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When I was a college student, I never expected to work in the United States. I was working on my degree in France, where I was born and raised. The baccalaureate program in France takes 3 years – students put in more hours, but finish 3 years instead of 4.

I came to Iowa as an exchange student at Coe College in Cedar Rapids. During the program, I met a beautiful woman who would later become my wife. When my term at Coe ended, I returned to France to finish my degree. After graduation, I came back to Iowa to get married and start the next chapter of my life.

I was fresh out of school, new to the area and looking for a job. I’d had experience with working in a contact center, email marketing, and project management, so I signed with a local placement agency to find a career in my new city that fit my skill set.

When I was matched with SmartLead, I worked as a temporary employee for the first three months. This was my trial period – we’re very selective about who we hire to work with our clients. After I was hired full-time, I hit the ground running and have loved it here ever since.

That’s not to say the job is always easy. The first year was pretty challenging. I think the first year is always difficult for our account managers because it’s a long learning curve and we touch many, many aspects of projects for our clients.

My favorite – and perhaps the most important – part of my job as an account manager is building relationships with my clients. We don’t concentrate just on getting the job done; we also act as advisors to our client. We study best practices and we help our clients to more effectively reach their goals.  It is not unusual to help them develop their annual goals and then suggest tactics to reach those goals. It’s important to us personally and professionally to be able to help our clients to market and sell more efficiently.

Every day is different with new challenges. Every client is different, too, so we get to see multiple industries and participate in many different marketing channels and programs. We work with the marketing team with some clients, with the C-suite of other clients, and with other vendors for nearly all of our clients.

With all of these different relationships to manage, being agile and nimble is the most important skill our account managers learn on the job. We give clients our direct phone numbers so they can reach us whenever they need help or have questions, and we honestly delight in being here to support them and their goals. When our contacts are happy, their bosses are happy – and that makes us happy!

I’m an account manager, but I do a variety of different tasks every day. I really enjoy it, and I feel fortunate – both professionally and personally – that I ended up on the market for a career at SmartLead.