Get to know the people behind Sonar with our employee spotlight series. Next up is Erin Willbanks, Director of Customer Success.
Erin recently gave us the scoop on what led her to Sonar, what she’s most passionate about in life, and her favorite places to hang in Atlanta.
Erin, tell me about your career path.
It all started in college. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I changed my major five times, which led to six years of undergrad. I landed on management information systems (after my dad requested I pick a major with job opportunities after all of my time spent in school).
Once I graduated college, I got a job at a healthcare company. Going into it, I thought a career meant that you get a job, stick with it for 30 years, and then retire. But the company quickly downsized, and I was unemployed for 11 months, leaving me in a daze.
I started taking odd jobs, including gig work playing violin at events. At one wedding, I ran into a woman from my tennis team and told her I was looking for a job. She was working at a startup and asked me to send my resume. When I sent it to her, I didn’t hear back for a month.
The day I decided to go to nursing school, I finally heard back from her — it was divine intervention. I ended up applying for the project manager role at the company she worked for, Cloud Sherpas. While there, I worked with Sonar’s CEO, Brad Smith.
Cloud Sherpas showed me I define my career path. I can be creative, I can build things, I can form relationships, I can change my job–I can do all of these things.
From there, I went on to work for various startups, focusing on customers and internal process improvements. Eventually, I landed at PadSplit, where I had the opportunity to manage every support ticket, form relationships with customers, and build a 20-person team. While I was there, I reconnected with Brad, and he mentioned this role at Sonar. I knew it was time to make a jump.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Right now, I’m focusing on getting to know our customers and figuring out what they need. I spend most of my day talking with them or answering their questions. Our customers are really smart and independent–they want the tools to be successful, and then they take it from there. When I’m talking to customers, I focus on figuring out what tools we can build so they can be successful on their own.
What’ the most rewarding part of your job?
One thing I love about software implementation and customer success, in general, is being able to see someone solve a problem quicker. If we can elevate a customer so they can impress their boss or get the job they want–that’s the cool part. I love that I can enable people to be successful.
What’s the biggest perk of working at Sonar?
I’ve worked in startups my entire career, and everyone works hard. But at Sonar, we really do work hard and play hard. You never see any negative talk; everyone is so encouraging. We’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders. And I think we’re going to accomplish so much more because of our hyper-positive environment.
What are 3 things people don’t typically know about you?
- I’ve played violin since I was 12 and was in a bluegrass band in college.
- I love repurposing old things that have stories.
- I can never read one book at a time. I usually have non-fiction and fiction going simultaneously.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I love hanging out with my friends. I recently restored my grandparents’ old hi-fi, so I listen to records a lot. I also love reading.
What podcasts are you listening to right now?
Erin’s dog Stella and her cat Eleanor
What are you most passionate about in life?
I want to empower young people to find what they love and help mentor them through defining their career path and doing it on their own. Growing up as a woman in the south, I felt I was supposed to get married and have five kids by now–I had no idea I could achieve the career I have today. It’s so important to have people along the way to coach and mentor you.
Oh, and I’m also really passionate about the french white wine Chablis–it’s definitely going to be the next Rosé.
What’s your favorite place to hang out in Atlanta?
I like going to wine tastings at VinoTeca. My favorite spot is Highland Tap in the winter, where I always get a dirty gin martini.
Want to join Erin’s team? Good news, we’re hiring! Check out our open positions.