Employee Spotlight: Grace Simmons
For this month’s employee spotlight, we’re exploring Customer Onboarding Manager Grace Simmons’s career, her impressive trajectory through Juniper by IMC, and—most importantly—the unique combination of skills and experience she offers customers as she guides them through the onboarding process. Join us!
Name: Grace Simmons
Role: Customer Onboarding Manager, Agency & Enterprise
Location: Austin, TX
Favorite Meal: Brunch. She says Austin’s brunches are incredible.
Hobby: Yoga (“It’s kind of my thing right now.”)
Pets: One dog. (Grace is a new dog mom to a rottweiler-husky mix named Moonie! How cute!)
Education and Early Career: How Technology and Grace Found Each Other
Meet Moonie, Grace’s dog. Grace counts being a dog mom among her top hobbies in the world outside work.
Grace graduated with a degree in psychology, which she proudly uses every day as she interfaces between clients and the company.
“If you have prior experience doing something you’re passionate about, you can find a way to translate it to something you want,” she said, directly encouraging readers interested in a tech career to seek a job out and try their best.
After obtaining her degree, Grace’s early career led her to the business world. Her first post-collegiate job saw her managing business accounts as a mortgage loan account specialist (foreshadowing!), an experience that geared her up for her first meeting with Pharos by Juniper.
Following that, Grace would move on to a short but fruitful stop at a fresh new startup called Lease Accelerator. The role connected her to Pharos—which was the product of a company called Whereoware—in a rather strange way.
“I was driving on the highway to work and I saw the building that Whereoware works out of. And at the top of this building was a really nice rooftop patio. I didn’t know what Pharos was, I didn’t know what it did … but I drove past that building and I was like, ‘that looks really cool; I would like to work there.’”
Beginnings at Pharos (Now Pharos by Juniper)
Grace and team enjoying an event.
While a “nice rooftop patio” initially caught her attention, you could really say that the technology field and Grace found one another: the field is always looking for passionate people ready to do their best, and Grace was in search of a place with even more than good architecture.
Getting there, however, required an extra stop.
“I applied for a Project Coordinator role, which at the time I wasn’t qualified for,” Grace admitted.
She didn’t get the job.
Grace’s dream to work at the company that’d become Juniper by IMC didn’t end there. After a few more months at Lease Accelerator, Grace felt she’d gained the experience, skills, and insight she needed to be a strong contributor to the Pharos by Whereoware team—and this time, the people making the hiring decisions agreed.
Around a year later, Pharos became Pharos by Juniper when International Market Centers (our parent company) started putting together its industry-first suite of software tools. And by then, Grace had excelled enough within her role—as a success-focused member of the team—to gain the attention of the senior leadership that came over in the wake of the acquisition.
Grace would ultimately make the “fantastic decision,” in her words, to switch from a coordination-related role to one more explicitly focused on helping and interfacing with customers. And the rest is history!
Today: Helping Juniper by IMC’s Customers Flourish
Nowadays Grace’s role goes far beyond “just” Pharos by Juniper, though she does play an active role in helping customers succeed with that area of our platform as well. As Customer Onboarding Manager, she oversees a team of 15 and primarily serves as an advocate for the customer—taking a point-facing position for a team that exists to make sure our customers move to our tools with as little friction as possible.
What does that mean on a day-to-day basis?
- Taking feedback from customers. First and foremost, Grace’s team gets ample feedback from the customers they onboard. Then they implement the findings they generate to continually refine the onboarding process.
- Connecting current and new platforms. Tightly tied to the first point, this part of Grace’s role is all about making sure the tools we provide tie tightly to the technologies and processes our customers rely on via software integrations and other onboarding practices. Her technical background with Pharos by Juniper gives her added insight here.
- Cross-collaboration. Getting onboarding right means knowing how to work within specific teams, each with their own goals; aligning these projects with customer needs and larger business goals is both a skill and an art, and Grace brings a firm grasp of both. Grace’s degree helps her here every time she assigns a team member to a solution based upon their skills or facilitates a solution.
In all, Grace’s responsibilities and the number of employees under her guidance mean she oversees the largest of all the Customer Success teams. That gives her deep insight and a broad view into the needs customers express when they roll over to our platform.
“Everyone has a major role in our team,” Grace said. “Everyone is really great at something.”
That diverse collection of team members, individual skills, and personal professional development has allowed Grace to work with some of our biggest clients, including CMA, Simblist, and Bethany Lowe.
Conclusion: Making the best entry possible for our customers
Grace enjoying the weather in beautiful Austin!
Grace is quick to note a lot of her success comes from the support and innovation JuniperCommerce and our parent company, International Market Centers, offers their teams. The decision to allow full-virtual employees while still maintaining a healthy work culture, for instance, is an aspect of the job she truly loves:
“We’re extremely unique in the way we communicate and work together. It’s incredible to me,” Grace said. “Adversity during Covid was a good show of what we can do—we grew rapidly.”
Asked to leave us with a parting thought, Grace directed her comments at anyone who might wish to join the tech world, but feel their knowledge, professional experience, or education aren’t enough:
“Don’t be scared,” she said, “and don’t think you’re not good enough. Tech can seem really intimidating with all this lingo and all the different departments. But there are so many different roles within tech you don’t have to know how to code or be a developer to get in… There’s nothing that you can’t have. You might have to wait a really long time or work really really hard to have it, but there’s nothing you can’t have.”
It’s an excellent quote—and one that reflects Grace’s commitment to making sure every customer who leaves our onboarding system does so with a great grasp of the tools at their disposal.