Today we’re turning the blog over to Sean Kelly, Senior Engineering Manager, CBI (Core Business Infrastructure) and one of the organizers of this year’s hackathon. Sean has been with Klaviyo for 1 year and is based in Boston. Last month, Klaviyo ran…
Looking Back at AfroTech
In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to rewind a few months back to revisit one of our biggest recruiting events of last year: AfroTech. This was Klaviyo’s first year attending the conference, a dynamic event centered around startups, entrepreneurs, and business leaders in the Black community. We sat down with Senior Customer Success Manager, Amarachi Iwuh to get her take on the week, what it was like representing Klaviyo, and what all the aspiring Klaviyos out there should keep in mind.
Tell me about your role, your career journey, and how you ended up at Klaviyo?
I am currently a Senior Customer Success Manager on the mid-market team, and I’m based in Atlanta, GA. I went to school for PR and have spent most of my career in marketing: I got my start in hospitality marketing and then moved into the tech space, always working directly with clients.
When I found Klaviyo, it was during an interesting time for me. I was ready for a transition, but wasn’t sure exactly what that would be. I was listening to podcasts, reading books, looking for that “eureka” moment that would show me what my next role would be. One of those podcasts, School of Greatness, was running Klaviyo ads, and I was listening to it almost every day during that time, so I heard it over and over. Then I started to notice different brands on social media talking about this platform that's transformed their business. I started looking into it and was really impressed. I’d never been on the Customer Success (CS) side of marketing before, where I’d get to develop strategy and messaging on how to connect with the audiences. I thought it would be a great opportunity to still be client facing and still work with emerging brands, but also be able to use my skill set of account management and project management.
Let’s talk about your experience at AfroTech: in what capacity did you attend?
I went to represent CS, it was Klaviyo's first time participating, so I feel like it was an opportunity on all fronts: one, to scope up the scene and see what other companies were there, and second, to really just connect with our customers. We had this great trade show set up where we were amplifying the products from our customers who are Black owned businesses, so we got a lot of foot traffic, and a lot of interest from new customers that wanted to talk to someone in CS. It was also a great opportunity to attract new talent.
You’ve been to AfroTech before in other roles: what was different about going with Klaviyo?
The process beforehand was really different. When I joined Klaviyo I knew I wanted to be an active member of the BLACC KRG, so early on, I got on a call with a few members and one of the things we talked about was wanting Klaviyo to go to AfroTech for the first time. I felt like my ambitions and my ideas didn't go unheard or unnoticed- they were quickly acted on.
I was also really impressed that Klaviyo was willing to really put their money where their mouth is, as far as investing in diverse communities. I think a company can be as successful as it needs to be depending on how diverse the employees that make up that company are, and so the more investment that is put into creating a diverse employee base, the more diversity and thought and experience.
Finally, I’d say that Klaviyo is a really vital and essential part of any brands marketing strategy, and in particular, for Black owned businesses- we’re historically disadvantaged when it comes to being able to get resources, grants, etc. Having a platform like Klaviyo, to be able to depend on and rely on it as a main funnel, could change the whole trajectory of your company and completely change the life of you or your employees.
You talked to lots of prospective Klaviyos over the course of the week: what made people stand out? What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in joining the CS team specifically?
The people who stood out to me were the ones who were really interested in eCommerce. Customer Success isn’t a role you can jump into if you’re not excited about speaking to people about their business day in and day out, so I was really looking for people who were passionate about the industry, and hearing their customers’ pain points, identifying their goals and helping them achieve success.
In general, people shouldn’t be afraid to apply just because they don’t have direct experience with CS. Find out and fine tune those skill sets that you know that are transferable that can resonate at Klaviyo: my background wasn’t in CS, it was in account management, but a lot of my skills were transferable. You want to refine some of those soft skills like account management, client relationships, understanding how to identify performance curves, and just really understanding at a macro level, how to nurture a customer and help them achieve their goals.
Did this advice resonate with you? Join the team empowering creators to own their destinies at klaviyo.com/careers