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Shona McMahon, Director of Software Adoption at Vend by Lightspeed

From dreaming of becoming a ballet dancer to working at one of New Zealand's flagship tech success stories, Shona McMahon, Director of Software Adoption at Vend by Lightspeed has had an interesting journey into working in tech. 

We caught up with Shona to learn more about what her day-to-day looks like, how she got into tech in the first place and some important advice about not underestimating yourself. Thanks for sharing your story, Shona.

“I dreamed of becoming a dancer with the NZ Ballet.”

Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?

Help shop owners understand how to be better shop owners!  Show them how to use cool technology and give them ideas to grow and get bigger.

And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?

I lead a ‘growth’ team that amplifies the intersection between data, marketing and product to drive awareness, education and upsell, of our commerce platform for Retailers across the globe. Work supports both sides of the Net Revenue Retention equation ie Retention/ARR and ARPU.

Day to day this means defining product habit metrics, improving them with nurture campaigns, building nurture campaigns for upsell and continual comms on value being shipped within the product. Using data and insight from our work, and measuring and iterating.

What are some of the common misconceptions about working as a Director of Software Adoption? 

We are a marketing team. We just do comms.

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?

My first tech was a Mickey Mouse egg catching Nintendo game my parents bought me back duty free from an overseas trip - tech definitely was not on my radar until later in life!  

I dreamed of becoming a dancer with the NZ Ballet.

“Do not undersell yourself. Develop a mental model and make it your own..”

Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at Vend? 

After graduate roles, stints in large UK based investment banks and at a large consulting firm, I ended up (a mix of right time, place and role) being a Strategy Manager for a large NZ energy business. 

That set me up and gave me excellent skills for frameworks, metrics, planning and pan-organisation understanding - also great facilitation skills and exposure to working on and with an Executive team, and with Boards.

I did this role in a few other businesses and then landed in Financial Services/banking in a similar role. I became tired and frustrated of working ‘on’ the business and being on the outside, and had a desire to get ‘in’ the business and deliver real results! 

This desire led to my foray into tech then working in the banks’ Digital team, leading a large pan-bank digital transformation program (move to self serve metrics with commercial outcomes eg migrating in brand transactions to self serve channels like ATMs and app). 

From there I got shoulder tapped to lead the banks’ Data and Analytics Centre of Excellence and then became Tribe Lead (Head of) a technology vertical (~ 100 people) to deliver on our business customer proposition and experience.

Moving to Vend was an opportunity to work in ‘pure’ software (and SaaS) and be part of a nimble, fast pace success story. And the rest is history!

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received? 

Do not undersell yourself. Develop a mental model and make it your own - mine is having a strategy, executing well and then communicating the value. Success flows from there.

“The ability to get things done and see the impact - quickly.”

What do you love about working at Vend?

The ability to get things done and see the impact - quickly. Also the people and culture - incredible how collaborative, helpful and excellent everyone is to work with.

Lastly, Vend continues to grow and evolve, what are the key traits and characteristics of people that will be well placed to work there?

Those willing to learn, take ownership, be curious and have the Retailer at the centre. As we have integrated into Lightspeed we are much larger so being confident to navigate a larger organisation.

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