Joo Sohn: I’ve worked at Sage for 27 years and lead a team that manages our Sage North America partner programmes, partnership and compliance, and our partner communications areas. I have oversight over our North America partner programs and am responsible for ensuring that our programme is aligned to our native cloud strategy, and that we have a great program for our partners. My team also manages follow-up on our partner net promoter scores, to make sure that our partners know that they're heard and that we’re taking action based on their feedback. We also work with Sage’s partners to keep them current on certifications, authorisations, and maintaining their annual renewals with us. Lastly, my team is responsible for all partner communications for North America.
Brittany Benson: Our partners are such an important aspect of Sage, so thank you for that overview! Next, can you share a little bit about how you got involved in the world of technology?
Joo Sohn: After I graduated from college, where I majored in economics with a minor in management, I didn't quite know what I wanted to do, except that I wanted to get into the corporate world. I was encouraged by my parents to become a CPA. I ended up doing some accounting for a small business to get experience and to see if I liked accounting. During my time there, I realised that instead of using the product and doing accounting, I really wanted to be a part of something bigger, more dynamic, and cutting edge. The world of technology seemed to fit the bill. That's how I ended up working at Sage, where I could use my accounting background, but in a more fast-paced, exciting, and evolving environment.
Brittany Benson: It seems like you were very introspective early on in your career and took some very meaningful, key steps along the way. Was there anyone who inspired you and shaped that view?
Joo Sohn: I was lucky to have a strong role model from the very start of my life, who is my mum. She is an immigrant to this country; and as a woman, she had to work extra hard to provide for our family. She was one of the strongest, hardest working individuals I'd ever met. She made huge sacrifices for our family and taught me through her example to never give up. My mom instilled the importance of having a strong work ethic and believing that you can do anything that you really pursue. She really inspired me because she was excellent at work, but she was also a phenomenal wife and mother, and that's what I aspire to be as well.
I've always been a believer too, that is so important to surround myself with strong and intelligent women whom I could learn from and ask advice from. Whether it's work and career-related, or how to deal with my teens at home and manage that all too familiar work/life balance. I've been really blessed to work with so many amazing women in my career. In fact, I feel lucky that we have so many women at Sage who are an inspiration to me, truly.
Brittany Benson: I couldn't agree more. On that note, what advice would you have for an aspiring leader that is maybe interested in pursuing a career in the technology space?
Joo Sohn: First, I think it's important to network and put yourself out there, and to talk to a lot of people who are in the technology field. Find out as much as you can directly from those who are doing what you'd like to get into. Find some good mentors along the way!
I think it's also important to be genuinely passionate about what you're doing. If you're passionate about something, you'll be successful in what you want to pursue. Don't be afraid to take risks, step out of your comfort zone, and push yourself. I believe that in those times, is when you'll grow most professionally and personally. I know first-hand, because I've experienced that in my career when times are tough and when you're having to push and try things differently, that's when growth happens.
Brittany Benson: It seems like you've been so introspective about what has led to your success, your leadership style, and how important mentorship has been. Across all of that, could you summarize, what do you think the best part of your job is?
Joo Sohn: In addition to getting to work with the best colleagues in the industry at Sage, and I mean that, I've been able to develop great relationships over the years with our business partners as well. Working to support them in growing their businesses with Sage, through our partner programmes, is a joy. It's a long-term relationship that we have with these partners. Even though there's been ups and downs, we've had a lot of success stories. I've been able to see so many of them grow and have phenomenal business success over the years. That's what makes me so happy, and it makes me really appreciate and love my job.
Read the other colleague profiles who are part of Sage’s Women in Technology interview series.