Brittany Benson: Thank you for joining and sharing a few minutes of your day with me, Cindy! To get us started, can you please tell us a little bit about your role at Sage?
Cindy Bechtel: I am the Director of Competitive Intelligence and the Head of the Center of Excellence for Competitive Intelligence for Sage's Global Cloud Solutions.Our goal is to stay ahead of the competition, provide strategy and feedback to our management teams on pricing, packaging, marketing activities, our product roadmap, and sales enablement activities.
Brittany Benson: Can you share a bit about how you got involved in the world of technology?
Cindy Bechtel: I'm from a small town in Southern New Jersey called Millville, and I was the first person in my immediate family to attend college. I ended up at the University of Delaware with double majors in computer science and accounting. I was one of the only women in the computer science program, and I think the only woman who worked in the computer centre. I had never seen a computer in my life back in Millville, but I thought, “How hard could it be?” Spoiler alert, it was really hard. But no matter what you do, what your majors are, you can apply creativity to any job – especially in technology – and it can be really fun.
Brittany Benson: That's great advice. Diving in a little deeper, what do you think is the best part of your job?
Cindy Bechtel: The people I work with are the best part of my job. They really are like my family. Starting with the people who recruited me into Intacct, before we were Sage Intacct, over seven years ago. They're super supportive. We were a much smaller company back then. Both that team and our management team – including my current manager – kind of all grew up together.
Even though we're part of a larger group under Sage now, you can still be like a family. Between those work friends, other internal teams, the partners that we work with, some of whom I have worked with for over 30 years, they're just an amazing group of people.
Brittany Benson: You shared a bit in regard to how the company has really transformed itself, and with that, so has your role too. How would you describe what your leadership style is today, and what has shaped that?
Cindy Bechtel: My team is remote, but we work with people all across the country and the world. I don't like to be micro managed, and I don't micro manage my people. We're all very busy. I find the right people, I trust them to do what they need to do, when they need to do it. They understand our goals and they understand what matters, and of course they understand how to have fun! We all do our part.
Brittany Benson: That's always important. And you mentioned that your team really knows how to focus on what matters. At Sage, a huge part of that is our customers. When you're working with your team, how do you ensure that you are working with a customer-centric framework in mind?
Cindy Bechtel: This is not hard for my team based on our backgrounds. All of us over the years, have at one point worked for a partner organisation. These firms sell to our customers, we've all implemented software, and we've all been on customer sites many, many times.
One of my most vivid memories of learning what's important to a customer was right after my daughter was born. She might've been three months old, and she is now 29. Late on a Friday afternoon, one of my customers called me and said, "Cindy, we need you out here right away." I've got at three-month-old sitting there and so I asked the customer, "Do you really need me right now?" they did.
I put the baby in the car, and I went out there. When I showed up, there were 40 contractors standing in front of the printer because their paychecks wouldn't print. It's a Friday afternoon, they need gas money to get home, and they need beer money for the weekend. They are not happy.
I called tech support and those folks got paid. But nothing screams understanding the needs of your customer like a day when you're on site, and things aren't working the way that they should. Folks on my team have all been in situations like that, so it’s very easy for us to understand and remember what's important to our customers. They come first!
Read the other colleague profiles who are part of Sage’s Women in Technology interview series.