Susie Lee, Senior Strategic Account Manager, shares her career journey from Sales to Customer Success, and how her family has inspired her approach to building a lasting relationship with each and every client she interacts with.
As a Senior Strategic Account Manager, what specific skills or strengths do you believe make you a valuable asset to our organization?
One of the most valuable skills that I possess is accountability. I’m acutely aware that I’m representing 66degrees, so when engaging with clients or partners, it is important to lead and follow through with action. For example, If my meeting is scheduled for 9:00 AM, I am there at 8:57 AM. Our client relationships are based on trust; therefore, being on time/early is my way of being dependable to foster trust.
How did you get to 66degrees? How have your past experiences impacted your success today?
During the pandemic, I wanted to try something new. After years of sales in startups (fake it until you make it) and being self-employed, I wanted to represent a more mature product. I was hired at a small boutique Google Partner, and after a few quarters, I exceeded the entire sales team by 3x while in a Customer Service Management (CSM) role. A third-party recruiter from CloudBakers reached out to me with an opportunity, and after speaking with Kyle Crowe and Katie Bodell, the decision was very simple. I wanted to level up my skills in a new industry and be a part of a world-class engineering lead, customer-first company. I’m a Baker.
Congratulations on your recent promotion! Now that you've taken on a new leadership role on the Customer Success Team, how have your priorities changed, and what projects/initiatives are you excited to impact?
I’m very excited about my new role and plan to continue the success that Kyle Crowe, VP of Customer Success, has built. Our team’s 104% client retention rate reflects our ability to understand our client's needs and expectations. I want to focus on the deal structure for renewals, crossing selling, and being proactive in our outreach efforts. I want our clients to think of us first when they have an idea or problem. I want us to be embedded as an extension of our client’s IT team.
Aside from professional aspirations, what other personal achievements have shaped the person you are today?
My parents gave up everything when they immigrated from South Korea to move to Alaska to give me better opportunities. Imagine moving to a new country in your 30s with limited language skills, a degree that didn’t transfer, and leaving behind most of your family. Building the American Dream took immense courage, sacrifice, and hard work. My greatest personal achievement is being able to give back and take care of my mother. My father passed away several years ago, but I think he would be proud that I’m caring for her in his stead.
Diversity is paramount at 66degrees, and May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI). Are there any traditions you practice to honor this month?
I’m Asian, and I celebrate that every day. I was the only Asian kid in school until 3rd grade, so it’s nice seeing others celebrate it. Bring honor to your family.
How has your cultural background shaped your identity and experiences?
I was raised in a very strict Korean household that taught me that to be successful; you must make sacrifices. My father always said that if you want to do what everyone else does, you’ll be like everyone else. He said you must make sacrifices, take pride in yourself and your work, and be loyal to those you care for.
As an adult, I now appreciate the value behind that message and incorporate that principle in everything I do.
How would you describe who you are outside of 66degrees?
I’m a workaholic but mostly lazy or sometimes productive outside of work. I love all aspects of food. So, I shop, cook, or eat food while not vegetating on the couch. I love food. I have a Costco, Sam’s Club, Restaurant Depot, and Sysco membership. 🙂
As an Asian American woman in leadership, how will you continue contributing to a diversity and inclusion culture?
I have been discriminated against, so I try not to focus on the differences. Being Asian and female can be difficult because you fall into stereotypes that don’t necessarily define you. I like focusing on individuals’ potential and encouraging their growth. Seeing people who become empowered and build self-confidence through their craft is amazing. Witnessing others sharing their strengths to build a stronger team gives me pride that I’m helping, even if it’s in the smallest ways.