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Feature Friday: Dawn Carriker

5 min read
Sep 30, 2022 8:00:00 AM

Full-time customer success manager. Part-time boudin reviewer.

There’s a type of sausage popular in Louisiana. It’s a savory (and sometimes spicy), delicious blend of rice, pork, and spices tucked tightly into casing, either artificial or natural.

This sausage can be steamed, grilled, or breaded and fried, and you’ll find it everywhere — from fancy five-star restaurants to gas station delis. People eat it as a link, put it on sandwiches, roll it up inside King Cake, or serve it up in a number of other creative ways.

If you live in South Louisiana, you likely knew what I was talking about from the very first sentence.

If you don’t live in South Louisiana, the sausage I’m describing is boudin. If you’re not from Louisiana, it’s not pronounced the way you (probably) think it’s pronounced. Check out the 1:20 mark in this video to hear how Cajuns say it.

I bring all this up because I review boudin.

Not for a living, of course, but it keeps me connected to the people, the food, and the unique culture of Cajun country.

Boudin Link

For the past 17 years, my family has reviewed boudin on our website, Boudin Link.

boudin link website

In addition to coordinating local events — a few years back, I used to run the Bread Pudding Festival downtown — boudin reviews are one of my family’s side hobbies.

For my usual nine-to-five job, you can find me either working from home or in the office at SchoolMint.

I’m a Customer Success Manager and have been since September 2021. But my tentative connection to the company goes back farther, back to when I worked in education.

Into Acadiana

I was born in San Francisco, California, but I grew up in Portland, Oregon. After getting my degree in public relations (PR), I started my career doing customer service in the banking industry. I did that for approximately 15 years.

When my husband got a new job with the University of Louisiana-Lafayette (UL) in 1997, we packed up and moved to Lafayette, a city of approximately 130,000 people. Located in the heart of South Louisiana — a region known as Acadiana — we established new roots here with our two beautiful daughters.

We adopted our girls when they were very young, and I immediately recognized the gifted tendencies in them. This got me wanting to know all I could about what it meant to be a gifted child and how I could support my daughters’ growth and natural abilities.

That pushed me to pursue my teaching certification in English as well as a master’s degree in gifted education at UL.

From there, I took it to the natural next step: working with gifted students in the classroom.

For 10 years, I worked with gifted students in the special education program at a local high school in Lafayette. Gifted students can be a quirky bunch to work with, but their intense curiosity and desire to explore taught me the value of being open to new perspectives.

While I didn’t intend to leave education, there came a time when I was looking for a new, positive change in my life and wanted to challenge myself in a new way.

When SchoolMint came on my radar during a press conference with CEO Bryan MacDonald, it felt perfectly serendipitous. Here was an opportunity to leave the classroom but not leave K-12 education as a whole.

I was curious. I read up more on SchoolMint. And I decided I was ready to leave.

In September 2021, I came on board as a SchoolMint Customer Success Manager.

Life as a SchoolMint Customer Success Manager

I support approximately 40 legacy enrollment clients on SmartChoice. I provide support to our small and mid-sized clients, but I also step in as backup for our enterprise clients when needed.

Each day, I help these clients with regular support, but also emergencies. I enjoy helping clients get over hurdles, especially when they’re in a stressful situation or, for example, running their lotteries and trying to give parents confident, satisfactory answers.

My everyday duties include the usual: building forms on clients’ accounts, answering questions about their lotteries and applications, doing investigations on their accounts, or explaining to them how to make their processes easier.

Additionally, I also help customers migrate from legacy SmartChoice to our new flagship platform, SchoolMint Enroll:

When comparing our legacy platform to our new one, the cool thing about SchoolMint Enroll is that so much of the customization I previously mentioned can be done by the customer themselves.

SchoolMint Enroll has been so encouraging for clients who have migrated platforms because, for no additional cost, they can make these changes themselves. They don’t have to wait for us to do it, empowering the client to make changes on their terms and timelines.

Welcome-Back Wednesday

One of my favorite things about working at SchoolMint is the weekly luncheons. Because SchoolMint has a variety of in-office, hybrid, and purely remote workers all across the globe, it can be hard to stay in contact with everyone or see them regularly.

These weekly luncheons give me a chance to come into our Lafayette office and connect with my coworkers. It’s a nice bonding experience!

It’s nice to have a company-catered lunch and talk about life — to catch up on things that aren’t about work. Living in Lafayette, you’ll always be surprised by shared connections you have with a coworker.

But Back to Boudin

So how did I get into reviewing boudin?

Even though my husband and I didn’t grow up here, when we arrived in Lafayette, everyone was so welcoming. And there was one thing everyone wanted to tell us about: boudin!boudin ballsPictured: fried boudin balls, a popular way of eating boudin in South Louisiana.

Perhaps being “outsiders” — if you can consider that a thing in a place as hospitable as Acadiana — is what makes us extra qualified to review boudin. Since neither of us grew up here, we don’t have that childhood connection to any one place. Does that make us 100% objective? You decide!

Now, as for who has the best boudin around?

We always say that a person’s favorite boudin is the one they grew up with.

You have all these memories attached to it — such as who you were with, how many links you got, how much it cost, how often you ate there, and so on.

(By the way, if you live in Louisiana, be sure to drop by the Boudin Cook-Off Festival this October. I’m the one who coordinates it!)

Interested in Working at SchoolMint?

View our open positions here, or learn more about the company in 10 Reasons You Will Love Working at SchoolMint.



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