Downtime with Amanda Saxe: On Human Error and Long Walks with Her Dog

Welcome to Downtime, our new interview series spotlighting the people of Kraft Kennedy.

We talk a lot about technology here. We figured it’s about time to focus on the humans who make it work. The questions below are a mix of the professional and personal, musings on the information age as well as things we are just curious about, with some prompts from the Proust Questionnaire mixed in.

Amanda Saxe is a Consultant in our Enterprise Content Management (ECM) group. She’s an expert in Microsoft platforms like SQL Server, Windows, and Windows Server and in content management systems, including NetDocuments, iManage, and OpenText eDOCS.

What is the story behind how you got into your line of work?
I started working for Kraft Kennedy right out of college. When I was in school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I started out as a pre-med plant science major, then decided I wanted to transition to the Hotel School of Management. For that, I took a required business computing class; it was like super advanced Microsoft Office training. I think I was one of a small percentage of students who not only aced it, but also really enjoyed it. I took that as a sign and made one final move over to information science, where I learned the foundations of computer science and studied how people and societies interact with information and technology. This experience taught me two things: that I wanted stay in the field of science and technology, and that I wanted to interact with people as part of my line of work, not sit behind a desk all day staring at a computer. Kraft Kennedy was the perfect blend of these goals, and working on the ECM team has given me the opportunity to combine more of my programming background and problem-solving skills. It was definitely a good fit.

Where do you hope to see your field of content management going?
I would like to see more integration with machine learning and AI. Our clients have all this data that gets organized mostly by hand (or click), leaving lots of room for human error. I think there’s opportunity to learn a lot more from that data and eventually minimize user input so it becomes even more valuable. I don’t want to know what information I’m looking for, I want my DMS to do it for me!

What advice can you share for people getting into your field?
I think this may apply to any field, not just the world of content management. I’m a stickler for documentation. I want everything in writing, and for some actual effort to go into that writing. It not only helps me retain the information, but is also so useful for knowledge transfer to other consultants and clients. I’m always working on my writing and note-taking skills. It’s a constant work in progress.

Describe your perfect day at work.
My perfect day at work is very simple. I’d spend the morning doing project work with no interruptions. Then, for lunch I’d grab a soup or salad (boring, I know, but I’m a creature of habit). The time after lunch I’d reserve for meetings and client calls, then end the day with more project work and team collaboration.

Describe your perfect Sunday.
Again, pretty simple; I’d sleep in past 9AM, which is getting harder to do these days, then start by taking my dog for a long walk with my fiancé either through Central Park (we like the north woods section) or to the farmers market. Have lunch somewhere in the middle or end of the walk, then head home and cook dinner and play board games with friends.

What is your greatest extravagance?
For me, budget goes out the window when it comes to exercise. If I don’t love it, I won’t do it. I do a combination of yoga and Pilates classes almost daily, and if I have an off week I feel it right away. It might not sound like your typical extravagance, but it certainly feels like one to me.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Let me know” is a big one. I don’t think it’s good or bad to overuse, but recently I’ve been trying to replace the phrase with more specific questions I want answers to rather than keep it open-ended.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to be a better storyteller. Some people have the ability to make any story a great one, and I’m the one who loses her train of thought halfway though, creates a lot of build-up and butchers the ending, etc.

Where would you most like to live?
Somewhere that is larger than my NYC apartment.

What do you most value in your friends?
I’m terrible at long-distance communication, so something I value a lot is the ability to pick up right where we left off. I have friends I haven’t seen in years, but visiting them after so much time feels like you haven’t skipped a beat. That might be more related to the friendship rather than the friend, but I think it counts.