Get to Know: Kerry McDonough, Implementation Specialist
Tell us about your role. What do you do day-to-day?
Sure. As an implementation specialist, I help customers set up the Everbridge system and roll it out to their users. After our customers purchase our product, they usually have questions about getting the most out of it. That’s where I come in — I help them with everything from deciding who should manage the system, to gathering information, to visualizing what the system will look like long-term.
How do you work with customers and how long does an implementation usually take?
Implementations are anywhere from four weeks to three months. We use a lot of different tools that help us work closely with customers. Sometimes I’m explaining things over the phone or screen sharing, but we can also make my phone appear on their screen so I can walk them through apps. That helps them get an in-depth look at how they can use the product best. We also do follow ups to make sure the setup is serving their needs.
Do you focus on implementing a specific part of the Everbridge platform?
In the past, we all covered the full platform, but we are moving toward more specialization. I am going to be leading implementation of our new Safety Connection product. It allows organizations to keep track of their members and make sure they’re safe in the case of an emergency. They can even track people while they travel, whether they’re walking from the airport to a parking garage or across campus at night.
“I love that I get to talk with employees, students—even marching bands.”
Our products are really personal. I love that I get to talk with employees, students—even marching bands, and show them how they can use our product to stay connected and stay safe. At my old job, I used to travel abroad, and I wish I had this kind of software.
Tell us about your work before joining Everbridge.
I graduated with a double major in English and History, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for my career. I didn’t even know the job “implementation specialist” existed. I was running the Honors recruiting department at Umass Amherst, and would present to groups as small as two and as large as five hundred. That experience standing in front of a crowd and talking off the cuff has been really helpful. One day someone asked me, “Have you ever thought of implementations? You get to travel a lot and present to large groups of people.”
So I worked for almost three years as an implementation specialist at a healthcare software company. A colleague from that company got a job at Everbridge and referred me. After I got hired, I loved it so much that I referred my best friend from the same company.
“I was so impressed with the people I interviewed with, they totally won me over.”
I wasn’t actually looking to change jobs when my friend referred me. But I thought, it can’t hurt to talk to them. I was so impressed with the people I interviewed with, they totally won me over. Every single person was so respectful of everyone’s time. They all asked serious questions, not the usual gimmicky ones. When I told Jeremiah, the implementations manager, I had a list of questions, he said, “Great! I’d rather hear yours. That’s much more informative.” So he spent 40 minutes listening to me and answering my questions. It was awesome.
Why did you decide to join Everbridge?
The energy everyone has about what they are doing. Everyone knows they are making a tangible difference, no matter their role. No matter where people are in the world, we help keep them safe. We are showing people, “Here’s how you can prevent a dangerous situation,” and “Here’s how you can quickly respond to an emergency.” That impact is powerful.
“No matter where people are in the world, we help keep them safe.”
Beyond that, the environment and people make work fun. We joke around together; people walk around and chat with people in other wings, especially during our Thirsty Thursday happy hours. Last Friday we had a holiday party for the whole company at the aquarium. Everybody was talking to each other, whether they’d worked together in the past or it was their first conversation. This is a real community.
What makes Everbridge different from other places you’ve worked?
The people. There’s this positive energy, this excitement, in every room I walk into. Everyone is enthusiastic and generous, not only with each other, but with customers. I’ve worked places where, when people talk with a customer, their main goal is to finish the call. Here, people want to talk with customers. I think it goes along with our work culture. Everyone’s excited to be at a young, rapidly growing company, so everyone really goes above and beyond. People truly care about what they’re doing.
“Everyone is enthusiastic and generous, not only with each other, but with customers.”
The atmosphere in the office is also really fun. One of the guys on the team that sits next to Implementation hung multi-colored streamers all over for the holidays. They looked so nice, I bought more, and we continued them over to our side of the wing. I bought lights and streamers and a mini Christmas tree with ornaments and stockings and wreaths and ribbons. I went a little wild with it. And it was so worth it to see everyone’s faces when they came in this morning.
What I love is that people were excited — but they weren’t really surprised. We decorate for most holidays. We also handed out kids’ cardboard playhouses for teams to decorate and then had a holiday stroll around the office to see the decorations.
How have you had an impact on Everbridge?
I get to be a part of so many groups and projects outside of Implementations. One of our account managers visited an important government customer recently, and I was invited to go along and lead a catch-up training for the rest of their team. Recruiting has also invited me to go to their events, which are always fun. I think it’s awesome that I haven’t been here very long, but I get to represent the company in so many ways beyond my typical job. Management presents lots of opportunities to learn.
Most recently, I helped create the new email templates for the Safety Connection functionality. I saw that it would help streamline things, so I presented the idea to my boss. It’s a testament to how flexible things are here. She basically said, “Sounds great; let us know how we can support you.”
“Everyone on the team is a real go-getter, and management rewards us for that.”
From the first day I started, I’ve had a lot of autonomy and freedom. During my first interview, my director told me how much she valued her employee’s independence. She said, “I’ve got an amazing team with brilliant people. I trust them to do what they need to do and come to me when they need help.” I’ve found that to be completely true. Everyone on the team is a real go-getter, and management rewards us for that. They’re always saying, “We trust you. We’re here for whatever you need. Let us know what you need us to do.”
What have you learned since joining Everbridge?
I’ve learned a bit about my own limits because I’ve had the opportunity to go much further than I have in the past. In previous jobs, I was allowed to try new things, but only within a narrow range of calculated risk. Because Everbridge is smaller and rapidly growing, I’ve had more opportunities to try new things, join new things, and start new things. If what I start doesn’t work out, that’s okay. No one holds it against me.
“Because Everbridge is smaller and rapidly growing, I’ve had more opportunities to try new things.”
I’ve also learned a lot about what I’m interested in and what I enjoy. Most places, if you want to sit with someone and learn about their role, you have to get approval first, which can be a job in itself. Here, when I say, “I’m interested in professional services,” my director suggests I reach out to them and go on a trip to see if I like it. I’ve been impressed by how encouraging management is. They genuinely want us to find opportunities within the company where we can be successful.
Is there like a challenge you’ve faced and overcome in your work?
Yeah. A few quarters ago, I got hit with a ton of work. We’re rapidly growing right now, which is great, but while we were looking to hire more people, everyone was carrying extra work.
When that happened, I was impressed with the way management checked in with everyone. They reached out frequently to ask, “What can I do? What can I help with?” They understood what we had on our plates and went to bat for us, whether that meant managing other internal resources vying for our time, or hopping in to help customers. They made sure we knew we were valued and that they were there for us when we needed them, no questions asked.
What skills have helped you most in this job? Who would do well in this role?
Communication skills. They help in everything, from explaining the product and our role to connecting with people in a short amount of time. We need people who can talk to anyone in any position, whether they’re a police chief, the CIO at a hospital, or the person in charge of stock at a corporation. Each customer has different expectations too, so we need to adapt quickly. A background in project management would help too, because some of the terminology transfers to this role.