Motherhood can make you stronger — I didn’t become a mother until I was 39 and had already been an executive for 10 years. I was scared about what it would do to me professionally but it’s made me more efficient, I value balance more and see my team more dynamically. I’ve grown more in the 3 years since I’ve been a working mother than the five years prior to it.
I had the pleasure to interview Amanda Berger. Amanda’s commitment to business results drives each aspect of her work as Chief Customer Officer at Lucidworks. Leading a team of innovators and experts in the Customer Success, Professional Services, and Support organizations, her goal is to ensure that every customer optimizes the business impact of Lucidworks search and analytics deployments. Amanda delivers true partnership as she works with Lucidworks customers to optimize the impact of technology innovation and accelerates business results. She holds a degree in Philosophy from Occidental College and is based in San Francisco.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I went to a small liberal arts college which required only one math credit. I decided to take an intro to programming class to fill it (I was a philosophy major). I was shocked to learn this class was the only “easy A” I ever had — because my mind just worked in the same logical patterns that we needed for coding. I continued to take more programming classes because they were a break for me. I graduated college during the first tech boom in the late 90s, and with my limited programming background consulting jobs were plentiful, so I took a job implementing early OLAP budgeting software. As I grew through my career, it was clear that leadership was a better fit for me than coding (probably it was clear from my personality and other interests all along), but I believe the strong grades I got in the coding classes gave me an in.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I’ve only been at my current company for ten weeks, and I was brought in to help the company evolve into a more customer first organization. The most exciting thing about it for me is that there has been very little resistance — which is unusual when managing change. Throughout our employees and our customers, people seem to be onboard with the concept and the changes I am making.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I went to strip clubs with the guys in Vegas because I didn’t want to stand out apart from the team, but that environment did not end up being a good working environment and didn’t help me in my career. I learned it’s okay to just say goodnight sometimes!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I am so excited to be at Lucidworks, we are on the precipice some really amazing market trends, AI, digital transformation and truly big scalable data solutions. What differentiates Lucidworks is our emphasis on people and our passion for making life better — jobs easier and digital world more fulfilling by helping people find what they truly need.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
The most important lesson I learned in my time is a leader is the importance of being authentic. Early in my career, I felt like I had to be a different version of myself at home and at work — it probably took until I was in my mid-thirties to realize that didn’t serve me or the people who worked for me. My advice is this: be your true self and just have one version of that self, you will be happier and a better leader.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Get comfortable with delegation! If something doesn’t require your brain or your heart then someone else can do it — another female leader taught me that and it’s the best advice I’ve ever received.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I had a boss at MicroStrategy, which was the company that grew me into an executive, Adam McDonald. The VP position fell open and he didn’t care that I was young, he didn’t care that I was female in a company with almost no female executives, he promoted me anyway because he knew that I could do it. I will always be grateful for that.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have given people jobs and helped them live the lives they want to lead. I’ve helped people move countries, achieve their career goals and obtain self confidence through career success.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1.Strong voices matter more than loud voices — early in my career I would find myself interrupted frequently, often by men who were older than me. Eventually I learned to say “please don’t interrupt me” whenever it happened, even if I had to say it 5 or 6 times on a call. It worked, people stopped.
2. Surround yourself with people you really like — it’s okay for friendships to blossom at work. After hiring many people who had the resume but not the personality to succeed, I started playing the “car test” game in my head. I would ask myself, if I could either drive with this person to a meeting an hour away or take my own car, what would I choose to do? If I wouldn’t choose to carpool, I wouldn’t hire that person.
3. Don’t assume people will act maturely. I have a “career limiting move” speech I give before every company event that could turn into a boondoggle. I always feel silly giving it and say that in the speech. However, at most of these events someone does commit a CLM which impacts them, so I have learned to remind people about this in a friendly and non-condescending manner.
4. Motherhood can make you stronger — I didn’t become a mother until I was 39 and had already been an executive for 10 years. I was scared about what it would do to me professionally but it’s made me more efficient, I value balance more and see my team more dynamically. I’ve grown more in the 3 years since I’ve been a working mother than the five years prior to it.
5. Advocate for women — I work in technology where my teams are typically 85% male. I have loved finding exceptional women to mentor and work with. There are so few females in leadership roles that we have to lead each other, and I believe this is important to do.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would love to inspire a movement for supporting women in the workplace while going through fertility treatments (which so many of us who have kids at a late age have to do). When you are pregnant it is generally visible, happy and exciting but when you are going through IVF or other similar treatments it’s silent and can be very sad — not to mention full of doctors appointments and hormones. It is one of the most challenging things that women go through and there is no support for it at work.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m at LinkedIn under Amanda Berger Rosen.
Thank you so much for these inspiring insights!