Savannah Cecil

Commercial Strategy Analyst | NAMER | Atlanta, GA, USA


Savannah Cecil

Commercial Strategy Analyst | NAMER | Atlanta, GA, USA

Tell us a little about your career journey. Where are you from? What is your role at NCR?

My background is a little unique. I grew up in Atlanta and ended up leaving to go to College in Scotland for a year and a half with plans to study sustainable development as my focus area. In the middle of my second year there, I made the decision to leave and go to UCLA. My dad was living in LA at the time and UCLA was a dream school of mine. It was a great opportunity for myself in terms of my career goals and trajectory. During my time at UCLA, I completed two different internships in the nonprofit space. I did an internship at Live Earth in 2015, working with a sustainability focused media and events company created by Al Gore, Pharrell Williams and Kevin Wall. In this role, I helped organize a concert series to garner attention on the Paris Climate Agreements. I was working as a business intern for helping with pretty much anything they needed. I was the only intern at that time and that gave me great exposure into the business world, while still intersecting the sustainability and nonprofit space.

During my second year at UCLA, I worked for another nonprofit called Global Green, doing strategic partnerships, specifically working on partnerships and strategy that would align the Global Green mission of sustainability within the US. It was another great experience in the sustainability space. But during my third year in college, that career market wasn't very promising. I made the decision to pivot towards technology. During my third and final year at UCLA, I interned for Belkin doing competitive intelligence and innovation. There, I was working for the director of product management, doing competitive intelligence for their 2018 strategy proposal. I was looking at different emerging trends within B2B markets that they should invest in from a product standpoint. Thus, this role was very cross-functional and was the first foray into technology for me — I realized I loved it. I wanted to go into technology out of college, but I wanted to be able to learn the business more from the bottom up. So, right out of college, I did the B2B sales program at the AT&T headquarters in Dallas, Texas where I got to learn the business from that viewpoint, from the bottom up. It was a really great opportunity to learn and see different aspects of technology from all angles of the product portfolio. I knew that I didn't want to stay in sales long term, so I worked through a few different sales programs at AT&T HQ, then moving back to Atlanta to work for a smaller software company called Origami Risk. There, I did operational strategy and analyst work, like software implementations, sales pipeline reviews and project management, which ultimately led me to join NCR next.

"It feels like the sky is the limit here. If you see something at NCR that you're interested in or passionate about, it's up to you to get your feet wet and reach out to people to do it. People are very open-minded to you getting involved and that's something that's very rare at a big company."

What made you decide to commit to NCR? What about the offer appealed to you and what do you love most about your current role?

I was actually really happy at my last company, however, I saw this role on my previous manager’s team that interested me. After speaking to the team and hearing about their mission to really transform NCR as a leading software company solving business problems through insights and strategy, I decided to make the leap. I was actually able to quickly get involved in the company during my first two months at NCR when I helped execute and manage CX week. That was a really great foray into learning about NCR and the business, from all the different departments to different stakeholders and people.

Since my first role at NCR, I have been able to get involved with many aspects of commercial strategy, all of which merge my interests and are hugely crucial for a business to grow. I think what I really loved is that, yes, you have one specific role, which in my case started with insights, but that doesn't limit you to what you can do at NCR.

Having worked at another big company, I know that you're typically very siloed into what your role is, whereas at NCR, it doesn't feel like that at all. I really like that.

I am really curious about what makes you want to stay at NCR, how would you describe the culture in contrast to some of your past jobs?

That's a good question. I think for me, what's really important is having a collaborative and welcoming environment. That can often be lost in larger companies that I’ve previously worked at and it’s something that really attracted me to the smaller software companies that I’ve worked for, even at the nonprofits. It’s having that culture of community at a company that’s very important for me and I feel it at NCR. It doesn't matter the level that you are within the company, it feels very warm and welcoming in terms of who you are when working with others. Even on the IDEAS Council, I'm very, very junior compared to everyone else, but they are open-minded and willing to listen to other people's perspectives and stories. It’s very collaborative because they understand that we all make up NCR and that's something that's very rare at a large company. That is definitely being cultivated right now through the work our ELT along with the other leaders are doing within the company.

“We're aligning corporate strategy and policies for ESG, while making sure that our employees are at the forefront of that. We are building up that culture because it makes other people beyond myself want to stay at NCR and makes it a great place to work.”

What are you most excited to see as a result of the IDEAS Council?

I'm extremely excited about the IDEAS Council. ESG is a really big passion of mine, having come from the sustainability world. I'm not sure if you're familiar with ESG but that was something that actually drew me to NCR in the first place and makes me want to stay. NCR made a commitment last spring to be a leader in ESG, within our industry. So, to be able to see that the company is not just saying these things, but they're trying to make a tangible and direct impact for not only our customers, business and stakeholders, but also our employees overall — that was something that really inspired me. So, when the IDEAS Council came up, I was very excited that we have a group of stakeholders that are trying to make a difference in the social and employee experience, to ensure that we are building that globally inclusive culture so it's not just writing on paper for others to hear. We are actually making these changes to ensure that we are building that diverse and inclusive culture and a lot of that has to do with transparency. Keeping people informed about what we are doing because there's so much going on and being transparent and communicative with our employees throughout the whole process to show that we are listening. And the fact that this aligns with NCR’s ESG mission from the social leg is really exciting.

And I think that's the most exciting thing — it is so tangible in the work that we're doing to build a greater company.

How do you feel like you’ve grown either professionally, personally or both during your time at NCR?

I think I am an excellent example of NCR supporting and cultivating the growth of their employees. I came to this company in an insights role. I have now been able to do CX week, product strategy, strategic alliance, and other parts of commercial strategy! I have been able to get exposure to different people across the company and truly build my network, while gaining exposure into different departments, which helped me build out my career and figure out what I want to do next. I feel like often when you're hired, your work is limited to only what’s needed from you.

My manager is very big about that, which is visible through my exposure to CX week, product, IDEAS council, and insights. I feel like it’s rare to be able to do everything I’ve had exposure to in such a short amount of time. NCR is willing and able to listen to their employees’ career interests instead of just fitting them into the mold of what previously existed for that role. They want you to be happy and make sure that you're getting value out of the company, not just you providing value. I have experienced this from coworkers and higher ups. It is a very refreshing experience that I hope everyone at NCR gets to experience.

“Other companies I’ve seen are not as open minded or care as genuinely about you as an employee, whereas NCR cultivates your talent and makes sure that you are getting value out of the company.”

What advice do you have for prospective candidates?

I would say be open minded to different opportunities. I think it can be ingrained in us to think that one path is specifically right for us so we just try to go down that one path. But just be open minded to the different opportunities that come your way. Be able to take each opportunity in and don't be afraid to try new things because you don't know what you don't know until you try it. For me, I was kind of scared to do things that I didn't have experience in or I thought I wouldn't like. But, the more you do it, the more open-minded you are and the more you realize there might be a different path that’s better for you. And that's OK. You build yourself that way and build different skill sets as you go. I would also say, don't be afraid to be the junior person that goes out and introduces yourself. Don't always assume that people don't want to hear your voice just because you are more junior than someone because everyone has their own stories, which is what I love.

Outside of work, what are you most often doing/where are you most likely to be found?

This may sound lame, but I actually volunteer weekly at the Fulton County Animal Shelter and I love it. It's probably selfish, but it brings me so much fulfillment just being around the different animals and seeing how much it means to them to be able to interact with people. I'm a big animal person, so I would say that's probably where I am the most.

“What’s really encouraging is the fact that we all have our own stories and voices, and that is what makes a company and really, the world, a great place. We all bring something to the table, so don't be afraid, just because you're starting out, to have your voice heard.”