A New Way to Return to Work: Spotlight on Returnee Laura Stupi

Name: Laura Stupi

Company and Position Title: Customer Success Associate, Demandbase

What did you do before taking a break: Before taking a break I worked in the scientific instrumentation industry. Most of it was focused on the application of X-rays to the chemical characterization of materials. I worked with the extraction (oil, gas, and mining) and environmental clean-up industries, and the academic sector. I held two different roles: first working with product development and then a customer-facing role working with sales teams, eventually managing $10M in vertical market sales. In my last job prior to taking a career break, I worked as a support engineer for instrumentation utilized by climate and atmospheric scientists.

How many years of experience did you have before your break? 14 years.

How long were you out of the workforce? 2 years.

Had you taken any classes or done any training in preparation for going back to work? Yes, I took a class in front-end web development that helped me get a better understanding of writing code and how the internet works. I hoped it would help me move into a role working with customers at a tech company.

How did you hear about this program? I read an article about Path Forward and return to work opportunities at Demandbase in Fortune. I was interested because I enjoyed my prior experiences working with customers and particularly because I hoped to make a career shift into the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry. This opportunity seemed like the perfect fit.

Describe your role at Demandbase: I primarily work in customer success operations supporting the customer success managers. Our customer success team is responsible for guiding customers so that they find value in our products, optimizing customer experience, and booking renewals. Together with my manager, I develop processes to streamline workflow and communications, work on analytics, and I serve as the administrator of the customer success software that assists us with all of the above.

What skills from your previous experience do you use in your new position? Having a scientific and technical foundation has been very helpful for being able to adapt to new technology. My experience working with clients and technology helps me get ahead of potential roadblocks. And my previous work analyzing, organizing, applying and presenting data and insights are skills that have served me well in my new role at Demandbase.

What has been one of the more challenging parts of returning to work? Navigating work and school schedules has been challenging. And with new work responsibilities, there is the self-imposed pressure of wanting to excel in all areas of life. Also, upon my return to work, my family faced some unexpected, significant health related challenges. Thankfully everyone is fine, but it was a reminder that major life events don’t stop just because you go back to work.

What has been the most exciting or gratifying part of returning to work? It feels great to be back contributing again — to our household, the economy, and the world. I love being able to show my daughter a wide range of options for her future. Being a role model for her is important to me.

Did anything surprise you about your return to work experience? How much I love taking the train to work! It’s something I imagined myself doing as a kid (going into “The City” for work), it makes my commute pleasant at times, and it’s an added bonus to the overall experience.

What are you most proud of accomplishing during your return to work experience? I pushed through a lot of challenges teaching myself to administrate the software I manage for my team, and learned to take each day as it comes. And while some of the new technology I use was not always immediately intuitive, I am proud that I persevered and that I take the time to continue to teach myself and pursue training opportunities.

What did you find the most helpful about being part of a Path Forward program at Demandbase? I found it to be very helpful to talk to other people who were going through the Path Forward program with me at Demandbase. Plus the larger network of the Path Forward program along with the workshops made all the difference for having a great experience.

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