Samantha Loveland is vice president of Customers for Life at FinancialForce.com, a cloud ERP provider on the Salesforce1 Platform. Samantha has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software and customer experience management. She is also an advisor to BrightTalk, a powerful marketing platform that accelerates business and professional growth through videos and webinars.
Prior to joining FinancialForce.com, she was a member of the management team at Yammer, which was successfully acquired by Microsoft. During her time there, Samantha ran the Customer Engagement organization worldwide. Before that, she held roles as vice president at Salesforce, where she ran Customer Success and other services teams, and senior manager at Deloitte Consulting, where she was focused on CRM and its impact to industries.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
Living abroad in my earlier years has really shaped how I work and has allowed me to be more understanding of people's cultures and differences. Also, having kids has helped to make me more balanced. I'd say in my earlier years of working, I was much more intense and everything had to be done my way. Once I had kids, I had to learn to be more flexible, learn how to compromise and that there are different ways of doing things.
How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at FinancialForce.com?
I joined FinancialForce.com following long stints running customer programs at big companies like Salesforce, Yammer and Microsoft. Having been engrained in complex customer programs previously, I've learned how to be highly strategic while quickly grasping deep technical aspects of a client's industry and products which I think has been a major positive in joining FinancialForce.com. I was excited to join the growing team and lead the Customers for Life program - it's an invigorating time where I have been able to use my background and hit the ground running to reimagine what a successful customer program looks like.
What advice can you offer to women who are seeking a career in the tech industry?
Be flexible in your career and make decisions that you are happy with at the end of the day. Your career will not end up being what you think it will be when you start out, and that is okay. Be open to different opportunities, learning different trades and skills (I started out as a developer!) and be willing to ask for help when you need it.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Balance is a personal choice and with today's modern workforce, I've been able to work different hours in order to fit my personal schedule, which includes having two very active kids! When I was younger I was very focused on my career as many young, driven people are, but having a family of course changes things. Sometimes you must prioritize the people and hobbies important to you outside of work. Adjusting hours and setting clear expectations with coworkers are easy ways to make time for things outside of the office.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Like it or not, there is still a gender gap. Looking at the numbers, there are very few women CEOs in tech. The gap still exists but I do think we are further along than we used to be. There are more opportunities and resources for women in tech than ever before and I love that women are inventors, entrepreneurs and solving complex problems. In terms of issues, employers need to continue to look at quality of work and not just who is the loudest in the room or how long they are at the office for. For women, my advice is to be confident in your abilities as an employee and never apologize for doing your job or for being a mother, a wife or a friend. Too many women, and men for that matter, apologize instead of standing up for themselves or finding a smart solution to a problem at hand.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Having mentors and a strong network of people that I can connect with on any issue, win or challenge has been invaluable and I don't think I would have been so successful without that network. Having mentors and being one myself has opened my eyes to understanding issues that others face in the workplace and at home. That line is blurred more often than not these days so to have people that can offer advice and champion for you is irreplaceable. Everyone should have people to reach out to at any point in your career. It truly can make a difference.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at FinancialForce.com?
A major highlight has been watching and helping the team grow and mature. I am also proud of the new initiatives we've put in place during my time at FinancialForce.com thus far including 24x7 global customer support, Community 2.0 and creating a more scalable CSM (Customer Success) team. Challenges thus far have been keeping up with the rapid pace of growth and making sure we keep our fantastic culture in place along the way.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Sheryl Sandberg. She has been able to balance her career and her family and it's great to see strong women be able to do that in the Silicon Valley and be so open about it with other women. We need more people like her out there paving the way for us.
What do you want FinancialForce.com to accomplish in the next year?
I want our customers to really be our evangelists and have them talk about how wildly successful they are with FinancialForce.com. The stories and the buzz that our customers create are tremendous and is a great way to fuel our growth and the expansion of our customer community. We are also really focused on how we can provide better self-service capabilities for our customers as we know their time is valuable and many would like to just go to one place, quickly search, and get the answer they want.