SVP, International Partner at Yext
Rachel Martin currently runs Yext’s International Partner division, focused on helping small businesses located outside the US leverage Yext’s technology through channel partnerships.
Q. Is there anything you are trying to do every day?
You know. I was thinking about this and the things that I should do. I do try to run every day and that sort of stuff. But honestly, since the pandemic, I’ve been trying to simply eat a salad or a vegetable every day. Something healthy because it’s super easy to just get carried away and just have a whole day go by where I’m eating junk food or whatever.
Q. What did you really miss the most during the pandemic?
I think as particularly in this crowd (Siinda), I have a reputation for traveling a lot and always being on an airplane. That also definitely increased in frequency over the past couple of years. But even before then, and when I was a child. I loved traveling and I was lucky enough to have parents that like to travel with my sister and I, even when we were younger. So, I love traveling all over the world, in a business setting or a personal setting, and even living in some of these places. It’s certainly been interesting being in Berlin during the lockdown. I do miss traveling and experiencing new places, people and things.
Q. Did you start some new hobbies during the pandemic, or did you reconsider old ones?
I think I did what a lot of people did for March and April, like watching Tiger King and trying to bake bread. And doing all that sort of fun stuff that nobody talks about, for the first two months waiting to see what was going to happen in the spring. I make jokes about this.
But I’m actually a licensed engineer. I have practiced structural engineering for years, and it’s what I have degrees in. I live on the top floor of an apartment building, which was actually the old apartment of the owner of the building. He had built out half of the roof deck (which is maybe not like the legal to build on the roof deck) but anyways there was some structure there. So, I actually rebuilt the whole roof deck. I went back to my construction roots.
And I started growing all sorts of fruits and vegetables and even a tree. And I made it a little bit of an oasis up there so at least there was something to do during the spring of the pandemic.
Q. Structural engineering, that’s great! And this is probably something a lot of people from Siinda wouldn’t know about you?
You know when we were having the Siinda Conference in Dubai I said during that conference that I designed the Burj Dubai and it’s actually true. I was an intern working at the company that was doing structural checks on the foundations, so I did announce it once, but I think people thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t. My younger sister said that the world is my Lego set, so I have had some fun with that.
Q. Do you read and if yes, what’s your favorite kind of book to read?
I am sad to say that I did not read very much during the past year. Or, so, I wish I had read more, because I like reading and I should get back into it. I did try cooking and that was a bit of a failure. But considering I’m trying to think of a favorite book, and I think it would be NY the Novel. When I saw Hamilton the musical in real life, I liked it. I didn’t like to love it, but I really liked it, and when it came out on Disney Plus, I watched it again. I became so intrigued with that period of time and all of the characters. And the idea these guys got together and just started a new country. I mean, that’s crazy. It’s crazy. It is amazing that it hasn’t failed miserably. So being intrigued with this time period made me read NY the Novel again.
Q. What was the first non-desk job that you had when you were a student or in college?
The first, the very first one where I got a paycheck and I understood what a W2 (US employment tax form) was, was called Lifeguarding. Not incredibly fun. I wasn’t particularly good at it. But I was good at guarding the kids and sitting up there watching. There are all these menial tasks that come with it and it would drive me crazy.
I started waitressing after that, and actually waitressed for the next eight years and helped pay for college a little bit. So, waitressing is probably what I would say my first job was. But actually, you could say it was a campaign worker. I helped on my father’s campaigns for local government and as mayor and I did that since the first time I could breathe.
Q. What would you say is your favorite meal or comfort food?
It’s always actually been the same since I was little, and I wish I’d grown out of it but Macaroni and Cheese. Actually, my first test account at Yext was called Spirals Mac and Cheese. It was a mac and cheese shop 10 years ago. I recently did well in Germany learning about cornstarch. How helpful cornstarch is in making really good macaroni and cheese, so it’s improved how I make it. But, yeah, that’s an easy one, Mac and Cheese and there’s no vegetables.
Q. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would that be?
So, I was thinking about this one before, and I was kind of coming up with a list, I think I have a winner. I watched a documentary on him, and it would be Teddy Roosevelt. Why, because he seems like an interesting dude, kind of funny, he would have some stories. But in addition, Churchill, Elon Musk would be interesting to listen to, but I probably couldn’t keep up with them. I was also thinking about royalty like Queen Victoria, it seems like she was badass. Then other people where I can ask questions, to, or try to understand things, it would be like Mary Magdalen, for example, that would be a super interesting dinner.
But then when thinking about this question, I came back down to Earth, and I decided Ben Franklin would actually probably be the person I’d want to have dinner with, if it were only one person. This is because it’s not so far back in history that he would not know what was going on. I think he would find so many things about today. I could just listen to him as an entrepreneur talk about whatever was on his mind. I also heard he was hilarious.
And if it were a fictional character, I, for sure would pick Doctor Emmett Brown from Back to the Future.
Q. What message would you like to give to Siinda members and partners for the year to come?
I think that things aren’t going to go back to normal right away. I think in 2 or 3 years, things are going to mellow out. But I feel like the small businesses that actually made it through this first wave of the pandemic are really struggling now. So, it is hard sometimes to do things broadly but if there are 3 or 4 small businesses in your area that you used to go to or go to, reach out to them or try to help them because I feel like they might not be around in another year. A lot of the people at this conference work with small businesses, we love small businesses so finding ways to support them and help would be appreciated.