Catching up with Patrick Cullen ’08, G’09: Bringing business and tech skills together with ‘servant leadership’
March 17, 2021 · 2021
After earning his degrees in computer science and business at Saint Rose, Pat Cullen ’08, G’09 quickly launched his career in technical leadership. He spent his early years in positions of increasing responsibility at Blue Slate, GE, and CommerceHub in the Capital Region, as well as cofounding his own business. In 2018, he joined the C-suite at Carrot Fertility, a promising healthcare startup in Northern California.
What exactly does your company do?
Carrot Fertility provides employers with global fertility benefits, and we are the leader in the marketplace. We help companies make fertility care and potential parenthood accessible and affordable to everyone who wants or needs it, regardless of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or geography.
We help companies provide financial, medical, and emotional support to their employees seeking parenthood. Some of our specific services include egg freezing, in-vitro fertilization, donor and gestational-carrier services, and adoption, as well as pharmaceutical discounts and fertility-benefits debit cards.
Since our founding in 2016, we have raised more than $40 million in venture capital, with investors like U.S. Venture Partners, F-Prime Capital, CRV, Precursor Ventures, Maven Ventures, Sound Ventures, and Uncork Capital.
You’re vice president of engineering at Carrot. What do you do in a typical day?
At a higher level, my typical day at Carrot is focused on moving the engineering organization forward. This can comprise a multitude of tasks. Depending on the time of year, I may be focused on hiring and recruiting; or later in the year, I’m focused on execution and team alignment. Right now, I’m mostly focused on hiring (outbound recruiting, phone screens, offers, and onboarding).
How do your strengths fit into the company mission?
Beyond any technical skills I bring to the table, my servant leadership helps ensure diversity of thought by pushing context and decision-making down in our organization. This promotes a collaborative environment where my teammates can bring their best selves to work every day.
Describe your career path.
I’ve always been passionate about software development. I love the idea of creating something with code. Very early in my education, I realized that my ability to understand the technical aspects of software development was well complemented by my tendency towards leadership.
I’m always looking to maximize my influence, and I believed, very early on, that the best way to do so was within engineering leadership. This has held true throughout my career!
How did your Saint Rose experience help you in your career?
Saint Rose gave me many leadership opportunities to help nurture this aspect of my career. This included being team captain on cross country/track & field, peer tutoring, and becoming an adjunct professor.
From an educational perspective, my MBA really gave me a level up once I transitioned into management roles. (How many engineers understand amortization schedules?)
What are some of your memories of Saint Rose?
The friendships that I built through sports at Saint Rose have stood the test of time. They helped shape my determined, inclusive personality into what it is today.
I’ll never forget the last cross country huddle of my last race. Reflecting on the years of experiences and growth. Proud of what the team had become.
What advice would you offer to new graduates in computer science?
Side projects, side projects, side projects. You have to differentiate yourself from the crowd. You have to go above and beyond the assigned work and build some things that cover topics you’re passionate about leveraging the technology you’re interested in. A strong, tangible portfolio will pay huge dividends. If it’s a web app, make sure there’s a live link in your resume!
By Irene Kim