We are so pleased to welcome Jenn Karnik, Director of Client Success, to the team. You can learn more about Jenn below.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
I was born in Buffalo, NY but, almost all of my memories are from NE Ohio. I currently live with my husband and daughter in a small suburb 40 min west of Cleveland.
Where did you go to school?
I am addicted to education/learning and keep scooping up degrees/certificates etc. The PC way of saying that is that I am a “life-long learner”. No matter what you call it, it’s an expensive habit. I earned my MBA at Case Western Reserve University. My undergraduate degree is from Arizona State University in Business Communications (Major) and Business Data Analytics (minor). My level of interest in analytics occurred my last two semesters so, I feel a slight ick for tagging it to my degree because I only scratched the surface of learning but, the love is there! I graduated Summa Cum Laude and was the “valedictorian” of the first 50 students to graduate through Starbucks’ College Achievement Plan – which I am purposefully pitching because it’s one of the best deals in the higher-ed space. Tell your friends.
How did you get into client success? What areas of your field do you like to focus on?
Client success is still a relatively “new” concept in the SaaS industry (really taking shape in 2016) but birthed from the boom of the subscription economy. It is a multi-disciplinary role that combines many former disciplines including Account Management, Customer Service, Consulting, and Advocacy, and Office Clown (kidding, just seeing if you are reading this). I got into Client Success through my love for the human experience, networking, and trial-and-error of figuring out what I was going to be when I grew-up.
In addition to helping build a sustainable customer success strategy, my role has two main focuses: proactively ensuring our clients achieve their short and long-term goals (success) and creating a satisfying customer journey. Client success is not about customer satisfaction (although it can be measured that way), it’s not about customer delight (which makes going to work a lot easier), it’s about delivering value with a wonderful experience.
Do you have a code of ethics or a mantra that you live by when doing your work?
It’s simple to say but hard to do: Everyone wants to be heard and understood.
I love being a thought-partner and visionary-dreamer with people – it is SO fun. However, the outcomes and solutions that are the results of that collaboration are only as good as the level of trust and psychological safety established. To be on the receiving end of this gift, and it is a gift, I find that my active curiosity and listening skills open the door. But, it’s the psychological safety that is created that becomes the engine that drives meaningful, long-lasting change. Without this, my job as the Director of Client Success would be meh, at best.
How do our core values (collaboration, initiative, ingenuity) align with your own?
Um, completely? I have a strong belief in teamwork (collaboration), a passion for driving positive change (initiative), and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement (ingenuity). In collaborative spaces, helping the team define a goal is a very important first step but is one that is easily overlooked. I make sure we have clarity and agreement so our solutions stay focused. When we drift off course (this naturally happens and can also be fun) I try to bring the focus back to that defined goal. I embrace ingenuity by continuously exploring innovative approaches to problem-solving and encouraging others to do the same. I regularly say “you’re allowed” when someone tries to talk themselves out of doing the thing they know is best.
What do you want to learn in the next 12 months as our Director of Client Success? What do you want to learn about the web development industry?
At the heart of it all, client success is all about putting humans first and doing what is best for others. I must get to know our clients, what they want to accomplish, their needs, and even their pain points – and that takes time.
Client success strategy is unique for every organization. The team at Buckeye Innovation consists of profound thinkers, problem solvers and all-around good people. So, collaboratively building out a client success strategy is going to be fun. I am so excited to see what we come up with!
As far as web development goes, I am eager to learn more about how different aspects of our business create tangible business value. I consider a key part of my position is to be a translator; translating the needs/hopes/dreams of our clients working to make an impact on their organizations to our team and translating the impact and value our brilliant team of magical creators develop to our clients. I have to learn both languages to do that effectively.
If money were no object, where would you like to travel, and why?
I shared this question with my husband and asked him to tell me what to write. He told me “no” and laughed (what the heck, dude?). Anyway, I find myself always struggling with these types of hypotheticals. If I had a desire to go somewhere, I could create measurable steps to get there; literally. If there is a barrier like finances, I would figure out a way to either obtain those monies or solution-seek another option. So, on my travel agenda, my family and I are going to be heading back to the Bahamas in 2024 – crystal clear waters and a beach is my jam. I know this does not answer the question at all and, in theory, I could have just had chatGPT write this but, that’s not my brand.
What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?
This is a tough one; I am an over-sharer. Do you see the responses to this survey? My goodness. I am an avid collector of memes and I regularly give names to inanimate objects. For example, my desk chair is named Stephen. I possess the “how hard could it be” gene which needs constant stimulation and is usually satisfied with trips to Home Depot.