A Roundtable Discussion with Industry leaders on customer success

Industry leaders gathered at the customer success roundtable to discuss how they measure and manage customer success. The group explored various ways to define and track customer success, as well as what initiatives they have in place to increase customer retention rates. The conversation was insightful and provided valuable insight for companies looking to improve their own customer success programs.

As the Vice President of Customer Success, Dawn builds, enhances and maintains strong customer satisfaction by ensuring successful onboarding and focusing on continuous improvement in processes to assure scalability, operational excellence, and cost control.

Prior to her role as the VP of Customer Success, Dawn served in a myriad of roles at ProcessMAP with progressive responsibilities, including Director of Account Management, Senior Account Manager, and an Account Management Specialist. 

My name is Dawn Charnin, I am the VP of Customer Success, and I’ve been with ProcessMAP for over 15 years. My career journey started 21 years ago. At that time, being a good mother and taking care of my daughter was my main priority. However, something was missing; I knew there was more to accomplish in my life. During that time, my mother was managing an office space in Plantation, Florida, and she mentioned two businessmen were renting space out of her facility. 

They needed a secretary to help assist with different administrative activities. I was offered the job and began training on various tasks, and shortly after that started working directly with customers. By working with clients and colleagues spanning across the Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) software industry, I understood how our software applications tie with our end-users and what our users’ experience is like. This ultimately led to formulating my unwavering interest in customer success.

Your journey at ProcessMAP started as an administrator and now you are Vice President of Customer Success (CS). Can you tell us a bit of how your journey led you to where you are now?

After a few years as an administrator, I approached Dave, our CEO. I said, “As I continue my journey at ProcessMAP, I would love the opportunity to continue to grow and I feel like I can do that by moving over to the Customer Success department and working directly with our customers.” The CS department commenced and much has changed as many things were driven and customized by the customer. I started by doing mockups, custom reports, detailed data and requirements analysis. Being with ProcessMAP early on allowed me to dive deep into these different roles and don various hats. I loved taking initiatives and taking on all the challenges. I would do my research and benchmark it against what other people were doing. I always want to exceed expectations, and that has always been the kind of my personality.

How has ProcessMAP played a role in your evolution as a professional?

The main key for me being at ProcessMAP is the leadership and how they value their employees. We are treated like family, which provides the opportunity to enhance our company culture; they invest in their employees, which helps create a path to advancing employee careers from within. 

The key to being successful lies within each of us. It takes drive, integrity, and discipline to take it to the next level. ProcessMAP has really given me the opportunity. They definitely fostered that for me by mentoring and believing in me and providing a solid foundation on my path to success. There have been many challenges along the way. Throughout my time here, I have been the CSM, Implementation Director, to VP. Today, I manage a 60 plus team in the US and Canada.

There were situations where I did not know the particular technology, the customer, or it was a new use case. I would do my research, homework and make sure that I am always prepared to tackle each challenge head-on..

What is your approach to organizational and team leadership?

My leadership style is based on sharing knowledge with others, which was critical for me as I started my journey in a leadership role. I had to shape and mentor my employees to help them evolve to unlock their true potential and become their best selves.

I wanted to take that opportunity to make sure I provided them the avenue to move up in those different successes and that they were rewarded and acknowledged for their accomplishments. The first step was learning the information for myself, which helped propel me through the ranks and then sharing my knowledge and desire with them through coaching and mentoring to position them for success.

Can you please share some of the challenges that you faced while growing in your professional life? 

Challenges are the stepping stones of success, and I have my fair share of these stepping stones. The first one is the demands that come with the job to create a successful career. You must invest and commit to working with people from various educational backgrounds. Initially, in my career, I was disappointed that I didn’t come with accolades similar to my counterparts and clients. I learned over time that it wasn’t the accolades that contributed to my success and story, it was my work ethic and passion to continue learning through curiosity and the drive to succeed.

Another challenge was learning and understanding the technology. I was your typical end user using iPads and smartphones. I knew it from the end user’s perspective but I did not know all the inner workings that it takes to develop a software application. So early on, I had to really get an understanding of technology, how it is being used, from server maintenance, infrastructure set up, database structures, reports and analytics, and mobile deployment. I spent much time with my technical counterparts taking a deep dive. I took this challenge as an opportunity to really learn and leverage those individuals and their expertise. The most valuable asset has been that everyone I’ve ever interacted with has been so willing to share the information as long as I was able and ready to listen. 

Another challenge was when I was in my first management position. I went from being a colleague and working side by side with the team to having to manage them. To get people to be effective and efficient, you have to learn each individual and their styles of learning, communicating, and listening. I had to learn how to adjust myself as a manager. The challenge was to convert from being a fellow colleague to a manager. Learning my Not leadership style and how to apply to different individuals.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job? 

The most rewarding part about my job is the impact on our customers. We don’t just make software that writes documents. We impact people’s lives. It’s rewarding whenever I can walk around a facility and I see our software in action.

What advice would you give to younger generations looking to start their careers? 

Take on every challenge that you are faced with and turn it into an opportunity to exceed expectations. Take a chance, and never allow fear to shy away from taking a leap. Every door I stepped through, I was afraid and questioned myself but then every time I took that leap, I was so happy that I did. If I had allowed fear and self-doubt to overwhelm me, I would not be where I am today. 

I’m a huge believer in letting go of yesterday’s stresses because you can’t change what has passed. Don’t worry about the future because it may never arrive, do what you can today and make the best out of it. Every morning I wake up and say to myself, “Today is a new day, and I am going to make it amazing.” 

There were instances in my career where I did have to deal with self-doubt or impostor syndrome. But you don’t want to put yourself down because that creates a perception that you’re not ready for it. You have to put in the work, be dedicated and show up. The world is your oyster as long as you put in the time and effort to get there.

Thank you, Dawn! It has been an absolute pleasure to sit with you today and get a first hand account of leading a major EHS Customer Success team. Thank you for your time and your trust in ProcessMAP!  

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