Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in Jerusalem, Israel and moved to Boston in 2014. (Right in time for the worst winter on record – the weather only could improve from there.)
As a child, I was outdoorsy and carefree. Times were simpler then! As I grew, I discovered a passion for aviation and wanted to be a pilot. I trained in gliding and aeronautics during middle and high school. When I joined the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) upon graduating high school, women weren’t allowed to be pilots, so I was unable to continue that track.
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
Following two years with the IDF, I went to Hadassah College Jerusalem (HCJ) in Israel to pursue a degree in Computer Science B.Sc. Unsurprisingly, there were few women who attended the program.
While earning my degree, I started my first role as a Network Operations Center technician or NOC Operator. In Israel, it is common to start your first job while in university.
The role was at a VoIP startup — a technology that was just emerging at that time. The company was small, but it was a vibrant culture, and I was working on cutting-edge technology. This experience gave me my first glimpse into innovation and entrepreneurship.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
In my last year of college, I moved to a new role with Comverse Technology, a flagship Israeli tech company.
While very different than the VoIP startup, both organizations offered cultures with a sense of family and belonging. I was drawn to the mission and people. It’s very similar to what drew me to Aqua — the values and the team.
I grew a tremendous amount during my 14 years with Comverse and progressed from a software developer to a software team leader to eventually a software project manager and then a senior program and project manager. My responsibilities expanded from strictly development to business-oriented strategic leadership. Although I spent many years with one company, it was a dynamic, fast-paced environment, and my role was constantly evolving.
In addition to the pivotal moments, I also think of the critical people who impacted my career path, and my mentors along the years. My mother had a significant influence. She is a strong independent woman, who balanced family and work. She was able to be very present in our household but also had her own path. She showed me that women can have their own career, and she inspired me to pursue all of my passions.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
At Aqua, I lead the global Customer Success department and oversee a team of over 25 amazing CSMs (and growing!). Our team is responsible for the customer journey beginning at day one, focused on maximizing adoption and value in their goal of securing their cloud native applications and infrastructure.
We have a 360 view of the customer’s experience and act as trusted advisors and advocates internally for Aqua’s customers. We partner with Aqua’s engineering and product teams and prioritize new integrations or features that are requested by customers. We see ourselves as an extension of our customers’ teams to ensure they are successful. In other words, we help amplify the voice of the customer.
Aqua is maturing its customer success offerings rapidly, and I’m responsible for building our global team. We are expanding into new regions including Singapore, Australia, Europe and across the United States -— we plan to hire 15 ppl in 2022 (so check out our openings!).
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
Not exactly. Customer success is still a relatively new profession that really emerged within the last 15 years.
I was always drawn to roles that required collaboration with key stakeholders across multiple departments. I’ve also always had a passion for both the interpersonal side as well as the technical. Moving into customer success was a natural evolution. Each role I held throughout my career helped prepare and shape me for my current role.
For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?
I was the first Customer Success Manager at Aqua (I’ve been promoted 4 times since I was hired if it shows anything about the opportunity for growth at Aqua!). I can say that perseverance, hard work and the drive to learn is what’s helped me be successful.
Those who are considering customer success need to enjoy working with people and see customers beyond the numbers. It requires dedication and a “do whatever it takes” mindset to help customers achieve their goals.
I’d also stress the importance of investing the time to understand product, the market, and trends. This is the foundation for success.
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
Grit and flexibility along with the right balance of technical and interpersonal skills. You need to be able to build partnerships internally and externally.
Project management skills are also essential. You must be detail oriented but also strategic and able to see the bigger picture to set goals (and work backwards to achieve those goals).
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?
I love being a part of a company that is growing so quickly (aka a high growth unicorn!). I can see firsthand how my contribution has a direct impact on the company’s success.
A challenge I face, like many in cybersecurity and tech, is hiring in a dynamic and competitive market. We are extremely focused on retaining talent and nurturing professional growth within the company. I think this is unique differentiator at Aqua that is helping set us apart.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I left my role at Comverse after 14 years to move to Boston with my husband, three boys and our dog. We left our family and friends for a new city and new careers. When I landed my role at Aqua, it was my first role in customer success, and I embraced the opportunity. I spent weeks learning the market and the technology and simultaneously understanding our customers and their needs.
I built a new “Aqua” family in Boston and at the same time built the company’s first customer success team from its inception to a robust program with 28 people today. The opportunity to drive the processes and create the programs have been very rewarding. We continue to listen to customer feedback and are always evolving and improving. It's really exciting!
Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?
I participate in executive MVP customer success forums, and I volunteer with both the Israeli Scouts and the Israeli American Council Community Leadership Forum. I also act as an internal mentor within Aqua.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I am very active and a bit of a workout junkie. I enjoy a range of activities including yoga, soul cycle, lifting, rowing, biking, running and triathlons. I love the outdoors, the beach, hiking with my boys, dogs and husband and also traveling.
I also like to carve out time for healthy cooking and baking as well. I am proud to say I just won the first annual dessert contest at Aqua with my mini tiramisus!
How do you manage stress?
See above! Being active is my secret.
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
Too many to count. More than 3 — we'll leave it at that.
Any book or podcast recommendations?
I like to listen to Customer Success podcasts. One in particular I like is Planhat:
I read a lot of leadership books and anything related to well-being and health.
What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
- Start networking as early as possible. You never know where opportunities will come from!
- When the time comes for an interview, preparation is key. Put in the effort, it will show.
- Lastly, don’t settle. Take the right role where you are happy, challenged and find the right cultural fit.
I understand it’s competitive as a new graduate, but look for companies that welcome young, emerging talent. Aqua for example has an associate, entry-level program where we take recent grads. This has been really successful for both Aqua and the incoming talent. Hard work is acknowledged and rewarded, and these team members are moving up the ladder quickly.