This year has presented a unique opportunity to flex an underused muscle: resiliency.
We’re not often pushed to use it, but from navigating a pandemic to civil unrest and everything in between, we’ve found it’s a skill we’re forced to build in 2020.
We realized for our team at Front, a few of our cultural foundations have helped us practice this new skill. It’s come down to: focusing on valuing good people, prioritizing inclusive leadership, and, our purpose of making missions possible by powering the heart of business.
Here’s how these fundamentals—and a new leader—are grounding us and positioning us to move forward stronger than ever.
Introducing LB Harvey, Front’s first Chief Revenue & Success Officer
In September, Front welcomed Laurabeth Harvey as our first Chief Revenue & Success Officer, and we couldn’t be more excited to have her on our executive team. With a profound background, collaborative and performance-oriented management style, and focus on making pragmatic strides towards growth, she’s the perfect fit.
Laurabeth, known as LB, is an impressive sales leader in Silicon Valley with a history of defining customer-facing teams at multiple thriving tech companies. LB got her start as a sales development representative (SDR) at Corporate Executive Board, and believes wholeheartedly in the fundamentals she learned there. She then spent over seven years at LinkedIn building out their first SDR organization, both inbound and outbound. In her last two years at the tech giant she led North America LinkedIn Talent Solutions across the SMB, mid-market, and enterprise divisions.
Most recently, LB spent four years at Intercom leading all customer-facing functions as the SVP of sales, success, and support. During her tenure the company grew from 40 million in revenue to nearly 200 million, and she evolved the business towards higher quality revenue, with strong retention and expansion metrics.
I asked LB what made her decide to pursue a career in sales leadership:
“I fell in love with the competitive nature and the ability to use powers of persuasion in the sales world, and that clarity and decisiveness are so crucial because that’s my leadership style. In sales leadership specifically, I’m incredibly energized by the ability to see across so many functions and make sure that product strategy, marketing strategy, and how you talk to customers all tie together. And I love coaching and developing a team; it’s a thrill to watch them improve year after year.”
And, naturally, what led her to Front as a place to continue her path in leadership:
“What hooked me was the product. I’m only a few weeks into using it myself, but already Front has transformed the way I communicate with my team and gain insight into our customers. Secondly, the pragmatic company and leadership culture is hard to beat. I also love that we’re still in an early stage as a start-up, meaning there’s a lot to figure out. I’m excited to dive in.”
Apart from being a fantastic catalyst in the growth of start-ups, LB has an unmatched emphasis on focused execution, low-ego leadership, and energetic collaboration. She’s confident and humble enough that she doesn’t need to create distance between levels of leadership, a value that Front has always prioritized.
People and community are what make this year feel less scary and lonely, and LB brings humanity to her role: During her introduction to our company, she said that for her, “all good days start with coffee and end with wine,” and I couldn’t agree more.
Front’s executive team now has 50% equal gender representation with women in the CEO, CFO, CRO and People positions
Our CEO and co-founder, Mathilde Collin, has prioritized diverse leadership from the get-go; a gender equitable company starts with representation in leadership. Sure, there are data-backed studies that suggest having women in leadership result in advantageous business outcomes and a happier workforce, but Mathilde’s reasoning has been more philosophical than strategic: “I’ve always just hired the best candidate, and it shouldn’t be surprising that often that’s been a women.”
LB is no exception. Mathilde pursued her for over 6 months based on her rigor, dedication to building a world-class sales and success organization, and integral contributions to the growth of Intercom during her time there. Now that LB has joined, Front’s executive team is 50% women. While we know we have ample room to improve in becoming more inclusive as a company, we are proud of this rare statistic. We are committed to continuing on this path ourselves and hope to inspire a similar dedication in other businesses as well.
I chatted with LB about her perspective on gender equity in sales and celebrating women in leadership.
What impact do you think having 50% of women in leadership has on a company, or even an industry?
“To me, it makes sense that with women representing 50% of our global population, there would be 50% in leadership, too. Having 50% of women in leadership helps companies in their efforts to create a sense of belonging for a diverse workforce, which should be a top priority.”
What is your advice for budding female leaders or entrepreneurs?
“Take risks! And force yourself into uncomfortable positions. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been wildly nervous for a big meeting, public speaking event, or important interview; I wasn’t born loving the stage. Even confident people get nervous and intimidated, but being able to put yourself out there, make mistakes, and grow is crucial.”
A future focused on impact
Turning our focus to impact and connecting people through our product is what’s keeping us motivated this year. This summer, Mathilde delivered a keynote address explaining our point of view that the post-COVID-19 future of work needs to be less about chasing personal productivity and more about making an impact. Our product is doing just that by connecting teams and customers in meaningful ways—because what better way to understand that your work matters than to see the impact you make for your customers.
In the past few weeks, we’ve been humbled by some powerful recognitions of this work:
We were named to the Forbes Cloud 100, the definitive list of the top private cloud computing companies in the world.
We were featured in LinkedIn’s Top Startups, a list of the 50 young, resilient companies where America wants to work now.
And, after debuting on G2’s Conversational Customer Engagement report as a Contender earlier this year, we became a Leader in the Fall ’20 report, launching past companies like Intercom in satisfaction.
And to further solidify the impact our product can have on making the missions of our customers possible, we’ve also brought in Sam Boonin as an advisor guiding our product strategy. Sam is an expert in the customer experience space, most notably and recently as VP of Product Strategy at Zendesk, where he spent more than seven years defining how businesses interact with customers. His understanding of the requirements of customer-facing teams is unparalleled and critical to the evolution of our customer communication platform.
As we push through 2020 and work to build resiliency within our team, our focus will stay on people and impact—and we’re hopeful that this intention will fuel positive growth for our customers and community.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join Front at this time,” LB noted. “I love the alignment towards driving long-term and impactful customer relationships—I see that as the heart of what we do. I’m also thrilled about our movement towards ensuring our revenue growth is sustainable and high quality.”
Written by Logan Davis
Originally Published: 7 October 2020