DataGrail’s Employee Spotlight series highlights the person behind the professional, digging deep and discovering what drives our team members.
Maryana Kessel joined DataGrail in May as VP of Sales, and is one of the newest leaders helping DataGrail change privacy. Maryana has worked at cutting-edge technology companies with world class leaders in the past, including Flexport, where she served as a Sales Director, and Box where she was a leading Account Executive. Maryana has a focus on strategic sales, and is ready to help solve the major privacy problems facing modern enterprises.
What excites you about joining the DataGrail team?
I believe privacy is a human right, and that it is becoming increasingly more complex for companies to protect their customers’ privacy. It can be incredibly frustrating to want to do the right thing, but not be able to fully comply with laws and regulations due to shadow IT and the manual nature of data service requests. DataGrail provides companies with a simple and automated way to process data requests, as well as visibility and control into systems across the organization. I’m proud to be a part of a company that provides concrete solutions to a messy problem, and is at the forefront of thought leadership as privacy and regulations continue to evolve.
What has been your favorite project you have worked on in your career?
One of my favorite projects has been supporting hospitals and healthcare providers across the country during the PPE shortage crisis caused by COVID-19. At Flexport, we were able to help hundreds of organizations receive critical PPE during the first wave of COVID, supported by generous donations through the Frontline Responders Fund. During a scary and difficult time, it felt great to be able to help frontline healthcare workers stay safe.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
As I recently moved back to San Francisco, during my free time I love taking my dog, Remy, to the beach and on hikes with my husband, Alex. We also love to cook, especially barbecues when it is nice on weekends, and play board games with our friends and family. During the pandemic we started playing chess, and while I am terrible at it, I really enjoy it!
Why did you choose to work in technology, and what led you to working at a startup?
I’m fortunate that by growing up in San Francisco, discussions around technology were always a part of my life. I decided to go into tech after graduating college, and fell into sales – it was the luckiest coincidence, as I absolutely loved speaking with customers, understanding their goals, and finding solutions to support them. I have always chosen to work at startups in various stages. I love the energy, the fast-paced environment, and creativity required to grow a company.
What is the best career lesson you’ve learned so far?
The best career lesson I’ve learned so far is that success is found in the day to day habits, activities, and attitude. So often we praise people when they have “made it”, but that is only possible through day to day effort and having a great attitude, especially when it’s hard.
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
This is a tough one, so I’ll share 3 of my favorite places. I went to Bali in August of 2019, and it was absolutely incredible. The people were so warm and welcoming, the food was amazing, and the nature was stunning. I would love to spend a few months there sometime in the future. I also love Florence, and was fortunate to study abroad there during college. I still dream about some of the pasta and wine I had there. Last but not least, I do love my home. While it’s small, my favorite times are just hanging out with my husband and dog on the couch!
Enjoy this piece? Check out our previous spotlight, featuring Brittney Hall, Director of Professional Services!