Recruitment Corner: Journey to Success
Alina joined the Customer Success Team less than a year ago and has recently been awarded the Cloudflare Premier Performance Award by her team and leadership.
We will explore her journey to success and what it took to get to where she is now.
All right. Delivering a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.
And with this said, welcome to today's Recruitment Corner session.
I have Alina here today from the Customer Success Team. But Alina, you're going to introduce yourself briefly in a second.
I'm Anna. I'm working as part of the EMEA recruitment team currently based out of Germany.
Just recently relocated from London and have been working with Alina together.
And we also had quite a journey.
I remember you interviewing just about a year ago, if I'm not mistaken. Should be exactly a year ago.
But Alina, maybe you can share a few words before we move on and before I loop back into my quote I just mentioned.
OK, thank you so much.
And I am really excited to be here because my journey to Cloudflare actually started with you, with your email inviting me to the interview process.
And I'm really happy to be here speaking to you about my journey now.
So, yeah, my name is Alina Ha.
I am a customer success manager in London. And I'm looking after Russian speaking customers.
And yeah, and it's been an amazing journey of almost a year ago since I joined Cloudflare.
Yeah, it's a year in March, right? Yeah, I was the first lockdown onboarding class.
Wasn't the very first one. Yeah, we were the first one.
And to be honest, like I didn't really feel that we were the first one because the team made so much effort to make it so smooth.
And like, you know, imagine the whole process was offline, but they only had three days because like they didn't know that London office will be closed.
So we only got an announcement on Friday and then like, you know, on Monday, we're supposed to be at work.
And but yeah, it was great.
It was really great. Great stuff. Well, maybe also a brief introduction to hopefully the audience today, but also in the future, because this session is being recorded and will be available live in a few days online.
Today, we're talking about, as I mentioned, Alina's journey to the customer success team, but also to her journey or road to success within the team.
Alina, you've been recently awarded with the Cloudflare Premier Performance Award by your team and the leadership team globally.
And this was the quote I've mentioned earlier.
I've seen it on a post, a nice quote on your award. And I thought I really want to look back in to showcase, you know, the efforts you've you took and also the work you've contributed and the impact you left, not only on your direct team, but I also feel like every time I'm talking to someone and they're mentioning, oh, I'm working with Alina or like, you know, some of our ERGs.
Alina is super active there, too.
It's always nice to hear that you contribute to not only, you know, within your job, but actually also outside of your direct team.
And wanted to talk about this first, because I know some of you folks on the customer success team have been awarded recently.
Folks who are watching us, please don't hesitate to drop any questions into the email that should be on the top right corner or top bottom right corner.
And obviously, don't hesitate to message us on LinkedIn, Alina Ha and Anna Wolf.
That's how we're called. And we're always available for questions. But again, to look back into the awards, I mentioned now a couple of times, Alina, maybe you can share a little bit with us what it took to get this award and your experience.
Yeah, definitely. First of all, this was a very big surprise and I'm so grateful to be recognized by my peers and my leadership because, you know, I think that's an amazing thing about Klaffler that you do your work, and you still get recognized all the time, you know, like you get feedback from your manager, from your peers, but then to get an award on another level, right?
And it was a quarterly award.
And we had a different one. So I've got the premier performance.
So it means that you excel at customer success metrics like we, you know, adoption, retention, expansion.
And then you are the go to person, like for your peers to get help or like, you know, things done.
And you have a good attitude. And yeah, basically, like you have strong results within, you know, like the company.
And I think, in reality, I look at the journey back and like why I've got this award.
It was just, it's as my award as my manager's award, my team's award, because I think that's a really cool thing about Klaffler that you never look, right?
Like when you need help, you get all the help you need, right?
Like you get PMs, you get engineers, you get solution engineers, account managers, like your success team as well, because this constant knowledge sharing is like always there.
And I think, and looking at my class that I onboarded as well, like I see that folks from there, they also like recognized, you know, they also doing like get promoted, they get recognition during our all hands or like QBRs.
A lot of them presented during our beer meeting, similar to all hands in many companies.
And I think this is, it's not like my experience is not just one off thing.
It's more of a pattern of like how people get all the resources they need to be successful.
And with my previous experiences on other companies, like I sometimes like I sound like a fangirl.
It's really, you know, it's really great, like because you just can't even think about one bad thing, you know, like when I actually was talking to one of my new colleague who was interviewing.
And she mentioned like, she was like, when I asked you about Cloudflare, you kind of like lit up and was like, oh yeah, you know, like we're amazing, like we're doing this, we're doing that.
And actually, and she was like, okay, I'm going to be in this team, I'm going to be there.
And I'm really glad to hear from her after two months that it's true, you know, like we don't just say to, you know, sound good.
I think it's something that we all cherish a lot.
And like, we work a lot on this to make sure that, you know, we keep the culture, we make sure people feel valuable.
And I think in terms of my success, it's just like having very clear idea what you're doing, like and having very clear goal as well.
So it's not that you are just trying to do something, and there is nothing for you to kind of hold on to, like you understand, okay, this is what I'm delivering.
And I have really great examples in my colleagues.
And then you kind of develop your own style, right, like your own style of how you manage your customers.
And another thing I wanted to highlight is absolute trust to do you like, you know, like, we don't have this, you know, very strict structure of this is how you talk, or this is what you say, or this is emails, how you send them.
Like, I feel that, you know, we adults and my managers and my leadership, they know, okay, we don't have to check their presentations, or we don't have to check their emails, or you know, how they do this, as long as the job is done.
And, you know, of course, there are some standards, right, like we need to follow.
But this absolute trust gives you so much creativity, and like, you know, space to grow and learn and you want to do more and more.
But also, yeah, you mentioned just gives you space for creativity. And that's a good one.
Because we have so many individuals coming in that have such diverse backgrounds.
And because we don't have this, you know, structure, you have to write an email like this, or you have to present that way.
It gives opportunity for other folks also to see how things can be done differently.
And maybe, you know, encouraged to, I don't like saying looking out of the box, it's super old school already, but it is that way, you know, and also learn something new.
This is what I love as well.
Even within my team, you know, when we hire someone new, I'm like, okay, I'm so excited, because I'm going to learn something from that person I might not know now, even though we're within the same team within same roles as well.
From my personal view, majority of us haven't been working fully remotely up until pandemic happened.
And all of us, and I'm pretty sure anyone who's watching have their ups and downs.
But even on top of that, working fully remotely and onboarding fully remotely is like another layer on that.
So maybe you can, you can briefly walk us through, and very briefly, how that was for you, but also what were the things you had to do differently from your personal perspective, in order to still, you know, perform at the level you've performed throughout the last couple of months, working alone in your four walls, let's put it this way.
Yeah, I think definitely is all you know, like, kudos to the enablement team, you know, like as onboarding team, you have a lot of good resources to start with.
Another thing I always repeat that you never afraid to ask questions like this helped me a lot when I was onboarding and especially like when you're remote and you have no idea who to go to right like you need to kind of navigate it first, but it helped that every time I would ask questions like hundred people would come say like, okay, here's the answer.
So it was never kind of all new people came in, you know, like annoying.
I always felt welcomed. And I think one of my biggest advice to everyone who comes in and say like, don't be shy, like, come with the kindness to the person you need and just, you know, like be nice.
And I know, like, having constant zoom call, you know, messages can be a bit overwhelming.
But at the same time, every we are all in this together, like, I know, it sounds really, you know, comedian, but, but it's true.
So like, and I think, as we will say, like, come from a place of empathy, right, like always think what this person is going through.
Sometimes, you know, you can have some difficulty getting something, but it's not because people don't want to help you.
It's just because they also have all this happening at the same time.
And we don't know what's happening in their home. So I think there's also something that I learned very, very quickly.
Because when you are in this online messaging conversations, this can be interpreted in many different ways, right.
And I think you always need to remember that people might be busy, they might be stressed, they might have something happening.
So always be nice, and they will be nice to you as well.
And I think another thing was that from my time when I am boarded, and now, there's such a big shift of resources to help you like, you know, we invested a lot.
And I myself was part of those, you know, projects that was okay, people start to onboard online, and we gave feedback, like, what did we, you know, lacked, like, what didn't we what we didn't have?
And it was so quick, you know, like, okay, we're gonna do this.
And within a few weeks, it was there for new folks who are coming.
And I think that's, that's what I really appreciated during my onboarding that, like, it wasn't just my request going nowhere, like a black hole.
But it's actually was heard and like, you know, Sarah Mayer, she met, you know, met with me again, asking, okay, how did it go?
Because it was very important for them to make sure people still feel well welcomed, like they were in San Francisco, you know, like, or they were onboarding elsewhere.
You know, for a call for.
Great. I'm just like, before the call, I actually went back to look up your your profile.
And I remember seeing your CV and looking through, you know, the steps you have within your career.
I think you moved a few years ago to London, if I'm not mistaken, you have worked in Kazakhstan, where I'm like, every time I see someone from Kazakhstan, or any other Russian speaking country, I'm like, super excited, because, you know, it's nice to have, like, some some connection as well.
But I've seen that you you're, you've been working with, like a platform that was more in the logistics supply chain management, then going through the process, obviously, you you showcase your your capability to transfer skills, and also your knowledge and your preparation, but what did it took you in order to learn how Cloudflare works?
And what is like your advice to any individual that wants to succeed and wants to prove that you're not necessarily need to come from a, I don't know, SaaS background in order to be successful in the role?
Yeah, yes, I did bachelor's in logistics, and I was pretty much working most of my life in logistics supply chain.
And yeah, when I decided, okay, and I, when I came to London, I think straightaway thought I want to get into tech.
And I, and then I started to think we're in tech, and I was like, cybersecurity.
And it's so funny, when I was looking at my diary, three years ago, and I was reading.
And I was like, Oh, my God, like, you know, it's crazy. It just came true.
And it sounds ridiculous now. But it's something like I wrote, like, I want to work in the best cybersecurity company, and this role.
And it's just happened, you know, like, just, you know, obviously, I had a goal, and I was going there.
So, and what helped me is, when I got a notification, you know, like, when he told me, okay, we're ready to speak to you, I thought, okay, I was lucky in terms of my husband, he's a software engineer, and he was all caught with an amazing company to work for.
And, yeah, I was really encouraged that. And I started to just read and watch interviews, you know, with Matthew and Michelle, their webinars or conferences, they go like, before I even even started to learn about the technology, because I thought, okay, who are they like the people because I wanted to be in the right culture, like, not just the name.
And it, I was, I loved it. Like, I really liked how Michelle was, you know, positioning Cloudflare and what the, you know, thinking process was where they were heading.
I watched all the videos on Cloudflare YouTube TV, you know, and, and I think Cloudflare website has so much information that like, sometimes we even inside the company don't realize how many resources we have.
So I was reading white papers, all the, you know, demo videos on products, webinars, recordings, and it just helped me to understand, okay, here's the style, or here's the, you know, like how they work, what kind of people will be, I will be potentially working with.
And that basically prepared me for interviews, like when I, because I had no idea, anything about CDN, DNS, it was like gibberish to me.
And, but just reading through resources, you know, like learning, you know, like we have learning session and Cloudflare website, that was great, like, because it was basically explained to the person who has no idea, like, you know, in a very normal human language.
And, yeah, and that's basically, like, and this is something I advise everyone, like, go to the website, first of all, it's not just a marketing, you know, like material there.
Like if you go to the webinars page, like there's so many recordings, you can ask for the presentation to send to your, you know, email, you can look through.
There is information for investors, it's also like gave me an understanding, okay, where do we stand like as a company industry, right?
And there is lots of white papers for different industries, like for different companies, like case studies, I was, I watched all the case studies as well.
So, a lot of just learning through open resources, you don't have to, you know, go out to like search, because sometimes can be hideous, right, to find information, but it was just out there.
And that, like, that's one thing I guess all of us recruiters are keep, keep reminding folks of that preparation is, is key.
Within the recruitment process, and we do have quite a thorough process, but I keep on sharing, especially now that we were not able to invite individuals on site, so it's all virtual.
It's a good opportunity to still get a sense of the environment folks will be working with and the team stakeholders, members of the team, you'll be working with as well.
But part of the thorough process is also for us to assess your interests and your, you know, genuine interest to not only join the industry, but also to join Cloudflare as an organization and whether or not you've prepared or read up the information that is publicly available, will be sort of looked into as well throughout the process.
I'm sure you remember one of the technical screens, where we actually do ask about, okay, do you know what CDN is or do you know what DNS is?
But after you joining, like, obviously, we're talking about the whole team, there are a lot of top performers in each quarter, I see like a new name on the top three list, which is, I believe, amazing, and it just proves that, you know, the process is great, but also great minds working together are pushing themselves together to the top, I believe so.
What are like, the top, I don't know, three things or top few things you say, okay, I've been doing this rigorously in order to stay on track for my personal or for my work goals, and this is what led me to be successful at the end of the year?
Sure. I think first thing, and it's very, you know, simple, be organized, you know, especially now, when you work from home, and you don't really have this life work balance.
What helped me a lot to quickly ramp up is, okay, this is what I need to learn, you know, understand, like, highlights, what is the priority first, and then, you know, like, what the minor objectives you need to understand.
So, like, and keep yourself organized, keep your, like, I kept my calendar organized, my, you know, documentation organized, it's kind of helped me straight away kind of map out, okay, here's my portfolio list, you know, my high touch customers, low touch customers.
And after this, I had numerous coffee chats with everyone in my team, like, and solution engineers, account managers, different, you know, like, support, just to understand what they're working on, like, you know, what the advice they can give me, you know, how, and just presenting myself as well.
And it helped me to first understand, okay, this is how we work with my, with customers, because this is usually you do in office, right?
Like, you tap someone on the shoulder, and you ask questions. And I had to do it myself, like, and I still keep this, you know, like, biweekly or monthly virtual coffees with the same people, because it's actually building camaraderie as well.
So they get to know you as well. And I had so much support from my team, they would share their presentations, they would share documentation, they would share emails they sent to customers.
So in a second, like, like, you know, this was virtual is keep connected, like connect to your team, connect to your peers, you know, within the organization, not only in your region, like I have, like work friends in APAC in North America, you know, like, and I never met them.
I have no idea.
But we have continuous conversation, you know, like, we ask how we're doing every time.
And another thing I did is have, understand your customer, understand the industry your customers work in, like, keep yourself updated.
So I was, like, lucky because I had very specific areas I was working, so it was a bit easier for me in terms of, like, information that was digesting.
But it helps a lot, because when you talk to your customers, they need to understand that you're not there just as their secretary, you're their partner.
And I think that's very important, especially in customer support, you know, service role, like whether you're a car manager or your solution engineer, customer success, to show them that we're not just a vendor, like we're here to help them to be successful, right?
And like, looking at Cloudflare goals as well, we want to be there as a partner always.
And that's what I did, like a lot reading about, you know, like going to my customers website, you know, reading the news blogs, you know, and, and then you have this small talks, you can understand, you know, them more.
And in terms of targets, I think it's, again, it's not really my achievements, it's just our leadership was very, very clear what we, you know, have to work on, what are our, like, objectives, like what our KPIs and we had all the resources to achieve, you know, I had all the resources.
So yeah, I think it's a lot of self discipline, and just being a professional, I guess, like to take initiative.
And I think like, what I like about Cloudflare is that you have to work hard, obviously, like everywhere.
But at the same time, it's not, I think I mentioned this already, it's not being unnoticed, you know, like it's, and I think this is what makes you work harder, like, because you know, that it's not just mundane work.
It's not just, you know, like, I'm not just a robot doing something like, you know, people recognize you, they see you.
And yeah, like, just be open and flexible.
That's another thing. And don't you feel like, I don't know, compared to other organizations I worked with, or for, I always feel like when I do something, I'm contributing to the bigger picture.
I'm not quite sure, like, if it's just the size of the company we're at right now, where I'm feeling like, okay, I see that I'm impacting something that, like, helps us grow even, even more.
Don't you feel the same?
Or is it just? No, it's actually, you say that, like, but it's actually so true.
Because you just feel like when we have all hands was Harnish, our head of customer success, global success.
And he talks about, okay, people, that's what we're going to do.
And then like, in sort of in 12 months, like it's been less, you see that we delivered, we delivered that we were hoping to do like in 12 months, but we actually did it in eight.
Yeah, so and you see that, okay, and you know, that it was your contribution, because you did specific thing.
And again, like, and I think because people speak about it, that they don't just say, well, it's your job, but do it.
They actually say, Hey, thank you, Alina.
Thank you, Anna, you know, like, thank you this, like, and even though they have never spoken to you, but they know that you've done something to get to a specific goal.
And definitely, I think everything we do does affect like global goal in general.
Definitely. So just to summarize and correct me if I did my notes wrong.
Number one, organization and self discipline. Yeah, we talked about this as well.
This is something I need to remind myself to build your support network within the organization.
And the third one, especially for customer success is know your customer, right?
Those are the top three things. You know, we just have four minutes left.
There was actually one question I really wanted to ask you is that, you know, we're talking about success so much.
And I'm not sure if we will have enough time.
But I told you already, I would love to do another session with you just to chat about things.
We talk about success and the steps we need to take in order to achieve and to get to where you are to get awarded like you did.
But all of us know that especially now in times where we don't have like the physical support network around us that like catch us when something is wrong.
We have our, you know, back falls or like low moments, let's put it this way.
And I would be very curious to know, like, if you had one, and like, what's got you back up?
And you know, kept on moving as well. Not sure if three minutes will be enough, but maybe I'll try.
Definitely, like, and I think more than I want to, wanted to, and it's just inevitable, right, especially now.
I think, first of all, like for everyone, get to, like, come back to your family, friends, loved ones, you know, like get asked for support.
And do, like, have something on your own, like a hobby.
Like, I always showcase my cello. Like, I never think like, oh, you're like cellist.
I started during lockdown. So this is something that I wish I was practicing more than I am.
But this is something I do tend to do.
Like, it's keeps my mind, you know, like, off and it's kind of meditative.
And ask, and I always ask for help in my team. So recently, I thought, okay, I have too much on my plate.
And I went to my colleague, Yuri, and I said, can you take this project?
Like, I gave, you know, and he's sure, like, and that's another cool thing that you can just say, okay, I have too much.
Can someone help me?
And it was, and same with your manager, like, you tell them, okay, I feel down.
And they just go through talk to you and say, okay, take some time off. And I think that's another thing I was told first time, like, when I just joined, in a few weeks, they said, you know, you don't have to wait until like three months until you get like, you know, this to get a day off, you can take a day off, like anytime.
And this was great, because you always kind of scared, right?
Like, oh, do they think I'm lazy?
Or I don't want to work. But it was actually very great to know that you can take just time off and switch off and it will be fine.
That's good. And you know, we only have one and a half minutes left.
But I want also wanted to mention that we're obviously continue to grow the customer success team and other teams that are supporting your, yours.
So within the customer success team, we currently have positions available in London and Paris, all are on our career website, as well as roles with a Russian speaking role on the customer solutions engineering team.
That's the team that you work very closely with. And obviously, folks can reach out to us or apply via our career website.
We have one minute left. I would love to do another session, you know, I would love to do another session with you, Alina, on your contribution in ERGs.
Alina has hooked me up on a ERG, which is called Asian Flair.
And I just absolutely love the chat. I'm just like, if I need a few seconds of, you know, not working time, I'm just going, I'm going on the chat.
And another thing I would love to talk to you about, because you just mentioned it, you mentioned you written down the goal that you would like to work in cybersecurity.
And I did the exact same when I was moving to London. And I'm like, is this law of attraction?
Or what is this? Let's talk about this on another session.
But Alina, thank you so much for your time this morning. It was a pleasure talking to you again.
I wish we could record all of our conversations we have. And I hope to see you soon again.
Thank you, Alina, so much. Thank you. Bye.