in 2024. So as part of the work I'm doing with hurricane Consulting I am also joining or starting a podcast like everybody else in the world called category six. You know hurricane category six. But it focuses on bringing authentic conversation back to business. I have some amazing guests lined up for season one. Season one will be entirely focused on women entrepreneurs, women freelancers, women business owners, and just you know what that actually looks like, because I feel like you go on LinkedIn and all you see is just self-promotion or even if people write about their hardships it's for the sake of engagement and no one's actually having conversations about what it actually looks like. No one's going to get on, I remember one of my first posts was like, ‘I don't know if I'll make rent this month’. I started my own business and everyone's so proud of me but it takes time to get that off the ground. I'm digging into savings, I'm doing all this different stuff trying to make things work and those conversations people aren't having. So then people are scared to start their own business because they're like ‘well I don't have this fund or this loan or I don't have this support system or this network’, and you don't need it. And so category six is going to work on having authentic conversations so that all the people who have dreams that they're scared of chasing them maybe will  have a little bit more confidence to kind of go after those especially women.I was talking to a woman earlier this week who is going to start her own agency and she said that only six percent of agencies of her type are owned by women and that number needs to be so much higher, because we are not 6% of the population and  I just  I'm really excited about that. The other work I'm doing is a philanthropic branch of hurricane Consulting where I do offer my services at a reduced or completely waived cost. I have two philanthropic projects going on right now. The first is The Last Dragon fundraiser, which is a group of theater students from the University of Oregon who met in 1984 and performed an original rock musical. They are getting back together after 40 years to raise money for a theater scholarship for their alma mater. So that's really exciting. They've been an absolute hoot to work with. The project that I just recently took on is the nonprofit The Long Walk Home, which works on veteran suicide prevention and offers courses, workshops, and community building events for veterans and their families completely free of cost. They've got two webinars coming up in April so there's more information on my profile but yeah that's my 2024 so far."

Stu: "Wow "

Rae: “I know I was like, what do I have going on this year? Just a little bit of everything it's fine."

Stu: "I expected nothing less uh in in asking you to come on board here so I really appreciate you being you know your amazing authentic self today thank you um and for anyone who's watching uh this please um in the link below this recording or or even in the shorts that we slice up we will make sure we put Rae details and tag her so that you can follow her journey and reach out to her like I said I think um of all of the people I've met in the community Rae you're so not scary so yeah the so so thank you again um and um I I can't to see you at Team can't wait to give you a hug and I think we should do like a team a team video right do a live from there um and show everyone all of the crazy stuff that's going on”

Rae: “Oh yeah it's going  to be a good time”

Stu: "Alright thanks so much!”


Stu Lees

Stu is the VP of Marketing and Partnerships at Revyz Inc. With a career spanning over 25 years in IT, Stu runs the global marketing and partnership teams for the Revyz business and is based in Auckland, New Zealand. Stu has worked in a wide variety of arenas that include 15 years in senior leadership roles in enterprise IT as well as running his own technology integration company from 2006-2013. Stu is involved as a leader in the Auckland Atlassian ACE group and speaks frequently in webinars on both cyber security and marketing.

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