As an IT Program Manager, IT Infrastructure and Operations, in Stamford, Karen Pierce is responsible for managing internal infrastructure projects, summit and Symposium projects; and Gartner Real Estate new offices and moves for North America.
From Karen’s manager, Stephen D’Amato, Program Director, IT Project Management:
I’ve been working with Karen for over eight years, but, like many associates, I have known her much longer. She is hard not to know! Her presence here at Gartner is almost tangible, and her contributions to the company over her career have been just as impactful. Karen exhibits the Champion Mindset in all that she does, and her relentless pursuit of excellence — whether it be at a Gartner event, working on an office move with GREO or managing the deployment of network infrastructure in the data center. It is a testament of her dedication and “Know It, Do It, Own It” attitude. Karen is not just a colleague, but also a friend, and I thank her for her many years of service.
Karen was kind enough to share some reflections on her 35-year tenure with Gartner:
What brought you to Gartner?
It was 1981, I had just finished up a temporary job and I had the opportunity to interview for the-then “Gartner Group” — a fairly new (1.5 years old), small IT company moving to 72 Cummings Point Road in Stamford.
I was offered the newly created position of Word Processor. I was the first to be hired for the department and the 32nd employee* for the company!
While building a process for the department, there was other work to be done. For about a month, I stuffed research binders, prepared materials for events, sent out facsimiles, typed up memos and filed documents in the Library. I did anything and everything I was asked to do until my department was up and running.
The responsibility of the Word Processor was to type up all of our research analyst’s’ “handwritten” two-page research notes into Strategic Analyst Reports (SARs). Once keyed into the IBM mainframe system, we would insert paper in the automatic typewriter and hit the “go” button to print. From there the document went to the Editing department.
I’m proud and excited to say that today I am the most tenured associate* at Gartner!
What roles have you had at Gartner?
I have had a myriad of roles within Gartner and in many different departments over the years. After working my way up to supervisor for the Word Processing department, I went on to a number of management positions for Help Desk Operations, Marketing, Interactive Client Support Services, and Mergers and Acquisitions. I’ve also held senior director positions in Finance (Real Estate and Project Management Office) and IT Infrastructure and Operations in IT.
Tell us about an interesting experience you’ve had at Gartner or something you’d like to share.
Y2K — I was asked to be part of the Y2K project team for 18 months. As many may recall, a lot of people viewed Y2K as a potential disaster to computer programs and much more. We had weekly planning meetings, built applications, infrastructure and real estate office test scripts, backup plans and last, but not least, set up approximately 20 Porta Potties in the back parking lot of 88 just in case the lights went out when the clocks switched over to the new millennium. We all worked tirelessly to ensure we were ready and prepared.
The team built a “Y2K Command and Control” center in building 88 which housed many of us from December 29, 1999 through January 2, 2000. We had CNN on the TV as we “followed the sun” to other Gartner offices, waiting on associates to report their test results into the command center.
It was a fun, fascinating and exciting time that I will always remember as well as the great team who tirelessly contributed to this project — amazing.
What’s kept you at Gartner for so many years?
There is no other company like us. We are Gartner! The people are great, and it feels like family. Gartner has afforded me many opportunities to contribute to its successes and given me the tools to learn and grow personally and professionally. I have worked with many talented and driven people, including a few I call my mentors, who pushed me to be better and challenged me, and for that I am truly thankful. I am honored and excited each and every day to walk into any of our Gartner offices or events and I am proud to say I work at Gartner.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career at Gartner?
Gartner is a great place to work and a growing and dynamic company. Don’t take that for granted. Work hard, be flexible, take advantage of learning and growth opportunities — they’re out there for you — and always do the right thing!
*Does not include associates that have joined Gartner as the result of an acquisition.