Managing Global Tech Partners for a $4B Startup
This article is part of our Women in Partnerships series, highlighting female professionals in the partnerships space. To learn more about the series and the Women in Partnerships group, check out the series intro.
Amplitude, a Digital Optimization System, recently reached a $4 billion valuation after a $150 million investment by Sequoia Capital. Amplitude provides product analytics, as well as enhanced personalization and A/B testing features. We’re lucky enough to be joined today by Cat Perez, who runs the Global Technology Partner Program, to discuss her career in the industry, managing partnerships at Amplitude, and more.
Landing in Partnerships from Sports Journalism
Like another successful woman in partnerships we spoke to, Cat Perez started her career in sports journalism. “I had done that [Sports Management] in college and got an internship with the San Francisco Giants with their PR department. Growing up in Palo Alto, I also thought tech was really interesting and ended up interning at Branch as a PR intern. Both internships helped me figure out that tech was the path I wanted to take, but sports would always be a part of my life. I decided to try my hand at sales since I'm from a family of salespeople. I did a year in sales at Branch, then moved to partnerships before jumping to Amplitude.”
What she loved about Marketing and PR happens to be a part of her role today in partnerships. “With both PR and partnerships, no day is ever the same — because both roles are very cross-functional, you end up having your hand in a lot. That's what I really enjoyed about PR and marketing, but missed in sales. At least in the role I was in, you're just walking in and sending 150 emails and doing 50 calls each day. There’s not a lot to break up the monotony.”
Notable Career Moments
Joining the partnerships team at Branch was Cat’s first exposure to the industry. “When I started on the partnerships team, I was co-owning our Adobe relationship. About six months in, I transitioned to managing it independently. Then, as I was leaving Branch in March of 2020, Branch was named Adobe’s Exchange Enterprise Partner of the Year. It was such a large and complex partnership to navigate — I was really proud of that achievement.”
While she had great success in the role, making the decision to leave Branch was a significant obstacle for Cat. “It took me a while to finally come to a decision I was happy with. On paper, my previous role was everything and more that I could have asked for. I was super ingrained in company culture since I had joined when it was still at 50 people. Branch’s headcount was around 400 when I was leaving. When you've been at a company that long, there are things you get to be involved in and context you're aware of, that you miss out on when you move to a new company. It was a unique set of challenges and a larger obstacle, but I'm really glad I left, and happy Branch is still doing well.”
The Impacts of Being a Woman
After spending time in sports and sales, Cat shared that being a woman in partnerships is definitely better than other roles. “There are still times when I'm the only woman at the table because it's still a bit of a male-dominated industry, especially when meeting with senior executives. It took me a bit to get used to. I think the reason I'm more familiar with it is actually because of the sports industry. There were times where things were uncomfortable because of how male-dominated sports writing is. You're dealing with a lot of male writers who are on the road for the same amount of time as the players. It's a really weird situation.”
“Now that I have a couple of years under my belt, there has definitely been a change in my confidence when being in those meetings. A male manager taught me I'm here for a reason, I have the role for a reason, I'm at the table for the right reasons. Another lesson I learned from him that speaks to driving parity: don't take no for an answer — continue asking. Having that mentality going into meetings has been really great for me to establish that equality upfront. Three years ago, I would have volunteered to take notes. Now I'm leading those meetings. Confidence is key.”
At Amplitude, there are some great female mentors Cat can turn to. “I am really blessed. I have a VP of Partnerships — Lisa Hopkins is a great mentor to have. We have another Senior Partnerships Manager on the team — Gretchen Monahan. Both are open to bouncing ideas off each other. It's been great to learn from them.”
Cat actually ended up in Partnerships because of an incredible female mentor she had early on. “I would not be here today without my former boss, Stella Ju. We co-owned PR together. She made the transition to the partnerships team about a year into me being full-time at Branch. She has been far and beyond the best mentor for me. She really understood where I wanted to go in my career and really tried to create pathways for me. When I mentioned to her that I wanted a full-time role at Branch, she connected me with the team and started making inroads to see if there was a marketing position. When she got into partnerships, she pulled me aside and said ‘This is the role for you.’ She started giving me small projects on the backend so it was a natural transition once she left. I hope to do that for someone else someday.”
Cat’s Advice for Women in Partnerships
While Cat says she’s still pretty early on in her career, she’s been able to see great success thus far. For other women looking to do the same in the industry, Cat shared, “Don't be afraid to ask for something. We as women are sometimes less confident in harder conversations, whether it's a salary negotiation or a tough meeting. We often know what we want, but leave those meetings never asking the tough questions or not having the confidence to ask. The worst someone can do is say no. It's been a great learning experience for me to watch meetings transform when I've spoken up and asked for the unthinkable.”
The Value of Women in Partnerships
Cat has achieved a lot in her career thanks to the support of strong women in the industry. While she’s lucky to have been able to work with incredible female mentors, she highlighted the importance of having groups like Women in Partnerships to connect with others. “I think it’s about the camaraderie because it's still not equal in partnerships. When you have the chance to bounce ideas off people who have gone through similar experiences as you, it makes you feel less alone. Creating a subgroup of a network is always important. While I've had many male bosses, sometimes they don't understand everything I'm going through. It's great to hear what other female leaders have done to bolster careers and get that parity we're always looking for.”
Connecting with like-minded individuals to share ideas, discuss challenges, and collaborate is enormously beneficial. Apply to join Partnership Leaders for access to groups like Women in Partnerships and be sure to explore all of our interviews with powerful women shaping the partnerships and technology industry.