Stefan Heller, Head of Carrier Relations (North America) – October 5, 2016
I started at OpenMarket over 10 years ago on March 30, 2006 as a fresh-faced college graduate with nothing to lose. If I’m being honest, I was more interested in coordinating my weekend plans than building my career. I found the job on Craigslist and fully expected to have this be my “starter job” and move on after a year or two like the rest of my friends were doing at the time. I was hired by Joe and John Lauer, when we were known as “Simplewire”, and there were 7 employees!
After my first week of reviewing various ringtone campaigns offered at $5.99 a pop (yes this was well before the “everyone has a smartphone” days), and witnessing a shutdown of a campaign for “inappropriate content”, I couldn’t help but thinking, “What the heck did I get myself into?”
However, after just a short time, I realized what a hidden gem I found in what was to become “OpenMarket.” The wireless industry was new, booming, and interesting – and I was hooked. Simplewire was then acquired by Qpass, and in June 2006, Amdocs, Inc. acquired Qpass and separated the company into two divisions. Alas, OpenMarket was born. Within the first couple of months of working, I had gone from being a part of a 7-person company to an employee of large public corporate entity!
In March 2010, Amdocs purchased MX Telecom with the aim of expanding the OpenMarket business into new international markets. As part of the acquisition, we gained a New York office and I was responsible for managing a 14-person Campaign Management team. In my personal life, I became engaged and married my husband, Andrew, in July 2011.
In January 2013, I shifted my role to focus on building relationships with our US mobile network partners within the Carrier Relations team, expanding my roles and responsibilities further, and working with another set of great people, many of which I am still working with today. As my business life progressed, so did my personal life. In January 2014 Andrew and I had our first child, Madison.
OpenMarket continued to grow and develop with a new focus on enterprise sales. We started to expand our Global SMS solutions by rapidly partnering with global providers.
My role shifted to focus in part on these new global partnerships and building our current US relationships during 2014 through 2016. As work continued to grow and evolve, yet again my family life followed suit. In February 2016 we had our second child, Connor.
Often times, people ask me why I have been at one company for so long. While there are many reasons, here are my top 5 motives for staying with OpenMarket for over a decade:
- Work-Life Balance
- Admittedly, being a working mom of two kids under three years old isn’t easy. Most days I can barely remember my shoes as I’m running out the door, much less balancing it all. I am thankful every day that I work for a company that values their employees’ personal lives and allows me the flexibility to spend time with my children when needed.
- Great Relationships with Amazing People
- OpenMarket is made up of a diverse and brilliant group of people. I have been working in our Southfield, Michigan office for all of my 10 years, and at this location alone, a large number of employees have been here for eight years or longer.
- Awesome U.S. Carrier Relations Team
- I have been part of OpenMarket’s Carrier Relations team for over three years. We are a happy team of four with very different personalities. And I can strongly say that’s what makes us great. With 30 years of combined mobile industry experience, we bring a broad spectrum of knowledge to OpenMarket that has built longstanding relationships with our carrier partners.
- Ever-changing Mobile Industry
- We are all familiar with how this industry works: today a guideline is issued, and tomorrow it may no longer be required. After witnessing the premium SMS market highs, to the standard rate SMS focus and now global interest, I feel like I have seen it all. And the best part is; I haven’t! Tomorrow there will be something else to sink our teeth into, and I love that. It keeps my job interesting and fun.
- Growing with a company
- Having gone from an inexperienced twenty-something, to a knowledgeable veteran has been both a challenge and a wonderful ride. With the many purchases, acquisitions, and changes throughout the years, I could have thrown my hands up and moved on long ago. But I’m so happy I rolled with the punches and stuck with it. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally with an amazing company that I now consider part of who I am. I wouldn’t change anything about my experience for the world, and I am truly thankful I found a home at OpenMarket.
Shameless plug: if you are considering a role in the mobile industry, I would highly recommend working at OpenMarket. You won’t meet a better group of people. Feel free to check out our job postings here!