Lead(H)er Profile - Lauren Hughes, Senior Director of Customer Success Strategy and Operations at Forrester banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Lauren Hughes, Senior Director of Customer Success Strategy and Operations at Forrester

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Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Lauren Hughes, Senior Director of Customer Success Strategy and Operations at Forrester

Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up on the East Coast of the United States as the oldest of three girls. Due to my dad’s job, we moved every few years. Because we were not tied to any location, we spent a good portion of each summer traveling. My favorite trips were to Kenya, China and the National Parks in Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I majored in Economics in college and had the opportunity to study abroad in Australia. I didn’t have a job when I graduated from college, so I moved to Washington DC and worked as a temp until I was hired by Arthur Andersen to conduct transfer pricing studies for global companies. 

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

After working for three years, I went back to school to get my MBA. I took Managerial Effectiveness with Chip Heath, who later co-authored Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. This class and this book were pivotal in introducing me to the idea that as humans, we’re not resistant to change. In fact, the rational part of our brain seeks change. And with the right environment and systems in place, the emotional part of our brain can be a powerful proponent of change.

After business school, I worked for Ford Motor Company in a marketing leadership program. This program allowed me to experience different marketing roles, including brand management, but most importantly gave me the incredible opportunity to race a NASCAR!

My next job was as a Total Economic Impact Consultant at Forrester, a role that was foundational in how I solve problems. I learned that everything is measurable and quantifying the financial impact of a decision or investment leads to much better results. I’ve now been with Forrester for a total of 16 years, with a recent two-year hiatus to spend more time with my family. I’ve had many roles, from consultant, to leading the acquisition of a data business, to running organizational design initiatives, to transforming Sales Operations. I love ideas and Forrester, at its core, is an ideas company. Each role has allowed me to learn about a new function, tap into Forrester analysts to explore how to work differently, and then execute on those ideas.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

My current role is Senior Director of Customer Success Strategy and Operations, and my remit is to profitably grow recurring revenue for Forrester. My work is to ensure that through Customer Success we not only on drive client outcomes but also measure the impact for our clients of achieving those outcomes. This is unchartered territory for Customer Success and is exciting work.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

I’ve never really had a plan for my career so much as I’ve been drawn to solve interesting problems. At Forrester, the culture is one of pushing boundaries and doing things in new ways, so it’s been a great fit. 

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?

Everyone has a set of skills that make them uniquely valuable in the workforce. Think of the work that you are most proud of and consider why you, and not anyone else, were able to get the results that you did. Do you like problem solving, do you enjoy helping clients achieve their goals, do you love organizational dynamics, or analytics? If you can articulate the three things that in combination, make you tick, you can find work that will not only be meaningful to you but also work in which you’ll be highly successful.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Winning the Chief Sales Officer Award, and a trip to Hawaii, for my work leading Sales Operations.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Travel! Here is my family in Iceland learning how to snowmobile over a very rocky glacier.

Lauren Hughes Forrester

How do you manage stress?

For me, exercise, and time outside are key. I try to run or walk every day and if it’s sunny out, spend some time gardening.

Any book or podcast recommendations? 

On a professional level, I recommend (in addition to Switch): Customer Success: How Innovative Companies are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue; Radical Outcomes; and Measure What Matters.

I have two teenagers, so I listen to a lot of parenting podcasts; so on a personal level, my two favorite podcasts are Ask Lisa with Dr. Lisa Damour and Flusterclux with Lynn Lyons.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

I believe strongly in Daniel Pink’s work which states that the key drivers of motivation are mastery, autonomy, and purpose, with purpose as the main driver. Keep looking for the organization where you connect with the why; why the company exists. In that organization, you will find the most opportunity to grow and develop.

About the

At Forrester, we’re bold. We make big moves, transform businesses, and define the future. We’re the people who challenge, who innovate, who dare to discover. We’re a community of smart people and vibrant voices coming together to do what’s right by our clients and each other. Our success is driven by curiosity, courage, and customer obsession. Here you can be bold at work. Join us and build an extraordinary future.


With you, we’re not just bold. We’re bold, together.

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