VP of Small & Medium Business Delivery
Natalie Lemke is the Vice President of Small and Medium Business Delivery at Stoneridge Software. Natalie was previously the director of the Dynamics NAV and Business Central practice, in addition to serving as a consultant. Prior employment includes SPS Commerce, Inc. where her positions spanned from customer service, contracts, collections into a Senior Manager role, overseeing the monthly billing cycle. Natalie was involved in the selection and internal implementation of Dynamics NAV for SPS Commerce in 2011. She remained hands-on with Dynamics NAV for the organization’s entire lifecycle, most recently an upgrade from NAV 2009 R2 to NAV 2016.
Natalie holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, with additional studies in economics and accounting.
Q & A With Natalie
Q. What attracted you to a career in technology in the first place?
A: I ended up in tech….on accident! I was a “temp” in college and worked at about 2 dozen different businesses….from marketing firms (as a receptionist) to transportation companies to everything in between. I didn’t meet a temp gig I didn’t like! I found myself assigned to a 2 week temporary placement at a tech company in Minneapolis, MN called SPS Commerce. At the time, SPS Commerce was a small tech company doing EDI “in the cloud”. Most people had no clue what the cloud was or how hosted solutions worked! I had the amazing opportunity to start as a temp receptionist assisting with a variety of admin tasks! When the receptionist came back from her summer vacation – I assisted in Accounting (which I loved) and Implementations (which I loved)…. I WAS HOOKED!
Q: Looking back what were the biggest factors contributing to your success at each level and role?
A: I had leaders that pushed me to be my best, modeling the behaviors I wished to possess, which kept me focused on continuing to grow my skills. As an aside, being in the tech industry and staying curious has been a key part of how I’ve learned more & more. As a Consultant, Director & VP – my greatest passions include connecting with our clients, learning about their businesses and teaching them how solutions can better their business. I absolutely love, as a leader, coaching & promoting the natural skills & capabilities of my amazingly talented team. You can learn something from every person you meet – and I am hungry for that knowledge (and to share my knowledge in return)! My greatest successes in my current role are all attributable to the phenomenal team I have – each of them are amazingly talented and I truly believe we have an unparalleled talent pool at Stoneridge Software.
Q: Popularity of Business Central is exploding, what are your thoughts on the reasons? What are companies most excited about with the adoption of cloud technology?
A: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is built to seamlessly integrate with the Microsoft O365 Stack, as well as with the full suite of Dynamics 365 products. For a small or medium sized business the ability to work in a system that removes silos between business groups, business applications, and allows each user to operate in their “system of truth” while accessing common data is unparalleled in the market. Additionally, I think businesses are fed up with servers in closets & expensive upgrades every few years! Companies of all sizes are looking to Microsoft to host their business applications -- leaving our clients & their staff to focus on their core business --- putting more energy into winning!
Q: What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to transition from an end-user to software consulting?
A: Know what you know, but prepare for a huge educational experience. The ramp time to learn core architecture, core product configuration options, and all across a variety of industries is a big undertaking. I would encourage people to prepare for 6 months of solid RAMP time. Know what you know, know what you don’t know. Get ready to ask a LOT of questions! And as you go along, don’t forget about your super power! You have a scarce skill that is valuable to others, so as you’re learning & growing, ensure you’re still sharing those things you’re extra good at too!
Q. What are your favorite business and leadership books?
A: Never Split the Difference – hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read when it comes to negotiations &
A2: I love all books. I am a voracious reader – I’ve had clients, friends & colleagues share books with me. I’m a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Grant. And when I’m not in the mood to read, I love to listen to “No Stupid Questions” podcast with Stephen Dubner & Angela Duckworth: https://freakonomics.com/nsq-archive/
Q: Where do you live? What do you enjoy most about living there?
A: I live in Palm Harbor, FL! I recently moved from MN (where I grew up) and love living near my family, and where it never snows. I literally walk my children to the bus stop every morning wearing flip flops!