Toni is a results-oriented, culture-first kind of leader who started her career as an F117A Stealth Fighter avionics engineer but now spends her days navigating the world of enterprise software. She currently leads Splunk’s Professional Services and Sales organization, a $200+ million P&L with more than 850 sales, services and partner delivery professionals in more than 20 countries. Toni has experience across nearly every aspect of a business and the customer journey, whether that’s technical pre-sales, sales, professional services, global support, mission critical services or customer success management. When she’s not busy building, mentoring and managing her teams, Toni can usually be found competing at any number of sports or volunteering at the Longboat Key Turtle Watch.
Why are you so passionate about helping people-based businesses?
I started my career in engineering and product sales, but spent the majority of my time as a leader in people-based businesses. People are the heart and soul of any company, and there is nothing more amazing than creating a culture and environment where high performing teams are learning and growing, providing huge value to customers, and feeling accomplished but challenged. That’s a sweet spot for me, and results in great talent and a thriving business.
You manage teams on five continents. What advice would you give to founders looking to expand internationally on managing a truly global team culture?
This is too hard to summarize in a few sentences but I’ll start with a big one: think and act globally, but with a local lens. By that I mean leaders have to be clear on overall objectives and direction, while being thoughtful and respectful of the culture, language and diverse needs of local employees and customers. Too many U.S.-based leaders come at it with a U.S.centric mindset. Be conscious of what you say, what policies you put in place and what actions you take. Even small things like creating flex meeting times that respect time zone differences can make a big impact.
How has the cloud changed things when it comes to meeting the needs and demands of enterprise customers?
As customers move from perpetual or on-premise to cloud technologies, their expectations of vendors have shifted alongside. They now expect a regular cadence of new features, seamless updates, instant fixes, proactive pushes, even telemetry. If expectations aren’t met, they feel much more empowered to leave and find a new vendor. This means companies have to get the right services to customers, at the right time, with the right resources to speed customer adoption; it’s imperative that they’re getting value every step of the way so they renew and expand. However, that takes sales, services, support and product teams working together, which means everyone now owns customer success. Not one particular group.
As a vocal advocate for women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), what do you think companies can do differently to help women excel in technology organizations?
Making progress in this area takes real work, not just talk, and it can’t just be owned by HR. It needs to be infused throughout the company as a business imperative and treated as importantly as other drivers for success. It requires leadership and holding everyone accountable. A good place to start is to benchmark where you are currently and be realistic but set aggressive goals. Collect the data, use it as a foundation, measure your progress and communicate how you’re doing. Be purposeful in creating a diverse pipeline of candidates and ensure you are creating a culture that is inclusive.