Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota with 2 younger sisters. As a child, I was very active and spent many years competing as a gymnast and could often be found at the top of the highest tree. I enjoyed many outdoor activities with a particular love for fishing.
What was your first job out of school?
I started in data entry at a small software company and quickly started taking on additional projects. I never said no to any project, no matter how far outside my expertise it may have been at the time.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
One of the most critical moments in my career was when I was contacted to interview at a startup health and wellness company almost 8 years ago. The company was not close to my home and I was not sure I would want to work that far away, but accepted the interview. After the interview, I knew I wanted to work at a company that wanted to help people live healthier lives. I joined as a Quality Assurance Analyst and loved what the company stood for. I climbed the ranks and eventually found myself in an operational role, as Sr. Director of our Consumer Support Operations. At the time of assuming the role our support costs were very high, service was not great and time to resolution was far too long with a backlog of 2,000+ tickets for our T2 team. Within 18 months everything was turned around. I used my technical background and data analysis to determine what changes would result in the biggest wins, and I partnered with cross-functional leaders across the organization to make the necessary changes to get consumer satisfaction and our operational metrics back on track. Within 18 months of me assuming leadership of the function, consumer support costs were reduced by $2M a year, and tickets in the backlog were less than 100. That was when I found my true passion in operational efficiency.
Over the course of 8 years with the company we grew in size and were eventually acquired by Virgin Pulse. The acquisition opened up a lot of opportunities for me and is the reason I am where I am today. As Vice President of Technical Operations I get to work on improving operational efficiency in a number of areas of the business.
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
I always said I wanted to be an efficiency expert, but never quite knew what job that was. With a passion for streamlining processes and incorporating technology to solve problems, I found the perfect role to do just that. Looking back, this was not where I thought I would be professionally, but I get to work on improving operations every day and that is exactly what I wanted to do.
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?
Always accept new challenges, even if you do not feel it aligns with your ultimate career choice. You may pick up a project one day and find that is where your passion is. Never say no to a project where you have the chance to learn something new. No matter how busy you become, always take care of your health. Living a healthy lifestyle has a large impact on the quality of your work.
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
Problem solving skills are extremely important in this role, as is patience, determination and follow through.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s most challenging?
The most rewarding part of my work is that our company’s goal is to help people live healthier lives and change their lives for good.
The most challenging part of my work is that I am continuing to learn new things, but that is also my favorite part of my job.
Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?
I enjoy volunteering for both of my kids’ activities. I am the President of the Fishing Team Booster club at my son’s school, I volunteer at many school sporting events and PTO functions.
What’s next for you and your career?
I am really loving what I do and the progress we have made as a company. I plan to continue to look for new challenges to help our company grow and succeed.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I am married to a wonderful man and have 2 very active children. Most of my free time is spent with my family. We love to snowboard in the winter and we enjoy many water sports and outdoor activities in the summer.
How do you manage stress?
This is always a balancing act for me. Some would say you should relax to manage stress and I operate very much the opposite. To relieve stress I jog, take my dog for a walk, bake, garden or just get outdoors.
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
Although I never start my morning without coffee, I do limit myself to only 1 or 2 cups per day.
What's one of your favorite places in the Boston/New York area?
I recently found myself in the Back Bay area of Boston and had dinner at Coppa, which was wonderful. I found the Back Bay area really nice to stroll through.
Any book or podcast recommendations?
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. I read this book in high school and it just stuck with me. Although a fiction novel, I found the concept and different view of the world very interesting.
What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
Always look for new challenges, you never know what is right around the corner. Do not let your degree limit what career path you take. If something feels right and you are passionate about it, explore it, you never know where it might lead.
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