This is the latest in our Meet the Team series, where we introduce some of the hard-working people who keep Reaction Commerce moving forward. Today we’re talking to Cindy Firestone, our VP of Client Operations. Cindy has been with Reaction since 2016 after previously leading the sales team for Media Temple, where she got to know Reaction CEO Sara Hicks. Cindy’s top priorities outside of work include her family, food, and travel, and she recently wrote for our blog about improving the client experience.
So Cindy, tell us a little about your background. How has your career path brought you here to Reaction Commerce?
My degree is in finance and economics. After my first job out of college in finance, I knew it wasn’t for me for the long term. I wanted something that had more human interaction. So I started searching for something else, which landed me at Robert Half International. RHI is known as a recruiting firm, which it does really well, but anyone who has worked there knows that it is a sales bootcamp. This is where I learned my sales chops—inside, outside, and account management. But after a while my fickle 20-something year-old self decided hey, maybe this job has TOO much human interaction!
So from there I moved to Media Temple, a boutique web hosting company where I first met Sara Hicks, Reaction’s CEO. At MT I was officially in charge of sales operations and then eventually oversaw the sales and strategic account teams. But I also took the opportunity to contribute in a lot of ways beyond the sales department, such as working on marketing initiatives, product development, career pathing, and eventually, selling the company to GoDaddy.
And that brings me here to Reaction. As an early stage company, titles don’t really matter. There’s a lot to be done and usually not enough resources available. That’s what I love about working at Reaction — being able to make impactful changes that help shape the future of the company.
Speaking of impactful changes, what are some things you’re working on right now?
It’s a long list, but here are a few of the bigger projects. First, implementing our marketing tech stack to help us better track the life cycle of prospective clients we talk with, to make sure we’re providing them with relevant, useful information along the way. I’m also leading the development of our operating support model for both partners and clients. And I’m pursuing Privacy Shield certification for Reaction Commerce. As a global commerce company, it’s important for us to take those extra steps to stay ahead of European data protection requirements.
What are some of the unique challenges you’ve faced supporting clients for Reaction?
How we support and levels of support is definitely still a work in progress and something we’re always iterating on to improve. Because Reaction is built to be extremely flexible and extensible, it’s been interesting figuring out how we can best support these customizations, since every use case is so different.
The requests we get vary widely, ranging from how to set up user roles and permissions, to best practices for creating 3rd party plugins, to a specific bug like “the navigation bar flickers periodically.” Our team has done a good job of addressing many of the technical topics in our docs, so I’m working to create something similar for the business audience.
You’ve been here long enough to see a lot of growth and change. What’s the biggest difference between Reaction now, and Reaction when you started?
It’s been amazing to see Reaction grow and mature as a company. I think I was employee number nine and now we’re close to 30 people located all over the world! A big difference has to be the structure and processes we’ve added such as hiring and onboarding, tracking leads and prospects, and how we do benchmark testing.
One thing that hasn’t changed, and I hope never will, is how scrappy and nimble we are as a company. Even though there are more defined roles and functions now, people are still very closely involved in projects that may seem unrelated to their job. Everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to help the company run and succeed.
If you were to launch your own storefront on Reaction, what would it be called? What would you sell?
Unfortunately I’m not very crafty so I don’t think anything I make will sell. However, now as a parent I see how quickly kids grow out of their clothes or get tired of the same toys and books, so it would be interesting to start a peer-to-peer trading platform where you can swap gear with other families. Or, if you don’t have anything to swap, then you can have the option to purchase the item in a second-hand marketplace setting like a Tradesy. And the great thing is, someone can actually build all of this on Reaction because it’s so flexible. (Shameless plug.)
No shame there. What are some shops or ecommerce experiences you admire?
This is probably true for a lot of people, but most of my money goes to Amazon. They make it almost too easy to buy from them with 2-day shipping, 1-click checkout, and a catalog of everything under the sun.
When it comes to fashion though, I tend to prefer the digitally native brands that make a few products very well, such as Everlane for high quality basics, DSTLD for jeans, Outdoor Voices for activewear, and Monica+Andy for kids and toddler clothes.
What do you do for fun? If we could peek into your life on evenings and weekends, what would we see?
I have a super active toddler, plus we live in this place with awesome weather year-round, so you’d see a lot of time spent outdoors at the park, on hikes, or on the beach.
I’m also very passionate about food, so we often spend our weekends looking for a new restaurant or cuisine to try. Luckily there is no shortage of variety available in LA! We recently discovered an udon restaurant nearby that continuously dishes out their noodles and tempuras fresh from scratch. The layout is cafeteria-style so you go down a line and choose how you want your noodle and what types of tempura you want to add on. Prices are reasonable, but if you’re like me where your eyes are bigger than your stomach, you’ll wonder how a $6 bowl of udon turned into a $25+ meal.
Sounds tasty. What else should we know about you before we wrap up?
I love to travel and I’m all about authentic, local experiences. Whenever I have a trip planned, whether it’s a couple hours’ drive or halfway around the world, I spend hours researching local traditions, what they do, and where they eat. In fact, I’m so well known for doing this with my group of friends that several of them have actually had me plan and book their honeymoons!