Celebrating International Women’s Day: An Interview with Georgia Gier, VP of Customer Success

Ulla Saleh Mar 8, 2019

As part of our celebration of International Women’s Day, I thought it would be fun to sit down with Georgia Gier, our VP of Customer Success. Georgia was the first woman hired at BrandVerity six years ago. She started as a Customer Success Manager and now leads a geographically dispersed team of eight and is a key member of BrandVerity’s leadership team.

What made you choose BrandVerity?

Georgia: There were really two things that contributed to my decision to join BrandVerity - one was the opportunity and the other was the people. Since I was the first person hired in my position here, I had the chance to really define and shape what Customer Success should look like at BrandVerity. We were growing quickly, so I was excited to contribute to that momentum and knew it would give me opportunities to grow in my own career that I wouldn’t get at most other companies.

I also had a fantastic interviewing experience, which started off with a couple of conversations with two members of the Sales team that focused on getting to know the company, the industry, the role, and why it all mattered. They took great care not only to ensure that I was the right person for the job, but also to give me all the information I needed to make sure this was the right job and company for me. The time that those two Sales members took to teach me during the interview process made me feel so confident that I’d have great supporters and mentors once I joined.

What was BrandVerity like when you first started?

Georgia: In some ways, it was very different, but also very much the same. At that time we only had 14 employees. Our office was tiny with a single conference room, which also happened to house our foosball table and coffee grinder. Today, however, we have a gorgeous office that prioritizes making plenty of space for meetings, collaboration, and fun.

When I started at BrandVerity, there were no other female employees, so that meant I was the only woman in the office each day and the only woman at any of the internal meetings I joined. Just the other day I found myself sitting in a meeting where all of the other attendees were women (unthinkable six years ago!), and we have a regular ladies lunch with female colleagues from Dev, Sales, Product, Customer Success, and Marketing.

The values of the company, our commitment to our customers and our focus on building the best technology to solve difficult problems, however, have been consistent throughout. When I first joined, I was nervous about what to expect as the only woman, but all of my colleagues went out of their way to make me feel welcomed, included, and part of the team. I think that is even more true for all of our new hires today and is part of what makes BrandVerity so special.

Do you think BrandVerity is a great place for women to work?

Georgia: Absolutely, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed six years! But yes, it is a place where I feel very valued and supported. Right now, one-third of our company are women. While women are still underrepresented in Engineering and on the Leadership team, when you look at the company as a whole, we have come a long way in terms of gender balance.

We have a very collaborative and open culture here, which I think makes it an appealing place for women. We are also very good about giving credit where credit is due. In our weekly company meetings, we give each other cheers, which is a great place to showcase each other's accomplishments. We also have a cheers channel on Slack, which offers another avenue for recognition.

Our flexible work environment makes it easy for teammates to drop off kids, work from home when they need to, or take care of a sick family member. We don’t measure success by the hours clocked in the office, but by results.

Dave, our CEO, has been a huge supporter of ensuring BrandVerity is a great place for women. Our office culture and policies wouldn’t exist without his buy-in and advocacy. He also has taken the time to understand and actively work to address the factors that disadvantage women in the workplace, from seemingly small things like interruptions in meetings to larger issues like pay equality.

While this interview is focused on women, in general, as a company we have done a lot to make BrandVerity a place where all our colleagues can thrive at work, while also living fulfilling and meaningful lives outside of work. One of our company’s values is “We support fulfilling lives” and our unlimited vacation and parental leave policies are very much in line with that value.

Tell me a bit more about those two policies. A lot of companies these days have unlimited vacation, but people don’t actually take days off.

Georgia: We all take vacation at BrandVerity, and last year we spent a lot of time reworking the way the policy was written to ensure team members felt comfortable and confident taking advantage of it. It's not uncommon to see a month on our company-wide calendar with days blocked, a name, and some exotic location after it. In March alone, we have teammates going to the Grand Canyon, Australia, and I’ll be heading to Hawaii. When they come back, they share photos and talk about where they went and what they learned at our weekly company lunches or in the break room. For parents on our team, the unlimited vacation allows them to take family trips and celebrate holidays in ways that those working for other companies just can’t.

We did a lot of research on parental leave policies before instituting our own, and our policy is one of the best–12 weeks fully paid leave for the primary caregiver, taken immediately following birth or adoption. The primary caregiver can be a biological mother, biological father, or adoptive parent. There is also an additional 8 weeks of parental leave for all parents, which can be taken at any time within the first year and divided up in any way. For the primary caregiver, this means you can combine the two for 20 weeks of fully paid leave. We also have a policy that allows you to ramp up from 3 / 4 time to full time when returning to work after parental leave.

What is BrandVerity doing to increase the number of female employees? You mentioned the Leadership Team and Engineering teams are not as diverse as other teams.

Georgia: We have a Culture Committee at BrandVerity, which includes one person from each of our six departments, a representative from our office in London, and our co-founders, Dave and Andy. The committee meets regularly to improve all aspects of our company culture while ensuring it aligns with our company values. Right now we are figuring out how to achieve the goals we’ve set to increase the diversity of our applicant pipeline. It’s been a professionally and personally rewarding experience working on this challenge, which is one that most companies face. We have a lot to learn, but we’re currently in the process of researching best practices and brainstorming ideas. I’m really excited to see how things go once we implement some of the recommendations. It is great to work at a company that takes these issues seriously and is proactively working to address them.

 

Thank you to all the women at BV that make this such a wonderful place to work!

Ladies at BrandVerity! Missing from this photo are Jessica Bultman, Beck Williams, and Hanna Oksanen.

(Missing from this photo are Jessica Bultman, Beck Williams, and Hanna Oksanen.)

 

Interested in finding out more about careers at BrandVerity? Visit our careers page for current openings.

 

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