Oftentimes, we think of the phrase “still learning” in a negative light, or that someone still has work to do to better themselves on their personal journey. Claire Goodill, Head of Partnerships at Postscript, uses this phrase differently. Her success and happiness is contingent upon if she is constantly learning in her work.
We spoke to Claire about her role at the SMS marketing platform Postscript, that is making waves in the marketing and tech industry. Claire’s eloquent speech and self-realized attitude are hallmarks of the confident woman in the workplace, and we had a lot to take away from our conversation: including but not limited to: maneuvering horizontally and vertically throughout the career path, finding passion in other people, coaching, and why working for celebrities can train professionalism.
Pre-Postscript and post-graduation from Tulane University, Claire began her career working for high-profile celebrities in New York City.
“You get seen by a million people when you work for a celebrity or in PR, and when you work for a super small startup, your audience is small. So it was interesting to have that level of professionalism, just being careful, conscious, polished before going somewhere super scrappy and different.”
Claire’s career path took her from a PR position in New York, where she learned what she didn’t like doing, to entering the start-up world. After leaving PR, she started a fitness blog, which eventually led her to impulsively emailing the start-up Class Pass about her invigoration and passion for their company.
“When you find a company that small, it’s usually the founder that contacts you back,” she says, and likewise, Class Pass offered her a position in Customer Service.
I was the youngest, only single person on the team, so I had to learn how to say yes to things.
This go-getting attitude led Claire to another roadblock when she switched to a Sales role within Class Pass, one in which she found that, “I’ve noticed that once I get good at my job, I don’t want to do it anymore. And with sales, you have to be good at your job.”
After trying on two different hats within the company, Claire hit her sweet spot.
“I switched to the product team with Class Pass, and that was probably the most impactful year of my career. You can see there’s this progression of absolutely nothing vertical, it’s all horizontal. I learned how to work with engineers, understand user research and be more of a builder.”
Within the product team, Claire was responsible for launching verticals, and traveling overseas to Asia to launch several markets. This was an enormous pivot point for the young twenty-something at the time: after mobilizing horizontally for so long across departments, she found her stride within product, driving passion from helping build the brand’s product.
After a few successful years at Class Pass, Claire switched it up once again, and tried her hand at a different New York startup:
“What I learned there was: I found little startups, I found the industry I love, but I think who you work with is more important. I hadn’t prioritized that before. I think I looked for a certain type of hustle, growth strategy, and approach to building.”
When Claire joined Postscript around a year ago, she discovered her true passion in working directly with people.
“I surprised myself with how much I liked the people at Postscript. Here at Postscript we hire more for the right DNA over the resume.”
Ironically, Postscript is a solely remote organization, making social connection more challenging than a traditional workplace. Claire shared that Postscript’s mission statement includes the team being a remote company:
To build the world’s best remote organization by modernizing communication between brands and customers.
“To have the reason you wake up every day to build this company be related to the team actually functioning at it’s best and being happy…We also have absolutely no ego here. We are very invested in continuing to get better as a remote organization.”
Claire claims that Postscript is very “Slack-heavy,” which reinforces the future of our workplace technologies. And one adapts to the working remote lifestyle and environment as Claire demonstrates through her own position and positive attitude, “It’s hard to be remote when everyone else is in-person. But when everyone’s remote it enforces your communication and documentation to be better.”
Remote working being top of mind, Claire also emphasizes the importance of investing in growth. No one can grow without having too large of an ego, and she claims the team is always evolving and trying new things, even if a certain avenue showed successful results.
As Head of Partnerships, Claire is responsible for “teaching marketers how to be experts in a new channel.” As Postscript creates a new category in SMS marketing, Claire’s partners work with her to build better relationships and systems of communication from brand to customer.
“Partnerships for us aren’t just about selling and closing a deal. No matter where you do partnerships, it has to have value on both sides. The way we show that value back to partners here is through education and hands-on training, and working collaboratively with them.
We’re going to be your team that’s going to build this with you, and teach you how to be the best in this.
This collaborative approach is Claire’s seasoned and learned strategy to working and pairing well with other companies. She speaks on the significance of listening and connecting:
“When I get on the phone with a partner, I never have a template. You have to listen to them and learn what they need. Our partners’ companies are all so different...You can’t tell them how it’s done, you have to insert yourself in there. If you don’t start by learning their needs, and learning about their tech partners, you’re never going to enable yourself to get into that partnership.”
As a team of 1, Claire was leading the partnership program from a category creation standpoint. Having value on both sides, leverage-able commission, and being a good listener were hallmarks of her successful work and ethos. Yet, Claire is currently transitioning into a role of leadership.
“I recently did a deep dive into the potential of our partner program. We did some projections and saw that if the partner program is growing this much with a team of 1, are we just scratching the surface? What would it look like if we put more people here? As of Monday, I have three offers signed from some amazing strategic partner managers.”
We asked Claire what this transition into a role to leadership looked like, and how to navigate taking on a position that you weren’t initially hired for.
“My management style is me being available for them at all times. But if they need something, I do expect them to come to me. I’m not going to hover, and we can’t hire people who need that in a remote world anyway. I want to enable my team to have what they need, and get out of their way, and let them innovate and run with stuff, throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.”
An emphasis on experimentation and constantly evolving is core to the creative process at Postscript. Claire clearly values the power in trying new things in conjunction with collaboration:
I can be the one they can collaborate with, or if they need to pivot when things aren’t working, or if we need more resources because something we tested is going really well. It’s my job to be their advocate.
But the transition to leadership over new hires was not seamless.
“The Imposter Syndrome is real when you make that transition. Being honest when you need help and when you need resources is how you’re going to be successful. No one expects you to know how to be a good leader from day one. In fact, I’m really lucky I have amazing mentors out there, and all of them have coaches that were bad at it when they started. Acknowledging that you’re going to keep getting better at it every single day is something you have to tell yourself. I can already tell that difference from when I first started at Postscript almost a year ago today versus now. My understanding of what it meant to be a leader and how you approach other people at the company has shifted.”
Claire added that the change can be difficult, and that, “Acknowledging it’s just a different role than you were hired for. You need to wake up with a different mindset each day. It’s about your team, it’s not about closing that deal.”
1. “Someone who can talk all day, someone that could go on 10 first dates in one day and not get tired.”
2. “Follow up is so important. Follow up quickly. In a partnership business where everyone is talking to so many people, if you let that slip to the next day, you might as well not have had the call in the first place.”
3. “Super energetic, loves to be on the phone connecting with people.”
4. “No ego. You’re going to be doing so much, it’s this hybrid world of sales, account management, and strategy– because we’re building something new. If you get caught up on something that doesn’t go well, you’re going to waste time.”
1. “One thing that’s really rubbed off on me was to always work harder than the people you work for. If you’re at a company and you admire the leaders, and you want to do that and learn from them, don’t just follow behind them. Take on some of their work. I always wanted to be up there, punching way above my weight.”
2. “The value of being a good public speaker. I have seen leaders who have done improv training, or voice coaching, and people that can speak well come off with so much confidence. And whether you know what you’re talking about or not, the people working for you need some clarity when you’re sharing business updates or telling them the path forward. To be able to do that confidently and clearly is very valuable.”
3. “How to tell your story. If your founders are on podcasts and things like that, they have typically begun to tell their story over and over again. And listening to those examples can really help you craft yours. Look at the people you know and admire, and listen to how they tell their story.”
Those 3 specific pieces of advice, I think in the framing of this being for females, and us needing to be confident and punching above what we think is our weight. What are you scared of – not getting it?
1. “Save money early. I found as I got older, there are more risks I want to take professionally, and being able to remove as many financial barriers as you can is good for career decisions. I think that’s very basic advice that should not be overlooked.”
2. “Until you find that blend of what I like to do and what I’m good at, keep saying yes to things to the extent that you can. If your eyes are open and you are engaged with work, I think at most good companies, opportunities will come your way. I would have a yes mentality if you have the bandwidth and mental strength and means to do it. That’s how I switched to different roles and had companies send me to four different cities. Once you’ve found the blend, then you can start saying no to things.”
3. “Specific to partnerships, get to know everyone. It doesn’t have to be someone whose resume is great, it could be someone very different from you and you stay in touch with them and you could start a business someday. Or they can give you advice.”
“I wouldn’t call myself successful. I’m not really out to do that. I think I’m still on the path to success, or not even keeping that as a north star. I’m happy with what I do, I’m still learning, being challenged everyday, and I like who I spend my time with. I think someday, success will look like the perfect combination of what I’m good at and what I like to do.
For company success, it’s really important for everyone on the team to know what the North Star is. Ours is Annual Recurring Revenue. And as that is growing, we are successful. But, everything internally with the people has to be going well.
The North Star is like the heartbeat of the company. As that moves, we move, and we need it moving all the time.”
I am learning so much, honestly everyday. If when I leave a company is when I get bored, then I am never leaving here. I have to really show up for work everyday. There are zero things I do on autopilot.