top of page

10 People to Follow in Customer Education

What does a Customer Education Specialist do?

Customer Education is a multi-faceted discipline. Program leaders must draw from a wide variety of skills that include content production, cross-functional program management, marketing, and enablement. Most leaders have a background in Instructional Design, but to be effective, it requires a broad set of skills.

This Top Ten list celebrates the leaders in the Customer Education community who tend to fly under the radar, but who bring value because of their unique skills. Many "top ten" lists for leaders tend to be full of generalists or the "loudest voices in the room." Each of the people on this list have both broad skills in program leadership but also bring something unique to the role. We've learned so much from their contributions and hope you will too. They are the CEOs of their domain.

For anyone looking to start a Customer Education program, or launch a new program of any type, I strongly recommend following these inspired leaders.

Julia Singer

Strategic thinking. Julia is a builder. Customer Education leaders know that creating value out of nothing is part of the job. Julia is our go-to person for creating structure and easy to use toolkits, calculators, and frameworks. For her its all about efficiency and ease of communication. We love the operational perspective she brings to Customer Education, which illustrates her knowledge of all those cross-functional handoffs required to make these programs work.

Karen Byorth

Cross-functional alignment. Seeing the big picture and helping make connections between different parts of an organization is critical for the success of a Customer Education program. Karen is all about people and making those connections, with an eye on driving impact. She is an experienced program leader and a master of the trade. Customer Education professionals need to bring together all levels of an organization, from the strategic level all the way down to hands-on, in the weeds individual contributors. Karen Byorth is the most experienced and reliable learning program leader we've worked with. Her skillset is much broader than most professionals and she brings the rare combination of strategic insight and reliable execution to her projects.

Evan Hall

Customer obsession. "Don't ship the org chart." If there was a mantra for Evan, this would be it. Companies tend to view their products from an inside-out perspective. Evan embraces a customer-first approach to building programs, and focuses on process developments generate the business outcomes. The purpose of Customer Education is to deliver outcomes, and Evan helps companies make the connection between outcomes, internal processes, and training best practices. He is also incredibly ingenious when it comes to assessing an organization's challenges. We love how he is willing to take risks and show others it is okay to try new things for the sake of experimentation. Experimentation is key to navigating toward value.

Sana Farooq

Customer Success. Customer Education is fundamentally about helping customers be successful. To understand the application of learning practices, a leader needs to be versed in the operations of Success. An award-winning Customer Success leader, Sana is a speaker, a published author, and was honored as a Top 50 Women Leaders in Customer Success by SmartKarrot. Sana understands how to bring together Customer Education, Advocacy, and Community, and manage this complex intersection of activities to create a cohesive flywheel for the Customer Experience. Efficiency, scalability, and business acumen is what makes Sana unique and special.

Diana Yuen

Skills development. When you follow Diana, you soon discover the real power of our learning environment. She is constantly adding more skills to her tool belt, whether they are professional credentials or developing knowledge within her communities of practice. She embodies the hallmark of a true education leader, which is to #AlwaysBeLearning. We find Diana to be a role model for skills development. She will inspire your team to become more well-rounded and show that even micro-learning experiences can open doors not only to new capabilities but also to new people.

Rowan McVey

Hands-on virtual labs. One of the most challenging frontiers in digital education experiences is the development and deployment of browser-based virtual lab environments. If you are in medical devices, industrial products, or any hands-on learning environment, you know how hard it is to create these in a meaningful way at scale. Rowan not only knows how to build the experiences, but she brings a practical, logical approach to helping companies unlock these capabilities. We also love her knowledge of connecting platforms together and bringing life to data.

Samantha Murray

Go-To-Market. Launching a learning program is more than just building content. It requires a thoughtful initiative to get it in the hands of your users. We call this "Go To Market" (GTM) and it is a huge cross-functional effort to align multiple teams around customer value. It includes messaging, conversion rate optimization, design, and evangelism. Samantha is the absolute best when it comes to putting together GTM campaigns.

Ardith Daly

Partnerships. Partner Enablement is just one piece of a partnership strategy. Partnerships can expand the reach of your brand and expand the revenue opportunity of your in-house sales team. But anyone who has tried to undertake a partnership strategy knows it is complex. Ardith brings with her some concrete structures that can be implemented by any organization. She's demonstrated success with developing academic partnerships and for start-up / growth phase organizations.

Kelly Reed

Behavior change. Changing people's behavior is a foundational goal of Customer Education. People attend training to unlock parts of themselves and develop skills needed for professional and personal growth. The nuance needed to implement experiences that lead to behavior change is challenging, and must be done thoughtfully. Kelly Reed has an MA in Instructional Technology, she uses evidence-informed strategies that result in genuine behavior change. She has designed training at UC Berkeley, Google, Zendesk, and VMware, and currently manages partner education and enablement at Amplitude. Kelly is the go-to person for translating learning theory into tangible, results-oriented training initiatives.

Jasonda Desmond

Operations. Education comes down to operational excellence. An operational mindset is essential for any program. It provides a view of the world focused on efficiency and improvement. To accomplish this means taking risks, having integrity, and being willing to speak openly about the things that aren't working. This means having courage and building that courageous ethos in an organization. We love working with Jasonda because she challenges her peers to be better and a focus on results. Education requires this kind of willingness to dig into the weeds and focus on performance.


bottom of page