We recently had fun chatting with Bar Paciuk, CSM (Customer Success Manager) Team Leader at Keywee. We talked about her rapid career progression from a new college grad to a team leader, what challenges she had to overcome, and advice for folks just starting out in their career.
The interview is part a series highlighting alumni of the Keywee Greenhouse program – our prestigious training and certification program for new grads looking to get into the worlds of digital marketing and fast-growth startups.
Hi Bar! Tell us how you found yourself at Keywee.
I’ve been at Keywee almost two years. I came after graduating from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem with an undergraduate degree in communications and international relations.
Shortly before graduating I started exploring the job market. During my studies, I had worked as a marketing analyst – doing data analysis for brands and providing recommendations for marketing campaigns.
I was looking at tech companies and strategic consulting. Tech seems more interesting and dynamic. Like you can make your mark.
Then I saw Keywee’s ad on Facebook, recruiting Customer Success Managers (CSMs). It was my first – and only – job interview – and it worked out!
What got you so excited that you decided to skip all the other interviews and join Keywee?
Keywee’s interview process included an exercise that involved doing some analysis, which I really liked. I also found it really appealing to join a startup – the CS team was only 7 people back then, and I had a feeling you can mold your position to fit you. Even if initially there was a job definition, you can make it your own.
When you graduate with a social sciences degree you might think it limits you, but then at a place like Keywee you realize it’s not true.
That’s what they told me in the interview, and two years in I’m happy to report that’s the truth!
What do you do now at Keywee?
I’m a CSM Team leader. Most of my day is revolves around creating processes and team-wide flows. My team also manages about 30 customers – companies like Bauer Media and Equinox.
Tell us about your career progression.
I started as a CSM. Two months later, I visited Keywee’s NYC office for 2.5 months. I was a CSM for about seven months, and then promoted to Senior CSM. I started taking on projects – like creating CSM workflows in Salesforce. In January of this year I became a team lead.
What sort of training did you get?
Back then we were thrown into the water… I got my first customer on my first week at Keywee. So you had to learn as you go. You make a lot of mistakes and you learn to fix most of them quickly. I got lots of help from team leads, who gave their input and were always there to explain, fine tune, and check on my work. That said, the emphasis was always on “self training.” Any time I wanted to try something new for a campaign I was working on, nobody said “No.” The role has always involved a lot of experimentation, as opposed to rote repetition.
Today new Keywees go through much more structured training – for the first three months, you have a very limited number of customers you work with. Throughout your first year and a half, we’re thoughtful about the quantity and size of customers you manage. In addition, our CSMs teams are quite small, so there is a lot of supervision and coaching — and many more processes than we had when I got started!
What do you like most in your role?
I like the diversity. I get bored easily, I always need new challenges, and this role is dynamic and keeps throwing new challenges at me.
I also love that I’ve never heard “No” about exploring new directions.
For example, I wanted to experiment with Salesforce – I didn’t know anything about it when I got started, and then I ended up doing an entire project in Salesforce: Creating spec, working with an external consultant, training the team on how to use it, and doing data analysis. In a big corporate, I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t have happened.
What have you learned at Keywee in the two years you’ve been here?
Tons! Professionally, I learned about the market, how Facebook works behind the scenes, advertising and internet in general.
I learned how to be more independent – you own your customer account, and with it comes a lot of responsibility. It’s not something you typically have in your first job out of college.
I also gained a lot of pop culture knowledge! Both from fellow Keywees and also from all the customers I manage and the content we work with every day.
Last but not least, I learned a great deal about communication and talking with customers: How to convince customers, how to build a compelling argument. An example that seems trivial but can make a big difference – always try to phrase your emails in a positive way. Don’t write “I can’t” but instead “can we.”
When comparing yourself now to the Bar who started at Keywee two years ago, what are the main differences?
Keywee opened my eyes to how far one can go, independent of one’s background.
The sky’s the limit if you want to get there and you prove yourself.
I’m now much more open to new experiences, and have done so many things I wouldn’t have imagined doing – my first solo call with a customer was awful! But you learn, pick yourself up, and continuously improve.
You eat challenges for breakfast.
Over time, you develop a thicker skin. It’s always hard, but you learn how to deal with it better. You develop resilience.
What kind of people would succeed in your role?
People who are ambitious, who are willing to work hard, and don’t think short term, but instead optimize for the long term (beyond the next year).
What advice would you give someone who’s just graduating from college / university and looking to break into tech or digital media?
Take a deep breath – the first few months are going to be hard. College might make you think you’re “all that” – but it doesn’t really prepare you to the real world. It sometimes makes people think they will immediately have “a career,” but it doesn’t teach them how to build a career. It’s a process, not a one-off event.
Ideally, you define your long-term goals and desires, and then research companies you’re interested in. If you want to make your voice heard, and make rapid progress – you should seriously consider joining a startup. If you want something more laid back, where you can learn one thing deeply for a few years, then perhaps a bigger company would be a better fit.
Thank you for sharing your story, Bar.
And… Keywee Greenhouse is accepting applications from recent college / university graduates, both for Keywee’s Tel Aviv and New York offices.
To learn more and apply, check out Keywee Greenhouse.