Ellyn Dupuis’s Building Block Approach to Finding Your Dream Role

Ellyn Dupuis’s Building Block Approach to Finding Your Dream Role

Ellyn Dupuis speaks about her building block approach to finding her dream role in partnerships at Tray.io.

This article is part of our Women in Partnerships series, highlighting female professionals in the partnerships space. To learn more about the series and the Women in Partnerships group, check out the series intro.

Ellyn Dupuis recently joined the partnerships team at Tray.io as a Senior Partnership Manager. Today, she discusses her role supporting the VP of Partnerships in growing their global partner program and her career leading into partnerships.

Ellyn’s Path to Partnerships

Ellyn Dupuis Tray.io

While she didn’t get her start in partnerships-specific roles Ellyn Dupuis’s early experiences catered well to her current responsibilities. Of her career path, Ellyn shared, “I started my career working at digital ad agencies first thing out of college. Being a client partner in the ‘digital age’ often meant researching new technologies and working with vendors to bring a creative vision to life. That experience has translated nicely into a partnerships role. Understanding that when you’re working with a service provider like an agency, client outcomes are their number one priority – I lived that.”

The early years of Ellyn’s career took her through both different roles and different regions. “I actually moved to Australia from Atlanta for the agency I worked for. Then, about two years into living in Sydney, I had an opportunity to join the partner team at Adobe. There I focused on building partnerships with regional SIs, digital agencies, and global consulting firms.”

When she returned to Atlanta in March of 2020, Ellyn started at Mailchimp. “I was working with their Technology partners, supporting the product organization. It was a significant change for me. This was a whole new world of learning about different companies’ APIs, what it takes to prioritize, build, and maintain integrations. That integration experience became really relevant when I connected with Mike at Tray.io, who came with too good of an opportunity to pass up – to build Tray’s global partner program together!”

“At Tray, we’re building a partner program that simplifies building integrations for technology and service partners, ultimately supporting the best customer outcomes. It’s a win, win,” Ellyn continued.

“Career-wise, it’s also a dream come true for me,” Ellyn shared. “Tray’s business is inherently partner-friendly (hello, 600+ pre-built connectors!), but we’re building the global GTM partnerships from scratch. Since it’s new, we get to be creative about how we’ll do it, developing a program for and with our partners. It’s been a fantastic experience for me to test out and put my ideas into practice and see the impact that has on growing our business and our partners’ too!”

Taking a Building Block Approach to Finding the Perfect Role

Ellyn didn’t land in the perfect role right away, but she’s learned something at each role that has helped her to refine her path and accomplish her goals. She explained, “This is definitely the role I’m most excited about. The path of my career is something I’m proud of. While the roles have been pretty different, I’ve stayed focused on foundational “building blocks” at each role to stay engaged and stay true to what’s a good fit for me – a culture that’s honest, a useful product, a company that focuses on diversity, inclusion, and mentorship. Whatever your building blocks are – focusing on them helps you to discern the right opportunities for you.”

While rewarding, Ellyn’s path hasn’t been without its challenges. “Starting fresh in new places is difficult. Moving internationally was a huge personal goal of mine, but made my career moves more challenging. I had no network, nothing to start from. You have to build trust everywhere you go — because you’re a woman, younger, or new. Being consistent in your role, showing your capability, and delivering on the things you say you will is essential to establishing trust.”

Traveling, and reestablishing herself in different countries has helped Ellyn build a vast network. “I have a wonderful network in Australia I’m excited to work together again as Tray grows. It’s been exciting to get re-established with partners here in the US as well and hear that your philosophy on partnerships still resonates. We’re staying focused on good customer outcomes and enjoying the process along the way.”

The Power of Women on a Team

At Tray.io, Ellyn shared that there are many women across the organization, including lots of young women in leadership. “There’s lots of great energy working with the women on the team. Everyone wants to grow together — we’re all focused on lifting each other up.” 

As a woman, Ellyn has found it difficult to balance the different personas you’re expected to embody. “I believe there’s a greater mental burden for women in the workspace. We’re always checking ourselves and if what we’re saying will resonate. Was I assertive enough or too tough, kind enough, or a pushover? The more comfortable I’ve gotten in my roles, the more comfortable I’ve gotten with being myself and not settling for roles or organizations where only one personality type can win.”

Thankfully, she’s had many female mentors to help her throughout her journey. “In the agency, I started at, all my supervisors and a lot of the team leaders were women. They really taught me how to work. Some of that isn’t instinctual, how to have tough client conversations, how to structure an email that isn’t apologetic, how to show up as a woman in a board room full of men. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the effort they put into teaching me and the support they’ve shared with me throughout my career. 

“I’ve also found the women in my career, have been more open to learning from each other vs. a rigid mentor-mentee structure,” Ellyn continued. “So much has changed about being a woman in the workplace in the last 5, 10, 15 years. Some people have advice about how they have been successful historically, but times change, and we realize that there’s not only one way to achieve success in our careers or one way to define a successful life at all.”

Ellyn’s Advice for Succeeding in Partnerships

Ellyn has taken an unconventional path into partnerships, but she’s owned her journey throughout. She recommends others, “Take the driver’s seat in your own career. My path is not traditional but I’ve never stopped caring about what’s next. A lot of times, earlier in your career, you can find yourself burning out on what you’re working on. Taking time to determine what matters to you will help you identify your foundational building blocks. Number one for me has always been about the people you work with and how you treat each other. Having taken the time to figure that out early on has made it easier to find what I need and pass on opportunities that seem shiny and tempting, but wouldn’t be sustainable for my long-term happiness.”

When you’re not enjoying a role, you don’t need to make a drastic shift. After getting tired in a 9-5, business development role, you may feel it’s time to volunteer with Greenpeace. However, shifting to a partner-focused role could give you the enjoyment you’re looking for. “Sometimes burnout can cause you to make an overcorrection. I liked aspects of what I was doing but needed to find a pivot that focuses on those core items that are important to me. It’s about finding purpose again in work instead of overcorrecting.”

The Value of Women in Partnerships

Ellyn is part of our Women in Partnerships group, along with a ladies’ group at Tray.io, The Traydies. She shared, “Both are really supportive networks. Having a community is just important. Being around people who have similar experiences and have empathy for each other is incredibly valuable. In Partnership Leaders, we talk about all kinds of things from negotiating salaries to things that inspire us. In Traydies, when there’s a woman who closes a deal or gets a promotion, the group always goes wild. It’s really great to know there’s a group of women all rooting for each other in that way.”

The women’s group at Tray.io makes Ellyn excited about her future at the organization. “There’s so much growth potential at the company — there’s not just one spot. We’re growing so fast and exponentially, there’s room for everybody to step up. We all want each other to enjoy a piece of that. That’s been an exciting part of working at a startup.”

Get advice from and connect with hundreds of powerful women in partnerships, like Ellyn, when you join Partnership Leaders’ Women in Partnerships group. Hundreds of industry professionals turn to Partnership Leaders for support with their latest projects, answers to burning questions, and general camaraderie. 

You can also be inspired by more powerful women in the industry in all of our Women in Partnerships spotlights.

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