It’s International Women’s Day on 08 March, which celebrates women’s achievements and raises awareness against bias, so we’re quizzing one of our leadership role models here at Adthena – Lindsay Schofield, Director of Customer Experience – about her journey into leadership, building a global team, and why creating trust is paramount.
After working in office management and operations for creative agencies all over London for 7 years, Lindsay moved into SaaS technical support before joining Adthena as a Senior Customer Support Specialist. She was quickly promoted to Regional Manager and, after relocating to Austin in 2019, is now Director of Customer Experience, responsible for technical onboarding and support of global customers.
Tell us about your current role at Adthena, what are your main goals and how do you measure success?
Lindsay: I head up a team primarily responsible for onboarding new customers and providing ongoing support across all service regions. We play an important role in enabling our customers to get the best value from Adthena and by ensuring all global customers get the exact same positive experience no matter their location. We use Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) to understand how well we managed an onboarding or support ticket, but ultimately we know we’ve succeeded if our customers succeed.
How did your journey into leadership take shape? Did you always know what you wanted to do? What have you learned about yourself along the way?
Lindsay: A tech leadership role wasn’t something I planned at all. I actually went to art college where I studied Illustration. I still keep my hand in with my side hustle Noose Ties. While working in office management, part of my role was to improve business efficiencies and that’s when my love for tech and automation began to surface.
When a software company I worked with offered me a job, I jumped at the opportunity. And then came Adthena. When I first joined I was happy to be supporting an interesting product at a company with a great culture. I was in the right place at the right time because it wasn’t long before I got promoted to manager.
What have I learned about myself? To trust my instincts. Each time I’ve ignored them, a world of pain wasn’t far behind!
How did relocating to the US to lead the Customer Experience team fit into your personal career growth? Were there any challenges that you overcame in this move?
Lindsay: Professionally, the idea of managing a global team excited me for a couple of reasons. First of all it gave us the opportunity to create a unified experience for global customers in terms of onboarding and support. Secondly, what an experience to build a new team in our biggest market!
Working together with the team, we prepared for my move for months. The main challenge was pivoting from a single London-based team to what would essentially become a remote team. How could we retain that ‘one team’ feeling? We knew effective knowledge sharing was key, so we spent months refining our process and documented everything. Our London office was based over two floors, so I even moved to a different floor so we could experience working remotely as a team, to see what worked and where stuff fell over. We also implemented a daily standup. By the time I moved to the states, we’d pretty much nailed it and transitioned relatively smoothly.
From a personal perspective, I’m actually an American citizen but hadn’t lived here since I was young. When the opportunity to set up the US team was offered, I was immediately onboard. About a year later my husband and our two cats found ourselves in Austin, having never even visited prior to the move! We loved it immediately.
You have been with Adthena for 5 years; how has Adthena supported you in your career?
Lindsay: By putting their trust in me. When I joined CX, the entire London office was only 30 staff and CX was a team of two with one person about to leave. It was a tiny team with enormous potential. Adthena gave me the freedom to pretty much build something from the ground up. Now we’re a company with fast approaching 150 staff around the world and CX is about to be a team of seven.
You now manage a team of four globally, what do you find helped you build this team and lead it successfully? What do you think makes a good leader?
Lindsay: Having a highly supportive team, who genuinely care about our customers and their teammates is at the heart of our success. My UK team, Sharad and Amy, have been with me for years and between them possess a deep understanding of both the product and our business. This shared knowledge and experience was and continues to be the foundation for building our global team.
My worst managers have been people who clearly didn’t care about their staff and their well being. My best managers have been the opposite. Of course the extra money is nice and a fancy job title helps with mortgage applications but if those two things are your main drivers for wanting to lead a team, then maybe it’s not for you. Being a good leader is about putting your team first and building an environment of trust, where they feel supported by you and their teammates alike, where they aren’t afraid to make mistakes or say the wrong thing. If you have trust, then everyone will do their best work in supporting our customers.
“Being a good leader is about putting your team first and building an environment of trust”
Managing the team is my favourite part of the job. It can be hard and has kept me awake at night more times than I’d like but the rewards are amazing.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders looking to move into management?
“Be yourself, embrace your quirks, don’t worry about business jargon. Authenticity is how you build trust with both your team and peers.”
The theme of IWD 2022 is #BreakTheBias. What is your approach if you come face-to-face with bias?
Lindsay: Anyone who’s participated in unconscious bias training may be familiar with The Surgeon’s Dilemma story. When they did this training at Adthena a few years back, I’m ashamed to say I failed! It was a big shock to me at the time but without a doubt taught me to be more mindful about how biases might surface at work and how to avoid them.
Professionally, I’m lucky not to have encountered it often but when I have, I’ve tried to face it with logic and valid arguments to counter the bias and ultimately shine a light on it.
I’ve actually encountered it more in my personal life and recently. Last year my husband and I bought a car, but as far as the sales guy was concerned it was like my husband was the only person in the room! I called it out and shamed him.
Read more stories for International Women’s Day:
- 2021 – Laura shared how she made the move to Data Scientist at Adthena
- 2020 – Reena: spoke in schools about her role in Tech to encourage girls to study Maths & Science
- 2020 – Women in STEM: Two high-school students, Luna & Mukta, share their learnings from a week’s work experience at Adthena.
This year, Adthenians will also be taking part in a week-long schedule of initiatives for IWD including a Celebrating Women learning challenge on LinkedIn, giving our inspiring colleagues kudos, and subsidized reading. Learn more about Adthena culture.