International Women’s Day took place on Tuesday, but with so much female Tech talent at Options, we couldn’t squeeze all the stories of the incredible females who have relocated through their careers with Options into one day, so we’ll be sharing stories from the global team over the course of the week.

Over the last few days, we’ve caught up with females from the NYC and Singapore offices. Now it is the turn of Alex Magee from Options’ Toronto team.

When I was offered the opportunity to move to Toronto, I envisioned lots of client networking whilst helping to bring Cloud to the Colocation world, with a vague notion of Canadian stereotypes thrown in: maple syrup, Tim Hortons, ice-hockey, poutine, “eh?”.  I did not imagine standing in a Data Centre gearing up to build out an Options Cloud compute solution from scratch with the help of industry (and Options) expert Glenn Selby.  However, a few weeks back, that is exactly what we did!

A little bit of background

I studied Software Development at Queen’s University Belfast and graduated in 2019.  Shortly after graduation, I joined Options through the Graduate and Placement Programme. I worked as a Technical Support Engineer setting up servers, taking part in office moves, and building PCs on client sites.  In 2020, I joined the Cloud Team specialising in Microsoft and Google Cloud, and as of March 2022, I have now assisted in a buildout of an Options Colo Cloud in a Data Center in downtown Toronto!  If you had told me a few years ago that I would be doing any of these tasks whilst travelling the world, I would never have believed you.  There is never a dull moment!

So, why Toronto?

The Toronto office is the youngest sibling of the Options family, having opened its doors in August 2021.  Since the day the news was announced, I couldn’t wait to get out to visit.  While I loved my experiences in balmy Singapore, bustling Hong Kong, and busy New York, Toronto, in my humble opinion, is the most exciting region to visit.

“It’s going to be SO cold”, everyone exclaimed when I announced I was moving there in January.  And yes, I can testify that -20 degrees rivals the prevailing wind streaming across the Atlantic Ocean onto my native Portstewart Strand.  However, the warm welcome I have received from the Canadians and Options Toronto Team more than makes up for the icy breeze that blows down John Street!

Team Toronto

The team in Toronto is led by former Scotiabank Executive and all-around great person Robert Strawbridge.  He and our Chief Network Architect Daniel Edmunds were the original Toronto office pioneers, making every member of the Options team feel welcome in the region whether they were staying for a week, a month, or permanently.  Jessica Gardner (Colocation Technical Account Manager) and I felt this welcome first-hand when we joined the growing office family as permanent fixtures earlier this year.  We are fortunate to have such a diverse range of expertise in one small office already, and it is exciting to look ahead at how it will continue to grow.

We did it!

My most recent achievement with Options took place earlier this month thanks to Glenn Selby, Chris Olsen and Matt Weltman as we built out our Options Colo Cloud together from scratch.

Glenn, Chris, and Matt had flown over for the occasion, and asI looked around the group, I couldn’t help but think what an eclectic mix of skills for a trip to a Data Centre, but at Options, we never shy away from a challenge!

It was a fascinating experience to learn about the build and how to install from specialists in the field. It demonstrates the importance of development across all areas within Options.  You are never limited to specialising in one role or skill and are always encouraged to try new things and grab opportunities as much as you can.

The experience was intriguing for me as a Cloud Engineer as it has helped me visualise what is going on behind the scenes when spinning up virtual machines and other Cloud assets.

Other team members enjoyed the day for their own reasons; it allowed some of the Engineers to understand better how Options enables one-click infrastructure deployment and ensures the quickest time to market.  It also allowed the more commercially focused team members to see under the hood of our technical setup.  

As ever, the team used the day to learn and enhance their skills while having some fun.  Our culture and attitude in Options are second to none, and I appreciated spending the day with such a dedicated group.  This brings me to my final point – the Options community.

Community

Culture and community are integral elements of life in Options.  The ability to take on projects like this is a testament to the work of building relationships on a global scale.  I am delighted that travel has again been given the green light, and we are now back doing hands-on learning while meeting team members from different regions.  It not only benefits our technical skills, but it promotes community spirit, which (if we learned anything from Covid) is of paramount importance. 

We have a range of members from the Options team coming to visit every month, and I’m thrilled to be able to catch up with everyone after two long years of video chats (with the inevitable cries of “you’re on mute!”).  It’s an exciting time for Options, and I’m glad to be a part of it as I develop new skills along the way.

Right, where’s that snowboard?”

For more on our amazing, talented females, check out our earlier Women’s Week blog here:

International Women’s Week – Options Takes NYC

International Women’s Week – Options Takes APAC

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