Who ya gonna call (when you have a question about your Nexonia account)? Why, none other than our exceptional Customer Support team, whose remarkable reflexes and friendly approach to customer interactions has resonated with the administrators and users we serve.
Who ya gonna call (when you have a question about your Nexonia account)? Why, none other than our exceptional Customer Support team, whose remarkable reflexes and friendly approach to customer interactions has resonated with the administrators and users we serve. These Nexonians work hard to problem-solve everything from quick account fixes to complex accounting software data exchanges, making them an efficient unit and an integral part of the Nexonia experience for our customers. As Lead of the Level 2 Support team, Vishnu Singh has been with Nexonia long enough (a solid two and a half years) to see just how quickly progress has been made with the evolution of Nexonia’s products. In an interview with Vishnu, he reveals what working on Nexonia’s Support team is like, how his role has evolved and what makes working at Nexonia so great.
JILL: Naturally the first thing I’m going to say is: tell us about yourself!VISHNU: I was born in London, England and moved from the UK to Canada when I was only 13 years old. I started high school in Toronto then completed post-secondary, and I’ve pretty much been a Torontonian ever since. I actually studied Journalism in University, which seems like a separation from what I’m currently doing now but there’s an element of customer service in journalism, just as much as there’s an inherent need to be a skillful storyteller in a Customer Support role. As a Support member at Nexonia, one facet of my job is to take large chunks of technical information (whether that be a feature request or a bug) and distill it into a cohesive and straightforward way for our customers to understand. At the end of the day, all that our customers want to know is whether their system or feature will function properly, so it’s up to me to relay important information in a way that makes sense to them and addresses their question directly.
JILL: It’s great that you’ve found a way to incorporate your communication studies into your daily work. So, how did you find your way to Nexonia?VISHNU: Right before I joined Nexonia, I was looking for new work and a friend I follow on Twitter pointed out that someone she followed was tweeting about an open position that sounded like something I’d be interested in. So I followed up with Mark, the Customer Support Manager at Nexonia (who had been tweeting about the job) and we chatted back and forth for a bit before I came in for an interview. That was two and a half years ago, and at that time I think I was employee number 28. The office was much smaller back then; there were only four people who worked in Customer Support (including myself) and we all took on both a support function and management of implementations for our customers. Our team has grown quite a bit since then!
JILL: How has your role changed from the time you started at Nexonia to now?VISHNU: The company has grown quite quickly in the past two years, and I’ve since moved into a different role. In order to scale our growth, what I worked on originally is now being handled between 3 different teams (Implementation, Support Level 1 & Support Level 2). Now, my job has become more focused on managing my team, following up with them and making sure they’re not being overloaded. My role as a Team Lead means that I have less tunnel vision; I’m not just thinking about myself and my own work, I’m able to see the bigger picture much better.
JILL: As a senior member of our Customer Support team, can you tell us what your day-to-day is like?VISHNU: The Customer Support team at Nexonia is broken down into two levels, and my team (Level 2) deals with the more complex questions that roll in. When support tickets do come in, they are evaluated and assigned to Level 1 or 2 immediately. Compared to other support agencies out there, ours has a very quick turnaround for responding to support tickets. We often have meetings with our product development teams, as well as representatives of the various accounting software solutions we integrate with, in order to better tackle these ticket queries. My team also handles any corporate credit card questions that customers might have. Generally, when things are going well I really don’t have too much direct contact with customers, but I’m the first point of contact if things need to be escalated. [caption id="attachment_18215" align="alignright" width="444"] Positive feedback from a Nexonia customer regarding working with Vishnu.[/caption]
JILL: Can you tell me about something you were really proud of while working at Nexonia?VISHNU: Even though the front end of Nexonia is easy to use, the product in the backend has a lot of moving parts, and depending on the customer’s account, it can be quite complex to set-up. My proudest moment involves helping to set-up a very complex customer account on my own. Once that account goes live and is running on its own, it’s like “I made that possible!” It’s a really good feeling, especially when you can make even a complex process very straightforward for a customer.
JILL: What appealed to you about working at Nexonia? What do you enjoy most about working here?VISHNU: First and foremost: the people here have created an amazing culture. These are people that I instantly connected with, and who I also enjoy hanging out with outside of work hours. I also find the growth and changes at Nexonia to be both exciting and challenging. It’s a great place to grow your career at because you’ve got a strong team who are all rolling up their sleeves to build better processes from the ground up.
JILL: When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?VISHNU: I used to spend my money on going to films, buying new records and trying new craft beer from independent breweries. Now, I’m spending my hard-earned money on diapers and other baby supplies! My son is now five months old, so my main hobby at the moment is being a dad. We plan on travelling to the UK in the Fall to do a bit of a “baby tour” with my extended family there.
JILL: And finally, besides Nexonia's mobile apps, what are some of your favourite apps that you use?VISHNU: At the moment I don’t really have a favourite app, especially considering I’ve been through four or five new phones in the span of the last year (a number of “butter fingers” incidents involving a jacuzzi, a lake and a concrete sidewalk)! I do, however, spend far too much time on Twitter (hey, it’s how I got this job) and my Instagram has become a collection of one of two things: beer or baby photos. Want to join this team? Nexonia is hiring! Visit our Careers page for more information on the opportunities available.Nexonia Employee Spotlight: Customer Support Team Lead Gallery
Who ya gonna call (when you have a question about your Nexonia account)? Why, none other than our exceptional Customer Support team, whose remarkable reflexes and friendly approach to customer interactions has resonated with the administrators and users we serve.
The Nexonia Development team in Montreal is high performing engine of individuals who are responsible for designing, building and bringing to life Nexonia’s innovative products and solutions. Day in and day out, these teams strive to ensure that we are constantly improving our products and integrations to not only meet but to exceed all of our customers’ expectations. This requires a huge commitment from every department, however it is the responsibility of our strategic Quality Assurance (QA) team to oversee and make certain all releases - including new integrations, product lines or product features - are flawless before they reach our customers’ hands. There are many QA divisions, however it is the responsibility of the Mobile QA team to test the Nexonia mobile apps thoroughly, ensuring that all of our new feature releases are highly functional and can be rolled out seamlessly. So what does a day in life of a Mobile QA Analyst look like? I got a chance to sit down with Sonia Howa, our accomplished Mobile QA Manager, and learned about her career path, hobbies and life in and out of the office.
MADDY: First off, tell me a little bit about yourself!SONIA: I was born in Paris, France, and spent my entire life there until I moved to Canada 4 years ago. Back home I have a pretty big family with 6 siblings - three brothers and three sisters, who are all still living there. I went to school in Paris and after completing my degrees I worked for a while until I turned 27 and decided that I really wanted to discover the world. There were lots of places I could have gone, although I was offered a career opportunity by a consulting agency in France that would allow me to move to Canada, so this is what brought me here!
MADDY: Where did you attend school, and what did you study while you were there?SONIA: In high school I was very interested in literature, though when I started university at the world-renowned university La Sorbonne, in Paris, France, I decided to study Internet Technology (IT) and languages because I love to speak. I speak English, Italian, Spanish, French - which is my mother language - and a bit of Japanese. My second professional degree was a Masters in Computer Science from Paris-Est Marne la Vallée, and a fun fact about this university is that it’s very close to DisneyLand Resort.
MADDY: What were the subjects that really stood out and defined what you wanted to do with your career?SONIA: I was really interested in studying how people speak their native languages; learning the origins of how words were formed and first created, why we say one word in a certain way and not in another, and the formation of sounds. I was studying Linguistics and IT while also taking some courses in English, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. This was a big challenge for me because it was mixing such different subjects - literature, linguistics and IT - and using different parts of the brain.
MADDY: Tell us a little more about your first job that brought you here to Canada.SONIA: In September 2012 a consulting firm contacted me while I was living in France and explained that they had a lot of clients in North America, more specifically in Montreal, and that they were looking for a QA Analyst to relocate there. I came here to visit a few times before making my decision because I wanted to see what Canada was like and if Montreal would be a good fit for me or not. And from the second I arrived I was very surprised because the way of life here is so different from Paris; less stress and the people are so much happier. It's really quite different! The mix of nature and city was perfect for me, so I thought, "Okay. Let's make the move and we'll see how this turns out.” With that, I sold most of my belongings in France, packed up what I had and came to Canada with a great job offer. I started working as a QA Analyst for a company called LVL Studio that specializes in entertainment and second screen applications and I was in this role for a few years.
MADDY: Sounds like that was quite an adventure in itself! How has your career path led you to work at Nexonia?SONIA: It's a funny story actually because the person who got me my job at Nexonia in Montreal was Julia [Gerdil]. We had worked together previously (with Quentin [Bricard] as well), and then our paths crossed again after we had both left that company. That’s when she contacted me about working at Nexonia. I had been working at another QA consulting job for about a year and a half until Julia called me out of the blue one day and said, “I'm working for a company that is trying to build a strong QA team. Currently there are 3 people on the team who focus on QA and product development, but I know that you're a QA Analyst so this could be a great opportunity for you to join our growing QA team!" I came with no real expectation of what this new role and department in the company would look like, but it was a very exciting opportunity! When I first met the Montreal development team, I could see that everyone was really passionate about the company and product. Nexonia was in a huge period of growth and there had not been an official QA “team” until I joined the other QA Analysts there. Nexonia’s solutions were attractive to me even back then and I could see its potential. Even though it was a big change from the entertainment and gaming industry that I had been working in previously, I knew it would be a great challenge. I’ve been working for Nexonia for over a year and a half now...time flies!
MADDY: How would you describe Nexonia's culture? How do you think it influences the company's success?SONIA: The culture here at Nexonia is very different from other companies I’ve worked for, in the best way possible. When I first started, there were approximately 25 people working out of the Montreal office so it felt like a big family - and it still does! The culture at Nexonia is very friendly, collaborative, and supportive. When any of us see something that we could do or an area that we could change, the team supports one another and says, "You have an idea? Push it and let’s make it happen." It has allowed us all to feel like our ideas are very valued and respected.
MADDY: What's your favorite part about working in the Montreal office?SONIA: One of the main reasons I enjoy working here so much (and of course it’s not a surprise) is my colleagues, they're awesome! I really love them, seriously. I'm very engaged in the social committee because it’s a great way to strengthen my relationships with my coworkers. That's the part that I love the most about working at Nexonia - everyone feels like a big family, and it’s a great place to spend your working life. I can see that people are very happy here because we're doing so much great development, both in our products and in our company. It's not just about the work we do here at Nexonia, everyone really appreciates the whole experience. A company can be successful and have a great product, but if the atmosphere isn’t welcoming then people are like zombies coming to work every day - which isn’t enjoyable for anyone.
MADDY: I'm sure your day changes all the time, but what does a typical day look like for a QA Manager at Nexonia?SONIA: A typical day could start with a few meetings, the first being with my Mobile QA team to hear all of our updates, clarify problems that anyone may have and to discuss upcoming development and planning requirements from us. This is when we usually address all the projects that need to be tackled that day or week and make sure that everyone has everything they need to get the job done. My day also usually involves analyzing QA requests, investigating various issues and reviewing my team’s priorities for our overall QA strategy. I also spend some time creating test plans and test cases, as well as executing these tests and coaching my team. At some point in my week I like to spend some time investigating and researching new improvements for our QA processes, which will help the efficiency of my team.
MADDY: What's your favorite part about your job as a Mobile QA Manager at Nexonia?SONIA: My favourite part about being a Mobile QA Manager is being able to see the end of a sprint when we're about to release it. There's a positive vibe coming because we know that we're achieving something great, and that all of our customers will appreciate the updates and features once they’re released.
MADDY: When you're not at work, what could you be found doing in your spare time?SONIA: I like to work out at the gym so I work out a lot! I also love going to movie theaters and I can be found there very often watching the newest releases - I'm a movie addict! I enjoy all genres and usually make my selections based on what’s new in theaters that week. Also, if anyone wants to challenge or quiz me on any movie or TV show, you know where to find me!
MADDY: What are your favourite mobile apps on your phone?SONIA: My favourites are mainly social media apps - Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and many more!Nexonia Employee Spotlight: Mobile Quality Assurance (QA) Manager Gallery
The Nexonia Development team in Montreal is high performing engine of individuals who are responsible for designing, building and bringing to life Nexonia’s innovative products and solutions. So what does a day in life of a Mobile QA Analyst look like? I got a chance to sit down with Sonia Howa, our accomplished Mobile QA Manager, and learned about her career path, hobbies and life in and out of the office.
Welcome to the inaugural Employee Spotlight from the Philadelphia office! Previously known as ExpenseWatch, the Philly office was acquired by Nexonia back in March 2016 and since then we have been immersing ourselves in all things Nexonia. With that, let’s start getting to know those that live and work in and around the City of Brotherly Love! In most organizations, introducing a product or service to a prospect is considered a completely different role from supporting customers that have been onboarded for days, months and even years. Here in Philadelphia, we have one employee who has taken these two separate roles and wrapped them into one. Her name is Cindy Hollenbach, and she is the Team Lead of Customer Retention at Nexonia. Cindy is not only involved on the presales side by conducting product demos and supporting the sales team, but she also assists current customers after the sale has been made. Cindy has built up a wealth of knowledge from her dual role and continues to be a huge asset to the organization. I sat down with Cindy at Redstone Grill in Plymouth Meeting, PA to learn more about her role and life outside the office.
KARI: Tell me about yourself? What did you study in school? How did you find yourself in this role?CINDY: In a nutshell, I’m a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, hard worker, a good friend and a recently-minted Nexonian. As for my education, I graduated from Temple University with a degree in business. I chose business as my major because of my parents; they ran their own company and that inspired my dream to become an owner and CEO of my own technology company. After college, I started working in the tech industry and eventually got a job at a company that employed thousands of people. One day, Bill Vergantino called me for a phone screen/interview. Due to his passion and charisma for a very small Philadelphia tech startup (ExpenseWatch), he convinced me to come in for an in-person interview and the rest is history. I celebrated 10 years with the company on May 15th, 2016. It has been an incredible ride with ExpenseWatch and it has been filled with a ton of memories and life experiences. With the acquisition, I’m looking forward to all the new possibilities and another 10 years as a Nexonian!
KARI: You are a pivotal person in keeping our customers happy. What keeps you coming to work every day and being so successful in your position?CINDY: What has kept me coming to work for 10 years and still does to this day is the fact that I’m truly invested in this organization and the employees. Not only do I want the company to be successful, I want every person here to be successful in their role. I’ve learned that keeping our customers happy is the key to any successful business. I think a pivotal part of this role is talking to those unhappy customers, resolving the issues they are experiencing and converting them to happy customers. I’ve found that the key is to listen, listen, listen and let people express any frustrations, problems and/or issues they are experiencing. I make sure I truly understand their situation and reassure the customer that we will work with them to find a resolution. Finally, I work with the customer and internal teams at the office to come up with a plan of action. Many times these interactions are over web conferencing, but myself, John Neri, Brian Evans and others from Customer Satisfaction will go onsite to retain, support and even upsell clients – whatever it takes to resolve their issues and make them comfortable. It all comes down to the customer’s happiness and success.
KARI: You’ve been instrumental in getting members of the Philly sales team educated on the Nexonia products and company culture. How are you bridging the gap between ExpenseWatch and Nexonia?CINDY: I’ve spent time in the Toronto office getting first-hand experience with many members of the team. I’ve found that there are a lot of similarities between ExpenseWatch and Nexonia, and that includes the products and people. Being a member of the Philly team for 10 years, I’ve gotten to know everyone pretty well, they are like a second family to me. Everyone here is hard working, caring, willing to help and a lot of fun. When I visited the Toronto office and spent time getting to know the company during the team off-site, I found that the crew up in Canada has very similar qualities. I had positive interactions and found everyone very helpful and supportive! Many people took time out of their day to help me get up-to-speed and even took me out to explore Toronto! I want to thank the entire crew for all the time they have given me, making me feel welcomed and a part of the Nexonia team. As for the features and functions of the product, we are in the same competitive space so it’s not a huge shift in terms of features and product/feature positioning. There are differences, however, and I’m in the early stages of fully understanding the solution. I must send out a very special thank you to Andrew Gadsby on the Product Education team who has been generous with his time and knowledge of the application. I am continuing to learn more about the Nexonia solution by playing around in a Nexonia demo account and watching videos -- all graciously supplied by Andrew. I am looking forward to continuing to learn the solution and transitioning fully.
KARI: What’s one thing that helps you get through your busy day?CINDY: I have a love for all kinds of music and listening to my playlist daily. When I’m not on customer calls or doing product demonstrations, I like to put in my headphones in and get in the zone. I like to keep my playlist up-to-date and my top songs are:
- Alex & Sierra – Little Do You Know
- Landon Pigg – Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop
- The Fray – Look After You
- James Bay – Let It Go
KARI: What’s a fun fact or experience that you’d like to share with our audience?CINDY: I think many people would be surprised to know I’m a bit of a thrill seeker. Several years ago, my best friend was getting married in Costa Rica, so we made a little vacation out of it and even signed up to zip line through the jungle. At the time, I wasn’t a big fan of outdoor adventures, but zip lining seemed like something I could handle…until I got up on the first platform. For those that haven’t been to Costa Rica, the jungle was so thick and the zip lines were so long, you couldn’t see where the line ended. You basically had to leap off the first platform and hope you make it to the next. You also wear thick gloves, one of which serves as your break, but if you break too early, you run the risk of getting stuck in the middle of a zip line in the jungle. I really didn’t know what I got myself into until I was hooked up to the line and it was my turn to go. Long story short, I made it through the zip lining experience alive! It was one of the scariest, yet exciting things I’ve ever done. I guess I was feeling extra adventurous that day, because my best friend and I jumped into small pond in the jungle. It felt so great to cool off from the jungle heat, until something in the water started biting us! By the time we got out (after laughing hysterically from our panic to survive) we felt lucky we didn’t get eaten. Our tour guide was so shocked we went in there, he couldn’t stop laughing at us! We still haven’t discovered what creatures were biting us that day.
KARI: Since the Philadelphia office is relatively new to Nexonians and Nexonia blog readers out there, what are some of your favorite spots in and around Philadelphia and why?
- Peddler’s Village – This is a quaint little shopping and dining destination located in Bucks County, PA. This is the area where I grew up and I have so many fun and memorable life events with friend and family.
- Valley Green – This outdoor spot is a favorite of mine from childhood. My great aunt used to take me here and we would feed the ducks and wander around the park for the day. It’s a beautiful spot, especially if you’re a fan of the outdoors!
- Dalessandro's Steaks – For all those cheesesteaks fans out there, this is the only (and best) place in Philly to get a cheesesteak…Jimmy Fallon even agrees with me!
- Redstone Grill – This restaurant is located right across the street from the Philly office. I’ve spent so many good times with my coworkers here laughing and getting to know them outside the office. Now that the weather is getting nicer, we all get together on the outdoor patio and I’m looking forward to the Montreal and Toronto offices joining us here!
Welcome to the inaugural Employee Spotlight from the Philadelphia office! Previously known as ExpenseWatch, the Philly office was acquired by Nexonia back in March 2016 and since then we have been immersing ourselves in all things Nexonia.
At Nexonia, we pride ourselves on creating unbeatable integrations that will constantly delight our customers, and our Implementation team is the powerhouse that supports us in reaching these goals. No matter if you are an Intacct, NetSuite, Quickbooks, Microsoft Dynamics GP (or any ERP) user, our Implementation team designs, creates and configures solutions for all of our customers that leave them feeling confident in their new system integration. While Implementation takes care of most of the back-end work, it’s time to shine some light on this talented team. I sat down with Emma Roe, one of our Senior Implementation Specialists, to learn how she has mastered the art of creating amazing integrations for our customers.
MADELEINE: First things first, tell me a little bit about yourself!EMMA: I was born and raised in Toronto and have lived here my whole life. I temporarily moved away for school to the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario where I studied Anthropology and earned my Bachelor's of Arts Degree. I originally started in a Science program during my first year, but chemistry really wasn’t my thing. I took an Anthropology class (and loved it!) so I switched my major and continued my degree with that line of study. I also earned a minor in French, but I don't get to practice it as much as I'd like to. After I graduated from university, I moved back to Toronto and I've lived here ever since.
MADELEINE: How has your career developed and led you to Nexonia?EMMA: Well most people who study anthropology obviously end up working at a software company doing implementation... or I guess that’s just me! When I finished school and came back to Toronto I had an assortment of odd jobs working at bakeshops and cafes, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. After doing that for a while I got a job working for a event production company who was working on a project for the CN tower’s tourism efforts. They created a handheld navigation guide where you could raise the device to the skyline and it would show you what exactly you were looking at, for example "This is the Royal Ontario Museum you're seeing out the window. And this is the Art Gallery of Ontario building." I supervised a team of people who were onsite selling the device and renting them to tourists. I had a one year contract with this company and when it ended the management team offered me a position as their Finance Administrator. At the time I didn't have any other positions lined up, so I thought, “...why not?" As the Finance Administrator, I was responsible for receiving our credit card statements in the mail and had to manually type out the statement details, search for the corresponding receipts, and code them each individually. I might have actually enjoyed the job a little more if we had a solution such as Nexonia. I also worked as a bank teller for a while but this still didn’t seem like the right role for me; I knew I wanted a job that was much more interactive. And it wasn’t too long after that I came to Nexonia! I actually had an interview here one year before I joined Nexonia’s Implementation team, for a Sales position. Turns out that I wasn't really interested in working in Sales per say but I was really interested in working at Nexonia. When another position for an Implementation Specialist opened up, I came in to interview again and thought, "Yes. This is going to be a perfect fit for me," and I’ve been here ever since!
MADELEINE: Did you know a lot about the FinTech industry before you decided to join it?EMMA: I’d say I’ve learned on the go for the most part. The companies that I’d worked for in the past had used outdated accounting software solutions that weren’t user friendly at all. Before I found out about Nexonia, I didn’t know very much about the SaaS world or financial technology.
MADELEINE: Sounds like you’ve had lots of experience working for many different types of companies. What sets Nexonia apart from them?EMMA: Honestly, I've never had a job before that I loved until I started at Nexonia. The support that I've had from my manager, the other people on my team and the other teams that I work with has been unparalleled at any other company. The people who work here make it such an incredible environment and the support, knowledge transfer and social occasions are the best I’ve experienced. The people here are truly amazing and it's very exciting to see the company grow so much in the time that I’ve been here.
MADELEINE: Implementation is one of the three major departments that fall under the Customer Success team. How would you explain to someone how Implementation interacts with the other two departments (Product Education and Support)?EMMA: Implementation is the first of the three teams that you’ll be interacting with when you become a new customer at Nexonia. As a new customer, you’ll see the Product Education team briefly during the demo stage, but once a customer goes through the sales process they come to the Implementation team next. Here, we are responsible for designing and configuring your account, as well as setting it all up. First, we meet with you to identify what you need from your solution. For example What are your business requirements and needs? What have your employees used for tracking their expenses or time in the past? What pain points can we alleviate for you with your unique configuration? We use these responses to calculate how we will design and configure Nexonia for you, as a new customer. As a new customer, once your account is configured to your liking, you’ll be transferred to our Product Education team to complete your team’s product training. When your Nexonia account is fully live, you’ll be introduced to our Support team. The Nexonia Support and Implementation teams work very closely together for a lot of knowledge sharing because we do many of the same configurations and set-ups. We are constantly helping each other out with little areas that we're stuck on, or areas that need a second set of eyes.
MADELEINE: Do you have a specific area that you specialize in as part of the Implementation team?EMMA: Yes, I usually take on accounts that are integrated with QuickBooks® Desktop, QuickBooks® Online, Microsoft Dynamics GP and many of our non-integrated or flat file customers.
MADELEINE: While I can imagine there's no typical day for you, what would you say a day in the life of an Implementation Specialist at Nexonia would be like?EMMA: I’d say a day in the life of a Nexonia Implementation Specialist would start off with our morning huddle. The whole Implementation team meets to discuss what we have going on during the day, and if there are any areas that we're stuck on so that we can all be aware if someone may need help with anything. Then, I might go into an admin training with a customer, which would involve a member of the Product Education Team to walk them through a day in the life of an Nexonia admin. I am involved in this part of the onboarding process incase there are any specific questions the customer has pertaining to their unique configuration. After the admin training call, I could potentially work on a custom layout with someone on my team, where we brainstorm ideas about how we can configure a custom layout for a customer. Following that, I might work on some upload files; this is when a customer would send us data that they want to have integrated into Nexonia, which I upload to their account. The rest of my day usually includes answering customer emails, ending the day with a credit card set-up call to integrate a customer’s business credit cards with their account. A few times a week, we also have a meeting with the Product Education team to see what we have coming down the pipeline; how many customers are coming in for demos, how many we’re expecting for admin trainings and which customers are scheduled to go live soon. This ensures that everyone’s prepared for the week ahead and we can plan accordingly.
MADELEINE: What would you say is your favorite part about your job?EMMA: I think my favorite part about my job is when I turn on a feature or a setting in an account, and someone gets excited and cheers on the other end of the phone, saying "No way! You can do that?!" And I’m happy to tell them, "Yes. Yes we can!" I love working with people and providing solutions for them that will make their lives a little bit easier.
MADELEINE: What's your favorite customer success story?EMMA: I've had a couple of really challenging implementations that I can think of where we've had to revamp their entire account and give them a couple of options to choose from. We’ll go back and forth a few times until we find the perfect configuration for them and the end result is that they’re really, really happy with it. A few months ago a customer emailed my boss directly, giving me praise for my hard work on creating the perfect configuration for her PO account. I spent a lot of time making sure I was meeting all of their unique needs and to hear such positive feedback really feels amazing.
MADELEINE: When you're not being an Implementation hero for Nexonia customers, what do you do in your spare time?EMMA: In my spare time I really enjoy going on bike rides, so I’m excited now that the weather’s starting to get so much nicer here in Toronto. I'm hoping to do a bike tour this summer; I really want to ride to Montreal to visit our development teams, which would be around six full days of biking. I'm also currently in the middle of planning a trip to Europe in June, which I'm really excited about. I'm going to Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris for two weeks. I also enjoy going out with friends to enjoy a pint of craft beer on the patio in the summer and I love going to see live music - there's always so much happening here in Toronto. And did I mention that I really like to put fun colors in my hair?
MADELEINE: And last but not least, what are some of your must-have mobile apps?EMMA: I have quite a few! I really like Pocket which allows users to save all of their favourite articles on one easy-to-access platform so they can access them anytime, on any device. When I’m on my way to work in the mornings I’ll check what I’ve saved on my Pocket app and can read articles on the subway (and anytime I’m offline). Another great app for commutes to work (or anytime) is Pocket Casts - when I'm not at work, I love listening to podcasts. Oh and RocketMan is amazing too, it tells you exactly when the next streetcar is coming so you don't have to stand outside and wait a long time before it comes. Instagram and Snapchat are also a few fun must-have apps too.Nexonia Employee Spotlight: Senior Implementation Specialist Gallery
At Nexonia, we pride ourselves on creating unbeatable integrations that will constantly delight our customers, and our Implementation team is the powerhouse that supports us in reaching these goals.
The Nexonia engineering team is the lifeblood of everything we do here; without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today with our high caliber web services, integrations and mobile apps. In recent months, the dev team has added 50 percent more team members, creating several new positions in an effort to scale progress and ensure that the high quality of Nexonia’s products are continuously delivered to our customers. As a lead developer on the web development team, Gontran Segue has been with Nexonia long enough to see just how quickly progress has been made with the evolution of Nexonia’s products. Here, Gontran reveals what working on Nexonia’s development team is like, his journey from Cameroon to Canada and how video games inspired his careerpath.
JILL: First of all, tell me about yourself!GONTRAN: I grew up in Douala, which is the economic capital and the largest city in Cameroon. I moved to Montreal in June 2012 and just over one year later I began my journey as an employee of Nexonia. I’ve worked for a wide variety of companies before eventually becoming a Nexonian: I was a consultant for a company that had a contract with some soccer clubs (such as Chelsea FC and New York City FC) building a platform where coaches could buy training courses. I was the lead on building the performance module, which allowed them to register all relevant information about the players and their training sessions and drills. I’ve also been part of a team that builds platforms that controls equipment remotely; I was the lead in developing distinct modules such as controlling battery cells, generators and producing live notifications. I first studied applied Mathematics at Douala University, in Cameroon. After that, I decided to pursue Informatics at Laval University in Quebec City, where I received my Bachelor of Applied Science degree in 2009. During my degree, I worked to develop a web portal for the Douala University; the goal was to add certain functionalities that would help university students access their records online, send SMS alerts to students and manage professor documentation. It was a project that I was very invested in, having been a student at Douala University myself!
JILL: Why did you decide to study Informatics in university? What about that program appealed to you?GONTRAN: I really enjoy video games and I’ve always loved trying to find solutions to a problem or discover a hidden component. Video games are the perfect for platform for this. Zelda and Mario Kart (the Super NES version, of course) were my passions. In a competition, I was able to play Street Fighter in an arcade with one hand! For a traditional gamer, occasionally you have to open up your physical controllers to clean them. When I would do this, I was fascinated with the mechanics of it; I wanted to understand why, when you click on a button, it creates an action or series of actions on the screen, depending on what buttons you press. After high school, I realized that Informatics was the field of study that could help me understand how the video games I loved so much were made.
JILL: What did you know about the technology industry before you decided to pursue a career in it?GONTRAN: I actually didn’t know too much about the technology industry before I went to school. I thought that everything was a video game! After getting more familiar with the industry, I discovered that there are two major parts: the software and the hardware. I fell in love with the “soft” one! And the interest continued to grow when I began to get more and more answers to all of my burning questions about the mechanics I was studying. When I started participating in some key projects like the University of Douala portal, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to building tools that would help people in their day-to-day work.
JILL: You’ve been working at Nexonia now since 2013. What interested you originally about working here?GONTRAN: I’d honestly have to say that what really inspired me initially was the way Pascal (Nexonia’s CTO) explained all of the architecture and how all things fit together. During your journey of becoming truly great at your work, you need to have a proven expert to mentor you. I knew after our first meeting that under Pascal’s leadership, I would master many things with his guidance. I could also sense from Day One that I would have the opportunity to take on a variety of daily new challenges and could participate in the construction of a global product.
JILL: What does your role at Nexonia involve?GONTRAN: My role has changed quite a bit over the last three years, and it continues to do so. When I first joined Nexonia, I spent a lot of time learning how everything works and fits together; now I am leading a team of developers and working with them to carve various paths that we can all follow. As part of my role as Lead Developer, my job is to provide the relevant development tools for the developers on my team. I am responsible for the code being developed by the web/server developers, I manage the quality of the code, oversee technical tasks required for different projects and I conduct code reviews with the developers within the web/server team. I also lead the technical best practices and principles, and make sure all of us are on the same page.
JILL: What appealed to you about working at Nexonia? What do you enjoy most about working here?GONTRAN: We have a particular way of all working together as a team that I enjoy and it’s a really fun place to work. I am continuously being challenged in a good way and I’m working with people who work hard and are great at what they do, but that can also have a laugh when it’s the right time and place for it. All team members pitch in and help out when it is time to pool our resources and make something work, or generate a strong architecture for our platform.
JILL: What’s it like developing code at Nexonia, compared to other places?GONTRAN: As a developer you want a place where you can share your ideas, where your potential can be used and you can receive knowledge every day. It’s also important to be at a company where you can have the opportunity to improve things, be innovative and where your hard work can be used by many people around the world, making their day-to-day work easier. Working at Nexonia lets me achieve all of this.
JILL: When you’re not at work, what do you like to do?GONTRAN: When I’m not coding, I like to sing along to the music I’m listening to (anything from The Rasmus to The Weeknd to Linkin Park). I’m becoming a pretty good reader with non-technology books. I also do spinning once a week, which is great because it gives me a few moments to completely unplug!
JILL: And finally, besides Nexonia's mobile apps, what are some of your favourite apps that you use?GONTRAN: Gallery
The Nexonia engineering team is the lifeblood of everything we do here; without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today with our high caliber web services, integrations and mobile apps.
At Nexonia, we are in the business of delighting customers and ensuring that our unbeatable integrations are easy for you to navigate. This is where our Product Education Team steps up to the plate, ensuring that every customer is confident in using their Nexonia products and services. When it comes to the Product Education team: no question goes unanswered! With almost zero turnover since our company started selling products in 2004, this is largely due to the hard work and dedication from this energetic team. Leading this talented group of Product Education Specialists is Jason Carlin, Nexonia’s Product Education Manager, and a veteran of the company. In between calls on a busy afternoon (which is every afternoon for someone on the Product Education Team!), I had the opportunity to sit with Jason and pick his brain about Nexonia, his role and his life outside of work:
MADELEINE: Let’s start at the top: tell me about yourself and your role at Nexonia!JASON: I manage Nexonia’s Product Education Team, which is a customer-facing department that delivers product demonstrations for prospective customers. We learn what their problems and pain points are, what challenges they face and then we show them how Nexonia solutions can solve these issues. We also deliver all the training efforts for our customers; from planning the training, to the content, to the delivery – we cover it all.
MADELEINE: What was your role like on Day 1 versus now, and how has your career at Nexonia evolved over time?JASON: I started with Nexonia almost two years ago, in March 2014. My first role was as a product trainer, and I was only the second trainer we had at that point in time. I quickly became the go-to person for most of our product demonstrations and training sessions company-wide. We have developed our team since then; presently there are four of us including myself and we're definitely looking to expand. My career with Nexonia is constantly developing and evolving. Before starting here I had a lot of different job experiences, and many of these positions were at companies with thick organizational “red tape”. Responsibilities, policies and procedures were already set in stone. Whereas here at Nexonia, it’s a rise-to-the-occasion type of position. This hands-on, take action mentality was really exciting because it has allowed me to identify areas where we need to start doing something or try something differently, and immediately deliver on these needs. I would say the best word to describe the evolution of my career at Nexonia is organic – it’s been very empowering.
MADELEINE: I imagine there is no "typical day" for you, but generally what would a day in the life of a Product Education team member involve?
JASON: During a typical day, I could be doing six one-hour sessions at any given time, so it’s safe to say that 80% of our days are usually spent on calls with customers or prospective customers, identifying their needs and presenting solutions to them.
MADELEINE: What do you enjoy the most about your role as Product Education Manager?JASON: I really enjoy receiving feedback from customers about how our solutions have affected them and made their lives easier. When we deliver the product to the customer and can hear them be “wowed” by it, it’s confirmation of a job well done. It’s fantastic hearing the relief in their voice, and them telling us, "Oh, we don't have to stay the way we are? This can actually make our jobs a lot easier!" We’ve even heard cheers in the background of a training session or demo every so often. Another great instance is when we hear from someone who's been in finance for ages, having to use Excel spreadsheets to manually key things in. Within five minutes of showing them how our products work, we can literally hear gasping on the call, which is pretty awesome.
MADELEINE: What, in your opinion, are some of the best aspects about working at Nexonia? What would you say differentiates Nexonia the most from other companies you’ve worked for?JASON: I would say that one of the best aspects about working at Nexonia is accessibility. You can approach anyone, managers or team members in Toronto or Montreal, and ask for their advice or opinion at any given time. Another great aspect about working here is that everyone’s very engaged, and we are all working towards the same goal – to delight our customers and help build an amazing company. The best part is that the company is open to new ideas and new processes, and that we're not locked into a static, set way of doing things. At most companies, people don’t question why certain policies, procedures and goals are in place. Here, we are always asking, “Why are we doing this? What can we do better?” We're constantly evolving and growing.
MADELEINE: When you're not working at Nexonia, what are you up to?JASON: I wear a few different hats. In addition to working at Nexonia, I'm also a part-time instructor at George Brown College’s School of Continuing Education. I teach an introductory course to social media marketing, giving students the foundational tools to navigate the social media world. Other than that, in my quiet time I can often be found singing karaoke on a regular basis with friends.
MADELEINE: What is your go-to karaoke song?JASON: “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen is definitely my go-to.
MADELEINE: What karaoke song best describes Nexonia (or) working on the Product Education team?JASON: That’s a good question, I’d have to think about that a little bit. “With a Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles would probably be the most fitting.
MADELEINE: And finally, besides Nexonia's mobile apps, what are some of your favourite apps that you use?JASON: I use OpenTable quite frequently which is a restaurant reservation app. Restaurants use it as their booking system, and for the user you can indicate how big your group will be, what time you are looking for, and it will generate restaurant suggestions, ratings, and menus for you. I also regularly use Instagram, Facebook, Uber, and GameTime to get tickets for Blue Jays games. Aside from that, Downcast is a great app for listening to podcasts, which I frequently do in my downtime and on my commutes. Nexonia Employee Spotlight: Product Education Manager Gallery
At Nexonia, we are in the business of delighting customers and ensuring that our unbeatable integrations are easy for you to navigate. This is where our Product Education Team steps up to the plate, ensuring that every customer is confident in using their Nexonia products and services.
Nexonia’s mobile team is a well-oiled machine, consistently being challenged to develop refined versions of Nexonia’s Expenses and Timesheets apps, on top of seeking new mobile opportunities. When the Apple App Store opened its doors on July 10th, 2008, Nexonia Expenses was one of only 552 apps immediately available for download. Now, the five-star Nexonia Expenses app is among 1.5 million apps offered on the iTunes App Store, continuing to provide users with an efficient portal for expense report creation, submission and approvals. Using feedback from our regular customer surveys, the mobile team works hard to build great software that directly addresses the suggestions provided by our mobile users. While on a recent visit the Nexonia Montreal office (which will soon be at a newly-renovated 14,000 square foot office in the downtown location of Square Victoria) I sat down for lunch with Nexonia’s Senior Mobile Development Manager, Ioana Negrean, to discuss her career in mobile development and her insights for the industry at large.
JILL: First of all, tell us about yourself!IOANA: I was born and raised in a small town in the region of Transylvania, Romania. Many people hear the word “Transylvania” and think Dracula, but it’s also well-known for its medieval towns and mountainous borders and castles, which are quite beautiful. For university studies, I moved to Cluj-Napoca, a Transylvanian city with many universities and a big focus on IT. Even during the early years of my studies, I began thinking about moving to Canada. I suppose I fell in love with this country’s culture, diversity and amazing landscapes that I was eager to explore. I moved to Canada in February 2010 and just a few months later, I started to work for Nexonia.
JILL: What did you know about the technology industry before you decided to pursue a career in it?IOANA: When I was 7 years old, most kids were dreaming of becoming doctors and police officers. Instead, my dream was to become a software developer! As far as I remember, my knowledge about the tech industry back then was that, if you are a person with good logic and math skills, you can do amazing things with a few keystrokes. When I was young, I used to go to an IT club for children, where I discovered that it takes only a few lines of code on a HC 90 to make a teddy bear and an antenna drawing appear on the screen. It was amazing for me as a kid. I still cherish that wonderful memory.
JILL: Why did you decide to study Computer Science in university? What about that program appealed to you?IOANA: After a brief introduction to Computer Science in my early education, I followed an IT program in high school. I’m passionate about problem-solving, so after learning the basics of programming, data structures and algorithms, I became even more curious and felt compelled to dig deeper into this line of work.
JILL: Why did you pursue mobile development over other aspects of Computer Science?IOANA: It was definitely not a linear decision. I began by developing desktop applications, migrated towards building security software for USB flash drives and then started work on mobile applications. Out of the three, mobile development made me feel more complete because I could combine my knowledge of software development with my passion for UI and UX, resulting in applications you literally hold in your hand. Knowing that Nexonia’s mobile products are in the hands many of our customers and that our apps are making their lives a little easier, feels amazing.
JILL: Less than 30% of people working in tech in America are women, and the numbers are similar in Canada. Why do you think there are generally less women working in tech?IOANA: Did you know that the first person to ever write an algorithm (which was intended to be implemented by a machine) was a woman, Ada Lovelace? She is commonly considered to be the world’s first computer programmer, and was a brilliant mathematician. Considering her work was published in the height of the Victorian age, she was definitely ahead of her time. It’s hard for me to speculate why the statistics currently look that way, but these numbers should not discourage anyone pursuing a career in IT. If something seems difficult, learn as much as you can, show everyone that you can do it and that you can do it well. This is a challenge for anyone, regardless of gender! We can encourage more women to pursue careers in tech by stimulating their interest and curiosity in this industry from an early age, and by making them aware of the great achievements, personal satisfactions and perks that come along with it.
JILL: What would you say to people who are considering a career in technology?IOANA: I’m always excited when I hear that someone is passionate about technology and decides to follow a career in this field. My advice would probably be to follow their dreams, be confident, remain true to their values and never stop learning new things.
JILL: What appealed to you about working at Nexonia? What do you enjoy most about working here?IOANA: The company’s culture and strong leaders were certainly a factors in my decision to join Nexonia. The cofounders’ passion for technology, for always doing everything the best way and producing good quality software while exceeding customers’ expectations are inspiring traits to have, and I can see these values in all of my colleagues. Every day, I have the chance to work with fun and skilful people in what I would consider the perfect environment for developing my skills, where the leaders are open to new ideas and new perspectives. I often say Nexonia is a company with a heart, there’s a human element to everything we do here, and management truly cares about its employees.
JILL: And finally, besides Nexonia's mobile apps, what are some of your favourite apps that you use?IOANA: I love to try new apps as often as I can. Some of my favourites would be: Gallery
Nexonia’s mobile team is a well-oiled machine, consistently being challenged to develop refined versions of Nexonia’s Expenses and Timesheets apps, on top of seeking new mobile opportunities. When the Apple App Store opened its doors on July 10th, 2008, Nexonia Expenses was one of only 552 apps immediately available for download.