At MOVE Guides we may help other company’s employees relocate around the world, but we are ourselves a team of expats and world travelers. Last year we welcomed self-described “Third culture kid,” Leona Leong as a Customer Success Manager based in San Francisco.
Leona was our first US Customer Success Manager and one of the early employees in our San Francisco office. As one of MOVE Guides’ Customer Success Managers, Leona partners closely with our customers’ HR and Global Mobility teams to drive on-going success for their mobility programs and help enhance their employees’ relocation experience through the adoption of our Talent Mobility Cloud.
Leona is no stranger to the HR world. Before joining MOVE Guides, she worked at Aperian Global, a cross-cultural training and development firm, as a Client Relationship Manager where Leona deepened her fascination and knowledge in international business and global mobility. Prior to Aperian Global she was at the recently acquired Achievers, a cloud-based rewards and recognition company, as the team lead of the Sales Support and Operation team.
Leona graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario with a degree in Business and has lived in five countries including Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, the Solomon Islands, and currently, the United States. Despite having collected many addresses around the world, Leona still calls Toronto, Canada home. Outside of the office, Leona can be found hiking, on her yoga mat, or adding passport stamps.
MOVE Guides Questionnaire:
What attracted you to become a Customer Success Manager?
I started my career at an HR SaaS startup called Achievers during a time when the function, Customer Success, was still a relatively new idea. I worked as a sales coordinator then but I got the chance to observe the Customer Success team and later on, join the team. One of the CSMs there, and a current mentor of mine, was so deeply passionate about the Achievers product and her customers. It was inspiring to see how her work and efforts drove successful programs and in turn made her customer contacts rock stars at their organization. Her passion and creativity helped shape the company’s roadmap and it was so exciting to see her direct impact on both Achievers and the customers we worked with.
Being a CSM at MOVE Guides is incredibly exciting. There is a mixture of being an extension of your customers’ team – essentially being the voice and advocate for them, being an entrepreneur as you’re coming up with new and creative ways to drive program success, and being able to influence the direction and roadmap of the organization through the feedback and needs you hear from customers.
Of the places you’ve lived so far, which is your favorite?
Toronto is my favorite not just because I’m from there or have lived there the longest, but because of its diversity. Toronto is the type of city where you can visit the world in a day. You can start off your day having dim sum in Chinatown, explore the offerings of Koreatown, grab lunch in Little India, check out the Toronto harbor and then end off the day with dinner at Greektown and cannoli in Little Italy.
What is one of the craziest stories from your travels?
While studying abroad, I went down to Marseille, which is in the south of France for a few days. My friend and I decided to go scuba diving but the problem was – or should I say – some of the problems were that we didn’t know how to scuba dive, my friend didn’t really know how to swim which I learned later on, and our instructor spoke only French which was problematic given our limited français. On the boat, the instructor went over instructions in French and neither my friend nor I could understand him. We did, however, manage to survive using the ‘thumbs up, thumbs down’ system of communication in the water, which translated to if you’re doing okay, thumbs up, and if you need to return back to the surface, thumbs down. Never underestimate the power of hand gestures but also be very mindful that some gestures differ culture to culture.
What recommendations would you give to those moving to San Francisco Today?
Embrace the city and be open to new things. Sign up for every event, meetup, networking mixer you can. The city has so many events to offer such as Bay to Breakers, movies at the park, SantaCon, Outside Lands, Off the Grid. When I moved I didn’t have MOVE Guides to help me get settled and see who I knew in the city so I sent an email to my network to see if they knew anyone in the city. Be open minded about making social connections. Lastly, two words to live by, RENT CONTROL!
Why did you chose to work for MOVE Guides?
I relocated to San Francisco a few years back to help open up a new office with the company I was with. They moved about 15 of us and it was the first time the company organized a mass move. It was an exciting, scary, fun, happy, painful, life changing process all at the same time. I was lucky that the company I was with offered temporary housing, visa and tax support, and a lump sum to support the move, but everything else was on our own. Everything from finding a place to live to getting a cellphone to getting a social security number so I could get paid was a new adventure. My colleagues were all in the same boat so we could ask each other questions but a lot of the move was trial by error and learning from each other’s experiences. Had I not relocated myself, I would not have known that there is so much more to relocation then simply jumping on the plane.
MOVE Guides’ mission to make relocation easier spoke to me. From making HR’s job more efficient to our City Guides and MOVE Advocates available to help employees navigate through their moves, MOVE Guides is focused on transforming the process end-to-end. If I had access to the neighborhood information in our city guides or had a MOVE Advocate available for questions, it would have significantly reduced confusion during my move. It’s thrilling to be part of the MOVE Guides journey and also be part of our customer’s journey. We’re with these employees during one of the biggest transitions of their life and nothing makes my day better than reading feedback from an employee that we moved that their MOVE Advocate made their relocation great.