Meet Lauren Rayappu, Account Executive at Bluecore
Below is an article originally written by Tara Sussman at PowerToFly Partner Bluecore, and published on May 15, 2018. Go to Bluecore's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Signing New Brands, Working with a Passionate Team and Growing Fast: Why Lauren Rayappu is #BlueToTheCore
At Bluecore, we put our people front and center in everything we do. To better understand what makes our diverse team tick and get to know the individuals that make up our people machine, we decided to find out why different Bluecorians are #BlueToTheCore.
Today's interview is with Lauren Rayappu, an Account Executive at Bluecore. Lauren first joined Bluecore in January 2017. She recently transitioned from working remotely to working at Bluecore's New York City headquarters and is enjoying exploring her new Tribeca neighborhood.
TS: Tell me about the path that led you to Bluecore.
LR: I worked in the eCommerce industry previously, so I was familiar with Bluecore from trade shows. I had met a Bluecore recruiter at one point, and he reached out to me when something in sales came up because he thought it would be a good fit. I liked that Bluecore had a true startup vibe, and I got a great impression of the culture through the interview process. Everyone's passion and commitment to their work really stood out from everything I had seen.
TS: What does your typical day at work look like?
LR: When I'm in the office, I start my day by checking my calendar to make sure I'm prepared for my meetings for the day. Then I do any outstanding follow up from meetings with prospects and clients. Maintaining strong relationships is important to me, so this part of my day is critical. In between calls I sync with my manager to review my pipeline, talk about how things are progressing and strategize how to get new business across the finish line faster. A couple of times a month I get out of the office to visit prospects and clients all over the US, which is always fun.
TS: What differentiates Bluecore from other high growth companies?
LR: I think Bluecore has a unique culture that we strive to protect and maintain. It's a work hard, play hard mentality where everyone collaborates to get things done.
TS: Which Bluecore value do you most represent?
LR: As simple as possible and as powerful as necessary. That's a balance I strive for in all of my communications. For example, when speaking with prospects, I try to narrow in on our strengths make clear what we do and how we're different from others in the marketplace. If I do that well, our prospects immediately understand the value that Bluecore can deliver for them. And if a customer or a prospect has a problem for which we don't have a solution, I will collaborate with other teams to try find the best way to solve for that problem with this value in mind.
TS: How well do we walk the walk when we say product and customer first?
LR: Bluecore is all about the product and customer first. When a customer raises a challenge or we see common problem in the marketplace, we are quick to address that need and build features in the platform. Our role in sales is to pass feedback along to the product team to help inform our product roadmap. Everything we do is about helping retail marketers achieve their desired outcomes.
TS: If you could switch jobs with anyone, who would it be?
LR: Our recruiters. I love meeting new people and would like to be able to pair people's strengths to roles here at Bluecore.
TS: What about Bluecore do you value the most?
LR: The people that I work with are incredibly intelligent and motivated. We're all working toward a common goal of driving success and fulfilling Bluecore's mission. People really do bleed blue here.
TS: What are you most looking forward to accomplishing this year?
LR: Enabling retailers to drive new revenue with Bluecore, which is also my favorite aspect of my role!
TS: What are you most proud of, either personally or professionally?
LR: I'm really proud to share that one of the brands that I brought on to the platform is seeing 50x ROI in their first month after launching Bluecore!
TS: What keeps you at Bluecore?
LR: The excitement of being a part of a company in a high growth phase. Every day is different and brings its own challenges and rewards.
It's been six years since Sarah Cooper graced us with her 10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. But how on earth can we appear smart in our new virtual world, in which for many of us, going to work is just sitting in one long series of probably-not-necessary Zoom meetings?
1. Dial in.<p>Dialing in rather than joining via the link instantly boosts your credibility. Who calls into Zoom meetings? People who are still busy and important enough to be leaving their houses! But you needn't actually be one of those people, or even more than a foot away from your computer to pull off this maneuver. (Remember, this article is called *seeming* smart, not being smart.)</p><p><strong></strong><em>Bonus: </em>If it's a large meeting at which attendance will be taken, the person running the meeting will inevitably ask, "Who's calling in from 443-322-2121?" That's when you raise your metaphorical hand, jump off mute, and say "[Your name] here. Really looking forward to hearing your perspective on [meeting topic]." And voila! You've stolen the meeting spotlight.</p>
2. Don't come on camera—ever.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODU5OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNjMwNjI3OX0.4fLyq2CvkZAJ7n_03esZepY37mOdyGdDdTEUYt5XEU0/img.png?width=980" id="bc7e6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fbbf21cc5d8c863b30654ae6993b04f5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>Much like the "dial in," this technique works because it makes you appear aloof. If <em>The Crown has </em>taught me anything, it's that the key to maintaining a sense of mystique and prestige is to keep people at arm's length—and if you absolutely <em>must</em> touch them, wear a glove.</p>
3. Only communicate via chat.<p>Once you've mastered the art of staying off camera, you can level up by communicating exclusively via the chat box. Don't come off mute at all, even if the speaker asks your opinion. You are the elusive chatter and you will not be forced into actually participating in said meeting.</p>
4. Ask to share your screen.<p>Being aloof is great, but it's all about balance. Sprinkling in some active participation will really shock and impress your colleagues if you catch them off guard, so save this technique for when you've strategically <em>not </em>participated in a string of meetings.</p><p>Spend a few minutes prior to the meeting prepping a few inspirational slides with words like "synergy," "optimization," and "redefining 'culture'", or spend a few minutes poking around in Google Analytics. </p><p>Then wait for the opportune moment to say, "Can I just share my screen for a moment? I have some really interesting data I'd like to share...." and BAM — brilliance established.</p>
5. Show off your Zoom-saviness.<p>Try saying, "You know you can mute people, right?" to the host when they beg whoever's got the lawn mower and crying baby in the background to put themselves on mute for the nth time.<br></p>
6. Create an alter ego.<p>This tactic requires commitment, but the pay off is certainly worth it. Join the Zoom meeting from your normal account + name, and then join it again on a second device from an alias. Have your alter-ego ask some probing or stat-based questions in the chat and have the answers ready ahead of time. It should work something like this:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Your alter ego Charlene</strong><strong>:</strong> "Does anyone know what percentage conversion rates increased by in Q2?"</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><strong>Real you</strong>: *doesn't miss a beat* "It looks like Charlene has a question in the chat. That would be 36%."</p><div>Never mind that no one on your team knows who Charlene is or why she's at this meeting, they'll be too blown away by your brilliance to notice. (Bonus points if you use this strategy in conjunction with techniques 1, 2, 3 or 4!)</div>
7. Place an obscure object in your background that exudes intelligence.<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ0ODYxOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzk5Njg2Mn0.V9_-3Ij3v_QndseqlrXRt5Nn39EJ97-itjls5zzYPf8/img.png?width=980" id="a369d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="604a2f04b53c2e3bc801bfa5256f367b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p><br></p><p>We're talking a telescope, or perhaps a hardcover copy of <em>War & Peace </em>(no one need know that its only purpose in your life is as a makeshift yoga block).</p><p>If you don't have any suitable props at your disposal, do not despair: download some screenshots of Sheldon's apartment from <em>Big Bang Theory </em>or the chalkboard in <em>Good Will Hunting </em>and use those as a virtual background.</p>
8. Ask "Is this really the best course of action given the current climate?"<p>Economic collapse, COVID, racism… No need to specify whether you're referring to one or all of the above; just sit back and watch your boss squirm amidst the ambiguity.</p><p>This strategy pairs very well with techniques 2 and 3. You can prep additional vague-but-probing questions ahead of time and pepper them into the chat box throughout the meeting:</p><ul><li>How will this scale?</li><li>Do we really have the bandwidth for this right now?</li><li>What's the value-add here?</li></ul>
9. Remind everyone that you have a paid Zoom account.<p>"Oh, it looks like we're getting the 40-minute warning. I have a paid account, do you want to switch to my room?" It's helpful, with just a touch of condescension. Everyone knows condescending people are smart. And everyone knows that people with paid Zoom accounts are super important.</p>
10. Tell everyone you have a hard stop.<p>When pressed for details, share your philosophy on "work-from-home" balance and how committed you are to getting up once an hour to walk to your refrigerator.</p>
11. Ask the screensharer/host to "pull something up" for everyone.<p>Ask the presenter to navigate to a screen that only you know how to navigate well. Laugh maniacally while they suffer from crippling performance anxiety. Let them struggle for as long as is tolerable before saying, "Oh you know what? I can just share my screen if you want. That would probably be easier." BAM you're the hero. Don't worry, no one will even pause to consider that you could have proposed this course of action from the start.</p>
12. Say Zoom fatigue as many times as possible.<p>If you're too tired to employ any of the other strategies, just say "I know everyone is experiencing a lot of Zoom fatigue, so we can keep this meeting short." Then hang up as quickly as possible. Meeting averted! </p><p>After all, there's no better way to demonstrate your intelligence in a virtual meeting than to demonstrate why it wasn't really necessary in the first place. </p>
I sat in front of my CEO to discuss several complaints of racism. I was new to my role as a Culture Director. I was nervous about his reaction to the complaints. But I also knew he strongly supported developing this new department; I knew that he would take the right steps. So I was shocked when I heard him say sheepishly, "I don't know, Noelle...all of this stuff about racism. I just don't see it. I don't even see color. I'm pretty much color blind."
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