Customer Success | 10 MIN READ

Women Leaders in Customer Success 2021

Women in customer success are not left far behind. Here are a few who have broken the glass ceilings with their sheer passion. And the rest is history.

Simran Mohanty
Dec 2, 2020

women in customer success

The birth of the 20th century has arisen many social and psychological changes in our society. What packs a definite punch is the embracement of women in all of the work affairs. On that note, our ideologies too have molded over the years. Women are owning more responsibilities and are emerging to adorn strong leadership competencies. Women in customer success are taking over the town and converting every milestone which was once considered as surreal.

Customer Success as a niche is highly competitive and caters to a large volume of masses. Simply put, this calls for affirmative thought leaders that promise exceptional customer experience that garnishes a competitive edge over the rest. In similar regards, nothing is stopping women from successfully exploring new heights and reaching the pinnacle to success.

In fact, statistics back that up. A report by Forbes states that women were better rated than men on 12 out of 16 leadership strategies. And two of the striking traits where women outscored men were in taking more initiatives and driving for better outcomes that bring in better results.

Today, in this blog we will discuss about such remarkable women who have carved their own stamp in their respective areas of expertise. In no particular order, and not limited to, here is the list of influencers, leaders, and strategists that have broken the glass ceilings with their sheer passion.

women in customer success
Source: Pexels

Catherine Blackmore, GVP, Customer Success, Oracle Marketing Cloud

Catherine Blackmore is said to be the powerhouse in the CS space and innovation. With her glittering career spanning over two decades, her involvement in running world-class customer success strategies is something to remember.

Being a thought leader in the space, her exceptional content is mostly fueled by real-life experiences. Moreover, she has proven her spectacular works in content with an eclectic range covering blogs, eBooks, and white papers as well. To top the list, she has also been voted as one of the Top 50 influencers in the CS niche.

Irit Eizips, CEO, CSM Practice

Irit Eizips has successfully played a crucial role in molding customer success methodologies and some of the best practices. She is currently the CEO of CSM Practices, which is a renowned customer success managing and consulting firm. Moreover, she has been consistently placed in the Top 100 Customer Success Strategists from 2013 to date. Also, she is a notable speaker in most of the customer success conferences.

Allison Pickens, Former Chief Customer Officer, Gainsight

Allison Pickens is a noted thought leader in the customer success niche. She was voted as one of the Top Women in the SaaS industry. Aside from this, she was reckoned as Top 50 people in SaaS and Business Development. Adding a silver feather on her hat, she is a part of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Community too.  

Sue Nabeth Moore, Customer Success Leader and Founder, Success Track Enterprise

Sue Nabeth Moore is reckoned as one of the main evangelists and pioneers in the industry. She is also the founder of Success Track Enterprise which aims at refining, defining, and scaling customer success organizations in and across Europe. Not only that, she is the Co-Founder of Customer Success Mastermind which is a career and training developmental program that aids leaders in evolving their careers. Moreover, she was noted as one of the 7th most influential women to follow in 2018 by Gainsight.

Jeanne Bliss, President, CustomerBliss and Co-founder Customer Experience Professionals’ Association

Jeanne Bliss is an eminent personality when it comes to transforming businesses to earn customer-driven growth. She has coached and mentored over 20,000 leaders and was a 5-time Chief Customer Officer in her career. Her best-selling books center on the subject of customer experience and have been religiously revered globally. Further, she has been honored with a pet name, ‘Godmother of customer experience’ as well.

Julie Hogan, VP, Customer Experience, Drift

Julie Hogan is currently contributing her expertise at Drift. Her career has predominantly zeroed in on the customer experience function and how to consistently ameliorate the customer journey. Additionally, prior to Drift, she has proven her proficiency at HubSpot and Deloitte Consulting. She is also an eminent guest lecturer in the given field.

Christina Crawford Kosmowski, VP, Global Head, Customer Success, Slack

Christina Crawford Kosmowski is notable for spending over two decades in the CS space, in senior leadership positions. Prior to Slack, her role at Salesforce too garnered immense laurels and profitable margins. In fact, she assisted in multiplying the revenue from a mere $30 million to a whopping $8 billion in no time. Now that she is rendering her service at Slack, she is ensuring the best of customer service goes to the clients that pull in massive customer retention and loyalty.

Kristen Hayer, Founder and CEO, The Success League

With an enlightening career spanning over two decades, Kristen Hayer has successfully built and led stellar sales, award-winning marketing, and customer success groups. Further, being the founder of The Success League, she has helped many companies to create excellent customer success teams. She sternly believes that customer success should be at the heart of any business.

Kristi Faltorusso, VP, Customer Success, IntelliShift

Kristi Faltorusso is a Customer Success Executive with vast knowledge in scaling, building, and transforming customer success companies. Moreover, in her previous roles too, she has aided many organizations in enhancing customer retention and imbuing long-term growth.

Kia Puhm, Founder and CEO, DesierdPath

Kia Puhm is one of the undoubted pioneers in the Customer Experience niche. She leads businesses through disciplined, customer-centric approaches to results in augmented customer loyalty and revenue. Further, with her career spanning over 22 years, she has proven a track record of developing new business practices and deliver better on customer commitments.

Emilia D’Anzica, Founder and CEO, Customer Success Advisor

Emilia owns a reputation for assisting organizations, build scalable customer success, and helping individuals to boost up their careers. Further, she is a Catalyst Coaching Corner Mentor and a Governing Counselor in the Customer Success Leadership Network.

Annette Franz, Founder and CEO, CX Journey Inc.

Annette Franz is quite famous for co-hosting the #CXChat that goes live on Twitter on a weekly basis. Currently, she also serves as an executive member in the CXPA (Customer Experience Professionals Association).

With her career spanning over 25 years, she has helped mentor and guide other professionals in the space and supported them in advancing their careers. Further, this includes helping companies know and understand their clients and identifying the factors that drive customer engagement and satisfaction. Over and above, she is an avid writer and speaker as well.

Sue Duris, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, M4 Communications

Sue Duris is a digital marketer and customer experience strategist. Over 20 years, she has led the market, products, and CX initiatives in the SaaS niche. She is also a proficient writer and regularly pens for M4 Communications. Moreover, her blogs put a laser-beam focus on deriving customer experience insights for benevolent growth and revenue.

One of her strong facets includes portraying employee experience (EX) as the sole driver behind loyalty, advocacy, and customer retention programs. She mainly zeroes in on some of the key indicators of customer success such as the voice of the customer, relevant and related metrics, and customer journey mapping.

Maria Martinez, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Experience Officer, Cisco

Maria Martinez is a seasoned professional in this CS space. If you are talking about women in the customer success industry, she cannot just be missed out on! Here in Cisco, she delves into the multi-billion services and organizations that are mostly responsible for augmenting a customer transform their business via the company’s stellar portfolio of software and subscription offerings.

Maranda Ann Dziekonshi, VP, Customer Success, and People Operations, Swiftly, Inc

Maranda is a customer-facing operations leader in the industry. She has been in the business for over two decades and has designed some of the best customer-facing teams. Moreover, she has a proven experience in scaling and creating customer success and customer service in B2B and B2C format. Not just that, she is extremely passionate about setting up the right systems, team, and infrastructure and takes the company to the next level.

Ellie Wu, Senior Director, Customer Experience Transformation, SAP Concur

Ellie Wu has played an instrumental role in transforming hyper-growth SaaS to multinational corporations. Some of her notable works include serving the Board of Advisors for Women in Cloud. She has also led community experiences at TEDxSeattle. Further, she has worked with teams and executives to revamp their outcomes with employees and clients.

Irene Lefton, Acting VP, Customer Success, EmpInfo

Irene too has carved her impressionable stance in the CS field. She is known for navigating highly charged customer cases to align with their expectations and drive positive outcomes. Additionally, she was one of the influencers in the 2018 Top 100 Customer Success Strategists. She is also the author of the book titled, ‘Who Speaks for the Customer’.

Rhonda Basler, Director, Customer Engagement, Hallmark Business Connections

Rhonda Basler has had an excellent journey from working in outbound customer service contact centers to being the Director. Moreover, she has been in the industry for over 15 years and had brought in massive expertise in data-driven marketing for the brand. Insightful approach and deep analytical skills have led her to reach that point.

Her contribution and role in revamping and ameliorating Hallmark’s newer customer care solution have transformed into an everlasting solution for the contact centers in the niche. Now, Hallmark has successfully placed itself as a memorable and meaningful solution provider that enhances business relationships with both, customers and employees.

Lauren Costella, VP, Customer Success, GoodTime.io

Lauren is a strong leader, communicator, and champion in the customer success field. She was one of the top 25 CS Influencers in 2020 and serves as a board member for CS Leadership Network as well. Moreover, she provides consultative service and mentoring facilities too, and shares all of them in her blog – The CS Playlist.

Mary Poppen, Chief Customer Officer, Glint, Inc

Mary has over 15 years of experience in leadership and business consulting. She is an excellent speaker and has published research work pertaining to the industry. Aside from this, she is also a member of the International Women in Leadership Association as well.

Donna Weber, President and Customer Onboarding Leader, Springboard Solutions

Donna Weber is a renowned customer success strategist and thought leader. She has a stronghold at decreasing customer time to first value and increasing product adoption and usage. Further, she helps companies in scaling the customer success quotient and maximizing customer lifetime value too.

Swati Garg, Founder and Managing Director, Melo Associates

Swati Garg too is an eminent personality in the CS space. She assists companies in creating opportunities that mutually benefit the organization and the customer and ensure that professional satisfaction is met. Prior to her time in Melo Associates, she served her role in Just Resr, Inc. and CuSP: A Customer Success Community too.

That’s a Wrap

This was just a tiny glimpse of these wonder women and their wonderful contributions to the customer success niche. Moreover, these ladies are on their route, paving their way to gather the most of business and revenue profits. Their strategic and superior ideas help in streamlining the goals and adding value to the company’s mission and vision. Aside from the ones mentioned in the list, many other superwomen are equally great at their respective roles too.

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Originally Published December 2nd, 2020, Updated July 20th, 2021

Simran Mohanty

Simran hails from the content marketing backdrop with extensive knowledge in blogs, articles, and technical whitepapers in the non-fictional domain. She uses her 'gift of the gab' to explore new possibilities on her way and to make an exquisite impact on her readers. In her spare time, she likes to read journals on artificial intelligence or play with her cute kittens. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

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