International Women’s Day: Interview with Lucy Norris

International Woman’s Day is all about honoring our progress and acknowledging the work ahead. But in between, it’s important to celebrate the individual achievements of women around the world, starting with those on our team.

To continue that celebration, we’ve asked Lucy Norris, Executive Vice President of Customer Success, a few questions on her experience in the tech industry — and what advice she has for women entering the workforce today.

What does the 2020 International Women’s Day slogan, #EachforEqual mean for you in your work life?

Lucy Norris: I love the concept of International Women’s Day because it reminds all of us that equality, while it should be a given, is still elusive. The #EachforEqual slogan isn’t only about women, it is about everyone.

Your current job is Executive Vice President of Customer Success. Is this role what you expected to be in when you started in the workforce? How did it change?

Lucy: I always knew that I wanted to be an executive but figured that it would be in sales. Along the way, I had the opportunity to try many things, ranging from technical customer support to consulting to product management.  I then got off of “the path” and moved into other leadership roles such as human factors, localization, documentation. My product management experience gave me an appreciation for “whole product,” as it became very clear to me that customers could not take full advantage of technology without the proper “surrounds.”

This experience led me to a two-year assignment running commercialization for a software subsidiary of the Eastman Kodak Company. It was fun, but I wanted to get back to a customer-facing role that I did when Kodak sold the subsidiary to an independent investor who subsequently sold to private equity. I got to apply all of my prior experiences to building a customer operations practice, which was a full P&L for subscription software, license maintenance and all of the associated customer deliverables.

When I joined Genesys in 2012, the concept of customer success as a discipline was quite nascent and we had an opportunity to innovate and build a customer success practice to serve our customers and grow our business. Being an executive gives you the chance to create an environment for people to do great things.

What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?

Lucy: I learned that it is important to adapt to your circumstances but to be truly genuine to who you are and not create a persona that is not you. This applies to all of us — not just women. Do not embrace stereotypes. Do not act like a “role;” act like yourself.

Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in your field?

Lucy: Customer success continues to emerge as a discipline. Traditional functional roles such as sales, engineering and technical support, have bright lines and their functions are largely unchanged versus decades ago. Ask three non-industry people to describe customer success and you will likely get three different answers, including at least one “I don’t know.”

My advice for my role and for any other role is to establish your vision, convert your vision into your mission, surround yourself with great people who share your vision and will challenge and test you, and together — as a team — execute to deliver the promise of that vision. You must be able to deliver tangible results.

In your opinion, how do our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets have an impact on our larger society?

Lucy: Leaders are always observed and, whether we like it or not, people talk about what we do, how we do it, who we sat next to at lunch…. Behave in a way that is true to who you are but also in a way that you would want to be emulated. How we show up for our teams sets the tone for how our teams show up for each other — and how we understand and appreciate how to work with people who are not like us.

I’m am very excited about how #GWIT is having such an effect on our broader society. #GWIT isn’t focused on “women’s issues;” they are doing something about real-world problems like providing clean water to parts of Africa. Those are people issues where burden is largely borne by women, and #GWIT is doing something very powerful to lift those women.

How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?

Lucy: Put yourself in a mindset that everyone deserves to be lifted. At work, lifting can mean a tough conversation about potential, performance or behavior. But when done with kindness and honesty, you can help someone thrive.

Continue the International Women’s Day discussion with our latest “Take a Moment” podcast and learn how two exceptional leaders walked the unplanned path to success. Barbara Gonzalez, VP, Global Business Consulting, and Janelle Dieken, SVP, Solutions and Product Marketing, share their philosophies on building high-performance teams and turning heartbreak into triumphs.

Get involved for International Women’s Day. Learn why Genesys Women in Technology is partnering with Water to Thrive to bring the sustainable blessing of clean, safe water to communities in rural Africa.