Name: Kiersten Hollars
Hometown: Turlock, California
Joined Hightail: July 2012
Title: Vice President, Communications & Brand Marketing
College: St Mary’s College of California
We caught up with Hightail’s queen of communications to discuss being a Silicon Valley native and why she prefers pools to beaches.
How did you get into tech?
I was born into the tech world. My dad’s family is from Palo Alto and my grandmother was one of the first women to work at Fairchild, an early innovator in the semiconductor industry. I think she used her tiny fingers to assemble chips before becoming one of the first women at HP (where my aunt also worked). So it was hard not to become part of the Silicon Valley bubble. Interestingly, both my parents did other things but my sisters and I all work in tech.
What do you enjoy most about working at Hightail?
The people. I know everyone says that so I’ll be more specific. In the file sharing world, Hightail is an underdog when compared to companies with significantly more money, like Dropbox and Box. Some people want to join a winning team, but I find that boring. I like people that are interested in helping the underdog win. I want to work with people who understand both success and struggle and enjoy taking risks in order to beat the odds. That’s the kind of people we have at Hightail and that’s why I enjoy working here.
Who or what inspires you?
My parents. As I said, they are unusual in my family for not being part of the tech world. My dad was a high school football coach and is now a principal, while my mom worked in the music industry. But as well as holding down full-time jobs and raising kids, they were serial entrepreneurs. They ran Mel’s Bowl in Redwood City, they owned a chain of pizza restaurants, they bought into the famous music publication, The Gavin Report. Everyone in the family had to pitch in and my sisters and I worked at all of these places. When I was younger, I thought our lives were normal. Now I realize that most families are not like that. But it taught me the value of hard work and what it takes to run a successful business.
What’s your favorite piece of technology (besides Hightail)?
The Bluetooth connection in my car. I’m always on the move and end up taking a lot of calls when I’m driving. Bluetooth means I no longer have to mess around with headsets or wires. It makes my life so much easier. (I also love my Jambox speakers.)
What’s your usual coffee order?
A large Philz Tesora with medium almond milk, no sweetener. One per day every day.
What is your ideal vacation?
Somewhere hot and sunny. Definitely near a beach, though I prefer to lounge by a pool. I’m not a big fan of sand. As long as there’s someone to bring me drinks, I’m happy.