Lead(H)er Profile - Heather Bentley, SVP Customer Success & Support at Mimecast
Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in a small town in upstate NY called Cambridge. As a child, I was very studious and loved the outdoors. I was very fortunate to live in a place where you could go outside for walks. I liked to read and was very musical. I would have to say I was always curious and loved new experiences and learning new things.
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
I studied Business and Management Information Systems at Wake Forest University. I was a Technical Support Engineer in my first job and learned a lot about empathy. Most of my customers worked for non-profit organizations and were not very computer literate. The lessons I learned there have followed me throughout my career.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
I am one of those unique people who has done almost every role in their scope of responsibility at some point in my career. I have provided front line support, done professional services and training at customer site, and customer success management. I have also held every leadership post along the way from frontline manager to SVP. One of the biggest things I did for my career was move to Europe. It helped me grow from Manager to Director level and increased my global awareness. Partnering with other business units outside of support and services also helped increase my business acumen and played a key part in being selected for more senior opportunities.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
I am currently the global SVP of Customer Success and Support, responsible for Technical Support, Professional Services, and Customer Success. I sit on the Mimecast ExCo team representing the customer journey.
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
I have always wanted to be successful, so I believe this aligns with where I hoped I would be. I have been very fortunate to work with a number of amazing people who have had a great impact on my life.
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?
Don’t ever stop asking questions and always put yourself forward for opportunities that stretch you. Don’t stay too long with one company- I probably made that mistake. Moving around gives you different experiences and also makes you more well rounded.
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
Empathy, Business Acumen, Emotional Intelligence, and the ability to make decisions.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s most challenging?
I enjoy working with people from all over the world and being part of a diverse team. I appreciate the various points of view that different experiences bring to the table. Probably one of the most challenging is a result of being a truly global team and trying to make sure that I am available for my team members all over the world.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I earned my MBA while holding a full time job, got a technical Security certification, and helping many of my team members reach their goals
Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?
I am an Assistant Scout Leader and do a variety of activities to promote STEM in my local community.
What’s next for you and your career?
Right now, I am really excited doing what I am doing. Very few people get to do what they enjoy doing. I love the fact that I get to help customers stay safe from emerging cyber security threats and develop my team members to be the best they can be.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my two Shih Tzu’s, going for walks, SUP (standup paddleboarding), camping, and cooking.
How do you manage stress?
I try to stay active and spend time with my dogs
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
No more than 2- morning only! My time in the UK ensures I drink tea in the afternoons and evenings.
What's one of your favorite places in the Boston/New York area?
I have a soft spot for upstate NY.
Any book or podcast recommendations?
I really enjoy fiction stories. If you haven’t heard of the Rivers of London series, I would recommend it.
What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
Do something that you are passionate about and work in a job that is meaningful to you. Make sure that the mission and values of the organization align to you personally. It is hard to work in an organization that doesn’t share your views.