Today we’re sharing the July segment of our Acorio Spotlight series. This monthly series makes time for us to meet with a different member of the A-team to talk about their role and learn about them both in and outside of work. Personally, the Spotlight is my favorite series because it gives us the chance to pull back the curtain and highlight the individuals that make Acorio so special.
This month is another great example of the rock stars we have on our team. For July, I sat down with Technical Advocate, Richard Norton to cover a wide array of topics. He covers everything from his new role on the team, to the importance of employee enablement and what inspires him at Acorio. Keep reading to meet Richard!
The Elevator Pitch: Richard in 30 Seconds
Richard is an ITIL Process Expert and ServiceNow Architect with over 15 years of experience designing and implementing IT processes and solutions.
Aside from being a great Technical Architect and a Consulting Manager over the last four years at Acorio, Norton is known as a strong advocate with an innate ability to coach and mentor others. To better serve the team, Norton was promoted earlier this year to Technical Advocate. In this new position, he helps to lead our Academy and Accelerate initiatives, managing new members of both programs as they begin their journey on the A-team.
How long have you been at Acorio?
Almost four years. I had my eye on Acorio early on in my career but was already at another consultancy. Finally, Acorio reached out to me and I took that as my sign, like “here’s your door, now walk through it”.
How would you describe your job in three words?
I would say mentorship, enablement and improvement.
I spend a great deal of my time mentoring and managing our Academy and Accelerate peeps – I’m with them from when they first come in to when they graduate their respective program. My focus is to make sure they understand how we operate and work, on a technical and cultural level. Acorio really does support its employees to do their best work, which brings me to my next word: enablement.
Prior to their time in our Accelerate or Academy program, our program attendees have limited exposure to ServiceNow. At Acorio, we value expanding professional opportunities for our peeps, especially in the ServiceNow ecosystem where there’s a huge need for more technical consultants and developers. The training we offer to our team affords them a life-long career in a really exciting industry.
Because the ecosystem is growing so quickly, we have to hold our team accountable to keep up with new platform updates and rollouts. This also fosters a culture where folks work consistently to improve their skillsets and our internal processes. Personally, I’m always looking for ways to improve our enablement process to make life easier for our managers. More specifically, my current focus is narrowing learning paths for new hires and streamlining how we track and report them.
Can you talk about your new role?
The role was created so that all of our Academy and Accelerate folks share a manager who can build a strong, individualized personal connection with them as they onboard. Before, things felt more spread out because they were reporting to different managers, so this new role streamlines that communication and standardizes the mentorship we provide. That means that the majority of my day-to-day is spent mentoring and managing our Accelerate and Academy folks, meeting with them one on one and answering any questions they may have.
In my new role, I’m also centralizing the effort around our culture education for new hires. As their first manager coming in, my job is to warm up our Academy and Accelerate folks to Acorio’s culture and teach them to live by our culture code of rolling easy and punching above our weight. I’m also reconstructing how we onboard TCs and reworking their learning paths to better organize those processes.
What makes Acorio’s Accelerate program so special?
What makes our program so special is the personas that we seek. We look for people that are system admins, that have some sort of exposure to the system but aren’t necessarily developers.
Our Accelerate program is tailored to help these individuals jump to the next level in their career as a developer. The pricing around certifications can be a big barrier for people looking to grow their ServiceNow career while working for a platform client, which can pigeonhole a lot of employees and keeps their skills stagnant.
For those who eventually decide to pursue working at a ServiceNow partner or consultancy, it can be really difficult to make the switch with limited developing experience.
Our programs are designed to help people reach the next level of their ServiceNow career, whether that’s transitioning them from administrators into developers, or providing a foundational training on the ServiceNow platform for our Academy program. I really love that our programs have the power to open up so many doors for people and I’m eager to expand our programs in 2021 and beyond.
Do you have a key role model or mentor that you’ve had in your career?
I’ve had many mentors over the years, but our very own Brian Murphy has definitely made the most impact on my professional trajectory. As a C-level employee, Brian is an extremely busy man yet he still prioritized making time to sit down and meet with me every week to talk about my career trajectory and answer all my questions.
I can’t give enough props to him; he’s made a really strong impression on my career development.
What keeps you inspired to keep working?
Watching our Academy and Accelerate folks succeed. I found my passion for ServiceNow late in life, so it really makes my chest flutter seeing our team members find their niche and excel in it.
If there’s someone who is looking to get deeper into the service now ecosystem in terms of consulting, what advice do you have for them?
I know it might sound cliché, but hard work gets you everywhere you want to go. The beauty of ServiceNow is that you don’t have to have all sorts of certifications or a bachelor’s degree to get started. The platform offers individuals a free instance where they can dive in on their own. From there, there are learning paths out there, so it’s up to each person how they want to kick off their career but I think finding an established program with a top ServiceNow partner, like our Accelerate or Academy programs are a great next step.
Long story short, you are the only hurdle in your ServiceNow career journey. If you’re willing to invest time and energy into learning the platform, you will go far.
When conducting interviews, what specific traits do you look for in candidates?
I really look for one specific trait from our culture code: roll easy. Personally, I find it the most important because people who are uptight, rude, or short with others during conflicts don’t settle well with me at all, nor do they settle well into our culture at Acorio.
It’s important to find people who roll easy, can quickly adapt and be flexible, patient team-players when faced with frustrating circumstances.
What is your favorite Acorio memory?
My favorite Acorio memory is attending Knowledge with Acorio back in 2019. I had been to Knowledge several times before that but being there with Acorio was a whole different experience. Between the camaraderie and the fun, that really was the point for me when I truly felt at home here. That year was also my first time presenting at Knowledge, which was really exciting and was great prep for the year after when I spoke on my own at Knowledge 2020.
Acorio Spotlight is an ongoing series that highlights A-team members across platform areas who are doing extraordinary ServiceNow work. Stay tuned for our next piece to see which employee we’ll be covering next!