Get to know: Caleb Helm, VP of Global Operations & Partnerships
Feb 12, 2024
It’s time for Good Company with Caleb! Learn about how to balance an extremely heavy workload with a smile and a wink from Caleb Helm, Lumin’s VP of Global Operations & Partnerships.
Table of Contents
- 1. Quickfire:
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Caleb is Lumin’s resident people person. He heads up sales, support, operations, HR; if it involves talking to a person, it's his department. He’s a man of many hats, many talents and many words. We sat him down and asked him to please be serious.
What is your role at Lumin?
I oversee the operational side of the business while also heading up Lumin's partnerships. That also includes all customer-facing initiatives across the business, such as customer support, success and sales.
Some call me an international man of mystery. Some call me the smiling assassin. I see myself as a ringmaster in the circus that is the feedback loop between customer and product.
Have you always worked in tech?
For much of my career, yes. Before Lumin I co-founded a tourism tech platform called Road Guru. Unfortunately Covid arrived a few months after we had raised a seed round and our entire market, international travellers, was wiped out.
The lesson there was that there are always things outside of your control, so focus on the things that you can control. There’s an experimentational nature to the industry that’s exciting, empowering, and a little bit scary.
But the value of failure, and the learning failure breeds, is integral to startup culture. Lumin, obviously, is not a failure.
What about Lumin motivates you?
Lumin’s product – and how it can change lives – is a huge motivator for me. I support our Free for Classrooms initiative, which makes software accessible to schools that don’t have extensive resources.
More and more people have technology at their fingertips, so we’re seeing Lumin unlock a bigger contingent of users with its accessibility. So many people are using Lumin’s products and services across the globe, often for free.
It’s important to me that in an exponentially digital world, no-one is left behind.
How important is work culture to you?
It’s incredibly important! I want to spend my time working for a company that’s on a mission I can get behind and with values that match my own. Having a great work culture is not always easy to pull off but I love the culture we have built at Lumin; everyone has the opportunity to make an impact without losing what makes them unique.
I like that I'm still able to be hands-on when I want to - I'll jump on a call with an important customer. But at the same time I'm very much aware I have an awesome team, who really don't need micromanagement.
Best tip for managers?
When you’re an operational person, it can be hard not to be a micromanager. Here's my hot tips on how to avoid it: when you have a thought or idea, sometimes just keep it inside. Just listen. You take away everyone else’s chance to get there.
All you do by jumping in too early or trying to direct things is you create an environment where no one wants to take initiative. Don’t make people feel undervalued.
What’s the number one thing SaaS customers need help with?
The number one thing is helping them to understand how our product can fit into their workflows in a way that will bring real value to them and their teams. For instance, it might be a company moving into the cloud from ye olde paper.
How do you best represent Lumin while abroad?
With a smile! I focus on building genuine relationships as opposed to going to heavy on sales talk. By doing that you end up building a network, and curiosity about Lumin follows through.
Being genuinely interested in what customers do is the most effective pick-up line.
What’s your best icebreaker?
Probably my accent. That doesn't work in NZ or Australia; there, I use my overall charm.
I'm watching: Treme & The Last of Us
I'm listening to: The White Lotus: Season 2 soundtrack
I'm reading: Climb Me Up Outta Here by Carabiner Holden
My 2024 professional goal is: to learn more about finance and partnership management.
I'm obsessed over: my special comfort meal, which is a combination of shin ramyun and tinned tuna, a delicacy bought back from my time in China.
Linkedin: Let's connect!
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