by Jason Parker — December 31, 2021
RALEIGH – A senior executive at Bandwidth who has been an executive with five different tech companies in the Triangle has decided to leave the company.
Noreen Allen, the company’s chief marketing officer, announced her decision recently.
Allen’s career included a decade of service at Bandwidth.
WRAL TechWire spoke with Allen about her decision, what comes next, and where Bandwidth will go from here as the company prepares to move to a new headquarters facility in Raleigh.
The transcript of the interview follows, and has been lightly edited for clarity.
WRAL TechWire (TW): Tell us about your decision – why now, and what comes next for you?
Noreen Allen, Chief Marketing Officer, Bandwidth (Allen): I’ve been at Bandwidth for nearly ten years and in Raleigh for more than 20 years. I have such affection for this company and this town. Raleigh has been so good to me! I’ve had an incredible run here, launching my career in tech and helping to scale and propel the growth of five exciting companies.
I’ve worked closely with some really impactful organizations in the region from the Raleigh Chamber to nonprofits like Band Together and other groups supporting the region and women in tech. It has been my honor and privilege to work alongside so many wonderful people over the years. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m ready to start a new chapter. I come from a very large family outside of Philadelphia and feel it’s the right time to head back home to be closer to them. Go Birds!
Noreen Allen (Photo courtesy of Noreen Allen)
TW: You’ve had about a decade at Bandwidth – what was your experience with the company?
Allen: It’s been a rocket ship! Bandwidth was an early-stage local tech company when I joined in 2012 — and today we’re a global, publicly traded software company powering some of the most exciting brands in the world like Microsoft, Google, Zoom, Uber and many more. Along the way, we built a team of incredibly talented people and a really special culture that is focused on people and helping each other succeed. The coolest part of my time at Bandwidth is seeing the impact of our technology in the world. The software-powered communications that we provide are being used everywhere today – from collaboration tools in the workplace to on-demand apps on our phones, to connected devices in our homes. Bandwidth has really changed the way we communicate with each other, how we learn, and interact with brands. It was powerful to witness.
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TW: And you’ve been in the Triangle for more than 20 years – what has your experience been in the Triangle?
Allen: Man, I love this market! The Triangle is such a vibrant tech hub. You can work for a super cool tech company, drive 5 minutes to get to a killer restaurant, drive another 10 minutes to see a Foo Fighters show, and get to the airport in 10 minutes. Where else does that happen? We’ve got it so good in this town. It’s hard to imagine a place that is more supportive for businesses, or a better place to build a career. The people in this town are so giving of their time and talent. There’s a real sense of community. We’ve got a great startup ecosystem, and such an impressive concentration of tech talent. There are so many exciting companies across so many areas of tech, and at various different stages. Some of the best-known companies around the world are now recognizing the Triangle for all the incredible benefits we have – the talent, the collaborative culture, universities, proximity to the coast and mountains, cost of living. The Triangle offers so many of the benefits of a larger city, but at an easier pace along with that Southern hospitality.
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TW: How is the Triangle different now than when you first began working in the region? What are the major changes? What is similar now as it was then?
Allen: We’ve grown quite a bit! I remember talking to WRAL TechWire editor Rick Smith almost 20 years ago and at the time the Triangle was home to mostly larger, more established companies. Students graduating from NC colleges thought they had to head West to work for cool, innovative companies. Today, they’ve got their pick of exciting options right here in the Triangle, ranging from innovative new startups in co-working spaces to satellite offices for tech giants. Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple all have a presence in the Triangle today. That’s a testament to the incredible environment we’ve built in this community.
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TW: What are some memorable projects or initiatives with which you’ve been involved?
Allen: In 20+ years, I worked with SpectraSite (now American Tower), Motricity, Hosted Solutions (now Tierpoint), ChannelAdvisor, and Bandwidth. They all had epic rides and there are so many fun stories (and maybe a few nicknames) behind the scenes from each one. But for me, what resonates most is the people. I had the great fortune to work with some brilliant individuals over the years. Together we accomplished big things and we had a lot of fun doing it!
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A couple experiences that stand out.
At Bandwidth, I’m really proud of the work we did to reposition the company in the journey to IPO in 2017. Then, in 2020 we had to navigate an announcement about building a new global headquarters in Raleigh in the midst of major uncertainty during a global pandemic.
At SpectraSite, we took the company from bankruptcy to IPO on NYSE in 80 days. Can’t forget the Mayor of Raleigh taking a selfie with Coolio at a Bandwidth launch party we hosted at CAM several years back!
Another fun one – Bandwidth CEO David Morken and I joined a team from the City of Raleigh on a press tour in NYC a few years ago to promote the region.
I inadvertently walked into the frame as David was being filmed on live TV on the floor of the NYSE. That’s a mistake I have never lived down. Someone on my team dressed as me photobombing the CEO for Halloween that year!
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TW: What advice would you have to those just beginning their career, whether at Bandwidth or at other Triangle area firms?
Allen: My advice for folks just starting at Bandwidth: You are in a really special place. I stayed for ten years because of the people. And that starts at the top with David Morken, our CEO. I’ve worked for some fantastic companies over the years, but Bandwidth is truly special. We care about people in a way that is really uncommon. Bandwidth is at the center of an exciting tech world and has so much potential.
My advice for anyone starting their careers in the Triangle: You are also in a really special place. This market is so full of incredible opportunity across so many areas of tech. And you won’t find a more supportive business community. My advice for everyone early in their careers: Be your own advocate. Take control of your career. You want more opportunity? Go after it! Ask your manager exactly what you need to do to get to the next level. Give and receive feedback gracefully. Don’t just sit back and wait for things to happen. Make them happen. Be a student of the world around you – read, listen, watch – learn from people and companies around you. You can get your MBA just by paying attention to companies and leaders around you every day.
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TW: Tell us about your team – how will your work continue – what do you hope your ‘legacy’ will be at Bandwidth and in the Triangle?
Allen: I’m leaving a powerhouse team at Bandwidth. I am so proud of them, and grateful for the time we had together, it was a true blessing. Their creativity and drive inspired me and pushed me to be better every day. They are my legacy. I can’t wait to watch them do amazing things for years to come! I know I’m leaving the company in great hands.
I hope my team and everyone in the Triangle continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible for this region. Forget the comparisons to Silicon Valley or any other area. The Triangle is a great place and is taking on giants from around the world daily. Have faith in what we do here and make it happen!
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