Marlene Summers, Vice President, Customer Support Services & Community
Marlene Summers will be a panelist at Lithium Technologies' LiNC '16's June 9th session on Customer Retention.
How does someone with a degree in Computer Science and Applied Math with three patents relating to multidimensional database design transition to an award-winning career in customer success?
Marlene Summers’ journey towards becoming Zuora’s Vice President of Customer Support Services & Community began at IBM where she was an advisory software engineer. In 2010, she joined Zuora as its first Customer Success Manager. She spent her first 6 months working onsite at customer locations, learning how to implement Zuora and what it takes to make our strategic customers successful.
Award-Winning Customer Support
Since then, she built out Zuora’s customer support organization, which provides 24x7 support through three service centers (US, UK and Beijing) with over 30 experienced support professionals with a 95% Customer Satisfaction rating.
In 2016, Marlene expanded her team's scope with the Zuora Community which is a space where our customers and partners can learn, share and collaborate with each other and Zuora. “Our customers are driving the Subscription Economy forward, and we wanted to build a community to bring these leaders together to learn from each another”, says Summers.
No stranger to awards, Marlene and her team have received several Stevie® Awards which recognize the accomplishments and contributions of companies and business people worldwide:
- 2016 Silver Stevie® Award Female Executive of the Year
- 2016 Bronze Stevie® Award International Business Award, Customer Service Team of the Year (UK)
- 2016 Silver Stevie® Award for Innovation in Customer Service Management, Planning & Practice - Computer Industries
- 2015 Bronze Stevie® Award for Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software - 100 or More Employees
- 2015 Silver Stevie® Award for Female Executive of the Year in Computer Software
- 2014 Gold Stevie® Award for Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software - 100 or More Employees
It’s clear that Marlene was born to do customer success at high-tech companies like Zuora and affectionately refers to this job as her dream job:
"Flashback to 20 years ago (1996) - my first real job was as a support intern at a local ISP company and while in school, I had 3 jobs: IT - building websites, Computer Science teaching assistant and Women's Center Advocate. I would have never imagined that I would find a career that incorporates all three in Silicon Valley.Through all of the highs and lows, I am proud and humbled by the experiences and opportunities afforded to me. I have the perfect job as it combines my passions for technology and people." #siliconvalleydreams #ZEO #zuora #dreamjob #blessed
Learn more about Marlene in our Zuora Community Q&A:
What are you most passionate about?
In addition to technology - fitness, family and friends are at the forefront of my daily life. I often get asked how and why "I do it all." Growing up, my parents always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and find happiness in life. No one told me that I couldn't have everything I wanted. Everyday, I try to make the most of every minute - giving attention to whatever needs my attention most at that time. It's important for me to be a role model for the next generation of women leaders, including my 4 young daughters. I am passionate about mentoring and coaching and thrilled to serve as a founder of the Zuora Z-Women group.
Do you have a favorite Zuora memory?
I experienced some of the best memories of my life while working at Zuora.
- Climbing the Great Wall of China for the first time with my boss and 20 other Zuora team members in 2015.
- Listening to the waves of the Pacific ocean while roasting s'mores with Ghirardelli chocolate with our CEO, Tien, CFO - Tyler and some other Zuora folks at the Ritz Carlson in Half Moon Bay on a quiet Wednesday night
- Winning the Gold Stevie Award in Las Vegas and getting to give an acceptance speech on the stage.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I am a certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor and triathlon coach. I am competitive age group triathlete with over 40 podium finishes in triathlon and related endurance events in the 6 years, and am the author of a triathlon and fitness blog: Trimom Adventure (http://www.trimom.us).
What advice would you give to someone just getting started in a new career?
- Do more, faster and better. Sleep when dead. #hyperfocus
- If you are early in your career, observe and learn from successful career veterans whom you respect. If you are seasoned in your career, take stock at the energy and ideas of the younger generations and be adaptable." If you're in the middle of your career, soak up advice from everyone - listen and learn! :-)
- Create your own "inner circle" - circle of trusted colleagues. Be there for them. As time passes, I find that I remember people more than projects. It's the shared experiences and bonds that we foster in our work lives that keeps us grounded and human. Our CEO once said that the startup life can be violent - in that violence, we can find our own personal mission and meaning in our work lives - I know that I sure did at Zuora.
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