Keeping our Customers Healthy: A Day in the Life with Talia Israel

Talia Israel’s story is unique-- she has worked on almost every part of an Okta customer’s journey. After working with Okta while at several different companies and a very successful implementation, she joined our Customer Success team as an Adoption Program Manager. The funniest part of the role she didn’t realize would occur? People thinking she helps loving families adopt children when they hear her job title. While that is certainly not her specialty, she excels in leading integrated programs that drive customer success and end-user productivity.

How did you find out about Okta and get started here? I was actually an Okta customer! I had a lot of experience deploying SSO and after deploying the Okta product, we were seeing high end user usage right away due to solid communication and team alignment with the company. After sharing this success with the Okta team, I ended up getting invited to speak at Oktane15 about my experience. Long story short, I loved spending time with the team and was ready to take the next step on my journey with Okta. It was meant to be!

What does your role look like at Okta? I’ve been here for just over a year and now I focus primarily on adoption and less on deploying and implementing Okta. Success used to look like just getting Okta in place. Now I create programs that ensure our customers’ implementations are healthy, growing and continually adding value. Adoption is key for that to happen so I do everything I can to get our champions what they need to enable users to do their most important work.

Your background is in project management-- how does that contribute to the adoption programs you’re developing? For adoption programs to be successful, a diverse and integrated approach is necessary. These include communicating externally with customers, communicating with stakeholders internally to understand gaps, executing campaigns and updating community articles. Project management has been key to keeping my programs organized. It also allows me to collaborate effectively-- adoption knowledge is across teams, so team building to get to the right information has to happen.

What’s most rewarding about your role? Adoption is such a unique opportunity and it has also allowed me to build beyond my standard skills. Being able to deliver something that gives customers the results they’re looking for is extremely rewarding. Sometimes it’s hard to know if what you’re delivering is what admins really need. When I see them use it and benefit from it, I know I’ve hit the mark. Finding that sweet spot for customers and teams internally always feels good.

What does an average day look like? Thankfully, my days are rarely average! I typically have at least one major effort that I need to focus on each day. This ranges from developing newsletter or community content to ensuring that the necessary communications go out to customers. Many of my projects are different than what I’m used to working on, and that’s something I’ve really enjoyed. The ability to learn all of these new skills and accomplish them on a daily basis is definitely a daily perk of the job. I like to be challenged and sometimes that’s missed in jobs. At Okta, it’s like, “You’re good at that, so can you try ‘xyz’?”

What do you like to do outside of work? I love to cook. Cooking is really fun and a great way to put time into yourself. It can be a chore, but I love to do it. I cook almost everything--Thai, Korean, Indian, Mexican. The only problem with this is when I go to a restaurant, I try to figure out how I could make a dish better and then I go home and do it! I also need my workouts to relieve nervous energy. My favorites are kickboxing, bootcamps, and Okta’s onsite hip hop classes. Exercise is so important and helps me to be effective in my everyday life.

What is something unique that people might not know about you? I used to do voiceovers for commercials, including Skechers!

One word to describe Okta: Team. I’m a specialist that relies on other people’s specialties. By myself I’m ineffective, but with the team, I’m very effective and can be strategic. Without my team to support me and rely on and collaborate with, I’d have a hard time being effective for customers as quickly as they need it. That’s the most critical element.