Erika Carney Is Using Her Professional Experience in Technology for Good

Written by Meg Seitz · Photography by Julia Fay

When Philadelphia native Erika Carney graduated from the University of Miami in 2008, she had a good plan.

“I was thinking about my [career] path, and I had this goal that by the time I was 30, I wanted to be an executive at a company,” she remembered recently. “I remember graduating and thinking, ‘It’s 10 years from now. I’ll work really hard. I’ll get it done.’”

And she did. {Continued below}

Carney and her now-husband moved to Charlotte right after she graduated from Miami in 2008. As a double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, the first professional step felt clear – she’d start working for a marketing agency. She started as an account manager at Yodle, then a small internet marketing company of about 60 employees.

“I really missed the idea of working a problem and creating something that makes someone’s life better,”

At the time, Yodle was focused on building a software platform to automate a lot of the work associated with online marketing; Carney was new to the tech space – and curious about the intersection of technology and business.  And because Yodle was relatively small back then, she had direct access to the development team. So, she started to ask questions and learn about the software development side of the business.

A lot of good questions later, a role in product management as an Associate Product Manager became available. Carney made the leap.

Carney left Yodle 4.5 years later to join Skookum, a technology consultancy and software development firm. Carney joined the team as a product strategist, building the product strategy practice, and, later, the UX practice. For a good portion of her career at Skookum, she served as Director of Product and UX. She was in her late 20’s.

Several years later, she was promoted again; this time, to Chief Marketing Officer. She was just about to turn 30 years old.

For all intents and purposes, she’d accomplished her post-graduation goal; she’d made it.

Yet, the rising executive star at a growing tech company, the only woman on the exec team, the youngest exec in the company’s history, was feeling unfulfilled.

“I remember feeling like I had achieved a certain level of success very early on, and that made me feel this responsibility to start giving back, and paying it forward,”

“I felt like there was something missing,” she noted. “I remember feeling like I had achieved a certain level of success very early on, and that made me feel this responsibility to start giving back, and paying it forward,” Carney recalls.

She started to look for ways to volunteer and get involved in the Charlotte community. Share Charlotte, the platform to connect neighbors with nonprofits, had been an early client of Carney’s at Skookum. She used the platform to start reaching out and connecting with different nonprofit organizations to learn more about how to give back. She knew she wanted to help young women.

“Through that process, one of the groups that I met with was The Relatives. They are a youth crisis center. They were looking for somebody to lead a mommy talk support group for their clients ages 16-24 that are in crisis situations and are either moms or mothers-to-be,” Carney remembers. A new mother at the time, Carney signed up to lead a workshop for the group.

As intimidated as she was at the start, that feeling was quickly replaced by Carney’s signature drive.  After she hosted her first workshop, she connected one-on-one with one of the mothers-to-be in attendance. The young woman was pregnant with twins; she was homeless and couch surfing. “I remember her saying to me, ‘I just want to give my babies a fighting chance to make it,’ and, as a new mother, that just completely broke me.”

She started to reach out and connect with Charlotte’s civic leaders to ask questions and learn more about Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis, early childhood education programs and the foster care system.

1.5 years into her position as CMO at Skookum, she decided to step down and take some time off.

“I realized that I wasn’t passionate about all facets of marketing, and I just really missed creating software. I really missed the idea of working a problem and creating something that makes someone’s life better,” she noted.

She reconnected with mentor and friend, Kelly Brooks. Brooks had launched Share Charlotte in 2012 with Skookum’s (and Carney’s) support. She was currently raising money and awareness to take the concept of Share Charlotte, and the software that powers it, to other communities.

And she needed someone to oversee the development of that platform.

Today, that platform is Share Good, a Charlotte-based software startup focused on offering simple ways for neighbors, nonprofits and businesses to come together and strengthen their local communities. Carney serves as VP of Product Management.

The role is a testament to not only Carney’s unique drive that launched her career back in 2008, but also her natural ability to reflect on her experience as it develops.

“My role with Share Good is giving me that opportunity to use my experience in technology and create something that can help unite local communities through good,” she shares.

It’s funny how good plans come together as our careers take shape.

Inspired by Carney’s story? #GivingTuesdayCLT, Charlotte’s local response to the global #GivingTuesday movement, kicks off on Tuesday, November 20th. Check out for all the latest updates and ways that you can do good this holiday season.

Meet the Author: Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, an agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University and Founding Partner of the children’s book series, “Bea is for Business”.

She’s an English major with an MBA, so she can talk Homer’s “The Odyssey” just as well as she can talk sunk costs – though she’d much prefer the former.

Meet the photographer: Julia Murray, owner of Julia Fay Photography, feels most at home behind a camera with a story to tell on the other side. Her business began during her sophomore year of college, while majoring in radio and tv broadcasting. Now residing in Charlotte NC, she primarily shoots weddings and other local small businesses like her own. Her favorite part about her job is the connection it brings between art and people.