"You have more control over your life than you give yourself credit for."
With Holly Olp, a Customer Success Manager
Being a main decision-maker can be mentally taxing for anyone. Sometimes you need to lean on others for support.
In this edition of Women in Leadership, CMT’s Principal Customer Success Manager, Holly Olp, shares her perspective on juggling responsibilities as a working mother, trusting your team, and reclaiming control over your life. She tells us how she manages her role, embraces the “mom’s club,” and offers empowering advice to women in similar positions.
Our interview has been edited for length and clarity.
CMT: As a customer success manager, what does your day-to-day look like?
Holly: I have regular meetings each week with my customers. I usually interact with one or two different teams. I also spend time checking emails and looking over the performance of my customers’ programs each day. Then, I leave some time open to work on projects or to handle anything that comes up — like questions, one-off tasks, or activities that my customers ask me about.
CMT: Can you talk about your experience being a woman and a full-time employee at CMT?
Holly: I work with a lot of women with kids at my customer accounts and at CMT. It’s cool to be able to relate to them more now. If their kids are at a different age, they’re really excited to hear about what I’m going through with my baby. I’ve gotten so much parenting advice from working moms, from both my customers and people inside CMT. It’s been really cool to become part of this “mom’s club” that I wasn’t part of before.
CMT: I saw a LinkedIn post that you shared about the amount of thoughtfully curated decisions that women and mothers have to make every day. Can you talk a little bit about that post with us?
Holly: The post was talking about how people poke fun at women for not being able to decide what to eat, and all of the things women consider: “What are we going to eat tomorrow?”, “What did we eat yesterday?”, and “What do we have time for?”. It seems like a simple decision, but they are thinking through all the different scenarios to try to make the absolute right decision.
I can totally relate to this. Not only do I have a hard time making decisions like this because I am thinking through things, but I also do this day-to-day working in Customer Success. When a customer asks what they should do, I have to consider what’s best for the company, what’s best for my teammates, and what’s best for my customers in the short-term and long-term. We’re a B2B2C company, so I also think about what’s best for the end user.
It can be a challenge to come up with an answer right away while considering all of that. Sometimes I have to defer to really think through all of those things and ask partners, colleagues, and subject matter experts what they think before I come back to the customer with an answer.
The LinkedIn post made me think, “Wow, I’m doing that all day.” I’m paid to be an advocate for my customers all day. When I go home, I am still making decisions and thoughtfully thinking through things. We have a finite amount of decision-making ability. If you feel like you’re reaching your limit, you have to hand off some decisions to other people — at work and at home. You need to make sure that you have enough bandwidth to make the important decisions that only you can make each day.
CMT: How can women delegate some of that decision-making, either at the workplace or at home with your partner?
Holly: It applies at work and at home. You have to trust your partner and your teammates to do things. You can’t control everything. You surround yourself with capable people. You have to relinquish some control and trust them to make those decisions too. I also think you need to ask for help and not just become the default person.
If there is something that you know someone else is able to do — and you don’t have the bandwidth, or are starting to get stressed out, or feel like you’re taking on too much decision-making — you need to ask a teammate to help with a certain section of project or ask your partner to decide what’s for dinner or what the kids are going to wear.
So, I think asking for help and also not allowing yourself to just become the person who’s everything taking on, recognizing when you’re reaching your capacity, and then also just trusting other people.
CMT: How can individuals and organizations better support women and mothers in their decision-making roles?
Holly: From a leadership level, if you see that some people are always the ones stepping up or if the decision-making workload is not spread evenly for everyone to be operating at their best, then you should help spread out the workload. Make sure people feel supported and that they have bandwidth, so they can make the decisions that they are responsible for. Leadership can help make sure that too much isn’t piled on one person and that everyone has the right amount of work.
CMT: What is a piece of advice that you can share with women in the industry who are moms or want to become moms?
Holly: I think a lot of times people talk about how moms take on so much work. There’s a lot on social media about moms being stressed out, not having time for themselves, and just running themselves ragged. I think that is normalized, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
When my husband and I were ready to start a family, I was nervous that was how my life was going to be. Then I realized that I had more control over that. I’m not destined to have a life where I’m running myself ragged. My daughter is still very young and I’m still learning, but I’m really happy with my work-life balance. I’m enjoying my life and I’m not stressed out all the time. I don’t feel like I’m running myself ragged.
Working with my husband to make sure we’re sharing duties and having an understanding and supportive company helps. I’ve been blessed in a lot of ways. I also think it’s about choosing to not live that life on a regular basis. There will be stressful days, but I think just realizing that I have more control over my life has been a game changer. I would encourage anyone else who’s thinking about becoming a parent to know that you have more control over your life than you give yourself credit for.