For this episode, we welcome Melissa VanPelt who leads Seismic’s Global Education and Advocacy program at Seismic. We’ve hoped to have Melissa on the show for some time, and this is an episode you’ll truly enjoy.
And because of the depth and complexity of this episode, here’s a special introduction read by Adam:
Adam Avramescu 00:00
Hey everyone, Adam here, just doing a quick introduction before this episode, and we don’t usually do this, but I wanted to focus in on a specific part of the conversation. That’s coming a little bit later. Now, as you’ll hear, we had the opportunity to sit down with Melissa Van Pelt, who is an amazing customer education and enablement leader over at seismic. And we had a great conversation with her.
But towards the end, she makes a certain comment about faking it until you make it. And we talk about it in the context of the episode. But I think this is a really important point, for anyone listening, who’s thinking about growing their career in customer education, or perhaps in some cases rising through the ranks of a company.
In the conversation, she’s talking about the idea that she didn’t necessarily come from a customer education background, and how she had to learn customer success, and then learn customer education, learn community.
I think, in the middle of that, and the way that she was able to take on this increasing scope is not because she was a specialist in learning or customer marketing, or product marketing or any of this, but because, as her company, kept building strategic programs, they trusted her as a leader who could commit to learning everything she needed to learn about that field to make it work.
So the phrase she uses is, “fake it till you make it.” And I think that’s a phrase that cuts both ways. Because often, when we think about something like that, we think, oh, you know, just just pretend you know what you’re doing. And, you know, then eventually, you’ll, you’ll know what you’re doing. And I don’t think that’s actually how it works.
In a lot of cases, the way that she uses the phrase, fake it till you make it is really throw yourself in, start learning, commit, apply those skills, and then figure out how to fill in gaps until you’re doing the thing, you know, quote, unquote, the right way. So, because Melissa works really hard to understand her customers need, how her business works. That I think is how she’s gotten the opportunities to continue to expand her scope. And frankly, it’s what I see a lot of other leaders do, who have continued to expand their scope within and even outside of customer education. It’s not about pretending you know, everything is not about puffing up or posturing.
And frankly, I think as our field grows, you’ll continue to see people who who choose to take that approach where they’ll kind of like pretend they know what they’re talking about, but they don’t actually know. That’s not the right kind of fake until you make it think the right kind of fake it till you make it is exactly what we talked about in this episode where you really roll up your sleeves.
- You actively listen,
- You learn and you take a fundamentally humble approach to learning about how to make this thing work at your business.
- And that’s how you’ll continue to get great opportunities as time goes on.
So with that said, let’s get into the episode!
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