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This interview is part of an ongoing Affinaquest Team Member Spotlight Series to highlight our amazing employees and their contributions to our company’s success.

Lori Combs

Director of Solution Engineering

Manitou Springs, CO

When you have a product you believe in, and a company that’s growing rapidly, and you get to work with people that you like and you trust, that’s kind of what you strive for. I’m proud to work at a company like this.

What do you do in your role at Affinaquest?

I’m responsible for doing demos for prospective clients and managing the team that does the demos. I help prospective clients determine the areas they’re most interested in, their pain points, and the demo length required. Depending on how in-depth they want to go, a demo can be two hours or many days. I come up with a demo agenda, decide how much time we have to spend on the different areas, and assign Affinaquest team members to the sessions. I also work with our solution engineers on how to present certain aspects and configure the data in our sales database to handle specific scenarios.

Tell us about your professional journey. How did you end up at Affinaquest?

My high school offered the first programming class in the county, and I took it my junior year. In college, I started out as a computer science major but changed to management information systems because I wanted to bridge the gap between end users and programmers.

I worked at JSI Fundraising Systems right after college. Jeff Shy, the founder of Affinaquest, was the president of the company at the time. I wore a lot of hats doing implementations, tech support, on-site visits to install and configure the software, conversion crosswalks to convert the data, and training end users. I loved it because I got to know the software inside and out really quickly. After working as a client representative I was promoted to operations manager, then I moved into sales.

After a demo, one of the IT guys asked, “Are you our sales rep?” I said, “Yeah.” He said jokingly, “But you could answer our questions.”

I like having credibility with different kinds of users. Demos are my strong suit, and I’ve been doing that ever since. I worked at JSI Fundraising Systems for 11 years, Sungard Higher Ed and its different iterations for nine years, at iModules (now Anthology) for a couple of years, and then came to Affinaquest five years ago.

What makes you proud to work at Affinaquest?

First of all, the product is a great product, and it’s far beyond any that I’ve worked with in the past. But really, it’s the people that make the company.

Jeff Shy has always been a visionary in the industry, so that’s what initially drew me to Affinaquest. But some of the people that I work with here I’ve known for decades and I’ve worked with at other companies. When you have a product you believe in, and a company that’s growing rapidly, and you get to work with people that you like and you trust, that’s kind of what you strive for. I’m proud to work at a company like this.

Before working at Affinaquest, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

Right out of high school, I was a German linguist for military intelligence in the Army during the Cold War. I went to language school in San Francisco for eight months to learn German. After a couple of additional schools for training, I was stationed in Würzburg, Germany for two and a half years. I loved Germany. Würzburg was beautiful. After the Army, I got my degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your time?

I like to go on hikes out in Garden of the Gods and other areas near my home in Manitou Springs, Colorado. My husband, son and I have always loved traveling. Some of our favorite experiences have been Maui, London, Stonehenge, Garmisch in Germany and the Badlands in South Dakota. One of my favorite memories is standing with my son in a field, seeing the northern lights outside Fairbanks, Alaska.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I like to scuba dive. My first open water dive was in Saba in the West Indies, a tiny island near St. Martin. I’ve also dived in Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, Moorea and Bora Bora. On one dive a big sea turtle, roughly four feet across, hung out with us for most of the dive.

Thank you Lori for sharing a bit of your story with us. For more Affinaquest team member spotlights, follow our blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn!