1st Quarter 2024 Introductions

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Heather Wendt
Heather Wendt HLAdmin, Member Posts: 319 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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edited June 13 in GGR Cafe

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Feedback on our poll was in favor of creating a space for people to introduce themselves!

To prevent this thread from becoming overwhelming, we will create a new one each quarter.

If you are new to GGR or have been here since the beginning, this space is for you!

Share a bit about who you are professionally and/or personally so that others can see beyond the name!

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  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 209 Expert
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    edited February 9
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    Hello! I am based in Boston and have spent the last few years leading the Digital Customer Success initiative at a mid-size company. Before that, I was a Community Customer Success CSM at a very large company, and we pioneered the concept internally of scaling using the community for all customers but as the landing pad for SMB customers. Concurrently, I led the team in strategizing how to identify, enroll, and manage advocates. My favorite part of the job! I took that skill to my most recent role, and we have grown the advocacy group pool exponentially.

    I live right outside Harvard Square and am surrounded by Harvard and MIT. I love to travel; I recently went to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. The Memorial ACTe is a powerful and memorable experience. I am frequently in the Bay Area, my other home.

    I live right across from the library and have the luxury of easy access to its resources. Most recently, I read The Warm of Other Sons by Isabella Wilkerson, Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward, G-Man by Beverly Gage, and Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour. (I look for books outside my experience or expertise.) I love our brand new Alamo Drafthouse, Philz In SF, and adventurous dining, and I am in the middle of watching The Expanse. (I never heard of it until someone mentioned it over Christmas vacation) and really like it. 

    I love finding ways to add value and scale using digital tools and all things CS.

  • PiperWilson
    PiperWilson HLAdmin, Member Posts: 58 Navigator
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    Hello,

    My name is Piper Wilson, and I'm a moderator here. I've been in the community space for over 15 years. At first, I was a volunteer moderator and loved it. Then, I found out that I could have a "grown-up" career doing what I already loved. Before that, I was an Air Traffic Controller for the US Marines and then the Federal Aviation Administration. I've been fortunate to be able to work in areas I enjoy. Think about it. I was enlisted (aka, not an officer), and I got to tell officers what to do all day! ;)

    I was recently awarded the CMXer of the Year for 2024 award, and I presented at CMX's annual conference in 2022. I am currently based in Austin, TX, but we are hoping to move to Seattle soon.

  • PiperWilson
    PiperWilson HLAdmin, Member Posts: 58 Navigator
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    Howdy, @Brian O'Keeffe!

  • Mark Ace
    Mark Ace Member, CS Leader Posts: 3 Seeker
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    Hi, all,

    I'm Mark Ace, currently working as VP CS at Leanpath. I'm remote, living in Tucson, AZ, and Leanpath is headquartered in Portland, OR, where I also used to live and work. My career has spanned many iterations, from owning a business, helping lead a couple of software companies, to this phase, where I lead a team of around 20 CS professionals in supporting the global Leanpath customer base. Great team, great mission.

    It's interesting timing to introduce myself here (and I've been on GGR since the beginning), as I am transitioning to semi-retirement in the coming months. As part of that transition, I am helping recruit and onboard my replacement. This is a unique opportunity for a senior leader in CS to join the world's leading food waste reduction tech company and help make a contribution on a significant environmental and social issue. The job link is here on the company careers page. We are also considering a post here on the job board, but in the meantime, feel free to share this opportunity. If anyone has questions, they can message me here.

  • PiperWilson
    PiperWilson HLAdmin, Member Posts: 58 Navigator
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    Hello, @Mark Ace - Congratulations on moving towards retirement. I'm looking forward to that someday!

  • Joyce Wells
    Joyce Wells Member, CS Leader Posts: 7 Contributor
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    edited February 14
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    Hey @Mark Ace , So nice to see your picture and response here it has been a long time since we talked. I just recently submitted my resume to Leanpath and had no idea you were there. I would love to talk more to you about this opportunity. I tried to message you through here but it gave me an error. Feel free to reach out to me joyce@sierrainteractive.com or give me a call 518-852-5353 I would love to catch up.

  • BeckyB83
    BeckyB83 Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    Hello, everyone! I recently left a 13+ year career in federal procurement and went to work at an AI tech start up as their Director of Training and have NO IDEA what Im doing! Hahaha! I have been a public speaker, coach, and trainer for many years, but I have never designed a corporate training program for a B2B SaaS company and can use any help this community can give me! Please connect with me on LinkedIn so I can start to follow you and learn about this space and the amazing work you all do!

    www.linkedin.com/in/rebecca-link83

    Im also open to 1:1 mentoring if anyone is willing to help me get my feet wet here!

    Thanks and I look forward to connecting with you all!

  • Heather Wendt
    Heather Wendt HLAdmin, Member Posts: 319 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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    Hi @BeckyB83 ! Welcome to GGR! We have some great folks on here who can help. @Pam Micznik, thinking of you. Would love it if you post any specific questions about the process of setting up training that would help you. Am assuming you are in charge of customer training? Looking forward to getting this conversation started!

  • PiperWilson
    PiperWilson HLAdmin, Member Posts: 58 Navigator
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    @Joyce Wells - It's weird you got an error when you tried to message Mark. Would you try clearing your cache and trying again? Maybe try a different browser if you get another error.

    Would you try sending me a message? If it doesn't work, would you take a screenshot of the error?

  • Gig76
    Gig76 Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    Hello @Mark Ace ! Would you be available for a quick call? I would love to know more about some of your career steps, and for sure, I have a lot to learn from you!

  • JLondon
    JLondon Member, CS Leader Posts: 4 Navigator
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    Dropping by to introduce myself as well. Found my way to the community from the podcast, and looking forward to learning and contributing!

    My name is Jeremy London, and I lead Customer Experience for a B2B SaaS (healthtech) company, called ECP. We provide electronic medication administration, health record, lifestyle, CRM, and billing tools primarily to support improved resident care for assisted and independent living operators. Our customers range from single owner operator SMBs to some of the largest enterprise players in the country, which adds some fun complexity to our customer operations.

    Under my purview are our Implementation, Customer Success, Integrations, and our Customer Support departments (VP of the post-sale side of the business). You'll usually tackling a variety of challenges, some unique to our industry, but most that span industries. Like scaling teams and processes to fit a rapid growth environment - I'm always excited to hear about a new tool that is measurably improving your ops!

    I spent the first, and longest thus far, chapter of my career at Epic (the leading EHR provider). Was a great place to develop as a young professional. Learning the ropes of client implementations and where I got my first Customer Success experience as a CSM (funny enough, Epic calls them BFFs - yes, customer facing). I ultimately grew to directing our largest client's implementations and took a key role on their Customer Success Exec team, setting direction and providing oversight for the 400+ CSMs serving Epic's full client portfolio (~$3.8b).

    Eager for something less structured and more growth-oriented, I joined a vertical SaaS business called Indeavor. A bit of a disruptor in the space, they work to transform how large (domestic and global) manufacturers think about their people operations. Solving costly and complex problems as it relates to labor shortages, frequently changing production schedules, and complex labor union relations. After a successful reboot of the services and delivery side of the business, I took over the full customer org for a period of time before ultimately deciding to shift back to healthcare oriented opportunities.

    Personally, I'm a proud Indiana Hoosier alum (even if the basketball team does more bad than good for my health), and an avid golfer. My wife and I enjoy traveling to new places near and far, and are usually the first ones to tell you about a new restaurant in town. I'm always happy to be able to call beautiful Madison, WI home.

    If you're interested in connecting directly, please don't hesitate to reach out! I spend a fair amount of time on the road with our customers and prospects, but I promise I will get back to you. Looking forward to meeting many of you. Cheers!

  • Kyler Samoska
    Kyler Samoska Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    Hi everyone!

    My name is Kyler (Ditmars) Samoska, don't laugh at the double last name situation, eventually I'll officially change it!

    I am a Senior CSM at a startup Saas company. I have the honor of wearing many hats, if you have ever worked for a startup, you know the feeling! I am working on building out our CS side of the business currently.

    With that, I'm always looking to learn and build new relationships. I'm really hoping to meet new people and learn from your experiences, good and bad.

    I have a history in distribution and software implementation, but I'm currently ingrained in secure document transfer.

    Please feel free to connect with me here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyler-samoska-ab9042134/

  • Heather Wendt
    Heather Wendt HLAdmin, Member Posts: 319 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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    Welcome Kyler! So glad to have with us...looking forward to seeing more of you!

  • Heather Wendt
    Heather Wendt HLAdmin, Member Posts: 319 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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    Welcome @JLondon! Glad you find your way to us...heard some great things about Madison although I haven't yet visited it...some day! Looking forward to getting to know you more through the community!

  • Brandon Hemmelman
    Brandon Hemmelman Member, CS Leader Posts: 7 Navigator
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    Hey everyone! Been on GGR for a little over year, but figured I would re-introduce myself.

    My name is Brandon and I am based out of the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Currently a Manager, Customer Success at a B2B Business Analytics platform. Prior to that I worked at a Health Technology company, where I led a CS team as well. All told, been in CS for about 5ish years.

    I am trying to be more involved on GRR, to contribute lessons learned and learn from others along the way.

    I'd welcome opportunities to chat, whether its someone looking to make the jump into CS leadership, or current leaders that are looking for an outside perspective.

    Find me here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandon-hemmelman/

  • Karl W
    Karl W Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    Hello GGR community!

    I'm Karl, a former teacher currently transitioning into customer success management. With 17 years of national and international teaching under my belt—spanning subjects from tech to fine arts—I've recently delved into the wild world of CSM. I've made some great strides towards my professional goals such as gaining a CSM certification, attending online seminars, expanding my Linkendin network, and hiring a career transition coach. I'm also armed with a Master's in Educational Technology and I'm working my way through a Salesforce certification.

    Having said all that, I have been looking for my first real position for almost 6 months now. I've applied for well over 100 CSM jobs and have reached out to twice that many CSM professionals, hiring managers, VP of Sales, and CEOs with my pitch. I've had no luck so I'm currently readjusting my goal towards a tech support position (for which I have an upcoming interview). My theory is that I can get a foothold in a good company and either work my way up or gain valuable experience in order to switch into a fulltime CSM role. If anyone has any other suggestions on how I can move forward I'd be happy to connect and I'm very excited to join this GGR community. Hopefully I can meet like-minded folks, swap stories, and maybe even find the next big adventure in this exciting tech landscape.

    Cheers!

    Karl

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 209 Expert
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    Hello Karl! Many great CSMs have come from the teaching profession.

  • moussa
    moussa Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    Hi everyone,

    Stoked to have found this community! I'm a French transplant living in San Francisco. Some people say I don't have a French accent. I live with my partner and our 2 adorable cats. Futbol (soccer) is life.

    I am engineer by training, my foundations come from my first experience as a consultant for PwC, and I've been at Planisware since 2013 going through Professional Services, Sales Engineering and now Customer Success Leadership.

    I'm the Head of Customer Success at Planisware, the leader in the Enterprise project & portfolio management software "niche". I have 8 CSMs on my team and I work very closely with other functions, especially Sales and Professional Services. We run a high-touch CS program and I feel we've only scratched the surface so far.

    3 top priorities on my roadmap right now: building an integrated process and tech stack end-to-end to support our CS motions, expanding and automating our telemetry / business intelligence, upskilling my team on product knowledge and tangible value realization conversations.

    I'm thrilled to be part of this group of experts. Can't wait to connect and learn from all of you, and hopefully I can also help out by sharing my experience.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/moussagherbi/

  • PiperWilson
    PiperWilson HLAdmin, Member Posts: 58 Navigator
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    Futbol (soccer) is life.

    🏈

    @moussa - Just kidding!

  • Chimeria Gonzalez
    Chimeria Gonzalez Member Posts: 11 Navigator
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    Hey, GGR community!!!

    I am Chimeria and I'm based out of Tomball, Texas. I am currently transitioning into a Customer Success Manager role from a Technical Support Engineer for a Behavioral AI-based email security platform SaaS startup company. My background consists of Cybersecurity/IT, Customer Support and Customer Success, Sales, and more.

    I am very interested in learning more about CS and getting more involved in GGR. I am especially looking to find out more about the digital and tech touch aspects.

    I am always open to opportunities to learn, connect, and chat with others!! https://www.linkedin.com/in/chimeria/

  • Chimeria Gonzalez
    Chimeria Gonzalez Member Posts: 11 Navigator
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    @Brian O'Keeffe

    I would love to pick your brain for all things digital CS when you have the availability.

  • kmcmullen
    kmcmullen Member Posts: 13 Navigator
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    Hello, GGR!

    I love this community and have found so much value since joining a few years back (but had it tied to my previous company's email... so had to start over with my personal last year).

    My name is Kristine McMullen, I live & work just outside of Minneapolis, MN; but mainly work remote, venturing into our office a few times a month and into the Twin Cities for Wild & Vikings games! SKOL! 💜

    I'm currently at Center (integrated corporate card + expense & travel software) where I lead our Deployment team. Previously, I was at SAP Concur where I lead our MM Onboarding Client Success Managers for a few years, and prior to leaving was the Director of our Digital Onboarding Client Success space! Man, did I learn a lot there.

    I relish the opportunity to create something as helpful and valuable as GGR has been to me for my directs & for our clients to use in a community space. Looking forward to continuing to learn from all of you!

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 209 Expert
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  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 209 Expert
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    I look forward to hearing more from and about you and especially your experience with digital programs.

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 209 Expert
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    It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I hope you love SF. The Mission is my favorite neighborhood, love the Castro and Japantown too.

  • Chimeria Gonzalez
    Chimeria Gonzalez Member Posts: 11 Navigator
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  • alicja.surzyn
    alicja.surzyn Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
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    Hello everyone! I'm Alicja, joining you from Toronto, Canada.

    Thank you for welcoming me into this space 😎 With a decade of diverse experience in education and project coordination under my belt, I am eagerly seeking to transition into a Customer Success role. I love working with people and technology! In particular, I really love helping people achieve their goals.

    Having completed a web development bootcamp and earned my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, I'm actively pursuing opportunities to pivot into Customer Success. I am motivated to join the EdTech industry, a field I am drawn to due to my firsthand experience with EdTech software. I get excited about the potential of exceptional EdTech products and am eager to be a part of driving that positive change.

    Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit about myself, and I'm looking forward to engaging and learning from all of you! I'm also obsessed with dogs and gardening if we get tired of talking shop.

  • himanshu
    himanshu Member, CS Leader Posts: 5 Navigator
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    Hello GGR,

    Delighted to be a member of this fantastic community!

    Hi, my name is Himanshu Tiwari, rooted in the diverse heritage of India. I'm Currently exploring the exciting areas of customer success and product management consultancy. My path is all about enabling emerging start-ups to reach new heights by fueling their teams with passion and direction.

    Rewinding a bit, At Trackier, as VP Customer Success, I was fortunate to captain a vibrant team dedicated to excellence in support, steering customer success, and ensuring smooth onboarding experiences. Always a product person at heart, I contributed to mapping and building 3 SAAS products for the company.

    Before this, I co-founded Perb, a CRM designed specifically for fitness studios. Although the pandemic forced us to close our doors, the event provided me with great lessons in resilience.

    Looking forward to many more inspiring conversations and shared experiences! cheers!

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