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Feature Friday: Jamie Parker

5 min read
Jul 15, 2022 8:00:00 AM

By day, customer success team lead for small-enterprise clients. By evening, competitive speech and debate champion and coach.

Would you be surprised if I told you that I was born here in Lafayette, Louisiana, that I’ve never left a day in my life to live elsewhere, but I find Cajun culture weird? In fact, I don’t consider myself Cajun at all — but that’s because neither of my parents are from the area.

So although I grew up here and embrace many cultural aspects of Cajun life, please don’t offer me crawfish!

My time in Lafayette has led me to some great things, both in my career life and in my academic life. But I’ll speak more on that later. First, I want to explain how I came to SchoolMint.


A Humble Start in Food Service

I started working when I was teenager, and like almost every other American teenager, it was in food service and hospitality. Specifically, I worked at a local pizza restaurant that had just opened a new location. I worked there for five years, starting as a busgirl and making my way up to management.

Once I left there, I stayed in food service, helping with managing, leading, and training. I got incredible customer service and problem resolution skills while working in food service, and these are skills that have followed me to where I am today.

Going into Teaching

I started college pursuing a degree in English literature but ended up graduating in General Studies. I kept my love for English literature and wanted to use it, so I decided to work in education. And it worked out.

I got a temporary certification for teaching and was teaching eighth-grade English for a few months. I moved schools, and at the new academy I went to, I taught English to ninth and tenth graders.

The problem was that my first year of teaching was the COVID-19 year.

I got only six months of what a normal teaching experience was before everything flipped the script. The stressors were too much, and so I started looking for a new career path.

Fortunately, I’d heard of SchoolMint moving to Louisiana in 2020. It was a big deal! After all, it’s not every day a California tech company comes to Lafayette, Louisiana. However, I didn't even know what the ed tech space was really like.

I knew Google Classroom. I knew Clever. But I didn’t realize there was this huge market of education technology software. Since I’d been in the classroom for such a brief period of time, I didn’t fully grasp the complexity and volume of all the potential problems a school could face.

But I thought SchoolMint would be a fantastic opportunity, so I applied in January of 2021.

Coming to SchoolMint

I wasn’t expecting to leave teaching mid-year, but I couldn’t pass up this new opportunity with SchoolMint, knowing it would be far better for my mental health. And the more I checked it out, the more excited I got! From a teacher’s perspective, I was super impressed by SchoolMint’s student behavior platform, SchoolMint Hero.

The behavior data and insights seemed really cool. But also, coming from a teaching background, where classroom management was a big deal, where I learned the behavior problems teachers face daily, SchoolMint gave me a chance to take my love of education and use that desire to help others out there.

Overall, it was SchoolMint’s new location combined with the fact I could still help educators. That has always been massively important to me.

So in March 2021, I started at SchoolMint as a customer success manager. And since then, I’ve been promoted to the team lead for our small-enterprise customer success team!

The Day to Day of a Customer Success Team Lead

At SchoolMint, I’m the customer success team lead for our small-enterprise accounts, and I support approximately 140 clients in whatever capacity they need. One thing I want all my customers to know, though, is that I’m here for more than just troubleshooting.

For my clients who use customer support the way you should use it, they get so much out of our working relationship. I’m here to work with them! For instance, “This is a goal I have for my school. What do you think about this idea?” or “How can we automate our processes with SchoolMint’s software?”

It’s nice to have partners who get the purpose of customer success. They’re the clients who I get on a call with and go, yep, absolutely. What do you need from me? Because I’ll talk to you every day if you want me to!

Another big piece of my work is if, say, I receive a support ticket from a partner and have to get additional internal support for their issue, I keep an eye on their ticket and provide assistance as needed.

Other times, I’m handling things that don’t require a support ticket to be opened. For example, in the summer, the last thing we do for each enrollment year is migrate information from the school over to their SIS. But not all schools are the same, and so some of them have more difficult migration processes.

For these customers, my job is to facilitate their understanding of the project, manage deadlines, manage expectations, and keep communication pathways clear.

Competitive Speech and Debate

Currently, I’m one year into my master’s degree program at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette getting my degree in strategic communications. For my thesis, I’m focusing on how organizations work, particularly with business communications.

Outside of work, I do way more than just work toward my master’s degree, though. I have a very strong background in public speaking, and I used to compete in speech and debate at the high school and the collegiate level. I’m even a former national champion!

The national championship I won was in Student Congress. We had to create bills and resolutions on things we wanted to change. I had to get in front of a group of 20 to 30 of our peers and argue both for and against using the text of the bill, regardless of whether your resolution was going to pass. That championship is my pride and joy.

On the weekends and some evenings after work, I coach the speech and debate team at the university and am the program’s assistant director. Right now, I have seven students on the team, and I couldn’t be prouder of them!

This past year, some of the students went to Nationals and ranked within the country’s top 50. One of them, a woman I’ve been coaching for the past three years, was even an international semifinalist last year.

I like to joke they’re coming for my reputation. I would tell them I put us on the map — and they’ll jokingly fire back that the map is outdated. But you know, that’s the thing: as a coach, you always want to see your students succeed and even surpass you.

Now, as you can imagine, between doing customer success at SchoolMint, working on my master’s thesis, and coaching seven speech and debate students, I’m extraordinarily busy. I often pull in 90 hours a week between all those tasks.

However, I keep telling myself that school will end. One day, things will even out. I’ll be far better as a person when that day comes. And I’ll be better off in my career for making these current sacrifices.

Interested in an edtech career and working at SchoolMint?

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

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