Meet the Yexter

John Vatalaro

Senior Director, Platform Services & Support

"I feel the impact of the work that I do every day and the work my teams do every day."

Why did you choose Yext? What’s keeping you here?

After graduating in 2013, I was referred to Yext by a friend of a friend (who is still a Yexter today - hey Kim!!) and started as a Client Support Specialist, supporting our Small Business channel. I was as green as they come, but it was clear we were all a part of building something really exciting, so I dove right in!

I have now spent over 8 years building and scaling the Platform Services & Support teams at Yext. As time has gone on and I've held different positions at the company, there's one saying that sticks out to me which sums up what keeps me here - there's no secret team in the basement, meaning there's no one else running the company - it's really just us!

I have never felt like a cog in a giant corporate machine here. Every decision that is made, every feature that is built, every process that is designed, every ticket that is solved is done by one of us, the person sitting to the right or left of you. I feel the impact of the work that I do every day and the work my teams do every day. Nothing is sacred here - if you've got a better idea, let's hear it! That gritty culture of listening, hand-raising, taking action, iterating, and having pride in the work that you do is so infectious. It's what keeps the company bonded together as we grow and continue to build something really special together!

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is John but most Yexters call me JV! I grew up most of my life just south of Cleveland, Ohio and went to college at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts where I swam and majored in History. I started at Yext right out of college so I've grown my professional career in the halls of 1 Madison Ave and now the beautiful Yext Building at 61 9th Ave!

I live in Manhattan with my wife, Natalie, and our cat, Fred. Outside of work you'll find me cheering on my wife and her amazing team at DanceBody. I love geeking out over anything design-related – you'll never catch me without a watch on my wrist, and I love a friendly debate on any subject over a glass of bourbon!

What does a typical day in the life of your role look like?

I lead our North American Platform Services team: technical experts who advise, guide, and support Enterprise customers on our platform. Each day I work with my team and cross-functional stakeholders, primarily across the Client Success organization, to create an environment that allows our customers and our teams to thrive.

As a people leader, I'm motivated by the challenge to get both of those things right - something that isn't always easy to do! I couldn't do what I do without the team around me though - which is why I love that my day is often spent collaborating with others, listening, thinking deeply, and making decisions with intention. Working with others, whether that's my team or our customers, is always the best part of the day for me!

What was one of your favorite moments or projects at Yext?

This is so hard to choose! I've been a part of so many wonderful Yext moments - from celebrating early funding rounds, to building the White Glove Services team from scratch, to the IPO, to Location World and Onward conferences, and so much more. And while there's a bit of recency bias here, working with our Creative and Production teams on the recent Season of Search campaign definitely makes it into the highlight reel for me! I've always enjoyed the marketing campaigns Yext has put out over the years, but to be a part of the process and not only see behind the scenes, but also be in the scenes was awesome! We had such a talented group of people involved in the campaign and video so it was a blast to work on something pretty different than my normal day-to-day with them! I'm so proud of how it turned out!

A group of Yext employees smiling for a photo with John Vatalaro in the middle wearing a suit for the Season of Search video
What’s something you wished you’d known before starting the job?

I wish I had been more familiar with all of the Myers-Briggs types! Finding out your MBTI is one of the first things you do at Yext and it really helps you understand yourself and your new coworkers (I'm an ESTJ!). It was so fun to dive into this and learn how to best work and interact with each other, so I wish I had been more familiar with it when I joined so I could hit the ground running!

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out new?

Take your onboarding seriously, absorb as much as you can, and meet and build relationships with as many Yexters as you can! However, while you are absorbing as much as possible, remember that you were hired for a reason and you have something unique to contribute as an individual! I often tell new hires on my team that while I want them to learn "how to do the job" and they will be onboarded by one of their fantastic team members, the last thing I want is for them to become a carbon copy of that person or of our process documentation. Learn the role and bring your own magic to it - we hired you for a reason!

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About

Team

Platform Services & Support

Hometown

Strongsville, Ohio

Myers-Briggs Type

ESTJ

Yext Office

NYC

How long have you been with Yext?

8 years

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