Grow your career fearlessly: One female exec’s journey from Customer Support rep to Chief Customer Officer

Ansarada announces the internal promotion of Sam Melrose into the new Chief Customer Officer executive role.

By AnsaradaFri May 05 2023Culture

 SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – On April 1st, Ansarada announced the internal promotion of Sam Melrose into the new Chief Customer Officer executive role. Having worked for the company in customer support and success functions for the last 6 years, Sam is a shining example of Ansarada’s ‘grow your career fearlessly’ mission. 

Seeking growth potential

Prior to working at Ansarada, Sam had come from a family-owned business in the print industry – an industry dominated primarily by middle-aged white men. While other employees were taken out to golf and encouraged to be ambitious, Sam was fighting a daily battle for basic respect. Seeing the limitations in the industry amid a global transition to digital, she made the decision to interview at Ansarada.
While the Client Services role was a step back in terms of work experience, it was the office vibe, openness, female-heavy leadership, and growth potential that drew Sam to Ansarada.
“The first few Campfires (weekly Friday all-hands), there were so many inspiring people standing up. I remember Rachel the co-founder putting her heart and soul into her presentation, then she’d have a casual chat with you in the kitchen over a glass of wine.”
Due to her life experience and age, Sam naturally took on a nurturing role for younger CS team members. Her manager saw her potential and encouraged her to pursue a leadership role. Within seven months of being at Ansarada, Sam had stepped into second-in-command and was conducting regular one-on-one meetings with the team.
“It was amazing being a part of the career development of some of the others. We had team members moving into Engineering, others into Product… I realized I wanted to help others uncover their potential. That was the most rewarding part of the job – helping people realize their path forward,” said Sam.

Mentoring and leadership opportunities

A key milestone for Sam was the John Maxwell leadership conference in Sydney, which she attended alongside more than forty Ansarada leaders from around the globe. Sam left the three-day event inspired, turned to co-founder Rachel Riley as her new mentor, and has remained committed to her career development by continuing her leadership training journey in the Ansarada Intentional Leadership program each and every year.

Rachel’s mentorship extended beyond just the professional aspect of Sam’s career. She was able to help Sam create habits, see the bigger picture, and learn how to influence without being demanding, regardless of title.
Sam’s ability to listen to others became a driving force behind her success as a leader. The mentorship from Rachel was a turning point. “Seeing someone in such an important role take the time to help a CSE achieve her next career step was incredible,” said Sam.
“Sam is an exceptional leader. Even in her starting CS role she exhibited servant-based leadership. Influencing many by leading both across and up, Sam always looked to drive positive changes and get alongside other people to make that happen," said Rachel Riley. "Sam was able to clearly understand strategic outcomes and see a path forward to execution. Supported by Ansarada's leadership philosophy and accompanying programs, Sam honed her natural strengths and increased skills in many areas to continue taking steps forward. Her people leadership has been a driving force in her journey and I’ve learned many lessons from Sam watching her navigate her leadership and career path.” 

Raising the voice of CS - and the customer

When her manager left the business, it was a seamless transition for Sam to take over the support team in Australia. Under Sam’s leadership, the team was further built out to include the customer success and renewals functions.
“It was a learning curve. The first Quarterly Business Review I had to be a part of was terrifying.  I didn’t like public speaking, I didn’t have a lot of confidence; I think back then there was a lot of imposter syndrome, like I wasn’t on the same level, or my opinion wasn’t as valuable.”  
Over time, and with the backing of the rest of the leadership team, it became clear to Sam that her voice - the voice of Customer Success and by extension, the customer – was essential for the business to hear.
Sam took her role of spokesperson seriously. With the rest of the CS leadership team overseas, she represented the voice of the customer at office headquarters in Australia, growing her confidence as she started to fully understand the business objectives and what CS could contribute to the growing company.

Stepping into a global leadership role

It was in January of 2020 that Sam took over the interim role of Global Head of CS. Having been lucky enough to build relationships with the teams globally, working alongside many of them as CSE, Sam was able to relate to their issues, raise awareness of the issues being faced globally, and help find strategic solutions. 
By December of the same year, Sam was involved in the leadership team offsite for the first time, and able to see how they planned the company’s strategy for the next 12-24 months. “Getting CS involved in that process and being considered as part of the bigger picture... it was great to see people recognizing how important that team is for the company,” she said. “The CS team understands the vision, they feel like they are a part of it - a part of everything that Ansarada sets out to achieve - and they have that ownership, they are excited to be involved.”
From there, going to regular LT meetings and huddles became a natural evolution. Sam learned from those on the leadership team and became better at raising the voice of the customer through CS. “Those relationships and support from everyone on that team helped build my confidence; it’s made it a lot easier to adjust to the roles and the responsibilities that have come with the new role,” said Sam.

“Act the role you want” 

Sam’s career trajectory and success at Ansarada can be boiled down to one of Ansarada’s core values: Care. By listening to her team, making sure they are looked after, and influencing how they get things done, Sam has made the successful journey from CSE to Chief Customer Officer.

“The best advice I got from another leader was ‘act the role you want’. Do what feels right and the right path will come naturally,” said Sam.

Sam’s story embodies the Ansarada values and the company’s servant leadership principles. Everyone is invested in, and equally everyone has leadership opportunities - they just have to be fearless.

"Sam is, and always was, the embodiment of our servant leadership principles and the values we hold dear at Ansarada. Her unique combination of Care, Curiosity, Courage and Change has spearheaded her success,” said Heidi Rossi, Chief People Officer. “Sam is committed to the customer, turns answers into action, leads when no one else will, and champions the way for others to reach their potential and start something new.  Sam's well deserved promotion has been advocated and celebrated by the customers and team members she serves globally."


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