Published: May 25, 2023Time to read: 7mins Category: Insights
PeopleFluent’s Bright Lights: Meet Lori Smith, Vice President of Revenue
In this edition of Bright Lights, we introduce another key PeopleFluent team member: Lori Smith, Vice President of Revenue. When she’s not at work, Lori loves spending time with her family. Let’s get to know her better!
So, Lori, what’s your role at PeopleFluent? How long have you been working here?
My official title is Vice President of Revenue. I started in this role in February 2023, and I lead the revenue teams at PeopleFluent, which include sales, pre-sales, bid, partnerships, and customer success.
I’ve been with PeopleFluent for more than 10 years and have worked with nearly every customer-facing department within the organization. I spent the first two years working in the services area of the business before I transitioned to pre-sales. I was a product expert in that department for about five years and took on a leadership role.
From there, I moved into a new role leading the customer success team. That group is responsible for all of PeopleFluent’s customer partnerships. I was in that position for about two and a half years before transitioning to my current role.
What did you do for work prior to joining PeopleFluent?
Before PeopleFluent I spent about eight years working in human resources (HR). In college, I majored in visual communications, and my first job after graduation was doing graphic multimedia and web design for an HR department.
Working in that environment is how I gained my first exposure to projects and experiences outside of what I had studied during my undergraduate career. I got to see many manual processes firsthand and to witness how HR tech can improve those processes. I also got to experience a lot of HR tech implementations or product replacements, which helped me realize my passion for technology and assisting others with solving problems.
I’m really glad to have had those opportunities because those eight years working in HR have really informed how I respond to clients and help my teams meet customers’ needs. I’ve been in our clients’ shoes, and I understand their pain points. Starting my career on the customer side of HR has been really impactful on my time here at PeopleFluent.
What skills are needed to be successful in your role?
It’s important to be agile. I have the opportunity to lead many departments that all roll into revenue, and each of those departments has its own set of nuances. I have to be agile in terms of how I’m communicating with my teams and how I support them. That said, I also need to be decisive. When employees ask for guidance, I need to provide swift answers that allow them to move forward and continue assisting our customers.
I also think it’s extremely important to lead with empathy first. We all have lives outside of work, and it’s essential to treat everyone with the respect and decency they deserve as human beings and adults. I strive to be the kind of leader that I would want to report to. I think leading with empathy helps our teams become stronger, which in turn helps support our greater business relationships.
The last thing isn’t necessarily a skill, but I think it’s crucial to be transparent. I want to share as much information as I can with my teams. Sometimes when people work independently or in tight-knit teams, it isn’t always clear how their contributions are helping to achieve the overall business goals. Being as transparent as possible helps mitigate potential feelings of frustration. I try to help my teams overcome obstacles, and I want to support their efforts as best as I can because the work they’re doing is important.
What skills do you want to develop?
As I continue to grow within a leadership position, I'm excited to get more exposure to the higher-level “how a business is run” aspect of the organization. I want to learn more about how decisions are made at the highest levels and understand the philosophy behind those decisions.
While we want to be profitable, we also want to ensure that what we're doing ties back to our people. I want to understand these higher-level business philosophies in order to help grow a business while advocating for the people who are working so hard to build it up.
How would you describe your team dynamic?
We’re focused on having a positive team dynamic. We have a monthly all-hands meeting so each department leader has an opportunity to share with the larger team how things are progressing. These meetings are a chance for building relationships with people that we don’t necessarily work with on a day-to-day basis. Being a remote-first company, we don’t have opportunities for “water cooler conversations,” but it’s crucial to understand what each individual brings to the table and how we can leverage everyone’s strengths.
What’s your favorite aspect of the job?
It’s definitely the variety. It’s what keeps me here. I can’t remember a time when I’ve felt bored—the days fly by!
I really just enjoy helping everyone solve their problems, whether that's the customers or our employees. I enjoy finding efficient ways to improve processes and solve problems, and there are so many ways to solve a problem. I love it.
What’s your favorite work perk?
Hands down, it’s the flexibility. I'm getting work done in the timeframe that’s conducive to both our business and customer needs, but I’m still able to balance that with what I personally need.
Since I started working at PeopleFluent, I’ve gotten married, started a family, and relocated. PeopleFluent has continued to help me feel supported and successful in my professional life while still being able to balance my personal needs, and those of my family.
What are you doing when you’re not at your desk?
Most things are centered around my family and kids these days. We have three young children, a six-and-a-half-year-old and five-year-old twins—all boys. They’re always busy with something. We love to be active and outdoors. It helps get some of the kids’ energy out. One of my favorite things is to dine outside with some live music, and my kids love it. I take joy in their joy.
What’s something you wish you’d known at the start of your career?
I think it’s that work is so much about relationships. I’m naturally an introvert, and early on in my career I wasn’t as comfortable with challenging myself to move beyond my natural tendencies. It wasn’t comfortable for me, but I’ve realized that building relationships is so integral to flourishing in one’s career, especially in these remote or hybrid environments.
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Lori is one of our many “bright lights” at PeopleFluent. Our global team of professionals is ready to assist you with all your talent and learning needs. Contact us today to find out more.