#LifeAtUdemy Spotlight: Meet Our Global Customer Success Team
Our customer success team creates thoughtful solutions to best support our customers’ unique needs. As our team continues to expand worldwide, we sat down with five teammates to talk about their roles, the impact they make and how they’ve grown their careers at Udemy.
Meet Stephen Macko, a manager for commercial customer success based in San Francisco, California
In the three years I’ve been here, I’ve grown my career from individual contributor to manager. I’ve taken the lessons I’ve learned from working with my manager and adapted them for my own approach.
My manager – like many of the managers on this team – always encouraged me to look at different roles within the company, even ones outside customer success. She gave me the opportunity to take courses and reach out to people on teams I was curious about. Through this process, I realized becoming a manager for customer success was the right move for me. Although I didn’t have enough experience to move into that role at first, my manager helped me identify skills gaps and coached me so I could eventually get promoted.
Now as a manager, I take a similar approach with my team. I’m very open about my career journey and encourage teammates to be transparent about their goals so I can help them build up their competencies. I also always keep an ear out for opportunities. Whether it’s a new role, a complex project that touches multiple teams or a new L&D offering, I connect teammates to these opportunities so they can continue to grow.
What makes someone successful on the customer success team?
Two qualities stand out: a sense of genuine curiosity and resourcefulness. Every customer has a unique use case for our products, and different factors can influence how the products need to evolve. The best customer success managers (CSMs) take time to learn about their customers, ask deep questions and understand why these initiatives are important to their entire organization.
From there, resourcefulness helps them track down and field information. The sheer amount of content and enablement for all our products can be overwhelming, but the CSMs who proactively seek it out are the ones who see a lot of success. They also have the highest retention numbers because they bring thoughtful insights to the customer conversation.
Meet Laura Berg, a customer success manager based in Hamburg, Germany
I’m excited to have more Germans join the company because it helps customers see that even though we’re headquartered in America, we’re truly an international company focused on delivering a customer experience relevant to each customer’s local context. Having local connections and native speakers means we can build trust with the many wonderful German companies here and can offer more value to them faster.
Udemy’s vision and mission drew me to join the company. This is a great opportunity to help local companies expand their learning capabilities so they can improve lives through learning. We’re just getting started in Germany, and as we help more and more German customers create learning strategies that work for them, the entire region will see success!
How are you supported in your career development?
Udemy embodies a learning culture that encourages you to stay curious, experiment, fail and grow. I don’t think I could work for a company that didn’t have this refreshing mindset, and it’s the reason I’ve stayed for the last three years.
Naturally, this mindset leads to a culture of growth. Udemy is very sophisticated when it comes to career paths. They’re always looking to guide teammates on their career journeys. When I started on a limited contract for the content team, I knew I wanted to continue with the company once my contract ended. At that time, we were ramping up in the German market and my manager saw the value I could bring to the team as a native speaker with connections to the region. She worked with me to find opportunities to stay, which led me to a role in instructor partnerships.
But my career journey didn’t stop there. When I was ready for a new challenge, my manager again helped me figure out which teams my skills would transfer well to. Through this guidance, connection and coaching, I moved into customer success and am constantly presented with opportunities to grow within my role and team. What I appreciate most about working here is the thought and care that goes into our professional growth. I don’t have to leave the company to do something different or reinvent my career.
Meet Marina Nitoumbi, a customer success manager in Dublin, Ireland
I’ve enjoyed improving lives through learning at Udemy for the last three years. After working on the content team for two years, I felt I could support our customers with their learning programs and strategies even more, so I considered transitioning into a French customer success manager position.
When the customer success team’s leadership and managers welcomed me to apply for the role, I approached a few team members to learn more. They were very open to sharing about their responsibilities, what’s fun, what’s challenging and the skills required to succeed.
It meant a lot to me to be given the opportunity to try a new career and to be trusted not only on the basis of my experience but also my potential. I’m one year in and I couldn’t dream of a better team or think of a better place to grow as a customer success manager!
How would you describe your team’s culture?
I’m lucky to be part of a team of individuals with different career journeys, personalities and perspectives. I learn a lot from them and I feel comfortable being myself, which reflects two of our values at Udemy: always learning and earnestly authentic. In other words, be curious and inclusive, ask questions and debate ideas!
I’m also very grateful for my supportive colleagues. From day one, they’ve been approachable and prompt to answer any questions I had. They’re always willing to help and celebrate wins!
Meet Adriana Solis, a customer success manager based in San Francisco, California
When I first joined, I was given a book of business with some rocky relationships. It took a lot of conversations, patience and empathy to push past this tension and get to a point where I could be a true, trusted partner. One of my toughest customers recently said to me, “We’ve come a long way, and I really appreciate where we are now. I see the value of this partnership and how we can be programmatic to match our business outcomes and big focuses.” I’m proud of that moment. It showed me what I was capable of, even when the odds were stacked against me.
Generally, the job has challenged me because it’s different from what I’ve experienced in previous roles. It’s shown me the value of continuous learning and experimentation, and how to think creatively to meet the different needs of our customers. The ability to do that helped me turn these relationships around to the point where customers weren’t just renewing with us, but also expanding with us.
What motivates you to do your best work each day?
I’m recognized for my hard work. During my first year, I received an award for customer retention and went to the President’s Club trip to Costa Rica.
Recognition aside, my teammates motivate me. I’ve never been surrounded by colleagues who are this smart and who always challenge me to do great work every day. We’re always thinking of new ways to improve, whether it’s building new resources to support the team or collaborating with other internal teams to create solutions for our customers. I love seeing the impact I can make on the team as we scale and evolve.
Meet Marlon Herft, a senior director and the head of customer success based in Melbourne, Australia
I’m grateful for the opportunity, challenge and abundance of it all. Access to knowledge inspires change, and organizations hold a lot of power globally. With APAC essentially making up two-thirds of the world’s population, we’re afforded a tremendous chance to help so many customers, fundamentally impacting millions of people’s lives and changing the world for the better. It’s an amazing time at our company as our Melbourne location continues to grow and our reach across the region expands.
From a team growth perspective, we employ a team-first philosophy and treat our Udemy values as verbs. Our people have genuine humility, are inherently curious and always look to challenge the status quo. CSMs in APAC experience cultural differences and business nuances, giving them a broad familiarity with our geography. They embrace the tension and often the unknown of learning how to work with different regions with empathy and a growth mindset. This offers them endless opportunities to develop their careers here.
How do you help your team feel connected to Udemy as a whole?
For the last 20 years, I’ve worked for e-learning companies, all of which were based in the US. I’ve never worked for a company that has had as genuine care for the APAC region as Udemy does. My manager, Stephanie Stapleton, ensures I’m connected so there are no boundaries, despite our location and time zones. Beyond that, our executives rotate things like our global company All Hands events to be time-zone friendly.
Our APAC team is mission-driven and that’s what built an outstanding camaraderie. We work closely with our cross-functional teams to deliver the best possible experience for our customers and do the best work of our lives. We also find opportunities to highlight our team’s successes and ensure we have a voice in shaping how our region will continue to expand. This goes a long way in helping our team feel connected to Udemy’s decisions and growth.
Let’s revolutionize learning. Check out our open customer success roles worldwide here and apply today!