Hello! My name is Nikki Bishop, and I am a mom, wife, friend, engineer, and executive.
I’m the go-to problem solver and dot connector in both my professional and personal circles. I love connecting people and ideas. I thrive in complex and sometimes chaotic situations, always challenging the norm. My life philosophy is rooted in authenticity and prioritizing people – human-first leadership is here to stay. Outside of work, I’m a dedicated wife, a baseball mom to two teenage sons, and passionate about fitness, travel, and creating memorable life experiences.
Every day, I aim to make a positive impact on those around me. One of my favorite ways to give back is in supporting a charity near and dear to my heart, RAD Camp. Professionally speaking, I am the Director of Commercial Excellence for Emerson Automation Solutions and Software and previously held positions as the Chief Customer Officer at Seeq and Head of Digitalization for Siemens Energy.
We asked Nikki to take us through a journey telling us about her career path, how she spends her workday, what advice she can share with someone starting as a customer success manager, and many other questions.
Enjoy reading this interview
Tell us about your career path?
After graduating from Georgia Tech in Chemical Engineering, I started my career as a process control engineer working for Emerson and then for Siemens. It was great fun to design, build, and install control system software to optimize and operate some of the world’s most complex process manufacturing facilities. I learned a lot about controls, about the process industries, and spent some time in operating plants.
That early experience has been invaluable to my career as it helped me truly understand the customer’s world. Drawing on my strong technical foundation, I received my MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and moved into more business-focused roles in program management and eventually into executive leadership. I joined Seeq in 2020 and jumped into the SaaS/tech space.
How did you join Customer Success?
While it might not have been labeled “customer success”, I’ve been in customer success for my entire career. I’ve always been focused on delivering value to customers – as a process control engineer and as an executive. However, my “Customer Success” career began at Seeq where I had the opportunity to build the CS organization there.
How would you describe the ideal CSM candidate?
The ideal CSM candidate is someone who is:
– High EQ – connects easily and deeply with people
– A balance of technical and interpersonal skills – can get in the technical weeds when needed but knows how to balance that skill
– Humble collaborator – works well cross-functionally.
– Continuous learner – curious to stay on the leading edge of tech and product offerings.
– Expert project and time management skills
– A great communicator – written and verbal
What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out as a Customer Success Manager?
Connect and actively participate in the CS community. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and lean on others for help. Consume all the great CS content that is out there – Gainsight content is a great place to start. Attend conferences and events and network.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and lean on others for help”.
Can you take us on a journey describing what your workday looks like?
My day typically starts around 8 am and I check in on the things still on my list from the prior day. I am a digital note-taker (I love my Remarkable tablet) so I jot down a few things at the end of the day that I need to tackle first thing the next morning.
Being remote, my day is typically back-to-back Zoom/Teams meetings but it’s nice to “see” people and interact. I am working on getting better at taking more breaks in the day for focus/decompress time. By 6 p.m. or so, I disconnect from work and get some exercise. If necessary, I will tackle a few more things post-workout but I try to honor my evening time with my family.
What makes you feel inspired or motivated?
Human first leadership. I absolutely love seeing more and more businesses succeed while putting their people first. We can be emotional, high EQ leaders and still succeed in business. Even better, we are normalizing authenticity in leadership. I am inspired by those who bring their true, authentic self to everything.
What’s one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?
That I was born in a very small, rural town in West Virginia.
Who do you look up to the most?
This one is hard for me to answer! I look up to many different people. I’d be remiss if I didn’t add Nick Mehta to this answer. His devotion to human-first leadership is unparalleled.
The world has much to learn from him. I must say I also look up to my kids. I stand in awe of them as they continue to grow into fine young men ready to tackle the world ahead of them with a balance of empathy, academic excellence, athletic excellence, and a whole lot of fun along the way. Our future is bright!
What are your top 3 priorities now?
Maintaining a balance between personal and professional priorities.
Connecting with my new team and reconnecting with previous colleagues.
Being fully present for my family and enjoying the high school years with my boys.
What advice would you give to Customer Success Managers to grow and develop their careers?
Know your metrics, know their values, and be able to explain their trends. Connect with the sales team and make sure you know their metrics, too. Being a great partner to the sales team is critically important for success. You both have much to learn from one another and it starts with the humility of knowing what you don’t know.
What’s your favorite book, and why?
Have you had your “I’ve made it” moment yet?
I’ve had some of those moments, but I don’t think there will ever be one single “I’ve made it” moment. Becoming a parent twice was certainly an “I’ve made it moment” personally.
Professionally, those moments for me were finishing my exec MBA program after 2 grueling years, being promoted to lead digitalization at Siemens, and then to CCO at Seeq.
My current “moment” is unfolding while I have the opportunity to bring the last several years of experience in tech/SaaS back to a company that I’ve called home since I started my career.
What should I have asked you but didn’t?
What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back? I’d say relax and enjoy all the moments and most importantly, answer the phone when your parents call. It’s so easy to get caught up in building a career that you forget that you are also building a life. I finally figured out the balance but there were quite few years in there where I didn’t have the balance. I repeat – answer the phone when your parents call – even if you are in the middle of a “big” meeting. It’s not as “big” as you think. You’ll never regret taking those calls.
Where can people go to find out more about you?
LinkedIn is the best place to find out more about me and to connect. I post regularly and post content that is authentic and vulnerable. I love connecting with people so welcome the LinkedIn connections.
Thank you, Nikki, for sharing your knowledge and for the opportunity to know you more.
Do you have a Customer Success Leader, Expert, or Influencer you would like to know more about?