Meet Tracey Kirkpatrick, European Professional Services Director, Sovos

Tracey Kirkpatrick

As the European Professional Services Director at Sovos, Tracey Kirkpatrick oversees a team of software specialists and project managers ensuring that implementations on Sovos’ cutting-edge technology solutions are completed in a timely fashion while delivering an outstanding customer service experience. Tracey has a proven history of transforming customer facing departments across B2B enterprise software markets, her key strengths include business and process transformation, creating and developing high performance teams, embedding a culture of customer excellence.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My career in technology started as a software engineer in a small software company with big ambitions. The early days were hard work but with a great team mentality we all pulled together to deliver. As the company grew opportunities presented themselves and I moved into a role to create a Software Support team which then progressed to running a European team when the company was acquired. I stepped away from Support for a while and formed a Quality Assurance team, my development background coupled with in depth knowledge of how our customers used our products was invaluable. I was then asked to relocate to the USA to run a global Software Support team, there were many operational and business challenges, and it was incredibly rewarding to design and implement changes that improved the team morale and delivered significant customer improvements.

My next step was to establish an operational group focused on driving customer success, higher retention, and exceptional customer service. For personal reasons I decided to move back to the UK and soon found myself moving country again, joining Sovos as a Professional Services Director based in the Netherlands. In the almost 3 years I have been in the role it has changed and adapted due to business needs, working with our newly acquired companies in Turkey, Portugal and Germany to bring them into the Sovos family as well as taking on responsibilities for the Sales Engineering and Software Support teams. Although my roles have been varied, at my core I am a problem solver who loves to use technology wherever I can.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, I fell into the Tech field completely by accident. After a short career break to start a family, I took a job in the legal department of a local authority responsible for the sale of properties under the Right to Buy scheme, using a bespoke software program to manage the process which simply didn’t work. It was time to teach myself how to code to ease my frustrations, thanks to that poorly developed system a career was born!

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Most people have challenges along the way, and I think it comes down to how you deal with them. I have had some very demanding bosses who often threw me in at the deep end and whilst at the time it was super scary, I realise now how much I owe them, they clearly saw more in me than I did, and I am extremely grateful for all the investment they made in me.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Numerous achievements come to mind, but the ones that have been most rewarding are those where I have managed to develop my teams, improving their standing within the business, using data to highlight the challenges they often face that impacts their ability to deliver, resulting in changes in the business to address the root causes and ultimately delivering an improved service to customers.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I have always loved my roles. I thrive in a role where I can drive change and make a difference. I see technology as a powerful tool to support me in making improvements and streamlining processes wherever possible.

Level Up Summit 2022

Don’t miss our Level Up Summit on 06 December, where we’re tackling the barriers for women in tech head on. Join us for keynotes, panels, Q&A’s & breakout sessions on finance, people management, negotiation, influencing skills, confidence building, building internal networks, maximising the power of mentorship, and much more. 

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What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Find something you enjoy, believe in yourself, try something different and be receptive to a challenge. If you have a great leader, seek their feedback, and listen, they often have a better insight of your skills!

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

When I started my career in tech, I was the only woman in the team. Nowadays, technology is a vast field and it’s reach expands constantly, as a result more people are exposed to technology and that breaks down barriers.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

More flexible working arrangements allow people to explore opportunities in any field, that is true regardless of your gender. The technology field has a distinct advantage of often being able to accommodate flexible working locations and hours due to nature of the roles and companies should ensure they are leveraging this wherever possible to not limit any potential candidate.

There are currently only 21 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

There is no magic wand for any change, it takes time. Educating everyone that technology is far reaching will help people understand there are many options they can explore.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I am not keen on gender specific networking and would encourage women to explore networking opportunities that relate to the tech field. We need to collectively break down any barriers, so let’s do our part and not make gender our focus. Technology & Services Industry Association is a good institute with an annual conference in the US.