Susan Lovegren

Chief People Officer

What do you do at Medallia? How long have you been a Medallian?

I am a Director of Professional Services in the EMEA team as well as an Onboarding Facilitator. As a Lead Customer Experience (CX) Expert Advisor, I work with strategic accounts across EMEA to provide CX expertise and help clients deliver value from their programmes.  I have worked at Medallia for almost two years.

What would you say is the best part of your job, and what’s the most challenging?

The people here inspire, motivate and challenge me. I love their strength and intellect, and the fact that no one’s hierarchical. The days I go home happy are when I see that the team has grown and developed, and that our clients are transforming their businesses through the insights they are gaining, and the actions they are taking.

In terms of challenges, I come from a background of heading up large corporate programs and being a catalyst for change. Here I help clients do that, and don’t get to do it myself. So sometimes it can be challenging when customers are unable to allocate the right resources, or get the leadership support to drive real change.

You are quite an avid cyclist. Tell us about that.

I have had cancer four times – Hodgkins Lymphoma twice, breast cancer, and a minor skin cancer. The cycling came about because I wanted to make sure that I’m as strong as I can be. When I was ill with breast cancer, I heard two Olympians talk about their experiences during the London 2012 Olympics. One of the things they said was that they set truly aspirational goals, and then they found a way to achieve them. They didn’t think ‘this is how much I can do,’ and then aim within their limits. I found that really inspirational. That’s when I decided I was going to cycle from Edinburgh to London as part of my recovery goal. It was 805 kilometers (500 miles) over five days, and I was raising money for a cancer charity that I’m involved with called Maggie’s Centres. Maggie’s Centres do everything the doctors don’t do – they provide practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer, as well as their family and friends.

Anyway, I found out I loved cycling, so I’ve kept going. I’m not that fast or very good at hilly places, but I’m good at endurance. Last year, I cycled 300 kms (186 miles) in one go overnight around a lake in Sweden, in an event called the Vätternrundan. I have started doing these challenges every couple of years. I also love active holidays, where I regularly join cycling tours.  

How are you now?

I am fine. I’m fit and healthy.

Can you tell us about your family?

I have a small family, but we’re very close knit and loyal. I live with my partner Fiona; we’ve been together for 23 years and had a civil partnership just over 10 years ago.  Fiona is very supportive, but also challenges me and makes me a better person. I’m also very close to my mum, dad and sister, because we’ve been through quite a lot together.

What is one thing people might not know about you?

Cancer is something I mention because it shapes my life, my thinking, and who I am, and it’s also one of the reasons why I work part-time at Medallia. This year will be 25 years since my first diagnosis, and in fact, to celebrate, I am also just about to abseil (rappel) off a 225 metre (738 foot) high skyscraper in London for Maggie’s Centres!  I am absolutely terrified, but then I remember the incredible support they gave me, so hopefully that will be enough to help me step over the edge!

I don’t take my life for granted.  I know how fortunate I am to be here and I owe so much to the fantastic doctors and researchers who are helping more and more of us live life with and after cancer. I talk about my experiences quite openly because, just maybe, it might help someone feel a little less afraid when they hear that they or someone they love has cancer. People also get worried about getting older, I look at it as an achievement. Every day you have is so worthwhile.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

Alive.  I feel so grateful just to be alive that I try to bring that energy, fun and gratitude to everything I do.

Which Medallia Value do you identify with the most, and why?

Honestly, it’s hard to choose between “Value People” and “Push for Great.” I value and care deeply about the people I work with, not just Medallians, but also our clients who really look to build a genuine partnership with us. I want to see them all succeed and enjoy life. Growth mindset is foundational to Push for Great, and this also really resonates with me — how we all have a huge amount of potential both to challenge ourselves and others to challenge us to be the best that we can possibly be.