August 24th marks our 10-year anniversary as a company with our first-ever Customer Appreciation Day. (You can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #AppirioLoves) In today’s competitive technology landscape, it’s easy to lose sight of the people behind the technology: talented workers and customers alike. At Appirio, we recognize that you don’t get to a milestone like this without the support of truly incredible customers every step of the way.
To get this party started, we decided to highlight a few of our customers — customers who inspire us as people. We asked what challenges they’ve faced professionally, the best advice they’ve been given over the years, what drives them, who they are outside of work… We asked; they answered.
Lisa Feiler, HRIS Director at Moen Incorporated
My family owns an Italian bakery (Baraona’s Bakery) that has been serving the Cleveland area since 1949. My great-grandfather founded the business and it has since been passed down over generations. From a very young age, I worked at the bakery — filling cannoli, scraping baking pans, and folding boxes. That instilled a strong work ethic in me, teaching me to always work hard at whatever I do.
At the same time, my grandmother always said to be sure to save money for yourself and take a vacation every year, no matter what. I try to live by this philosophy — to work hard and then reward yourself by having some fun! I like to spend my time outside of work traveling and drinking wine with my husband. Life is short, eat cake!
Brett Eidahl, Director of Operations, HR Process and Technology at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
I like to solve new problems. If someone says that something can’t be done, it pushes me even harder to find a way. I had a severe injury to my shoulders and back that forced me to learn how to do a lot of things differently. It showed me that if you really want something, you can find a way. I’ve used that in my professional life — to look at obstacles as opportunities that need solving.
The best advice I ever received was from a friend who said, “You don’t know what demons other people are dealing with, and it’s not your job to judge them. It’s your job to help them fight their demons.” It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis — to remember that everyone is carrying something heavy. It’s good to remember the power of helping others.
Outside of work, I love to spend time with my children. I always try to be involved in their activities and spend a lot of time coaching sports.
Bubba Small, Executive Director, CXO of Enterprise SFDC at YP
The driver for me both personally and professionally is continuous progress. Keep the goal in front of you, even if the path isn’t straight! My grandmother told me when I was 11 years old, “You will learn more from people than any book. Take the time to listen and be curious.” My greatest passion is my daughter, Bobbette, who’s working on her doctorate. She is my best report card ever! There is no better inspiration or feeling than when the team wins!
Jane Vaillancourt, VP of Global Sales Operations at NetApp
When I was in my 20s, out of school, and looking for my first “career” job, I visited my grandmother and talked about all of the exciting opportunities I was exploring. She took my hand, looked me straight in the eye and said, “All that sounds great, just don’t ever let them know you can type!” She was telling me in her own way: don’t let anyone define or set boundaries for you!
This has stayed with me throughout my career. I don’t really acknowledge barriers. I work hard and pursue work that is rewarding — where I can continue to learn. Working with passion and using that energy to build strong teams and lifelong relationships keeps me motivated.
Chanda Pepping, VP of Finance Technology at Unum
The most significant driver for me is successful delivery, of course (chuckle). The greatest reward is providing authentic leadership and having a hand in others’ growth. Taking a new role that didn’t interest me led to my decision to never say no to an opportunity to grow. The rewards were new business acumen, offers to lead other organizations every two years, and promotions.
The best advice I ever received is this: No matter the company, product, or service, at the end of the day it’s all a people business — so treat your team and customers like they matter the most. Outside of work, I’m passionate about my family and fishing.