Rachel Sunderland

Head of Community

Rachel Sunderland (@sundyclan) is an experienced community manager who's work focusses on creating inclusive spaces for folk to learn and mainly, be themselves. Aspiring to be the "Queen of Fun", s...

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Rachel Sunderland Joins the Vonage Developer Relations Team

Last updated on Sep 22, 2021

Hey! I’m Rachel and I’m one of the new kids on the block as Vonage’s Head of Community - Maternity Cover. I started at Vonage in July, so thought it would be a good time to properly introduce myself and to share some reflections from my two months in the role. 

I’m originally from West Yorkshire; home of the rhubarb triangle, liquorice allsorts and Jane McDonald. Whilst I love my hometown very much, I made the journey to London 10 years ago and never looked back (but don’t worry, I still have my northern accent!) 

I started my journey in London at Goldsmiths College, studying BA English & Drama. During this time I worked at VIP Events and Harrods - learning first hand about world class customer service and understanding how an awesome experience with brands can be achieved. I also ran a monthly comedy night and performed stand-up...unfortunately I’ve forgotten all my funny jokes since then...

After graduating, I knew I wanted to work within tech but wasn’t sure where I’d fit in as someone non-technical. I began a short stint as an iOS & Android Developer Recruiter. I loved working with developers and discussing their career goals but wasn’t so keen on the recruitment side of things. So, I moved onto working back in Higher Education (HE). 

For the last 6 years I have worked in HE at multiple universities focussing on community, development, and EDI. My roles were to ensure that 20,000+ students felt a sense of belonging on campus through our vast amount of extracurricular activities. This included overseeing the facilitation of student-led hackathons, which led me directly to this role at Vonage! 

So with dipping my toes into tech communities over the years, I finally made the plunge into a full time Developer Relations role. Here are a few of my reflections from my first two months at Vonage. 

Our Developer Relations Team delivers A LOT of great tutorials

In our weekly meetings, we have dedicated time to show others something cool. I particularly remember I enjoyed watching Amanda Cavallaro show us how to Create Your First Chrome Extension in JavaScript to Hide your API keys and loved her enthusiasm/delivery. You can check out all of our tutorials here.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams...still undecided!

In my previous organisation we used Microsoft Teams, which essentially was my safety blanket throughout the lockdowns of 2020. Starting a new job and having to use Slack was quite a step change for me, especially trying to keep up with the many channels of communication and not having documents embedded into the interface. But, as time has gone on, I’m starting to love Slack, mainly for the hundreds of ways you can react to a message on there. Personally my favourite is :yay_tomato: - need I say more?

Change is Good

Over the last two months I’ve been taking a big look at everything we deliver for our community and how this can be improved to reflect your needs. If you have any thoughts on how we can improve our support for the community, feel free to drop me an email at Rachel.Sunderland@vonage.com or find me on Twitter!