This month it is Dakotah’s turn to answer some questions. Dakotah is our highly talented and creative Marketing Technologist based over on the west coast of the United States. We get to see Dakotah in person from time to time, which always makes us smile, and we otherwise meet and work together virtually. One of the many things we have learnt from working with Dakotah is that she can turn her hand to anything – gifted in marketing, technology, and speaking numerous languages, she is a key member of our team.
Tell us about your role at Synermetric.
I’ve been involved in a variety of roles at Synermetric, setting up projects and liaising with clients for customer service, working with Tiisetso on our IT systems and internal software, and now spending my time with Ruth and Kieran on our marketing and publications. (Take a look at our new eBook if you haven’t already!) As the token American on the team I also tend to be involved with stateside enquiries and relationships, and if you attend exhibitions over here you might see me! My official title is Marketing Technologist and Americas Representative.
How would you describe the workplace culture at Synermetric?
I love working at Synermetric. When I first started I knew practically nothing about HR, and I think I’d taken the MBTI in high school but really had no idea what psychometrics were or why they were important. In the past two years I have learned an incredible amount, and I really appreciate that learning is such a huge part of the Synermetric culture. We are an ambitious team for sure, but I enjoy how willing everyone is to take on a challenge. We practice what we preach, and the environment and team is so supportive and flexible. I’m extremely grateful to work with such talented, intelligent, sharing people.
If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
It’s not about you. That’s something my family and I remind each other all the time. Speaking as an American, I’m very proud of my country and believe strongly in the ideals of free speech, independence, and self-reliance that we espouse. But I think sometimes people misinterpret those ideals to mean that everyone should only look out for themselves. Rather, those ideals should be used to benefit everyone and strengthen us as a whole-- for example, it’s important to be able to support yourself so that you don't burden others; that means there are more of us available to support those who can’t support themselves yet.
Give us your elevator pitch on something you’re passionate about-- why does it excite you? Why does it matter?
Since it’s been on my mind recently, I’ll say that learning multiple languages is absolutely important. I've met many people in many countries who seem determined to remain monolingual because they think that their language is the only one they “need” or that it’s too difficult to learn a new language. To that I say, it’s not about “need.” Learning another language broadens your mind to new perspectives and ways of thinking (not to mention the impact it has on shaping your brain to help you to learn other things). Words make up a huge part of who we are as people. They transmit our ideas across space and time, and the words we choose even within our native languages differentiate us and describe our personalities and who we are on the inside. Just the difference between how sentences are constructed in Japanese and English can give you huge insight into the ways our cultures are built and the ideologies behind them. We benefit from the wide spread of English which makes traveling as an English-speaker easier, but if you don't speak the native language of the place you travel to, you're missing out in a very big way. Plus, you learn new words every day! Who's to say those words can't be in a different language?
One of the most rewarding experiences of my life was taking my English friend to a Nepalese restaurant in Tokyo with my Japanese host father. He spoke only Japanese. She spoke only English. The lady running the restaurant had recently moved from Nepal and spoke some Japanese in addition to her native language. Her husband spoke their native language. I spoke Japanese and English. Between the five of us translating back and forth between the three languages, this group of very different people was able to share stories and experiences that would otherwise have been left silent. That kind of connection is why even just casual multilingualism is important.
Tell us about a goal you want to achieve in the next five years (personal or work-related).
This is both personal and work-related, but in the next five years I’d really like to make a long-standing dream of going into business with my mother a reality. She’s a fiber artist and art professor, and makes some of the most beautiful clothing I have ever seen. She and my dad lived in Japan when they were in the US Navy, and they’re the ones who first inspired me to learn Japanese all those years ago. Mom's work is heavily influenced by Japanese methods and aesthetics, and I'd love to create some kind of trans-Pacific business combining our artistic talents and maybe necessitating more frequent visits to Japan. :)
Who do you select for next month's spotlight?
TT-- tag, you’re it!