Career Path: Bridget Jay, VP of Client Services at Qstream
What does the career path and day in the life look like for the VP of Client Services at Qstream?
We interviewed Bridget Jay to find out!
Where did you grow up? What did your parents do for work? What was your very first job?
I was born and raised in Norfolk, Massachusetts – a small town located 40 minutes south of Boston. My father worked two jobs during my childhood and taught me the importance of hard work and respect. He was a self-employed painter during the day and a captain at Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Norfolk at night (Yep, that’s a prison!). My mother worked as a manager at Norfolk Community Credit Union while raising my brother and me.
I started working when I was 15 years old. My first job was at Bourque Restaurant in Norfolk where I waitressed on the weekends and ran the ice cream window in the afternoon and evening. I worked there part-time through both high school and college. While waitressing was not the most glamorous job and required waking up at 6 AM on the weekends (a challenging task for any high school or college-aged kid), it was a great experience and allowed me to develop critical skills that have helped me in my career. Waiting tables taught me how to remain calm under pressure, think on my feet, and multi-task. Working with the other waitresses required a significant amount of teamwork and waiting on customers required effective communication and great interpersonal skills. I learned at a very young age that happy customers are loyal customers and loyal customers are great for business.
Where did you go to college? What did you study?
I attended UMass Dartmouth and majored in art & English. If you told me then that I’d end up working in accounting and implementing software, I would probably say you were crazy.
What were some of your first jobs out of college? How did they lay the foundation for what you are doing now?
My first job was in the finance department at Bain & Company. Over the years I had various positions (accounts payable supervisor, operational accounting manager, investment services analyst), then moved on to larger project management roles, mainly focused on internal business process and information systems projects. This was my first experience with managing a diverse group of internal customers, learning to work cross-functionally, and driving collaboration.
This role became the perfect bridge to my next job at Monitor Group. There I also served as an operational accounting manager supporting several groups, while also leading a number of significant rollouts for new internal systems and business processes. The largest of these was the implementation of a new, worldwide financial system for 1,500 consultants and global finance staff, including business process analysis, project management, end-user training, and program development and delivery, including best practices design and documentation. It also involved a lot of travel, including a world tour just two weeks before my wedding! I’ll never forget the experience of trying to make final plans for my wedding in New Hampshire from a hotel room in Hong Kong!
You started your career as a Senior Client Services Consultant at Qstream, and since then, you’ve been promoted multiple times to your current role as VP of Client Services. Can you share the details on how you worked your way into your current role?
As is often the case in a startup, my role grew and morphed as the company and our client base grew. I was employee #14 at Qstream and the first member of the Client Services team in the US. This gave me the opportunity to design and build the function almost from scratch – creating all the systems, processes, presentations, implementation plans, and documentation, as well as hiring and training other colleagues over time. But what’s been consistent over my four-year tenure is my opportunity to partner with our clients, understand their needs, and then translate those into a program plan that ensures both the client and Qstream can be successful. That also means partnering with my internal peers as well – in Sales, Marketing, Product/Engineering, & Customer Success – to deliver the best possible customer experience, celebrate our successes, and apply the lessons learned.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position at Qstream?
My primary job is to direct the team of global client services consultants who assist and support our customers and partners every day. This includes pre-sales consulting, onboarding and training, implementation support, reporting and ongoing project management and consulting.
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
Coffee, and lots of it!
What time do you get into the office?
It varies, but I’m usually at my desk in Burlington by 8:30 each morning. However, it’s not unusual for me to take calls from home in the early morning or respond to emails from our clients located in different time zones across the world.
What time do you head out of the office?
Again, it varies, but I try to leave by 6:30 unless there is a need to support one of our West Coast or APAC clients later in the evening.
Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?
I’m almost always doing some type of work later at night after my two boys are settled and my husband is watching a sporting event on TV.
What are the apps that you can’t live without?
Evernote to keep my work life organized and Cozi Calendar to manage our family schedule which is taken up mostly with hockey, lacrosse, golf, and baseball practices and games for my kids.
What professional accomplishment are you proudest of?
Moving out of my comfort zone (20 years working in the finance department at a management consulting firm) into a new career at a technology startup and being as successful as I have in my five years with Qstream. I’m especially proud of the world-class services team we’ve built here.
Who do you admire or call upon for professional advice?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really great people throughout my career. If I had to pick one, I’d say that my manager at Bain & Company and Monitor Group (Alan Harris) is the best professional role model I’ve ever had. I worked for Alan for more than 20 years and believe that his coaching, mentoring and leadership allowed me to achieve success throughout my career. Alan’s work ethic, commitment, and dedication to his job and his staff were unmatched. I still do things on a daily basis that I learned from Alan whether it be building up my team and making them understand how much they’re valued, or working extra hours to be sure everything is taken care of and nothing slips through the cracks. Even now, he’s one of the first people I call when I have good news about reaching a professional milestone or need advice. I constantly aspire to have that kind of positive impact on the people that I manage.