Natalie Mercuri is a Plaid People Person

Sarah speaks with Natalie from Plaid about personal and professional growth, going from an independent contributor to a manager. Natalie is building a consumer-facing team at a new company and shares some insights on the trajectory of building a career in support, looking to future projects at a company, and the importance of knowing your team and their goals.


Speaker 1 (00:10)
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another discussion of all things customer experience. We're talking about support. We're talking about success. We're talking about community managers. And today we're actually talking about what it's like to grow your career, from being an IC, an independent contributor all the way up to becoming a manager and what's it like growing your career as a manager during some hard times.

Speaker 1 (00:48)
Today's guest Natalie has been a part of Elevate for so long. We love her. A lot of you remember her from working at Clever, and now she's starting a new job at Plaid. But before she starts the job, she stopped in to talk about what it's been like in her career as a manager, going back the last five or six years, starting with being an IC and now going all the way to her career as a manager responsible for growing a team of people at a brand new company.

Speaker 1 (01:15)
So thank you so much to Natalie for joining us. Thank you for listening. And thanks again to Assembled for putting together this podcast. If you haven't checked out assembled. Com yet, please do. It's the number one place I think to help grow your customer experience team over time. So let's get to it. I didn't hear from Natalie from Clad. Okay, this is such a fun conversation. I feel like you and I typically have these short verse conversations like three times a year, and they're always so productive, and I always leave like, I want to talk to her some more and then we never do it.

Speaker 1 (01:59)
And so I'm really glad that we're doing it this time. We're recording it. So that when I have those urges again, I can just listen to the podcast episode.

Speaker 2 (02:06)
Yeah, you can log yourself to sleep with my phone.

Speaker 1 (02:10)
But you've been kind of a staple in our community and Elevate community for gosh, like, four years now, something like that a long time. So do me a favor and get everybody else up to speed with who you are, what you're doing, what's your role is right now. You just started a new job, so maybe let's start there. Let's talk about that.

Speaker 2 (02:28)
Yeah. Great question. So I'll give you the TLDR of where I am right now and then I'll do a little backstory. So I am actually in the process of transitioning out of a role and into a new position. I will be working for Plaid and helping to build out their consumer support team. So right now they have a really strong integrator support because they live in between banks and banking applications. And so they have this great developer support process. But there's not really anything for the end user consumer.

Speaker 2 (02:57)
And as we all know, not every consumer is very technically savvy, but they still need help with those platforms and products. And so my job is going to be to help build that out and what it looks like and how it functions for the company. And I'm so excited. I'm also terrified but very excited for what that's going to look like. And I actually haven't started yet. On my last day at my current role is the end of this month. So I'm taking a week off and then diving right in.

Speaker 2 (03:21)
So I'm very excited. And then I guess to backtrack where I'm at right now in this present moment is I'm head of operations for Cannabis, which is a cannabis ERP company. I was let go as a result of the pandemic. I was working kind of in support. I was kind of support adjacent at a previous company. They let go of a large percentage of their workforce due to the pandemic and then found my way into this really cool position of building out support for this cannabis ERP company.

Speaker 2 (03:50)
It went from two to ten people in a year since I've been there a year and change and I started as kind of the title was customer support operations manager or something like that, but very quickly turned into any classic seed stage startup of doing all the things. So I built out a support and a success team. So I have now five support agents and four success people that sit under me and help to really build an amazing experience for our customers post sales and what that looks like both in terms of reactive and Proactive support, taking one step back further.

Speaker 2 (04:24)
Before that, I was working for Clever. So started as tier one support agents, and within the four ish years that I was there moved up into leading some really cool and innovative programs for the company as they work to scale. So I started the quality assurance program. I started the learning and development program. I built out kind of a KCS process for the company. And so I like to consider myself a little bit of a Jane Apple seed. I plant the little seeds everywhere I go and then watch them grow and let somebody else kind of tend to the apples and take over the tree when I'm gone.

Speaker 2 (04:56)
So that's me in a nutshell.

Speaker 1 (04:57)
And you are the perfect person to have on to specifically talk about this topic, which is really diving deep into a career trajectory of someone who's working in customer experience. And I think you've been around the world as long as I have maybe the same amount of time customer experience has become this very broad umbrella where it used to only need customer support, people who are actually handling incoming calls and emails. That was it. And now we've grown that to be so much more. So I've talked to a few people already about their careers, and all of them have the same thing in common that you do in that they started out as ICS as independent contributors, non managers, people in the inbox, working with customers day to day, and then very quickly kind of built themselves up to a team lead.

Speaker 1 (05:45)
What was that like for you that trajectory. Did you have someone who was managing you? Who said, hey, I see something in you. Do you want to leave the team, or was that more you were just filling a role that, you know, needed to be filled?

Speaker 2 (05:58)
I am very much the latter. I think I would say it even started before landing in the support world. But really, once I got into SAS and working in support, it was very much I've been in pretty small ish startups for the most part. And in any of those instances, it's really see the need, fill the need. And I will say I have a really good antidotal story of just like, wanting to become a people manager and what that growth looks like and being shot down three different times and just totally killing the morale.

Speaker 1 (06:25)
But also, yeah, it's the worst thing in the world when you're like, this is exactly what I want to do with life. And then someone's like, oh, you'd be terrible at that.

Speaker 2 (06:33)
Exactly. I mean, it was just like a real killer of all motivation for even showing up to work the next day. It's like, oh, my God, I have to go back in there after somebody just told me that I could never do this thing.

Speaker 1 (06:45)
Just crushed your dreams back to the slot. Oh, I've been there. I think the other.

Speaker 2 (06:51)
As many support folks can see, is like, oh, I want to get out of the queue. How do I get out of the queue? But in the eight plus nine plus years I've been doing support, even as a people manager, you still find yourself in the queue a little bit every once in a while. So I think that will never go away. But, yeah, it's hard. I would say it depends on the company. It depends on the place. I've heard lots of stories from different folks, but everywhere that I've really ended up has been kind of see the need, fill the need and build that for yourself of what that looks like.

Speaker 2 (07:18)
Because I think the hard lesson that I've learned is you really have to be your own advocate and nobody else is going to know what you want or need. And sometimes you don't even know what you want or need. But until you do the thing and try it, you're also not going to have that knowledge for yourself. And that's really where I started to build things out. It came with a lot of kind of individual contributor projects, first, starting with building out KCS practices and what that looks like.

Speaker 2 (07:44)
And I think that showed a little bit of leadership and tenacity to the managers and folks overseeing the team. And so I got to expand on those projects and take on more meaningful things that would have higher impact. And it just kind of continued to build from there. I think once the momentum gets under you, it's just full speed ahead. Where can that take me? And what does that look like? And it's been a very circuitous journey. And I love being a people manager, but I've also seen so many people excel at individual contributor roles that are having higher impact other than just that tier one support, which is also wonderful means for continuing to grow your career.

Speaker 1 (08:20)
Yeah. I absolutely agree with you. And I think when it comes to, like you said, filling those needs, like finding the little places where you can be useful and show your leadership, there's a difference between guessing or getting overly granular about what certain things should be tracked or monitored or putting on projects that aren't really going to have a great impact down the line and really having the foresight to maybe go to your manager and say, what's on your bottom line for Q four, where are we trying to grow?

Speaker 1 (08:50)
What's the trajectory of our company? How are we trying to acquire customers? What's next? Because those kinds of questions lead you to the projects that really matter, right. And like, who gives a shit if we have 15 billing emails every single hour, if that doesn't matter to us at the end of the day. Right.

Speaker 2 (09:09)
So if we're not fixing the root problem, what's the point?

Speaker 1 (09:13)
I think that I certainly had that when I first was starting out in all of this customer experience world and all this kind of stuff, you have all the fire to prove yourself. And you think that you prove yourself through title. You think that you prove yourself through being a superior. You think that you prove yourself by being sort of the person that makes the decisions. But proving yourself really comes down to understanding the needs of your customers and the needs of your company and figuring out ways to be scrappy about that every single day.

Speaker 1 (09:44)
And sometimes that does mean that you're going to have ten years experience managing people and still be in the queue. That might happen.

Speaker 2 (09:52)
Yeah. And I will say, too, in those experiences as a people manager, I feel like a lot of times you become separated from the team because you're focusing so high level on, like, okay, how can I move this lever? How can I push this agenda forward? But when you get down to being with your team and seeing what they're focusing on, it actually brings out this whole new light of like, oh, my God, that's so messy. Like, why are we doing this? And I wouldn't get those insights.

Speaker 2 (10:20)
I very highly prioritize one on one with my team members. I do them once a week for 30 minutes, at least. And it's just a good time, one to connect with them as people. But two, it helps to bring out that insight. And then if I have to jump in on a ticket or if I need to listen in on a phone call that gives insight that you would never otherwise see. And it has such a tremendous impact both on your individual team. But then the outputs that they can put out that make you look even better.

Speaker 1 (10:47)
This is the thing. What you just said is really important, too, is that your team who you are managing and guiding in their careers needs to trust you as a manager, and they're never going to trust someone who has this Eagle eye view from the glass box above the factory floor. They're never going to trust that person's ideas or that person's direction. They're only going to feel disconnected from what that person's initiative is, right. Whereas someone who is actually in their contextually understanding. Oh, this is how many emails you get per day.

Speaker 1 (11:19)
Oh, this is the kind of language people are using to describe that feature request. This is what happens when people use that new feature, and it's not what's expected. And this is the emotion that they're bringing to us as they complain about it. That is so important for you to be on that level with your ICS with your employees, because then you go into one on one and you understand their frustrations. You understand if they feel like they have an idea that's being overlooked because they're in it and you're in it with them, right?

Speaker 2 (11:50)
Yeah. And I mean, look, you're working with human beings like they're bullshit detectors. They're going to know if you just show up, like, how are you today? And they're like, good. And you're like, okay, so on the agenda, I have it's like, no, you really have to take a step back and see what they're dealing with and kind of have that empathy. And I think that's such a critical skill in general for support and success and customer experience. That's probably the tagline customer experience equals empathy. You have to have that both for your team and the people that you're working with and to circle back to what you were saying earlier, of knowing what projects you need to work on, what's going to have the highest impact.

Speaker 2 (12:23)
It's especially easy to do with your individual contributors, of helping them kind of see the broader picture if you know what's going on on the ground, if it's like, hey, I'm trying to solve this problem because I feel like we answer this question all the time, and maybe I can make a macro out of it. And then my job as a manager is to point the question to, hey, instead of thinking about this macro that we can build something that's on my radar is, how do we fix this process as a whole, and that sparks a whole new direction for them to go with that project that they can take ownership of.

Speaker 2 (12:53)
That still contributes to the larger picture and is fixing a much bigger issue than just creating a macro and moving on with your day. And I think that helps to broaden their scope of what they're focusing on as well. And having gone through the experience myself of being like, Well, no, you can't be a manager. You don't have the skills for that. That's not helpful to me. How do I grow from that? What's the thing that I need to build in terms of skill to get to where I think I want to go in thinking Big picture is one of those.

Speaker 2 (13:20)
So how do you help your team do that same thing outside of yourself?

Speaker 1 (13:25)
So now that you have had that experience, you've had the experience of becoming an IC of being rejected from your dream manager job. But then going into these other companies where you were a manager, you were a people manager. One of the things that I know about you is that you really are good and consistent and really thoughtful about your one on one. And so I want to talk a little bit about what those one on ones look like, what your ethos is around them and how you approach them, maybe even struggles that you had with doing one on one because the thing with one on one, and I will always recommend beplucky com you can buy there.

Speaker 1 (14:03)
So now you're a manager, one on one flashcards. And they're so incredibly helpful and everyone laughs when they see it. But then they look at their cards and they're like, oh, my God, these are brilliant. And they are so brilliant. Jen Derry is a brilliant woman, and she's put all this stuff together. So now you're a manager. You should go to her class. But the reason she put these together is because she kept talking with first time managers about one on one and saying, what are your one on ones like with your boss?

Speaker 1 (14:29)
And they would say, we don't have good one on ones. Maybe we pop in once a month. They ask me what I'm working on and that's it right. I know as someone who myself, I focus on the people I'm really focused on, if my employees are happy and if they're thriving and if they feel empowered and they feel supported, they're going to be amazing employees. And they're going to byproduct of that as they will be efficient and effective and productive. So I focus on that in my one on one with people.

Speaker 1 (14:57)
Tell me about your ethos around your one on one, what they look like. And like I said, what are the struggles that you've had with them?

Speaker 2 (15:04)
Yeah. So I have had the very fortunate opportunity to lead it's a new program called Resilient Manager, and it's from one of the mentors of mine. When I was working at Clever, I just raised my hand as I do for all things, and ended up taking on this facilitation project where I could work with people managers and train them on how to bring more empathy and humanness to manager interactions. Because I think and this isn't for everyone, it's not appropriate in all spaces, and it is hard for some people to do.

Speaker 2 (15:35)
But for those people that want to really focus, your job as a manager is your people. I mean, it should be written as number one, every job description. My job is to make sure that my people are successful. And I think this is a personal motto. It's just that if your people trust you, if they feel comfortable coming to you, if they know that they can ask for help and won't be shamed or turned away or you're too busy, then they will flourish. And that will, in turn, have such a huge impact both on the team as a whole cohesive unit, but also the company and what that role looks like.

Speaker 2 (16:12)
And I've seen it happen. And I think each of my one on ones. When I get a new hire, it usually starts the second week. I ask the same questions. We go through the same process. But one of the biggest things that I've kind of introduced, and that was something we started at Clever actually was going through an operating manual. We borrowed it from this LinkedIn post, and essentially it's like a read me in a way, but it gets a little personal, and of course, each person can kind of take it how they want.

Speaker 2 (16:36)
If they want to share more, they can if they want to share less, they can. But it gives me as a manager something to reference back to when it comes time to share praise, when it comes time to give feedback so that I know that it's going to resonate with them because it is not cookie cutter with each human that you're working with. And you can't really apply those methods to working with people. And I've seen it happen far too often. Just as you said, like once a month, you check in what's your stats?

Speaker 1 (17:03)
That's my favorite. My favorite thing now is now we've moved one on one into asynchronous places we make it sound like so altruistic. We're going to give you the space to write an essay style response to these five same questions every single week, and then we'll somehow lean from that what your real feelings are about your day to day work and where you are in your career growth. That is bullshit. And it's so lazy. Yes, so lazy, so lazy.

Speaker 2 (17:33)
And I think it shows up to the people too, especially now with fully distributed.

Speaker 1 (17:38)
This is the thing like employees understand when you're being a lazy manager when you're a disengaged manager, and for some people, that's what they want they want to slide by. They want to stay, and I see they want to clock in, clock out, and they don't want to take work with them. And that's great. Do it. Fine. But if you were running, especially in a startup environment where you're looking for people who are going to drive the culture and the trajectory of your company, you need people who say this isn't enough for me.

Speaker 1 (18:04)
I need someone who's way more invested in the day to day stuff that I do.

Speaker 2 (18:08)
And you have to foster that for them, too. I think so many people don't realize that they're looking up to their manager to see what behavior is appropriate. There's a lot of leaders and individual contributors that will step up without that. But there are other people who need a voice to come first so that they can feel comfortable saying that thing that they wanted to say. And something that I bring up in my operating manual with all my direct reports is I recognize that my role as a manager, my job as a white female in this position is that I sometimes get to sit at tables that you don't, and my job is to represent you and to bring your voice.

Speaker 2 (18:41)
And if I don't hear your voice, I can't represent it. But I want to know whether that's one on one, whether it's in a team meeting, whether you want to share it with someone else, to share with me. I want to give space to your voice, and I have to be able to hear that. And for me to do that, I want to model it to my own employees. And I don't think that enough people see that as you get caught up in the day to day, moving things forward.

Speaker 2 (19:05)
What project are we working on? Why are we not hitting our MRI values our metrics, but at the bottom line is the people that are contributing to each of those individual things, and you have to show up for them there.

Speaker 1 (19:16)
It's just you have to show up for them, and you also have to be invested in who they are as people, not just as employees, but one of the things I always talk about when I'm coaching teams, especially teams who are going through a growth stage and they're hiring more people and they're redistributing across time zones for added support, that whole structure change. It's a big culture shock sometimes, yes. But I think when it comes to a culture shock like that when you're in a growth stage and you're hiring a lot and you've gone from having a team of three to five to now we have a team of ten to 15 spread out across the world or across different time zones, it's even more imperative that you know your employees, you know, their work styles, you know who's better verbally versus who likes to take some time and write out their ideas.

Speaker 1 (20:00)
You know who has a family at home who cannot work past 530. You know, who does a drop off in the morning and needs to start after 09:00 and those things I think get overlooked a lot because we think about separating personal lives or personal growth from my career growth. And I think there's a way you can be invested in both without being creepy about it.

Speaker 2 (20:25)
You end up in the startup world where it's like, drink the koolaid. I want to fit in. I want to, like, live in. No, you don't have to be that. But it is something I said to a couple of folks on my team is like, I don't need to know your life story. If you have to bow out for an hour each day, whether it's to pick up a kid, go to a therapy appointment or you just need a break. It doesn't matter. You don't need to tell me, but just giving me that context of, like, hey, this time is really important to me.

Speaker 2 (20:51)
Oh, great. Have it. Let's see what we can do to work around that. And I think, especially in support where it's like, so emotionally driven. I have to be on from nine to five. I have call shift here. I have chat shift here. Okay, then I just got yelled at it's like, no, you have to be in tune with that, because something a mentor once said of mine is people vote with their feet. And if you're not paying attention to retention or retention is a big problem, then I think it's time for introspection, like, what you want?

Speaker 1 (21:17)
Yeah. You know what? Someone who I used to work for one time used to make a big deal about talking about people don't leave jobs. They leave bad managers.

Speaker 2 (21:25)
Yes. Oh, my God. And on the front of every manager, both so true.

Speaker 1 (21:30)
Because when it comes to the greatest thing about customer support, working in customer support right now, especially where we are in the sort of the world the community that we're going through as employees, your job skills as a customer support agent or a customer support specialist or customer success. They are so transferable and so in demand right now. And there's always going to be an opportunity where you can say, I'm going to look at five job descriptions of a salary range from $60 to $100,000 and qualified for every single one of these.

Speaker 1 (22:03)
That's where we are right now. In this kind of world.

Speaker 2 (22:06)
It's a job seekers market.

Speaker 1 (22:08)
Especially in this industry. And so it's even more imperative that managers start thinking about, how do we protect the employee investment? How do we make them feel good about the job that they're doing? Like you said, how do I get them to trust me that I'm invested in them and I'm invested in their lives because the whole white washing, we're all a family here. Look at the pictures. We do Zoom calls with our dogs. It sounds great. But what is it going to look like when I come to you in a one on one?

Speaker 1 (22:38)
And I just say I'm not thriving today. I'm having a hard time. I'm not sleeping well. I'm feeling really overwhelmed with the tickets that I'm getting. Are you the kind of manager I can even say that to?

Speaker 2 (22:49)
Exactly. Yeah, because if they're hiding it, then it's going to show up in their work. It's going to show up in how they treat their it's going to show up in how they treat the customers.

Speaker 1 (22:58)

Speaker 2 (22:59)
That will come back to you. Then you're the one cleaning up that mess regardless. So I say this as kind of a joke, but it's also very true. Since becoming a manager have become so good at delegating and leaning on my team members because I know that each of them, as you mentioned before, have their own strengths. And so if they can learn from one another and not just from me, then that builds trust within the team as well, too. Hey, So and So has got to pick up kids from nine to ten.

Speaker 2 (23:25)
Would you mind doing a little swap here or. Hey, I know that you prefer to write out the Help Center articles. Maybe so and So can help with creating the videos because they love video editing. There's so many strengths that you have to learn to tap into and be attentive to that you won't know if you're just flying by as a manager, you're just like here I am. Let me send out my reports every week to my manager, and then we're on with our day. It just doesn't work.

Speaker 1 (23:49)
So with that in mind, I'm thinking about just the conversation we're having about people moving on from bad environments and without being explicit or throwing anyone under the bus. You've recently changed positions. You had a kind of odd and traumatic closure to your last company, because if a cannabis company can't keep it together during a pandemic when everybody is anxious and paranoid and sitting at home all day, then God love them. I wish them all the luck in the world. But tell me a little bit about the past experiences you have had recently or not recently.

Speaker 1 (24:22)
When you do as an employee, I'm out. I've hit my ceiling here. I need to go move on to something else. Were there red flags about the way you were being managed? Or was it more about just the company culture? Like what's the advice you can give someone who's maybe feeling that tension a little bit and needs to make a hard choice?

Speaker 2 (24:41)
Yeah, I could write a book on this. Actually, maybe I will. You've given me inspiration.

Speaker 1 (24:47)
I will write the forward to it, and I will do all the marketing for you.

Speaker 2 (24:50)
Yes, I love it. I'm ready for this. I will say in all honesty, not even just because this is public view facing every company that I've worked at. I've had a tremendous learning experience, and I've truly enjoyed 99.9% of the people that I've worked with. I've had nothing but good things to say about the experience and the company and the product and the culture. I think when I see or feel like I'm not getting what I need, then I know that it's time for me to move on, and it takes time to find these things, too.

Speaker 2 (25:22)
It's taken me most of my life to figure out what you want to do, and I still feel like I don't know what I want to do, but I know that now I'm moving in the right direction as I've grown into adulthood, and the flag that sticks out most of me is just is it hard for me to feel like I'm able to advocate for myself? I know that's kind of an odd thing to say, but I'm really comfortable with having hard conversations. I can speak up when I need to speak up and when I feel like I'm speaking up, but I'm not actually being heard, even if it's to say no or like, this isn't going to work.

Speaker 2 (25:53)
Then I know that I might need to find someplace else for me to be able to grow and thrive because I am someone who truly values feedback and mentorship and growth within a day to day experience. And in order to find that sometimes you have to move on. And it's such a hard thing to feel so close, especially when you're building teams. When you've hired most of the people on your team and you've watched them grow and you've helped them thrive. It's just like, oh, I'm leaving this behind.

Speaker 2 (26:21)
What am I doing? Why am I doing this? But I think the biggest thing that I could say if I were to distill it down is just you have to advocate for yourself. No one else is going to do it for you. And even if you don't know exactly where you want to be or what you want to do or where you want to go, you sometimes have to take that chance in doing the next thing so that you can figure out this was worth it or that wasn't worth it.

Speaker 2 (26:45)
Or this is the thing that I need to do. And the only person that can tell you that is yourself, and it's so hard to sit inside and think, is this the right decision? And I actually just read something recently. There's a woman who I follow on Instagram. Her name is Beau. She's an incredible product manager, used to work at Facebook, and she posted something about even if you cry or are upset. It doesn't mean that you've made the wrong decision, and it's okay to have those feelings and process it that way, because it just means that you're growing and moving on.

Speaker 2 (27:14)
And I think it's important to give yourself that space like this was a tough decision to say, hey, I've only been here a little over a year, but it's time for me to move on. And before I was offered the position, I just kept thinking, night over, night. Like, is this the right thing to do? What if I don't get the job? Am I moving in the right direction? And ultimately I made the decision to leave. But I still feel terrible and hard.

Speaker 1 (27:35)
Well, that's one of the hard things about being really good at customer support or customer experience is that we tend to be deeply emotional about decisions that we make, and we tend to be very invested in ways that maybe other people aren't and maybe a little bit sensitive about the ripple effect that our decisions will make. I mentored a lot of people where they've been stuck in a place where they don't want to be there anymore. They want to find a new job. But I'm afraid about what's going to happen to my team, and I feel like I'm going to let them down.

Speaker 1 (28:08)
And I completely understand that feeling. However, like you're saying, there is a threshold. There is a balance there, we have to say, is advocating for my team and supporting my team detrimental to myself and my wellbeing, if that's the case, that's where you have to just be honest with everybody and say, hey, this is not working out for me, right? Yeah.

Speaker 2 (28:28)
And I will say I just shared the news, actually, with my direct reports this week, actually. And I was terrified, like, I could not sleep the night before. I was like, they're going to be so angry, it's going to be terrible. It's going to fall to shit. It's just going to be the worst thing ever. And by the end of the meeting, we all ended up tearing up. And just like, I was truly blown away. Not one person had a negative thing to say. They were like, we're happy for you.

Speaker 2 (28:51)
You've had such a huge impact like this and that. And I was truly shocked because I think just as you mentioned, we're so emotional, we're so invested that it's easier to prepare for the worst, obviously, and think this is going to be terrible. But I am so proud of them, and I know that they're going to move on just fine. And maybe the nihilist in me is like, okay, well, if you were to die tomorrow, your job description is going to be up on the website by the next.

Speaker 2 (29:16)
So much pressure on yourself. Like, people move on.

Speaker 1 (29:20)
There is a little bit of ego that has to do with this idea. Like, if I leave, what's going to happen. But let's say that's good. That's good ego to have. That means I'm very aware of my impact in this structure. I'm very aware that I fulfill a role that needs to be fulfilled by someone. And I'm leaving that empty for now. So I don't think it's necessarily like, oh, this place is going to crumble without me more. So it's gosh, I really hate inconveniencing people with my career.

Speaker 2 (29:51)
Exactly. I feel bad for them. I'm like, oh, it's going to happen to their one on one. They're going to need somebody to check in with them. It's not like, oh, my God, that Q is going to catch on fire and we're all going to die. It's exactly like you said.

Speaker 1 (30:02)
And it is one of those other things, too. It's a reflection of how we feel. We are as managers. If I can walk away and feel that things, even if I go on an extended vacation, if I can walk away and I feel like things are not going to be started on vacation. I know, right. Not in our world. But, yeah, if I feel like, hey, things aren't going to collapse about me. I've done a good job. I have set people up for success. I've given them great guardrails and great mentorship.

Speaker 1 (30:30)
Then truly, I can leave and things will be fun. And I can move that with me onto the next place where I'm truly needed. And I think when it comes to being managers, a big part about the intuition around people and nurturing your intuition around people is getting back to like, what I said about understanding who your team is and what their benefits to society are. Really where are they going? I've got to know where they're going, and I either have to start carving a path for them within this company, or I need to start setting them up and not be surprised when they find another opportunity.


Speaker 1 (31:05)
That's also part of our success rate as managers as well. We're not allowing people to stagnate in roles that aren't serving them. We're really focused on helping people where they want to be helped, whether it's personal growth or career growth. And we're leading that by example as well. Right. I'm not going to sit here and stagnate for the good of a report that I'm the only one who really knows how to do. Like, that's dumb. It doesn't make sense. You would never tell one of your employees to do that.

Speaker 1 (31:34)
So you shouldn't be doing it for yourself.

Speaker 2 (31:36)
And I think to circle back to to what you're saying. We're in a really exceptional time for customer experience. Like, I've interviewed hundreds of people at this point and so many of them. One of the questions I always ask is what is something that you're seeing changing in customer experience because I want to know, are they in tune with what's going on? Do they like customer experience? Are they just hiring, wanting to get this job? And so many of the folks bring up of like, when I started in support, it was just like this call center phone calls in and out, putting out dumpster fires.

Speaker 2 (32:05)
And now folks are seeing like, oh, I can grow into customer success I can build out quality assurance. There's just so many opportunities now that live underneath that customer experience and customer support role that I think that folks are coming to realize. And it's great because it gives you as a manager, so much more opportunity to keep those great performers and to keep those people you love working with but still help them be fulfilled and finding new paths for themselves. So, yeah, it's exceptional.

Speaker 1 (32:36)
So what do you think you're going to do next? As you're starting a new role? I know it's a big, open end of question, but I also know that another I think commonality between you and me is that we are always going to be very people centered. And whatever roles we do, I'm either going to be doing some sort of mentorship group where I'm going to be leading a team of people, or I'm going to be focused on building out a global team, whatever it is, where do you think the next rung in the ladder is for you?

Speaker 1 (33:04)
Because you're starting this new job, like, next week, right?

Speaker 2 (33:07)
Two weeks. But, yeah, so soon. I don't know. I love the idea of starting something new because it's like, anything can go. And, of course, you like to dream up all these things and then you get there and they're like, That's not going to work for right now. And you're like, okay, great. Let me reposition this, but I think one of the things that I'd really love to do and fine tune my skills in is being a mentor to people and offering that mentorship even outside of existing management.

Speaker 2 (33:32)
Like, I'm the type of person that listens to mentorship podcast, and I would love to help bring that to other individuals within my network. I think I look at some of the people who are my mentors, and I'm like, I would just love to have people who every once in a while they're like, hey, I have this thing that I'm scrambling with, and I would love to get your opinion on that just seems really fulfilling to me. I think another thing, just from a support and career growth perspective, would be to build out a global support team.

Speaker 2 (34:02)
I've only worked nationally and within the United States, and I think it would be amazing knowing at Platt is very far reaching out at this point. This job gives me the opportunity to be able to do that and see what that looks like. And I'm really excited for the challenge.