Our office has a well-deserved reputation for having exceptional customer service. I interviewed our Customer Success Director and Senior Manager of Customer Success so you can get to know the women behind the Customer Success team. Without further adieu: the second installment in our new “Meet Our…” series.
Who are you?
H: My name is Heather MacBride and I’m the Director of Customer Success at Zen Planner.
K: I’m Kathleen Howell and I am the Senior Manager of Customer Success at Zen Planner.
How long have you both been at Zen Planner?
H: Almost four years.
K: About two and a half years.
What did you do before Zen Planner?
H: I spent five years at an investment bank in Boston, and after I moved to Colorado I worked for a small oil and gas company.
K: Before I started Zen Planner, I worked for a small personal training facility as a small group instructor as well as a one-on-one personal trainer for clients recovering from cancer. I also worked in the restaurant business for nine years; that’s how I got started in customer service. Just before Zen Planner I worked for a functional neurology clinic as an admin.
L: What did you do in Investment Banking?
H: I was an admin for a little while, then worked on the sales and trading desk and ran their non-deal roadshows.
L: I didn’t know you were a personal trainer! Did you have to be certified for that?
K: I graduated with a degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition and began working as more of an apprentice. I did not have a certification at the time but had I continued that path, I would have needed one. My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer my junior year of college and introduced me to the studio after I graduated. She had been referred there from her oncologist because of the specialized work they did. It was a non-judgment zone, everyone was in the same position of recovery, which made it really welcoming. I inquired about shadowing the head trainer, and after a few weeks, she said you know the clients, so why don’t you work with them. It was controlled; like Occupational or Physical Therapy. Just getting your muscles back to moving again and allowing the clients to rebuild their stamina and confidence.
What do you like to do outside of the office?
H: Since we bought our house last year, we’ve been doing a lot of projects around the house and in the yard. I hang out with my dogs a lot. And I used to hike with them but they are too old to hike now, so we don’t do that anymore. Taylor’s heart can’t handle it and Hudson’s joints can’t handle it.
K: This blog just got really dark. ::Laughs::
K: You also teach yoga!
H: I also teach at CorePower Yoga.
L: And you’re fixing up an old bench, right?
H: And I am refurbishing a bench that my grandfather made in the 50’s, so I stripped 70 years of paint off of it and it’s been horrible. I don’t recommend it to anyone. It’s starting to come together though!
K: Outside of work, I like to hike with Heather’s dogs ::laughs:: I like to hike and camp and be outdoors as much as possible, kind of in the same boat as Heather, doing a lot of work on a house we bought last year. Spend as much time outdoors as possible, and do it year round, which is nice to do in CO, didn’t always have that opportunity in the Midwest. Taking advantage of being outdoors and being active.
Do you guys have a favorite hike?
H: Maroon Bells.
K: We try all sorts of different things, we try everything. Shorter hikes outside of Golden paired with a brewery are my favorite.
What do you order at Starbucks?
H: If I’m drinking dairy, I order a nonfat misto. If not, black coffee.
K: Black coffee.
How do you like to sweat?
H: Yoga, group classes, Fitwall, CycleBar, OrangeTheory, Fierce 45. Really any group class I can get into, I love them.
K: Running is my go to, I had a series of bad car accidents that messed up my neck and back so I’m rehabbing myself through that process currently. Running is my escape after a long week or long day; it gets me back into my own headspace.
If you’re going out this Friday night, where will you eat dinner, what movie will you see and what candy will you bring into the movie?
H: I will not go to a movie in a movie theater, so I’m not going to see a movie. However, I would bring skittles if I did go in a movie. I would go to a Mexican restaurant and have margs and tacos.
K: I’m going to go with Heather, I don’t think I would go to the movies.
L: Is this because you’re bored or not into them?
H: Too much of a time commitment!
K: I would go out to Hops & Pie.
H: Have you had their rice krispy treats?! They’re amazing!!
K: I always fill up on pizza, it’s a problem… Pizza and beer.
H: It’s the most incredible thing.
K: Pizza is my end all. Pizza and beer. Get a pie and Colorado craft beer, not go to a movie theater, and go hiking with Heather’s dogs.
H: We would sit on our patio or to a brewery after.
K: We have been exploring our neighborhood in Littleton, which has a bike path along the South Platte River. You can hit three different craft breweries within a mile. When you go in the evening, it’s nice, the sunlight is really pretty.
Do you have a favorite beer?
H: Sculpin Grapefruit IPA
K: Telluride Brewing Dank in the Dark (Black IPA). You can only get it in their brew room. They will have it while we were there in September!
H: Favorite beers at ZP are definitely the white rascal (Avery) and Helluva Caucasian PBJ and chocolate.
What do you love most about being on the Customer Success team?
H: So many things. People ask me this in interviews all the time and I have such a hard time answering it because I sound like I’m drinking the kool-aid! I love our team, I could not be more proud of what we do. We have the most amazing group of people. I love the position we are in right now in terms of the software and the team. We have the right capacity and we are able to do way more proactive stuff than we ever have done before. We are way more face-to-face with our customers. And we are putting on focus for bringing customers in for spotlights, going to customers to take classes, it’s really cool.
K: I’m with Heather, I get this question a lot in interviews. But I would say when I joined the Zen Planner family, it definitely represented, as corny as it sounds, family very much for me. And moving away from my family and my whole support network in the Midwest was very difficult and definitely took a toll. When I came in here it was automatic, the people that were here truly cared about me and what was important to me. Far and above what I have grown to love more than anything else is the people that are here and how genuine and kind they are. Everybody is their own individual, so different and from so many varied backgrounds but we all have this common thread and common mission to really help support our customers. We all truly live it every day and that builds a fantastic base for the family connection.
H: When I first started here, I had been living in Colorado for a number of years and had my friends but didn’t feel as connected to Colorado as I do at Zen planner. When I started here, I was about to turn 30 and I had a mini mental breakdown about my birthday. My boyfriend (now my husband) threw a surprise party for me. Everybody at Zen Planner showed up and it was incredible. It was one of the best moments of my life.
K: There are so many different companies and businesses that preach that they are “all as one and family”. I kind of come back to a recent car accident where my car was totaled and I was pretty banged up. My immediate thought was that I’m texting Heather; who is not only my immediate manager, but one of my best friends. Hours later, I got a text from the CEO asking if I wanted to use his car; no hesitation, no back story, I’m doing what I would do for another family member.
We recently played “Two Truths and a Lie” in our Customer Success Meeting, can you share yours?
H: My nephews call me Hattie; other nicknames include “The Heather” and Spider Monkey (which I got from dancing at Kathleen’s wedding. I was wearing a jump suit. All limbs everywhere.) (TRUTH)
I am a natural brunette, but I’ve dyed my hair 5 different colors (LIE – I’m a natural blonde. But I do love to dye it different colors.)
In kindergarten I got my head stuck in a chair and the fire department had to come get me out. (TRUTH)
K: I lived in Florence Italy and studied with a local culinary school in college. A photo I took during that trip won best photo for my university. (TRUTH)
K: I was offered a recording contract after someone saw me singing and playing music at a coffee shop in St. Louis. (LIE – I did play in a coffee shop but definitely did not get offered a contract)
K: When my grandfather enlisted during WWII, he believed he was enlisting for the Marines, went through both the physical and paper work and then was welcomed to the Navy. Turned out the Marines were in the room next door. My mom followed up on the story and turns out the death rate for the Marines; where my grandfather was positioned, was so high that he likely would not have made it out of the war alive. (TRUTH)
Do you have any big trips planned?
H: Coincidentally we are both going on late honeymoons and I am going to Cambodia and Thailand in December. And I cannot wait to play with the elephants. The babies, hopefully there are babies.
K: I am going to New Zealand in December. I will not have the opportunity to play with elephants though. We are spending two weeks on south island, and renting a camper van to circumvent the island. It looks like a mini van, but it pulls out with a bed in the back with a little camp stove. Lots of hiking in store for us!