Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Leona McAllister

  • Name: Leona McAllister

    Role: Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer, PlotBox

    Biography:

    After helping their local parish with a mapping project, Leona and Sean McAllister identified a problem in the death care industry which lead to the creation of PlotBox in 2013. Since then, the company has grown from 5 to 55 employees with offices in Northern Ireland, Austin & Boston in the USA and Sydney, Australia.

    PlotBox is now the operational software and mapping solution for Cemeteries and Crematoriums in UK, USA and Australia. Leona and Sean know first hand the trauma of loss and the burden of the associated processes of dealing with death. The company mission is to help take some of the pain away for families and those who serve them.

    Leona is Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer for PlotBox. She is a Business Studies graduate from the University of Ulster and started her career in administration, complaints management and governance. Leona is passionate about good service, putting herself in the heads and hearts of her customers.

    What does your typical day look like?

    I travel a fair bit so when I’m at home I like to leave the kids to school and also get in some exercise at the gym before heading into the office. When I’m in the office it’s usually a busy day of meetings. We work with colleagues and clients in the USA and Australia so quite often this will mean a mean a few late evening calls after the kids go to bed.

    What are you currently working on?

    I’m leading a new Customer Success initiative at PlotBox. It’s basically about us bringing Customer Success into our culture and pro-actively making sure our customers are getting the best from PlotBox. I’m really excited to accelerate this initiative in 2020 as I believe it will bring so much value to our customers and exceed their expectations of our partnership.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    Myself and my husband Sean founded PlotBox. I was inspired by the opportunity to solve a problem and make a business out of it.

    Did you always want to work in this industry (tech)?

    When I left university I really struggled to know what I wanted to do to be honest. I didn’t necessarily decide on working in tech, it just sort of evolved as being the solution to the problem we found. I suppose we started as a survey company mapping cemeteries and then became a technology company from there as we developed the product.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    I love that we have built and are continuing to build innovative technology that can make a real difference to death care. It’s exciting to be part of something that started so small to grow into a global product.

    What would you say to other people considering a job in this industry (tech)?

    I’d say in today’s world the tech industry is the place to be if you have a passion for it. It keeps moving and changing as innovators push the boundaries of technology and that’s exciting. Technology has touched most industries by now so the opportunities to get involved in tech along with another passion you may have are there.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    Our technology not only impacts the lives of our customers in terms of efficiency and accuracy but the positive impact extends to the families they serve. Death is painful and dealing with the practicalities of burying or cremating a loved one can often be more difficult than it needs to be. We can make the journey through that difficult period easier and we’ve had feedback that validates this, which is very rewarding.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    I’d answer this in two parts. Firstly, I’d have to give it to my husband Sean for pushing the idea at the start and bringing me along on his vision that we could make a business out of it . Now, I’m inspired every day by our customers. They are doing the hard part, dealing with families at the worst time in their lives. Our job is to make theirs easier.

    What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?

    I’d say for me, the tech innovation around communication has changed our lives. We can be a global company from Northern Ireland because we can virtually sell to, support and meet with our customers anywhere in the world at any time.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    I’d have to say my phone.

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