I caught up with Turner's Global Tech & Ops Lead Recruiter, Amy Loudermilk, at DrupalCamp Atlanta. Amy dishes on Turner's employee culture, why the local DrupalCamp is so important, and chickens.

This Episode's Guest

Amy Loudermilk

Amy Loudermilk

As a 20 year recruiting consultant, I am passionate about talent. I have spent my career in a variety of industries from Entertainment/Media to Manufacturing helping my clients identify key talent across diverse disciplines. From entry to Executive level, my goal is finding the perfect candidate.

Transcript

Transcript

Chris:
I'm here at DrupalCamp Atlanta talking to Amy Loudermilk, lead recruiter for Turner. Welcome to Behind the Screens, Amy. Give us a little introduction and tell us what you do there at Turner.
Amy:
So I have a team of technology recruiters that support our business across our global technology operations as well as our sports, some of our live streaming like istream planet and just supporting all the wonderful brands at Turner.
Chris:
Wow. So you can always cover ... Turner is a very large company, people might recognize the name as broadcasting, television, sports. How do you manage all of those different technologies and where does Drupal fit into that?
Amy:
So it's very interesting mentioning the name. Because what I find in talking to a lot of people is they'll say Turner, hm, what is that? What we generally find is that we'll say, well, you may not know Turner, but I bet you know, Cartoon Network. I bet you know NCAA. Or, I bet you know NBA digital, or TNT, TBS, True TV. And they're like, yeah, yeah, I know that brand. Especially, of course adult swim, very popular. And so, that's us. And so, here's what we do.
Amy:
So we have multiple technology stacks that we operate. Each one of our brands have overlappings, but also individuals. It just really depends on what they're doing, what they're working on. But Drupal, we use more as kind of content management. So, whether we are integrating with ad sales, whether we're doing NBA highlight videos, things of that nature, that's where we use it.
Chris:
So are there any particular websites or television, I guess channel websites that people would go to that they might not know is actually running on a Drupal platform?
Amy:
Yep. So PGA, and then we're going to have our NBA as well. And then a lot of our entertainment brands. So we use it for mostly that.
Chris:
And so coming to a camp like, to DrupalCamp Atlanta, what does that do for Turner? What makes you want to come to an event like this to be part of the community here?
Amy:
Well, I think number one is development. So people that are currently in the company, giving them that opportunity to come out and grow their skills. We're definitely a company that is known, at least here in Atlanta for our culture, and some of the things that we offer. So development is really important to us. Giving people that opportunity for personal and professional growth.
Amy:
Secondly, I think it's about as we grow and expand, and our landscape is definitely changing, the landscape of media as a whole is changing, we just want to identify where these pockets are and create communities and make sure that we're in them. So not only are we branding ourselves, but we're getting to know who our other community partners are, who are other members are.
Amy:
Also one thing I'm noticing here today, a lot of women, which is really exciting. We have a program at Turner called LITT, which is the Ladies and Tech In Turner. So we're building a really strong community of women technologists. And it's exciting to see that so many of them apparently our Drupal users. And you know, expanding their toolkit today.
Chris:
That's very exciting. I didn't know Turner had a program like that. I personally really don't know much about Turner's culture. I think there's so much media coverage of Turner because of the name, the size of the brand. Could you tell me a little bit more about your culture and how some of those programs came to exist?
Amy:
Absolutely. We definitely are a company that has an overarching culture and then definitely little subcultures. So news is very different kind of entertainment, which is very different than sports. And then within those little pockets, you know, NBA is very different than PGA. Or Adult Swim is very different than a True TV. So, we have all these really, really great brands that each kind of have their subcultures. But overarching, one thing that I personally love about Turner and that's kept me there for the last eight years, it's just the autonomy that I'm given. It's a very much a collaborative environment. We went through a campus redesign about a year and a half, two years ago, where we're just, at least for our tech, what campus trying to create more areas and spaces for people to gather and collaborate, there're white walls all over the place, and little fire pits, and little hammocks and corn hole games.
Amy:
Because business doesn't always happen at a desk. Like in a box, at a desk, behind a computer. Good ideas are born there, let's not mistake that. But great ideas and the encouragement, creating this environment of reimagining television and what does that look like? Well, sometimes you need to reimagine yourself. You need to reimagine the space that you're working in. And so we kind of started there, to help build that out.
Amy:
Also, we really have a really unparalleled benefits offering to all of our employees. Everything from personal development all the way into professional development, certifications, tuition reimbursements, conference attendance, things like that are just really critical to creating that. We've already spoken about LITT, our Ladies In Tech at Turner, but we also have BRG groups across our business as well. So whether it's Turner Black Professionals, Turner Uno, Turner Out, Turner Parents, Turner Vets. We've got multiple BRGs, as well as on a more personal note, creating different groups like fit nation, and encouraging people to ... And training for triathlons. So it's big. It's a lot.
Amy:
One thing I think Turner does very, very well from a culture standpoint is try to look at a holistic person, and not just the suit, or the jeans that's walking in the door from nine in the morning until six at night. It's really what can we do to support this person holistically in all aspects of their life? And, happier people, more productive people, and create that culture of peace for themselves that they're bringing to the table to then collaborate and help us reimagine, help us connect with fans, and just take it to the next level.
Chris:
That's incredible. That's a lot of programs, a very forward thinking attitude I think in the tech industry. That's really cool to see from what we might consider ... Like we hear about those things at Google or Apple or some of the big social media companies. But from what I think most people consider television company, to be fostering that sort of creativity, that's really encouraging.
Chris:
So I assume that would probably lead into the use of open source technologies like Drupal then to start building out some of the content management systems. Because that's a very similar concept and-
Amy:
Absolutely.
Chris:
... And paradigm that we use here in the open source community. Are there other ... Just a little bit more on the technology pieces of it and how that relates in. So obviously you said you've been using Drupal for a few content management platforms and a few of your sites. Are there any other technologies that you're into or is there a push to expand things like Drupal or technologies like Drupal, other open source technologies into Turner at a wider range?
Amy:
I definitely think there are. I'll tell you, one of the big buzzes right now is a lot of blockchain. There's a lot of buzz. We have a little community building inside of Turner around that. We do have I will say, a very large tech stack and literally if there's something that you want to touch, we have an area of the business that uses it. It's kind of like, I can't sit here and list everything that we use until you, but you tell me what you're working in or hot in and we can definitely tell you.
Amy:
There's just a lot of languages and flavors that are operating all over the company, with the new integration and joining Turner Media now, becoming part of that family, I will tell you that everything is up for grabs. Technology is definitely at the forefront of what is going to be happening. We've said a lot about television, but really we're so much more than that. So much more space, and of course, our goal is to operate on every platform possible with the greatest and latest technologies that we can, with the smartest people behind those, and leveraging those technologies to just drive content wherever it's needed right at the hands of our fans.
Amy:
So whether they're on their fit device, whether they're on a console or sitting in front of a computer, sitting in front of a television, on a mobile, on a plane, doesn't matter. We want to connect with them and make sure that we're delivering again, the highest level of content across the greatest technologies to make that happen.
Chris:
So I wanna kind of start to flip the conversation a little bit here. We've talked a lot about the culture in technology, which has been very enlightening to get a glimpse inside. Thank you for sharing about that. Is there anything in your particular role at Turner have come across lately that you've found as a challenge or something that you've overcome or just a piece of advice you'd like to share with somebody who might be trying to ... It sounds like you have a lot of different pieces you're trying to wrangle together and find the right talent for those areas. Some piece of advice you'd like to share with somebody who might be facing a similar challenge?
Amy:
Definitely. I think right now there's just so much in the technology space. It's pretty saturated in terms of companies and startups. I think the biggest thing for us is just continuing to do events like this, and get into the community and really meet who they are because, we think larger scale, you think sourcing, you think people are cold calling at your at your desk all day, and obviously are the technologists that we talk with every day. We're lucky every time that we get to speak with them because we do know that it is a really tough talent market.
Amy:
What I tell people is that my job is not about hiring. It's about conversation, and that there's nothing ever wrong with having a conversation with somebody, because it's not always about trying to do recruiting, right? It's just about networking and meeting people, and ultimately, if there happens to be a great marriage between opportunity meets a chance, then perfect, let's go for it. But, it's really just starting conversations in the community, and continuing to identify those.
Chris:
Tell me a little bit more about who you are behind the job, behind the code, behind the community. If you were to wake up tomorrow and the Internet was gone. All of a sudden, there's no more of these technologies to try and push into devices and getting the content out. What you do with your time? What do you do when you wake up that first day?
Amy:
So personally, I've said this a lot this week, but, I probably shouldn't necessarily say this on a podcast, but I think if I could kill a chicken, I would probably be living off grid somewhere on the banks of Alaska with a beautiful water in front of me and a lovely glacier backdrop or something. I say that, and in theory it sounds really good and exciting, but honestly, you had to lure me away from my cell phone this morning just checking in, right, because we are so tapped into it.
Amy:
So, gosh, day one, I think first of all, I think you get to sleep a little bit later because you don't have those alarms and things that are going off. So that's a really good thing. And again, that's where I think community is really important because to what I just said, a conversation is something that's never going to go away. The medium for it might, and ways that we kind of have, kind of finger quote, "conversations" around our devices and things. But, I think I'd be all right. I think you can still dream, you can still create. All of these tools and technologies certainly make that easier to capture, but it doesn't stop it from happening. So I think we'll be good. Worst case scenario, there's nothing wrong with good old fashioned pen and paper.
Chris:
That's a fantastic outlook. I love that. And oddly enough, the second conversation I've had today about if I could kill a chicken, would I eat it. I'm not sure how this has come up twice already and it's not even noon, but I think I'm right there in that boat with you though. I'm just not that kind of person where I could kill my own food I think.
Amy:
Yeah.
Chris:
Yeah.
Amy:
Growing it, totally.
Chris:
Yep.
Amy:
Chop that head of lettuce right off.
Chris:
So finally, is there anybody you would like to say thank you to or share some gratitude with who maybe gave you a boost along the way in your career or just as a mentor?
Amy:
Oh well. So definitely a lot of people. I'm going to go like way, way, way back. Is there such a thing as far back Friday? I don't know. Well [crosstalk 00:13:17] we're going to make it a thing.
Chris:
There is now.
Amy:
It is now. It's far back Friday. Third grade. My teacher, Ms Julie, Ms Ellis was definitely encouraging. She's a person that really tapped into people's talents and highlighted that, and then pointed it out to other people where they may not necessarily see it. And then I've just been really fortunate since then to meet a lot of other people at a lot of really great companies that have kind of shaped and directed the flow of where we're going and where I'm going on kind of a professional journey. But there's definitely been many, many people along the way.
Amy:
I will give a shout out to my girls at a Today's Staffing when I was back in the agency. Again, way back when. That core group of women, we're all still friends today. Literally almost 20 years later. We're all still friends, we're all still connected. They're just great personal support but also professional support. And then, one of my best friends in the world, Gina Hampton, she's a technology recruiter at Colonial Pipeline. Has been amazing. Definitely there're great people that have taught me skills along the way in the sourcing and recruiting community as well.
Amy:
Jason Singer is a technologist, turn recruiter that I worked with at Bell South back in the day who really helped, guided and encouraged me. And then all the people literally I could not name one specific person without monopolizing this whole entire sequence here. But just in the sourcing the tag, the Technology Association of Georgia, they're recruiting sig. Great community of Atlanta, talent engagers if you will.
Chris:
Thank you very much for taking a few minutes to step away from the booth and talk to me today. I really appreciate it, and all the best to Turner.
Amy:
Awesome. Thank you so much.

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About host Chris Albrecht

Chris Albrecht
His backend brings all the nerds to the code. Skilled in Drupal development and architecture, you can often find him running through the Colorado wilderness and hosting the Behind the Screens podcast.