Gen Eddison, ShipperHQ’s CTO and Head of Product has worn a few hats in her day.
In the early days, Gen was sure she was destined for a career in forensics. Working in a lab in a CSI-style environment was the big dream, and in hindsight, anyone could tell it was never just an empty pipe dream. But after getting some real-world exposure, Gen realized the monotony of lab life wasn’t for her, and switched gears.
After hefty reevaluation, Gen set her sights on pharmacology and molecular biology, both of which she studied at university. On the side, she spent her time tinkering in the IT world, a hobby that would soon pay off. At the end of her coursework, she entered a grad program in London at Reuters. During the deeply immersive program, she held several different tech-centered placements, but showed a clear affinity and skill for programming. The last placement stuck, and played a big role in shaping her career.
Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Gen and her Husband Paul had spent 6 years in London by that point, and were readying themselves for a big trip to South America. A tale as old as time, however, changed their direction when they had a baby, Lily. By that time, they knew they were ready to come home to Australia.
A Fateful Meeting
During parallel stints at Reuters, Gen and ShipperHQ Founder and CEO Karen Baker crossed paths. After working together for several years, they parted ways but kept in contact. After returning to Australia, and with a fresh family to worry about, Gen didn’t have her next gig lined up. Coincidentally, Karen had just launched ShipperHQ’s predecessor, WebShopApps, and needed help – stat.
At that time, the team was four people strong, with Gen the only team member who was abroad. She started developing part-time, building Magento shipping extensions. What started as a pure software developer role eventually morphed into something much more substantial as the team grew. Just a few years later, Gen was leading the small but mighty engineering team.
“As a developer, it’s really hard to step back and it’s hard to stop yourself from just doing it. Coming from an overarching standpoint, thinking about things from a holistic level, that’s the biggest part of my job. As a dev, you’re worried about knocking off XYZ and moving the ticket to “done.” Now, my job is to think of the things no one else is thinking about. It’s a lot of planning, strategy, and meetings,” she says of her role.
Being remote while the majority of the team remains in the UK, Austin, and Ohio has its challenges, but she credits her team with holding it together.
“It makes it challenging with the time difference. It takes a special team to be able to have a manager that’s asleep for most of their day,” she says.
The very best part of her job? “I do genuinely love working with all the people at this company. I don’t know if we’ve really just been lucky or what…it’s just such a mix of great personalities,” she says.
Though she grew up in Perth, the most isolated capital city on earth, Gen’s family roots lie on the nearby island of New Zealand.
“I’m probably related to half of New Zealand,” she laughs.
As a kid, Gen was the same understated, quiet type she is today, though “maybe a little louder.” With a love for the outdoors, she spent most of her time high up in the trees she loved to climb.
Today, Gen spends much of her day heads-down focused on creating and improving the shipping management platform she helped shape from the ground up. When she’s free, she spends time on a broad collection of hobbies, her favorites including reading, running, and surfing as a family.
“We love anything water-based, surfing, SUPing, anything. We live right near the river at the end of my street and the beach is a ten-minute drive.”
Balancing work, activities and two teens is no easy task, but she’s never too busy to make sure her kids don’t think she’s too cool, reporting, “If there was an award in embarrassing your kids, I’d win that award.”
One thing she’ll always have time for (barring pandemics) is traveling. She especially loves traveling for work, specifically with the ShipperHQ crew. So far, she’s traveled to Cambodia, Singapore, Spain, the Netherlands, and several spots within the US, all on official work duty. Of course, personal travel is a true passion as well, which she looks forward to continuing when life returns to some semblance of normal.
In the meantime, though, she’s enjoying her hometown’s distance from the rest of the world. “We’re so isolated here, we haven’t had a case for ages. We’re so lucky to have been living a relatively normal life.”