By signing up you accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
Career Advice

How Hopin’s CCO Knew a Startup Environment Was Right For Her—and Two Questions to See If It’s Right for You

If there's a thread that connects all the different facets of Rosie Roca's life, it's the power of bringing people together.

From how she was raised, to how she got her first job, to the decision to leave enterprise software to take on her current role as the Chief Customer Officer at fast-growing events technology platform Hopin, a focus on community has helped to guide Rosie's decisions.

We sat down with Rosie to talk about her career, her new role at Hopin, and what advice she has for people who think that their ideal community might be at a startup.

Drawing from experience

Growing up in Havana, Cuba and moving to the United States when she was 12, Rosie's first values were drawn from the community she was raised by. "I was surrounded by really hard-working folks that just forged paths ahead of them no matter what obstacles were in the way," she says. "It's really transformed how I think about challenges and it gave me a framework, from a grit and perseverance perspective, that I carry with me."

Her interest in how other communities worked and were run led her to study government at Harvard. "Growing up in a country like Cuba, you come away with a different understanding or appreciation for government structures and political systems," she says. "I was fascinated by the differences between my native country and the U.S., and what you see around the world."

As an undergraduate, she traveled to the United Kingdom and Spain, and studied abroad in France, working toward an international law degree. "I tested that notion, which I encourage everyone [to do]," she says. "I took a law school class my senior year of college. I absolutely loved the discussion and didn't enjoy everything else about it!"

It was at a conference about sports that Rosie found her first job. (The irony of the importance that well-run events have had on her career is not lost on the Hopin leader!) Rosie listened to the keynote speaker talk about how passionate she was about her work and happened to sit next to her at lunch after her talk.

"We hit it off," explains Rosie. The keynote speaker also happened to be looking for someone to help her with a marketing-research role, including interviewing customers about their experience. Rosie was the perfect fit.

Her role drew on the research skills she'd honed as an undergrad, and Rosie loved the community she found at work. The company, Kraft Sports Group, ran the New England Patriots and Gillette Stadium, and Rosie spent her days interviewing fans and customers of major events. "We were helping the business better understand the voice of the customer," she says.

Finding success in customer success

Rosie found herself interested in how technology could drive the future of the fan experience and community, and how marketing would be transformed around that technology. She went to Stanford for her MBA to learn more about those areas.

One professor stuck with her. His point? "'At the end of the day, no matter what role you go into, you're going to have to learn how to sell. How to sell your ideas, how to bring along hearts and minds, how to think about selling a product or a service,'" says Rosie. She liked the idea of selling, but didn't have much experience in it, so she took on a role at an early stage startup RelateIQ, which later became part of Salesforce, on their customer success team.

"It was early days in customer success," she says. "The strength I had, coming from my background, was that I had no fear in picking up the phone, understanding insights, and helping the business to react from an operational perspective."

Once again, Rosie found herself in a position where she worked closely with a community, this time one made up of Salesforce customers. She worked to understand their goals and frustrations, to support them, and help create better products for them.

"The foundational aspiration [of customer success] is to really understand how a business connects to its customers to support them in achieving their goals," she says. "What made me successful in that opportunity and every one after that was to stay focused on the user."

Rosie rose through the ranks, from manager to director to SVP, and was enjoying the challenge of setting a vision and getting a team aligned behind it. But she wanted to try doing that from scratch somewhere new. Somewhere like a startup.

Why Hopin

When Rosie first heard about Hopin, it seemed like a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

"It is a totally new and exciting space to build a company, build a team, and build partnerships with customers in a whole new way, at a time when this type of technology is so needed," she says. "Ultimately, what drove my decision to join Hopin was the team of really talented folks, all passionate about the customer experience and the events industry,working together to create an iconic company."

What's most impressive to Rosie now, six months into her role, is the speed at which the business is growing and evolving. "It's unlike anything I've ever seen from an execution perspective," she says. "A week in prior roles is maybe a day at Hopin, which is a testament to our stage and to the type of culture that we have."

How can you know if Hopin—or another fast-growing startup—is the right next place for your career? Rosie has two key pieces of advice:

1. Make sure you're excited about the problem they're solving, and all the challenges that will come after it.

"Be super clear around your purpose and the challenges that motivate you and will push you into that uncomfortable zone, which is where we do a lot of our learning," she says. For her, at Hopin, that means not just building new event experiences for our customers, but also helping to redefine what overall customer success looks like.

2. Know who you'd be working with and learning from, and be comfortable with that.

Rosie comes at this part from two angles: First, who are you working for? Is your manager someone who can motivate people? "At Hopin, our CEO Johnny has the capability to drive execution and build team culture so quickly," she says. "He's been able to motivate hundreds of people in a year to do something that no one else has ever done before. I'm really learning from him and am thrilled to continue."

The second part? "Who are you going into the trenches with?" asks Rosie. Is it a team of people that you feel like you can trust and enjoy spending time with? That's been the case at Hopin, she adds: "They're so positive and optimistic and ambitious, with an incredibly impressive level of talent and execution."

Staying connected with her community

As busy as she gets, Rosie always makes time for one weekly (if not daily) ritual: reviewing the Slack channel dedicated to shouting out Hopin employees who are going above and beyond. "I go to that channel and just scroll and read about the camaraderie and the support that we have across the entire organization," she says. "You can't help but feel like, 'Holy cow, this is an incredible team, and everyone is really supporting each other in every way that they can.'"

If the Hopin team sounds like one you'd like to be a part of, check out their open roles.

How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.

Work & Co

5 Tips for Career Switchers: Insight from Work & Co’s Sarah Mogin on Making Use of Your Past Lives

Sarah Mogin never used to like writing open-ended essays in school. She found herself much more motivated by tangible problems.

Calculus had some of those—she never had trouble with her math homework—but when she was in school she never envisioned just how much she could incorporate that love of solution-finding into her daily work, much less that she would have a career as a developer one day.


Supporting Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Only 4% of companies that say they value diversity consider disabilities. Even fewer include learning and thinking differences.

While neurodiversity is a concept that is gaining more awareness, many employers have still not fully grasped the importance (and benefits) of understanding neurodiversity and how to effectively incorporate and retain neurodivergent individuals in their organizations.


[VIDEO ▶️ ] Are You the Right Candidate for the Job? Tips From a Helm Recruiter

💎 Wondering how you can show up as the right candidate for the job?

📼 Press PLAY to hear some insight from a recruiter at Helm into what the right candidate for the job looks like in an interview. Alayna Sye, Helm's Senior Technical Recruiter, knows an applicant is going to be the right for the job usually after the first conversation. Find out exactly what will make you stand out, as well as the steps for the application process at Helm.


30+ Ways Companies Are Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

Founded in 1989, Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 and ends October 15. The four-week span over two calendar months may seem a bit odd, but it comes with good reason, as it covers independence anniversaries of several Latin American countries, as well as key celebrations in Hispanic and Latin communities. Apart from commemorating major holidays and historic milestones, this month honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans.

We asked some of our partner companies what they're doing to honor and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at work this year, and we were inspired by the wide range of responses, from highlighting the impact that employees have in local communities to hosting fireside conversations on allyship to sharing performances and instruction of famous cultural dances.ot only are these companies honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, they're finding ways to spread positive change throughout the year. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:

© Rebelmouse 2020