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CDN Women in the MSP Channel: A Conversation with Jennifer Roy

Just one year ago, Nucleus Networks welcomed Jennifer Roy as our Chief Operating Officer (COO). In 2024, she was appointed CEO at Nucleus. With over a decade of experience in the Managed Service Provider (MSP) industry and 12 years in client service management, Jennifer has brought a wealth of knowledge to Nucleus. She’s also one of the few women MSP CEOs in Canada. We sat down with Jennifer to learn about the evolution of her career, what a typical day is like and how she balances her executive role with motherhood. 
How did you transition into Managed IT Services from client service management? 
I started my career as a Customer Service Representative in call centres and after a few years moved into management. I worked for Bell, eBay and ICBC in supervisor roles. I learned early on the importance of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), service levels, employee resourcing and planning. 
However, while at ICBC I came to the realization that I wanted to be back in the private sector, in a more fast-paced environment and I was introduced to someone at a Vancouver MSP. I reviewed the job description and at the time, didn’t understand half of the terminology in it but decided I wanted the position. They took a chance on me because they needed someone non-technical in the Service Manager position. I had the “service-first” approach they were looking for and they hired me. I stayed in that role for three years, went on to work for another MSP as Vice President of Operations for six years and 10 years later, here I am at Nucleus.
There’s a handful of MSPs in the Greater Vancouver Area, what inspired you to join Nucleus? 
The people. I had heard of Nucleus’ past CEO, Martin Desrosiers, when I first started my career in the industry. He had worked at the same MSP that I started my MSP career at. His vision was highly respected and that vision under his leadership was a big part of what inspired me to accept the position at Nucleus. Our Chief of Technology, Karl Fulljames, also has a very good reputation in the industry. And to top it off, Nucleus had another woman on the executive leadership team, Kam Mlait, our CFO.  Some of my colleagues from the first MSP I worked at had moved over to Nucleus. So because of some of the leader’s reputations and since I knew a lot of the people at Nucleus, I trusted that the culture was going to be really good and I’d be working with a lot of driven professionals. 
What’s a typical day like as a Nucleus leader?
Every day is different and as mentioned, that’s one of the reasons why I returned to the private sector and joined the industry. Some days, I focus on metrics and KPIs, other days strategic planning. Lately, I have been working very closely with our HR Manager, Rij. Another part of my role is mentorship with the Pod Managers and with our Support Manager, Matthew. I also help out whenever I am needed to assist with client or billing issues. 
What top three skills are necessary to succeed in your role? 
The number one skill needed in our industry in my role is people management. A second necessary skill is organization. In this role you have a lot of different priorities and initiatives that you need to work on simultaneously. I put everything in my Outlook calendar. If you look in my calendar, you will see my entire day. I block time for expense approvals, team huddles and to review issues. I live by my calendar and that's how I stay organized. A third skill is communication. I am responsible for communicating the good and sometimes the tough decisions we have to make as a company.
What everyday tools and KPIs do you use to drive customer satisfaction?
One of my everyday tools is BrightGauge, a standard industry dashboard that helps MSP leaders track and visualize company-wide KPIs. Our dashboard is always on one of my monitors. Our key KPIs are: response time, resolution time, customer satisfaction, tickets closed per technician and ticket re-open rates. I need to understand how productive we are so we can improve customer satisfaction and better plan for the future.  
In this industry, clients expect quick resolution and they want whatever issue they are experiencing resolved correctly the first time. My focus is how do we create efficiencies for the IT help desk team to resolve an issue as fast as possible and right the first time. So, we cannot simply gauge response time, we need to measure the re-open rate. That's how we drive client satisfaction. In our KPIs, you will see a strong correlation with resolution and response time with clientsatisfaction. It's really important that we have that consistent staffing to ensure consistent response and resolution time. This is where the data feeds into strategic planning for resources. What Pods need more employees, what Pods are over-staffed, where we can loan resources, who can we send onsite when we need to.
Another key tool I use is ConnectWise, the MSP industry’s business management platform. And, I also use a pen and paper! I make to-do lists and then add those tasks to my calendar. I actually find if I write something down I will remember it better than if I don't write it down. 
We’re still dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic in our industry and in small business culture worldwide. What challenges and trends are you seeing?
Operationally, the big one is the great resignation. Resourcing is a major challenge, obviously not just in our industry but in all sectors. This is why people management skills are so important in my role. I need to ensure Nucleus has the best culture. How do we improve employee retention and reduce churn? Our IT support help desk is the largest staffed unit at Nucleus; it is also the department with the highest turnover (throughout the industry) so we need to figure out how to make our employees happier and reduce turnover. For us to be successful, our employees need to be supported and taken care of. 
Another major trend is increasing security in all areas that we do business. We are making lots of improvements internally (and on our help desk) and we are advising our clients to increase their security maturity. Cybersecurity improvements are ongoing. 
We’ve also witnessing an explosion in the innovation of tools that help us better support our clients. We’re now looking at tools like, Inmybot and Rewst. Timezest is another example, a tool that allows users to schedule a service ticket at their convenience instead of the default revolving door of phone tag. We’re embracing tools that allow our team to be more effective and improve our client experiences. 
Anyone that’s worked in the the MSP industry understands how unique it is. Who do you look to for peer support and do you have any influencers outside the MSP world? 
Todd Kane. Todd was my first boss in the MSP industry. He founded and now runs a MSP consulting business now called Evolved Management Consulting. I like bouncing ideas off with him, enjoy his blogs and have attended many of his workshops.
But outside of the industry I look to women leaders, like Brené Brown. She talks about courageous leadership, and sometimes having to have difficult conversations, and and how these difficult conversations are more kind than beating around the bush. I have to have these conversations almost every day so I can relate to what she talks and writes about. Another influential woman leader I’ve learned a lot from is Sheryl Sandberg. I highly recommend her book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” 

We have big plans for next year and everything starts with our team as our foundation. Jennifer brings with her a track record of success and she’s making a positive impact at Nucleus.Martin DesRosiers, CEO | Nucleus Networks

Can you share with us what you love most about working at Nucleus?
Definitely the people. I am a people person. I really enjoy coming into the office. I'm in the office three times a week because I like being around people. When Martin hired me, I asked “can I come into the office?” He said “yes!” Despite the hour long drive to and from work, I enjoy the connections I am best able to foster working in an office.
Tell us a little bit about you.  
I spend a lot of time with my my family. My 11-year old daughter is competitive dancer, so almost all my free time is being a “dance mom” which involves gluing fake eyelashes and weekend conventions. She’s recently won a Joey Award for best junior Lyrical Soloist of the year and I am really proud of her. I spend a lot of time in the dance community even though I am not much a dancer….I took my first adult tap class this year! I also really enjoy crafting. It’s another outlet that  keeps me busy and social. 
Jenn roy
How do you balance motherhood in an executive leadership role? 
It's not easy. I am fortunate as Nucleus is very accommodating and flexible. I work remotely on Thursday and Friday and on those days I’m able to adjust my schedule. The rest of the week, I start really early and and get off early enough so that I can pick my daughter up at 6 p.m. I enjoy this flexibility at Nucleus. Also, at other MSPs I had to travel a lot. This was a challenge as a parent. Nucleus also has a bunch of other human resource policies that make the balancing act a lot easier.
I have also set a clear boundary between my work schedule and family time. I have learned to disconnect at the important times. For instance, if I know I am going to be at a dance convention, I ensure our Support Manager knows that I am going to be unavailable on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. And I don’t look at my phone once, and that's okay. I am surrounded by an amazing management team that can cover for me when I am not available. 
Thanks for reading another employee feature story and stay tuned for more Nucleus people highlights. Nucleus goes far beyond the competition’s standard set of services to become an extension of your organization, contributing resources, industry-leading processes, technology solutions, and award-winning client services to supercharge your IT investment and help launch your business to the next level. In short, we make the success of your business our business. If you are interested in working with Nucleus, reach out to us!

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