Learning is Fun (Seriously): A Day in the Life with Jim Mollé
We all know being educated on the software you use is critical to success, but you’re probably not jumping out of your seat to get signed up for a five-day, online training. But before you roll your eyes, you’ll want to get to know our brilliant and always-entertaining Okta instructors, and Jim Mollé, senior technical instructor, is no exception. Read on to get a taste of a day in his life and the Okta virtual classroom!
Why did you choose Okta? Several reasons but it starts with Laura Brumage, Matthew Travers, Sharon Azzam, and Ona Alison. They were the core of the education team at the time and had the responsibility of interviewing me for the open instructor role. I instantly knew I wanted to work with these people and could tell that there was something special about to happen here. Even though Okta was already seven years old at the time, the education team within Okta was sort of like its own “startup”, and I wanted to be a part of that. Plus, having used Okta at a previous company, I already knew the product itself provided a service that is greatly needed in organizations today.
Tell me about your role. I love my role as a senior technical instructor. I really love to teach. I also love to entertain (sometime to a fault) and strive to mix the two when educating our customers, partners, and employees who attend our classes. Knowledge is power so education is inherently empowering. So my job is to provide our customers, partners, and employees with the education they need to successfully deploy and manage Okta or in the case of our partners and employees, support those customers promptly and professionally.
Although knowledge is the most critical component, the delivery method in which it is deployed is also key. Since the Okta community is located around the globe, 99% of our training is done online. And some of our most popular courses are three to five days long so you can imagine the trepidation someone might have knowing they will be sitting for five days to take an online class. As a result, I try to make the entire experience engaging from the pace, the interactions, the hands-on labs, and of course the jokes. I love when students comment on how surprised they were by the overall experience exceeding their initial expectations going into it! My mission is to teach you how to be successful using Okta, while giving you the best online training experience possible.
What does an average day look like? On a teaching day, I’m pretty much focused on preparing for that class by reviewing any updates to our materials, the student roster, and the companies they represent. I spend time getting set up technically to deliver the training remotely -- and then comes time for the webcam to go on and I get to greet my awesome students!
On days when I am not instructing, there’s always lots going on. If Oktane is even remotely close, then the education services team will be cranking away at writing, testing, and delivering another round of exciting hands-on labs to show off some of the new features and capabilities that our customers can look forward to. I also have the honor of selecting and organizing all our Oktane lab assistants, who support our delivery team during pre-conference training and Oktane labs.
Otherwise, you’ll find me doing upkeep on our rich catalog of courses, perhaps working on a new course offering, and whenever possible, educating myself by taking advantage of the world-class technical instructors I work with by attending their classes. I also take pride in assisting our customers and my fellow employees as a certified subject matter expert in our Okta Integration Network ACE (Assets, Collaboration, Enablement) team.
What is the best part of your role? The best part of my role is watching that light bulb go off over the collective heads of my students when I teach them how to leverage an awesome Okta feature, especially when it’s one they didn’t know existed. I love when I get comments like, “Wow! I had no idea Okta could do all this!”
I think it stems from two places: I love Okta, and I love being a dad. I have two young daughters, and watching them learn and grow, seeing the world new again, a second time through their eyes, is just amazing to me. And I feel something of the sort when I’m imparting my knowledge of Okta to others. I know how awesome this thing called Okta is, and after my class, you will know how awesome Okta is. Then, all together we can be like, “Dudes and dudettes! Isn’t this awesome!?”
What is the most challenging part of your role? Though I love teaching, it can be quite demanding. When my webcam goes on and class begins, I feel like I’m on stage and it’s time to rock n’ roll. So for the next 8 hours, I am on. My energy and my “vibe” must somehow resonate with my students remotely. If I want them to experience the excellence that the customer first team has pledged to deliver, then I need to be “always on.” Especially when we are constantly delivering 3-5 day courses week after week.
Okta is changing the way companies get business done for the better. And when you have a great product, people are excited about it and training is a key part of that. Doing back-to-back trainings for people around the globe is sort of like going “on tour.” (Okay, so maybe it’s not, but I like to think it is.) But regardless, when I complete a course and feel confident that I have made good on our pledge to put the customer first by crushing yet another awesome class, I am spent. This is the most challenging part of my role, but it is also the most rewarding.
Describe Okta’s culture. I’m so proud of the culture that Okta has cultivated. I’m proud of the fact that from the top down, Okta is very conscious of the role that culture plays in our success. Our groups like Pride @ Okta, People of Color @ Okta, Women @ Okta, Okta for Good reassure me that our executive leadership team wholeheartedly supports progress in these areas. I love seeing all our employees attend internal events that promote education and foster conversations around those that may be different than ourselves. And not just within the walls of our offices, but within the various communities our employees work in around the world!
What are you passionate about outside of work? Oh that’s an easy one. A seven year old who goes by the name of Abigail, and a four year old named Margie. It is terrifying how much I love those two daughters of mine, and so I am passionate about helping them take advantage of opportunities to grow and learn and to recognize how important it is to seize those opportunities when they present themselves. Of course, I also must remind myself that they are still only just seven and four.
“Slow your roll, dad.”
“Wait, did you learn that one from me? Nice.”
Okta in one word? How about a single phrase? “Peace of mind.”
I used to do admin work for a company that used Okta before working at Okta. When our onboarding and user management was automated and when we could connect end users to every app they use from a single platform, and in a secure way that took minutes not hours, that brings something that can be rare for the IT admin -- “peace of mind.”