Welcome to The Talent Spotlight Series, where we chat with our global team members about the careers that brought them to TripActions, what their roles look like, why they believe in their teams, and their favorite travel memory. Participants were selected by their peers for their incredible teamwork and team spirit, and how they embody the TripActions values. Read more of the series.
Helma Larkin joined TripActions as Vice President of Customer Success for EMEA and APAC in January 2022. Based in Dublin, Helma leads the Customer Success team, which specializes in building great relationships with TripActions customers.
“I like to tell my teams that we are here to delight our customers and make sure they have the best possible experience with TripActions and on the platform,” says Helma.
A passion for progress
Helma joins TripActions from Google, where she led the UK travel account management team. There, he learned about the impact technology has on the supply and delivery aspects of the travel industry. She was eager to bring her skills to the SaaS space, where she saw so many types of companies and industries being challenged and improved. Also, since she has been a warrior throughout her professional career, the TripActions product resonated with her on a personal level.
Helma began her career as an M&A consultant before working internally to help global advertising agency Dentsu acquire new agencies in North and South America. This also marked Helma’s first real foray into digital.
“I quickly became hooked on the digital consumer experience,” he explains.
However, before fully going digital, Helma ran the offline advertising agency Posterscrope as its CFO in New York; here, thanks to her strategic focus, she quickly became CEO, leading the agency’s strategy and sales.
“We started to digitize the offline product and we had a lot of success with programmatic advertising…and that’s what brought me to Google,” says Helma, who returned to Dublin from New York to join the digital revolution.
“Google has a huge presence in Dublin, as do many companies that are based here. I had a great time at Google for four years, but I always had my eye on the SaaS space, which is what led me to TripActions,” she says.
While Helma has built an impressive career in customer service roles, she has not worked exclusively in customer success before, having trained and worked as a Chartered Accountant. That empowers her to bring new perspectives and tools to improve how TripActions approaches customer success in the future.
“The most important thing is to be able to align the goals of the client and the goals of TripActions, to ensure that you have a healthy balance between the two,” says Helma. “I believe that customer success models that are 100% customer focused can be successful, but it’s important to translate these models into what they mean for the SaaS business itself. We must build meaningful partnerships with our customers. This is especially important because we have a consumer model at TripActions, where our business depends on our customers successfully purchasing their trips through us.”
“I think it is our responsibility in customer success to make sure that our customers are delighted with the product and therefore that 100% of bookings are completed through our platform. This approach will also drive our goals.”
The customer success team recently became part of the sales organization, so one of Helma’s first business tasks is to ensure collaboration between the two teams is as seamless as possible. He wants to avoid gaps between what is selling and what is ultimately possible, so that our joint teams can deliver the best possible experience for TripActions customers.
A culture of excellence
Helma met many of her future team members during the TripActions interview process, cementing her interest in joining the company. However, since she started, she has discovered even more parts of the culture to love.
“The humility of the culture is noticeable in the people. People want to do a great job, but they don’t do it to brag. They do it because good is good. Good is fun. The good is significant. People are also very generous with her time,” says Helma, who is impressed by the effort put in by each member of the team to help set up their new colleagues for success.
The Dublin office is growing rapidly with the EMEA SDR, Customer Success and Implementation teams expanding there at the moment. As Helma hires and builds her team, she looks for team members who are flexible, curious, and forward-thinking.
“We are building the plane as we fly it, so new hires need flexibility to adapt to the incredible developments the product team is producing. There needs to be a curiosity about organizational change and a desire to help bring about that change, as so much of what TripActions offers is game changing for our customers.”
As TripActions expands across Europe and APAC, customer success teams based in Dublin, London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Sydney and India will play an integral role in planting the seeds for long-term success with new customers. Helma is currently building her team from the ground up and looking to recruit team members who want to help companies transform their travel, spending and spending strategies for the future.
The Dublin office is currently hiring. See what roles are available to join TripActions today.