Inspirational profiles of women in
leadership roles in the tech scene.

Cover Photo: 
Thumbnail Photo: 
Banner Color: 
#ed8d83
Alternate Thumbnail: 
Lead(H)er Profile - Michelle Wong, VP of Marketing at Jackpocket banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Michelle Wong, VP of Marketing at Jackpocket

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Michelle Wong, VP of Marketing at Jackpocket.


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and even though I’ve lived in NYC for over a decade, I still consider myself a Californian. For those who know me now, they’d be surprised to learn that I was a shy kid. 

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I studied Economics and Business at UC Berkeley, and my first job was in management consulting at Accenture right out of school. Consulting provided a fantastic foundation and exposure to different industries and companies. 

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

I had always wanted to live in NYC, so I decided to pursue my MBA at NYU Stern to broaden my skill set and focus more on marketing. After graduating, I worked in brand management, until I had the opportunity to join American Express’s start-up arm. That was another critical point in my career when I realized I enjoyed working in smaller organizations. I took the plunge to startups and haven’t looked back! 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I’m currently the VP of Marketing at Jackpocket, a mobile app startup that’s revolutionizing the $300 billion lottery industry. In this role, I’m responsible for initiating and driving an integrated marketing strategy. As we prepare to expand into many new states and markets, I work closely with my team to develop new acquisition channels, refine current channels, and ensure strong customer retention.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

My career has not been linear, but I’m exactly where I want to be at this moment. My priorities have been to join a growing company with solid team culture over a specific role or vertical.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

Keep up-to-date on new marketing trends (ex. mobile) and what's going on in the industries you're interested in. Earlier on in your career, try to determine how you will differentiate yourself from the pack and be open to learning new skills. Reach out and set up informational / coffee chats with folks working at companies or roles you're interested in. You may be surprised to see how open people are to chatting!  

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

Empathy. At the end of the day, we’re all humans who are navigating a challenging time. 

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

I’ve worked across many different industries and company stages, but this is my first foray into the real-money gaming space, so I’m learning something new every day. Additionally, adapting to the ever-changing mobile advertising environment has been both interesting and challenging. 

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I’m passionate about women’s health and serve as a marketing advisor to Natalist, a venture-backed startup dedicated to improving the path to parenthood.

I’m also a volunteer and foster with Muddy Paws Rescue, a non-profit organization dedicated to partnering with animal shelters to pull and place dogs into loving forever homes.

Michelle Wong Jackpocket

What’s next for you and your career?

I’m still relatively new at Jackpocket, and really enjoy it so far—plus there’s so much growth ahead—so I’m excited to make Jackpocket nothing short of a household name! Someday, I’d love the opportunity to serve on the board for an organization that aligns with my interests and values.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love traveling and exploring the outdoors. One of my favorite trips was hiking the W trek in Patagonia: 100+ km in 5 days, trekked on a glacier, experienced all 4 seasons in a single day, rediscovered camping, and cold/no showers. 

Michelle Wong Jackpocket 1

How do you manage stress?
A mix of running, yoga (I miss going to my local studio IRL!), and meditation.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

At least 1 cup of cold brew in the morning.

What's one of your favorite places in the New York area?

While I love living and working in the city, I enjoy escaping to the Catskills. 

Any book or podcast recommendations? 

For fans of The Wire, and those of you who are rewatching the show during quarantine, I recommend listening to The Wire: Way Down in the Hole. I also enjoy listening to Pivot, hosted by Recode’s Kara Swisher and NYU Stern Professor Scott Galloway, to keep up with all things tech and current events. 

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

These are unprecedented times, and there’s no guidebook. What I've learned over the years is to keep things in perspective. Your career isn't going to be built after landing one 'perfect' job, or conversely, ruined from one misstep. There's so much to learn from each and every opportunity you get, and you’ll come out of this challenging period even stronger and more resilient. 

About the
Company

Jackpocket is the first mobile lottery app in the U.S. that offers players a secure way to order official state lottery tickets, such as Powerball, Mega Millions, and more, via their smartphones.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Tzipi Avioz, Executive Vice President Customer Success at Mirakl banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Tzipi Avioz, Executive Vice President Customer Success at Mirakl

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Tzipi Avioz, Executive Vice President Customer Success at Mirakl.


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in Israel, also known as the Startup Nation. It’s one of the most innovative places in the world, and where I think I got my “never give up” mentality. Growing up among people who are really collaborative and open to building on ideas together is what made me who I am today. 

As a kid, I was never afraid to take on a challenge, and was always encouraged by my parents. My family jokes that ever since I was a toddler they knew that I’d be a leader – I was always the one at family events who was planning activities for all the cousins, and making sure that everyone was included. 

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

I had to start by serving on the Intelligence team (known as 8200) in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Being a member of the IDF is something that defines life in Israel. At 18 and a half years old, I managed a team of 20 people. Not many have the opportunity to get that experience at such a young age. It was really formative for me.

My work at Shufersal, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, was the defining moment where I fell in love with retail. It gave me exposure to many different areas of the retail industry – I started as a checkout operator, worked my way up to become a deputy store manager in less than six months, and eventually stepped into a corporate role. Doing all these roles helped me learn very quickly what makes retail tick, and the opportunity to move into the head office to an operations and technology role really set me on the path that I’m still on today. 

Fast forward to a few years later, I became the CIO of Tiv Taam Group, one of the most innovative retailers in Israel, which at the time was experiencing aggressive growth. That role was the entry point into a brand new phase of my career, because it led me into a new opportunity with Woolworths Australia. When I went to Woolworths, it was the first of three times in my career where I jumped to a different kind of role at a new company. I had a senior development manager title, and to be honest some of my friends couldn’t believe I was choosing to move from C-level to a manager. But I am always grateful that I had the opportunity and I was open to try this new role, in a new company and country. I spent a decade of my career at Woolworths, guiding the company through its store and online retail development, becoming a leader and expert in the company’s digital tools, and managing large teams of 150 to 300 people. Every day was a learning moment. 

There have been a couple of other moves like that one, ultimately landing me where I am today at Mirakl. Mirakl has huge potential: I’m very passionate about what the company offers and what it delivers. It’s been a great way to build on my experience and my career background, and most importantly for me, I’m learning new things each day. That is what makes my role even more exciting. 

Tzipi Avioz Mirakl
Celebrating International Women’s Day with the Paris-based Mirakl team

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I’m the executive vice president of customer success at Mirakl, which offers best-in-class software for companies launching third-party online marketplaces. One of the most important things that Mirakl brings to our customers, in addition to our software, is an unparalleled level of expertise on marketplaces. And our customer success team is a huge part of that. 

I lead our customer success team for clients in the Americas and APAC, like Urban Outfitters, HPE, and Best Buy Canada, and work very closely with executives to guide them through every stage of their time with Mirakl. In many cases, that starts even before they sign on to become a customer. We’ll help with implementation and launch, and we’re also a partner for them as they grow their marketplace business. Building those relationships is absolutely key to Mirakl’s success. 

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

The only clear vision of what I wanted my career to look like 10 or 20 years into the future was to do what I love. My view has always been, if I am enjoying it and passionate about what I can offer and what the role offers me, if I am challenged and learning – that's what I want to do.  Once you have that mindset, you open up all sorts of possibilities for yourself to use your (diversified) skills. It allows you to follow your passions, and for me, that’s where I’ve seen real fulfillment in my career. 

To be honest, I think that sometimes the traditional career advice with the five-year and 10-year plans can put you into a box. I can say truthfully that looking back, each of the roles I’ve held taught me something different that has brought me to where I am today. 

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

First and foremost, when you’re looking at a new opportunity, don’t stress too much about what it will look like on your resume. Think about what really gets you excited to go to work every day, how the role will impact you, and how you’ll make an impact within the organization. There have been a couple of times in my career where I’ve made a move that some people would call a step down, or a lateral move. Those have been some of the most formative experiences on my resume.

Personally, I’ve held a lot of different roles in different industries, and the connecting thread between all of them is interaction with customers. That goes for my first job as a checkout operator and as a CIO. That’s true for the time I spent at Woolworths focused on the retail experience. And of course, that’s true in my work in customer success. 

I might sound a little cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason: don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, and step up to new opportunities, even when you don’t feel you’re 100% ready for it. That goes especially for women. My mother has this saying – “never a failure, always a learning.” You’ve probably heard the statistic that men apply for roles they’re 60% qualified for on paper, but women only apply for roles they’re 100% qualified for. Confidence is an important factor there, of course. But so is being afraid of failure. 

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

I’d start by saying proactiveness. Our customers keep us on our toes! I’m constantly working to anticipate challenges, understand strategies, and make connections so that every conversation is useful and meaningful for everyone involved. 

Accountability is really important. You have to be able to own your mistakes and your successes, and take responsibility for your efforts. That’s key for any customer-focused role. 

And then of course, relationship-building. This role is all about keeping our customers in the center of everything we do, and serving as true advisors to them as they work to achieve their goals. Developing strong relationships with them is critical to that success. When you trust and understand each other, it makes the rest easier.

Tzipi Avioz Mirakl
Celebrating International Women’s Day with the Boston-based Mirakl team

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

I’d have the same answer for both, actually. When our customers are successful, Mirakl is successful. It has created a really rewarding environment for me and for the rest of my team: we enter into the relationship with that in mind. 

But it’s not always an easy thing to achieve. The projects we work on are tough and ambitious. Companies come to us with the idea that they’re transforming their businesses. Some of these businesses have been around for more than a hundred years, they have thousands of employees, and lots of “big company” mentalities. We’re supporting them through a transition into a new business model, a different way of operating and to be agile. It makes things both more challenging and more rewarding when we succeed.  

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I am so proud of the teams that I’ve built. It’s one of my greatest passions. Finding the right balance of people with different, complementary skillsets to do the work isn’t easy, but when you get it right, it has such an impact. Even now, many of the teams that I helped build in my previous roles are still together. That’s so rewarding to see. 

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I’ve benefited in countless ways from mentors who helped me through all sorts of professional challenges and triumphs. That’s the area where I try to give the most back. I actively mentor a number of women who are at different stages of their careers, specifically in STEM-focused industries. I’ve also participated as a mentor with Day of STEM at LifeJourney, where students get to test-drive future STEM careers and develop new skills to help them find their own passion. And finally, I’ve worked with startup CEOs to help them build and develop to their next growth phase, so that their businesses get the kind of guidance that has been so beneficial to me. 

What’s next for you and your career?

Right now, my focus is on continuing to build and strengthen Mirakl’s customer success team here in the Americas. We have such a great group of experts here, but as our business grows scalability is key, there’s so much more that

can be done! (And by the way, I have to mention that we’re hiring!)

Tzipi Avioz Mirakl

Mirakl customers join experts from the Mirakl Customer Success team for a meeting of the User Advisory Board


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Work keeps me very busy, so I try to keep things simple in my free time: reading (especially books focused on leadership and business strategy), doing puzzles and of course, spending time with my family. 

How do you manage stress?

When I’m dealing with something stressful, I try to give myself space to step away from it so that I can process it at a different time – I find that it helps me to approach things with a cool head. Yoga helps. Walks on the beach. And making time for myself to focus on something else, so that I can come back to a challenge with a clean slate. 

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

Two – but I have to say that the coffee here doesn’t compare to what you can get in Australia. I miss flat whites! 

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston area?

No question, it has to be Cape Cod – every time we cross the bridge, I get excited. It immediately feels like “my happy place.” We are lucky enough to be able to spend some time there a few times a year as a family. 

Any book or podcast recommendations?  

I just finished reading Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. You absolutely don’t have to be a business leader to appreciate the learnings she shares. Everyone should read it – it’s applicable to so many different parts of life, not just work.

About the
Company

Mirakl powers your platform business strategy by allowing you to quickly launch an online marketplace. 

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Mary Beth Vassallo, VP & GM of North America at Nexthink banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Mary Beth Vassallo, VP & GM of North America at Nexthink

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Mary Beth Vassallo, VP & GM of North America at Nexthink.


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I’m a second-generation Italian American, after coming to America in the 20s, my family settled in an Italian neighborhood on the north-side of Syracuse.  I grew up the youngest of 4 children, with a private catholic education. However, growing up I was extremely dedicated to gymnastics with dreams of becoming the next Olga Korbut. I was always competitive, but at the same time a bit of an introverted. Unfortunately, my gymnastics dreams did not pan out – but the fundamentals of concentration, independent strength and competitiveness still serve me well today.

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I studied Mathematics and Computer Science at Syracuse University.  I landed my first job with a consulting company 6 months before graduating and was placed at IBM where I was a software developer on a government project.  From there, I moved into IT operations, supporting a very large datacenter at GE.   

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today? 

My career has been more like a jungle gym than a ladder.  It has given me the opportunity to explore, stretch, learn, and grow.  Moving from IT to “the vendor” side was pivotal for my personal growth.  I worked at Boston-based Digital Equipment Corporation as a system engineer and moved into sales only because a door opened when the sales rep I supported went out on maternity leave and never came back.  This was another critical turning point in my career.  She and I are still friends. We talk about her decision to stay home and the impact it had on my career.  The next few important steps landed me in my current state - moving from individual contributor to management, building teams and business from the ground up multiple times with different go to market models, expanding to run global/diverse teams and leveraging experiences from large corporations, mid-size hypergrowth companies and startups.

Mary Beth Vassallo Nexthink

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am currently responsible for building the business for North America.  When I started at Nexthink three years ago, we were 14 people in the Boston office and today we total more than 100 in North America – more than 600 globally. North America is an important market for the company, which was originally founded in Switzerland, now we have a dual headquarters in Boston and Lausanne, our CEO has moved to Boston and we continue to build out the management team based here, including the addition of a new Chief People Officer Meg Donovan.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position? 

I always knew I wanted to be in a leadership role.  My mother was a big influence on my career.  She pushed me to enter the tech world before most people knew what a computer was.  Every time I’d land a new job or get a promotion, I’d call to let her know and she’d say, “one step closer to becoming a CEO”.  She is 99 now and asks me why I work so hard…

Mary Beth Vassallo Nexthink

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

Hiring the right people and putting them in the right seat. Motivating, and inspiring my team through both good and challenging times is so important. It’s also necessary to practice active listening and to be open-minded and try new things to have a more open perspective from my colleagues and team.  Having a mentor or two doesn’t hurt, someone to go to for guidance and holding myself accountable to do the best I can each day.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

The most rewarding work is developing my team, having them find personal and professional success.  Also, the value that Nexthink brings to our customers is incredibly rewarding, seeing external teams be able to tackle major challenges or have visibility where previously they were stuck guessing. I love hearing stories from our happy customers.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

It has always been about people for me.  Being a coach and mentor, helping others grow personally and professionally. One of my proudest moments was when someone I mentored thanked me for providing not only the professional coaching throughout his career, but also the confidence and internal belief that he would succeed.

Mary Beth Vassallo Nexthink

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I have been actively involved in Take Steps - Crohn's & Colitis Foundation for the past 15 years. My son was diagnosed with Crohn’s at age 8.  There was no medicine to help him until he turned 13 so he battled it for many years.  He is in remission now thankfully from taking medicine produced by Johnson & Johnson, but it may not last, so I actively fund raise and support this cause to help find a cure.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

The world seems very different now than when I graduated, but I believe in the advice that I was given when I graduated and continue to pass on to people early in their career.  Have a destination in the back of your mind but also know that you have a great journey ahead, take some risks, try things that may feel uncomfortable because there are only two things that will happen – you will win or you will learn and both are great!

About the
Company

Nexthink is a global leader in Digital Employee Experience.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Jess Riley, VP Business Development & Companion Diagnostics at PathAI banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Jess Riley, VP Business Development & Companion Diagnostics at PathAI

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Jess Riley, VP Business Development & Companion Diagnostics at PathAI.


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up among the rolling, green hills of the Pennines, in a small town called Halifax in the county of Yorkshire, England. It is the largest county in England and often referred to as God’s own country or The Pride of the North.  The countryside provided for a huge playground for an adventurous and outdoorsy kid. I played a lot of sports and was insanely competitive but not naturally academic so it often surprises me how and why I got to where I am today.

Jess Riley PathAI
Rolling green hills of West Yorkshire

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I studied a BSc (Hons) in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, specifically “Bioproduction & Characterization of Self Assembling Peptides”. It’s true that a good thesis makes an even better doorstop!

My first job out of college was as a Clinical Scientist in the NHS. My first foray with molecular genetics but knew early on I was destined for a career in industry to help bring products to market and eventually make a transition into Business Development.  

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

I believe each step of my academic and professional journey were critical moments that have been a mix of lucky moves and conscious decisions.  

Starting with the decision to study science which was driven perhaps by a self imposed pressure to follow in the footsteps of other family members and to guarantee a secure, meaningful and respected career. I became more curious about the applications of science and decided to pursue a PhD which was sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company.  

My lucky move was in joining a then medium sized start up company DxS Ltd, which was the best group of crazy, fun and inspirational characters and one of the few companies pioneering Precision Medicine and Companion Diagnostics - that is, tools used to identify the right patients more likely to respond to certain therapeutic drugs based on the patient’s disease biomarkers.  It was still a very novel area of medicine back then which turned into this hockey stick curve of high global growth and I was just lucky enough to be there at the right time before we were later (2009) acquired at a phenomenal 13x. 

This high growth, yet still few players led to a high demand of subject matter experts to support newer companies coming into the market and it paved the way for a lot of opportunities for me that eventually led to me moving to the US in 2012. Within Companion Diagnostic companies I’ve played various roles from Product Development to Alliances and Business Development across various technology platforms in support of ensuring patients get the personalized treatment that they deserve and it’s been very fulfilling in that respect.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I’m the VP of Business Development at PathAI and responsible for establishing new collaborations with pharmaceutical companies to support their precision medicine developments by providing them with better ways to identify patients that are likely to respond to those drugs. We do this by using AI-powered digital pathology tools to identify features and biomarkers from digitized biopsies which may be predictive of response. I do a lot of landscape analysis to find the most mutually beneficial opportunities and work with our clients to set up the relationship and contract negotiations.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

Since starting down the track of Science, yes. I never saw myself in an academic position but did love the science and the prospect of being a deal maker seemed really exciting to me.  

However, my greatest desire was to be a runner, but even my 10 year old self knew that pursuing an Olympic gold seemed a bit risky.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

Keep focussed on what you want to ultimately achieve and don’t get distracted by opportunities that only have short term value. Be proactive about building the relationships and connections that you will inevitably need to get you there. Often you don’t get there on your own. Identify Mentors as sounding boards and Champions who can advocate for you especially when they can point to results you’ve delivered. 

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

Personally, I rely heavily on being knowledgeable in my subject area. There are the obvious soft skill requirements that apply to most jobs but being in a client facing role you are quickly judged mostly on whether the client can trust and respect you. You can lose their trust by underdelivering and lose their respect by not understanding your area so I try to focus on those two aspects mostly. 

Doing more listening and less talking is something I’ve got better at over time as well :)

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

The products we make are complex development efforts, can take 2-5 years from feasibility to launch and may only have a 1 in 10 chance of making it since they are reliant on the drugs they are being developed in connection with. Therefore, you can imagine it can be a long time before you can see the fruits of your labor, if at all. This can be one of the most challenging things about my work.

Likewise, when you do eventually get a win, it can be hugely rewarding. Seeing a project through to completion that wasn’t an easy win is always the most rewarding.

Now that I’m officially in a ‘tech company’ I’m also really enjoying learning a new space of AI and excited to be at the beginning of something new again as we bring this technology into the diagnostic arena.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

The most rewarding experience I had was when a personal friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given just one month to live. She was given one of the diagnostic tools I had helped to develop early in my career which identified a specific biomarker that led to her being treated with a more effective personalized medicine which extended her life for over a year.

Given I was lucky enough to fall into this area in the early days, I feel proud to have been a small part of the success of the precision medicine ‘revolution’ in general and to look back at the advances we have all made since I joined this club 15 years ago.

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I’ve recently enjoyed being part of a couple of networking groups for women. One is the NEWISE Club (New England Women in Science Executives) and the other is WIB (Women in Bio). I’ve really enjoyed interacting with other strong, female leaders and seeing the benefits of how we can support each other. We all need to do more of that and I’m excited to see how I may be able to become a mentor/coach for some women starting out in their own careers.

Once I have more free time (after PathAI!) I intend to start doing more community work especially with the elderly.

What’s next for you and your career?

Honestly, I’m actually doing what I set out to achieve and it’s probably even more than I could have imagined for a kid from humble beginnings in God’s own country :)  So what happens next is a bonus and I’m just focussing on the job I have to do today. Having said that, after this I am seriously considering reigniting my adventurous soul and beginning my new career in the great outdoors.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Running (of course), biking (MTB and road), open water swimming, skiing, hiking (fast), camping, putting my heart and soul into DIY (even though I could pay someone to do it) and it still looking pretty bad, and then paying someone to fix it.

Jess Riley PathAI
W trail, Patagonia, Chile

How do you manage stress?
Running - cures everything for me, turning all notifications off on my phone.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day
Two cups of quality Italian coffee made in a french press in the morning followed by afternoon tea.

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston area?

Running along the Charles at dawn, leisurely bike ride along the docks near the USS constitution at dusk.

Any book or podcast recommendations? 
Any of the Ben Elton (British political comic) series but especially “Blast from the Past” which I sobbed through. 

Excited to start reading a new one called “The Invisible Rainbow - A History of Electricity and Life”

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Make your own plan, stay laser focussed on delivering results and not on what everyone else is doing. Don’t be too impatient, be humble, and know that you still have a lot to learn.

About the
Company

PathAI is the world’s leading provider of AI-powered technology for the pathology laboratory.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Erica Smith, Vice President, Investor Relations at CyberArk banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Erica Smith, Vice President, Investor Relations at CyberArk

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Erica Smith, Vice President, Investor Relations at CyberArk.


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in a small town in North Central Massachusetts.  I would describe myself as curious and always busy. I was involved in a lot of activities from yearbook to student government to plays.  I enjoyed the outdoors, all sports and was an avid reader. 

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I went to the College of the Holy Cross, a liberal arts college, and majored in economics.  My first job was at Lehman Brothers as a financial analyst in the high-yield investment banking group.  I didn’t have a finance or accounting degree so I have always felt fortunate that I found a position in a finance-role right out of school. 

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

Early in my career, I could have continued in investment banking at Lehman Brothers in New York City.  I made what was viewed at the time as a risky decision.  I left Lehman Brothers and moved back to Boston without a job to be closer to family.  I was planning to go back to school to get my MBA.  As an interim step, I accepted a position at an investor relations / corporate communications agency, Sharon Merrill Associates, where I worked with great people and gained valuable experience and training.  A second big decision came, when I was offered a position to run investor relations at a pre-IPO technology company.  My business school applications were ready to submit, but instead I joined the technology company.  Since that time, I have built my career in investor relations.  

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am responsible for investor relations at CyberArk, a publicly traded cybersecurity company. The role of investor relations enables two-way communication between CyberArk and the financial community to help ensure the strategy is understood and to drive a fair market valuation.  I work cross functionally with finance, marketing, legal, sales, R&D and product management to help position CyberArk to the investment community.  I often speak to our investors and analysts to discuss our financials as well as our strategy.  I also provide feedback from our shareholders to management to ensure there is two-way communication. 

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professional career?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

No, I didn’t even know investor relations was a career.  I wanted to be a doctor and started college as a biology / pre-med major, but I didn’t like chemistry.    

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

Credibility is one of the most valuable assets in investor relations, making the people you work with critical.  For me, it has always been important to work at a company and with a leadership team, who share my commitment to transparency and building trusted relationships. 

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

To be successful, you need to understand finance and accounting and have strong communication skills.  I also think listening is important.  Investors analyze every word and nuance of a discussion. Good listeners will recognize if something is misinterpreted and be able to quickly adjust the message. 

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

Change is constant in investor relations, which is incredibly challenging and equally rewarding. 

I love it! CyberArk is a fast-growing company, in a great market. Investor relations is set against the macro and stock market backdrop. And when you think about today, we are living in unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic.  

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Building an investor relations program at a newly public company.  

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

The National Investor Relations Institute has been an important part of my career over the years. 

What’s next for you and your career?

There are new developments in investor relations, like ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) investing.  I have been working with a team to help enhance our ESG program.  


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I love to go out to dinner, hike, spend time with family, walk / play with the dog and travel. I also enjoy a good book.

How do you manage stress?

Getting outdoors –nature grounds me. 

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

2 to 3 cups of coffee, but I have a hard cut off – no coffee after noon.  

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston area?

One is too hard! If forced to pick, Fenway Park.  A few bonus places include: The North End, Mount Monadnock area, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Minuteman Bike Path. 

Any book or podcast recommendations? 

Podcasts:  American Scandal

Books: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. Fun summer reads by Fredrik Backman including A Man Called Ove, Beartown, The Deal of Lifetime; The Luckiest Man by Jonathan Eig

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Persistence and hard work pay off.  Sometimes you need to take a few steps backward to move forward, don’t be discouraged.  Maintain strong relationships. Seek mentors.  Stay positive. 

About the
Company

CyberArk proactively stops the most advanced cyber threats – those that exploit insider privileges to attack the heart of the enterprise.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Nancy Liberman, Vice President, Marketing at JRNI banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Nancy Liberman, Vice President, Marketing at JRNI

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Nancy Liberman, Vice President, Marketing at JRNI.


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio which was a lovely place to grow up, and not similar at all to the town depicted in the recent series Little Fires Everywhere.  I was a curious, busy child - very into books, baking, writing, playing in the street with my friends (who remembers those days) and riding bikes everywhere.

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I spent two years at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do; I only knew that I didn’t want to embark on a path that required grad school.  So I studied communications, and took my junior year off to really figure out what direction I wanted to pursue. Instead of returning to Northwestern, I transferred to Boston University where I could exit school with a well-rounded portfolio of work between my experience with BU’s AdLab, internships, and my courses. 

For my first job, I went to work at a publishing company as an assistant to make enough money to go to Europe as a graduation present to myself.  The company was Ziff Davis, publisher of PC Week and PC Magazine, one of the first high tech publishers.  I went to Europe, returned, and was offered full-time employment.  I stayed there for nearly ten years in a variety of sales and marketing positions, and continue to work with some of those colleagues today.

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

My path was a little strange in that I didn’t really have an end goal, and I was happy as long as I was learning. I started my career with 5 years in sales - inside and outside sales - which I’d recommend to anyone who is evaluating a marketing career.  The first critical moment was admitting that sales, while a successful career, wasn’t my passion, however, I had so much training and a unique perspective that a move into marketing was natural.

After 5 years in marketing,I felt my career was pretty well-rounded, the only thing I felt I was lacking was experience in PR.  So,  I joined a former colleague at a PR firm in Boston, where I worked on new business accounts and customer references for the largest accounts. 

The next critical step was to try client - side marketing where I could take all of the skills I had amassed throughout my career and put them  behind a single company. I joined a startup as a PR Manager, where I stayed for 7 years until I was promoted to VP of Marketing, when the company was then sold.  For me, I love working on the brand and positioning, interfacing with sales and product, and working with an agency to drive the outward communications and then seeing it all come together. 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I joined JRNI about 15 months ago. My first team project was to rebrand the company from its previous name and brand, BookingBug and branding continues to be a main focus for me. Currently, I oversee a small team and we do everything in house, from SEO and SEM to product marketing and  public relations. Every day brings a new challenge, especially in the age of this pandemic!

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

In all candor, I thought I’d be a writer.  I had fantasies of writing the great American novel. So while I’m not where I thought I’d be, I’m not sure there’s anywhere I’d rather be right now.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

The best advice that I’ve ever been given is not to confuse activity with results. So many marketers try to fill the calendar with all kinds of activity without analyzing the results, and it’s a big mistake.

I think the other advice I’d offer, especially for those coming out of school, is to think about the company you are applying to, and the skills you have to offer.  As an example, I work at a B2B SaaS company, I don’t want to hire someone who tells me that I need to have a full blown Instagram and TikTok strategy - I guess the moral is know your audience.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

I think the key to doing any marketing job well is good grammar and the ability to spell.  It may sound elementary, but think about how many times a day you see ‘s as a means of making something plural, or the number of times you come across the “there - they’re - their” offense.  Writing and spelling are core to anything you do in marketing, and they never go out of vogue.

The other skill is the ability to mentor. It takes time and personal growth, but the ability to work with someone through a project to help them be better is key.  You are only as strong as the weakest member of your team.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

There’s still something very satisfying about seeing the company name in the press, but I think the most rewarding piece is seeing former colleagues succeed on their own.  I’ve worked with a number of people who are now Directors and VPs on their own and it is very rewarding to have been part of that ascent.

As for challenges, which marketers spin as opportunities, is probably planning for the unexpected. COVID-19 represented a challenge none of us ever imagined, and for marketers, it was tenuous whether you were being helpful or exploitative. It’s a great challenge, but hard to prepare for!

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I’ve had the good fortune of being at a number of startups in their growth and pivot stages. Seeing that work capture the attention of a larger suitor and having that turn into some sort of merger & acquisition activity is a proud accomplishment.

A close second was receiving a call from a professor who wanted me to write the forward to a book on women in leadership.  That is, until he realized I was not Nancy Lieberman, the first women’s professional basketball player!

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of work with MITX from judging some of the new product competitions to volunteering at their events.  But these days, my efforts are spent closer to home in and around my town.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to travel. JRNI is based in London, so that’s given me some time to travel around.  I like to read, spend time with friends and see as much live music around Boston as possible.

How do you manage stress?

I don’t have any magic formula.  Sometimes I snap, sometimes I just walk around, sometimes I nap.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

I start most days with 2 cups of STOK cold brew.

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston area?

I live in Charlestown, and nothing makes me happier than a walk along the water, by the Bunker Hill Monument or along the small streets to enjoy the architecture and the flower boxes.

Any book or podcast recommendations?

I’m not a huge podcast person, and yes, I’m aware that it’s a blasphemous position. Right now, I’m reading Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

As I mentioned above, do whatever you can to hone your writing skills.  Both spelling and writing.  It is the foundation for anything you do in marketing.

About the
Company

JRNI is an enterprise SaaS scheduling platform for personalizing and optimizing the customer journey.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Heather Bentley, SVP Customer Success & Support at Mimecast banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Heather Bentley, SVP Customer Success & Support at Mimecast

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Heather Bentley, SVP Customer Success & Support at Mimecast.


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in a small town in upstate NY called Cambridge.  As a child, I was very studious and loved the outdoors. I was very fortunate to live in a place where you could go outside for walks.  I liked to read and was very musical.  I would have to say I was always curious and loved new experiences and learning new things.

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I studied Business and Management Information Systems at Wake Forest University.  I was a Technical Support Engineer in my first job and learned a lot about empathy.  Most of my customers worked for non-profit organizations and were not very computer literate.  The lessons I learned there have followed me throughout my career.

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

I am one of those unique people who has done almost every role in their scope of responsibility at some point in my career.  I have provided front line support, done professional services and training at customer site, and customer success management.  I have also held every leadership post along the way from frontline manager to SVP.  One of the biggest things I did for my career was move to Europe.  It helped me grow from Manager to Director level and increased my global awareness.  Partnering with other business units outside of support and services also helped increase my business acumen and played a key part in being selected for more senior opportunities.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am currently the global SVP of Customer Success and Support, responsible for Technical Support, Professional Services, and Customer Success.  I sit on the Mimecast ExCo team representing the customer journey.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

I have always wanted to be successful, so I believe this aligns with where I hoped I would be.  I have been very fortunate to work with a number of amazing people who have had a great impact on my life.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

Don’t ever stop asking questions and always put yourself forward for opportunities that stretch you.  Don’t stay too long with one company- I probably made that mistake.  Moving around gives you different experiences and also makes you more well rounded.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

Empathy, Business Acumen, Emotional Intelligence, and the ability to make decisions.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

I enjoy working with people from all over the world and being part of a diverse team.  I appreciate the various points of view that different experiences bring to the table.  Probably one of the most challenging is a result of being a truly global team and trying to make sure that I am available for my team members all over the world.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I earned my MBA while holding a full time job, got a technical Security certification, and helping many of my team members reach their goals

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I am an Assistant Scout Leader and do a variety of activities to promote STEM in my local community.

What’s next for you and your career?

Right now, I am really excited doing what I am doing.  Very few people get to do what they enjoy doing.  I love the fact that I get to help customers stay safe from emerging cyber security threats and develop my team members to be the best they can be.


Q&A

Heather Bentley MimecastWhat do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my two Shih Tzu’s, going for walks, SUP (standup paddleboarding), camping, and cooking.

How do you manage stress?

I try to stay active and spend time with my dogs

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

No more than 2- morning only!  My time in the UK ensures I drink tea in the afternoons and evenings.

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston/New York area?

I have a soft spot for upstate NY.

Any book or podcast recommendations? 

I really enjoy fiction stories. If you haven’t heard of the Rivers of London series, I would recommend it.  

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Do something that you are passionate about and work in a job that is meaningful to you.  Make sure that the mission and values of the organization align to you personally.  It is hard to work in an organization that doesn’t share your views.

About the
Company

Mimecast delivers relentless protection. Each day, we take on cyber disruption for our customers around the globe, solving the number one cyberattack vector – email.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Bela Labovitch, VP of Engineering at athenahealth banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Bela Labovitch, VP of Engineering at athenahealth

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Bela Labovitch, VP of Engineering at athenahealth.


What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I earned my Bachelor’s degrees in both Computer Science and Psychology from Brandeis University and my Master’s degree in Computer Science from Northeastern University. I have always loved to code, and my first job out of college was as a software engineer (no surprise!).

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

My career path was not linear - I started out as a Software Engineer and then went down the management path. I was working long hours as the Director of Engineering of a dynamic and fast-moving organization when a critical moment in my career occurred. My second son, then eighteen months old and possessing a limited vocabulary, said “Mom, I hate, hate that you work.” It was then that I decided it would be better to balance work and mothering two boys by returning to an individual contributor role. So, I stepped down from my Director position and spent my children’s formative years working part-time as a developer and architect. Ten years later, when I returned to full-time work and eventually a management position, I realized that you could toggle between management and individual contributor functions effectively. For those managers who miss being hands-on, it is possible to go back and forth - in fact, it can make you a better manager.

My 18-month-old has since grown up. I am pictured below with both of my children.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I currently lead engineering for athenahealth’s flagship Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) product athenaCollector. athenahealth’s vision is to create a thriving ecosystem that delivers accessible, high-quality, and sustainable healthcare for all. I lead a team of architects and developers whose goal is to deliver stable, scalable, performant and secure software to support our healthcare provider community. I am proud that our product has received a 2020 Best in KLAS award for Ambulatory RCM Services.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

Earlier in my career the only thing I knew was that I wanted to be doing what I was passionate about, while making a difference in this world. I was always enthusiastic about building excellent software that has an impact on people’s lives. I am lucky to be in a position where I love my job and find it very rewarding. One of my goals also includes developing and retaining women in the technology field and cultivating women leaders. Being on the steering committee of one of athenahealth’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – the Women’s Leadership Forum — and founding our Women in Technology initiative has given me an outlet to express myself, mentor, and help achievethis goal.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

Visualize where you would like to be and then work hard with a sense of optimism. It is important to enjoy your journey - if you are passionate and work hard but with ease, and help others along the way, there is a good chance you can achieve your career goals. Early in my career, I learned to take initiative, not let fear hold me back and that I didn’t need the title of a leader to be a leader.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

My job is to create and sustain high-performing teams that deliver great outcomes for our customers. Towards this, it is important for me to focus on creating a culture for my team to do their best work, optimize processes and imbue software excellence in my organization. I need to care deeply about and understand my team, communicate well, empower my staff and make sure I keep learning and stay on top of technology and healthcare trends. In short, I need the skills to be both a great leader and technologist.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

There are so many interesting things about my work - different pockets of my organization are solving various problems of automation, scale, performance and creation of value for our customers, who are healthcare providers. Most challenging (and interesting!) for athenahealth’s engineering team is our microservice journey, as we work towards partitioning our software into independent pieces of functionality, while continuing to delight and deliver value to our healthcare community.   

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I am passionate about bringing and keeping women in STEM - particularly technology - and I mentor and speak at various local organizations such as Girls Who Code. I belong to The Boston Club and work with women across technology companies in the Boston area on programming for women. I am looking forward to joining and getting more involved with the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association this year.

What’s next for you and your career?

I am perfectly happy with where I am right now and someday look to be on an Executive leadership team for an organization. I would also like to serve as a board member for some organizations whose values align with mine.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I am a reader and belong to two book clubs. I run and practice yoga, and I love being outside. I also like to volunteer and have been a long-time parental stress counselor and serve on the board of a non-profit called Parents Helping Parents.

How do you manage stress?

Between meditation, yoga, and running, I have had a good handle on stress (mostly!).  

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

I love my coffee! Two cups a day, maybe three if I have a break from meetings and can get a third.

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston/New York area?

I love the water - take me anywhere - the Boston Harbor, Crane Beach or Lake Waban and I am happy!

Any book or podcast recommendations? 

Here is what you will find on my bedside today - books that I am reading right now:

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

My son graduated from college this month, so I have a lot of advice! This is a hard time - college graduates have missed much of their final semester, time with friends and find themselves graduating into a tough job market. They are learning early, that things don’t always go the way you imagine they will. But this is an opportunity to purposefully learn resilience and grit. Be grateful for all that is good and stay optimistic, every day. Confront your fears, and then move forward with a sense of purpose - you can make a difference every day, to your community and to the larger world. Take this privilege, give to others and work hard - life will fall into place and be good.

About the
Company

athenahealth is a leading provider of network-enabled services & mobile apps for medical groups & health systems.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Nausheen Moulana, VP of Engineering at Kyruus banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Nausheen Moulana, VP of Engineering at Kyruus

Open Jobs Company Page

Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up in Hyderabad, a 400+ year old historic city in southern India. As a child, I enjoyed reading a lot. I liked science but didn’t care for math until middle school when I had an amazing math teacher who made learning math very interesting and so much fun. 

My dad was an engineer who led several significant public works engineering projects. My mom worked in social services and developed many initiatives in collaboration with organizations like CARE, UNICEF, and WHO to improve the welfare of women and children, especially in rural and tribal areas. So, as a girl, from a very early age, education, achieving economic independence, and serving/supporting others in need were (and continue to be) very important to me.  

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I wanted to be an engineer! I have a BS and MS in Electronics & Communication Engineering, and Electrical Engineering respectively. I got an MBA from Babson College while also actively working full-time as an engineering manager.  

My first job after obtaining my MS was as a quality engineering lead. My first project involved the design and development of an in-house automated regression testing framework that integrated with the build and release system. This framework expedited the detection of defects and reduced the cost to fix them. Starting my career in quality engineering has strongly influenced how I design and develop products.  

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

The first critical moment in my career was the decision to transition into management from being an individual contributor. While I enjoyed the design and coding aspects of my role, I found that what gave me most satisfaction was solving business problems through technology, creating value for customers, and working with people to make it happen. Relative to my peers, my strength was the ability to connect execution to strategy, develop the technical plans, and consistently get things done. As I grew in my management career, I took responsibility for more functional areas and teams, and that naturally provided impetus for me to develop my project management and process orientation skills. 

After over a decade of managing backend heavy architecture and infrastructure projects and teams, I wanted to challenge myself to manage user-facing products end-to-end as I missed not having direct customer interaction and not being involved in the development of business strategy. So, after I earned my MBA in Entrepreneurship, I took an engineering management role at a much smaller company in a different industry. This transition gave me the opportunity to have more breadth of responsibility that spanned both the core platform and applications built on it. It helped me develop new skills, for example, I had no prior experience managing front-end or applications teams. I also got to develop my business skills and become more strategic in how I operated and led teams. 

Gaining the confidence that I could successfully create customer value and build high performing teams leveraging my technical and management experience, I was very interested in developing products for healthcare, an industry I knew very little about other than being frustrated as a consumer. I felt that healthcare could benefit from technology, and saw opportunities to leverage innovation in other industries to provide patients with a better consumer experience. When I was exploring new opportunities, I was fortunate to find a match with Kyruus. I didn’t start at Kyruus in my current role but was promoted due to the experience and skills I had developing and delivering enterprise-grade products, managing large teams, and process orientation which were important as Kyruus had found its product market fit and was poised to scale in terms of customers, operations, technology, and team. 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

As VP of engineering and operations at Kyruus, I lead teams across core products (full-stack Python, React, PostgreSQL, Elastic) and operations (AWS hosted microservices and SaaS SLAs) engaged in the development, deployment, and operations of cloud-native, multi-channel, enterprise-ready, market leading, patient access management SaaS applications.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

My goal after Graduate school was to obtain a PhD in Electrical Engineering and become a professor teaching signal processing. So, no I didn’t set out to build a career in industry much less in management. I think it’s important to be open to changing your mind about your dreams and aspirations, and not locking yourself too much into a distant vision of yourself. 

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

First and foremost, I think it is important to figure out what gives you satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Based on your interests, competencies you want to develop, and impact you want to have, develop a career plan. This is hard to do as the act of creating a plan forces you to think deeply and beyond just achieving a title. However, this is a hugely beneficial exercise as it gives you clarity on how to invest in your professional growth and to know you’re progressing along what matters most to you. 

Share your career plan with people you trust. If you don’t have a personal board of advisors/mentors, it’s time to create one. Talk to them about what you want to accomplish. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help and support, you may benefit from their experience and avoid some missteps.  

If you aspire to build a career in management, know that your success depends on the success of your team. Create an environment and culture that enables your team to do their best, diligently remove bottlenecks, and support them in reaching their goals.  

Continually improve your skill set and develop an area of expertise by making time for professional development, connecting with your peers, and staying on top of trends and practices in your field. Be open to changing your plan and be willing to take some risks. When looking for new opportunities, assess what you can leverage from your experience to add value and what you’ll learn from the role to find the win-win for the company and your career. Sometimes to get to where you want to go, career progression may look more like rock climbing than climbing a ladder. 

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

A passion to create value for customers and solve business problems through technology combined with the ability to translate business goals and associated technology strategy to execution is pretty important. This requires a combination of technical and business skills to be successful. 

A strong engineering discipline and metrics driven mindset is key to deliver high quality products and delightful user experiences in the most nimble, iterative, cost-effective, and timely manner possible.

Competency in talent acquisition, growth, and retention is critical to build an engaged and performing team. 

Communication and collaboration skills, and the ability to work cross-functionally with Product Management, Client Delivery, Marketing, Sales, Legal, and Finance are essential to support achieving company goals.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging?

It’s rewarding to know that through my team’s deliverables we enable patients to find access to the right care efficiently. Through Kyruus’ mission, I’m able to contribute to making healthcare better.

While some of it is due to regulatory and compliance requirements, what’s most challenging is that adoption of technology moves very slowly in healthcare relative to other industries. 

Nausheen Moulana Kyruus
Boston’s Best and Brightest Gala

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

A significant accomplishment for me is in a relatively short time, building a strong performing engineering team at Kyruus. About 65% of the team has been here since 2019. It’s exciting and humbling to have the opportunity to shape the team culture collectively to be mission-oriented, authentic, and pursuing excellence through continuous improvement. I’m happy that in collaboration with the HR and talent acquisition team, we’ve made good progress in improving diversity on the team. It’s also very satisfying for me to see that the team is engaged and committed through the positive trends in our employee net promoter scores (eNPS).

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

Kyruus organizes several volunteer opportunities throughout the year and Cradles to Crayons is one that I’ve helped with. When my kids were younger I was active with Destination Imagination and First Lego League, and I highly recommend both if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities. 

I co-chair Mass TLC’s Technology and Innovation community and help organize local events. I care deeply about mentoring and helping women-owned small businesses. So, I serve as a speaker, panelist, mentor, business and tech advisor, and host for several Boston area technical and talent events (e.g., Women In Tech, Women Who Code, Mass TLC, CWEL, CLTP, and several local meetups).  

Nausheen Moulana Kyruus
Mass TLC Talent Forum on Re-entry Into Workforce and Leadership Development

What’s next for you and your career?

I’m just getting started in healthcare and there’s still a lot to do in moving Kyruus’ mission forward. We continue to make strategic technology and infrastructure investments to innovate and scale the Kyruus platform to expand our offerings to new market segments and to better serve our customers. As a result, there continues to be an opportunity to take my technical and business skills to the next level.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Reading, cooking, and binge watching shows especially anything related to mystery and drama (PBS Masterpiece and Mystery! shows top my list). Lee Child and Martin Cruz Smith are among my go-to authors when I want to chill. Jack Reacher and Arkady Renko are my favorite protagonists from these authors! I enjoy cooking and adding my own twist to recipes.

How do you manage stress?
There are no silver bullets as some stress is good, it gets you out of your comfort zone, and in some situations helps improve your performance. But it can also get toxic if you let it spiral out of control. I manage stress by first acknowledging it. I let my family know that I’m dealing with a stressful day or situation and to leave me alone because I don’t want to take it out on people I care about. Deep breathing, meditation, going for a walk, listening to music, and watching shows that make me laugh are ways I deal with stress. I also try to get a good night’s sleep and that helps a lot.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
One. And, only if it is Bru chicory coffee.

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston?

The Boston Harborwalk. It’s just revitalizing to get fresh air and enjoy the city and harbor views.

Nausheen Moulana Kyruus
2019 Fall ProdDev Team Outing, Harborwalk Scavenger Hunt

Any book or podcast recommendations? 

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management by Will Larson is a must read for anyone aspiring to be a competent Engineering manager.

Mixergy’s Startup Stories podcast - hear from thinkers and doers that are turning ideas and passion into viable businesses. 

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Always be learning, and be curious. Invest in your professional development. Find a mentor, whether in your organization or outside. Your mentor doesn’t have to be your immediate manager, and oftentimes it’s not. Look for someone you can learn from and can guide you to develop the skills and network to be successful. 

Step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Step up to take on projects that expand your horizon and offer a degree of challenge. Don’t be afraid to take risks and fail. Learning from failure helps you develop experience and judgment. Remember that it is not the act of failing that is costly, but the failure to learn from your mistakes. 

About the
Company

Kyruus is the industry leader in provider search and scheduling solutions for health systems.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Cindy Stanton, VP, VRM Practice Leader at Rapid7 banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Cindy Stanton, VP, VRM Practice Leader at Rapid7

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Cindy Stanton, VP, VRM Practice Leader at Rapid7.


Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I grew up outside of Boston in Boxford, MA with my parents and my younger sister.  I was quite curious as a child and always interested in nature.  I would collect a bucket of seashells and then study what had lived in each shell, creating shoebox displays with my view on how they should be classified. 

I wanted to try almost anything in my youth. I enjoyed playing sports (both individual and team), playing musical instruments (the flute, oboe, and piano), and participating in school activities (plays, every academic team, German club, and an environmental club).  I think that my propensity to stay busy and being part of teams are traits that have stayed with me throughout my life and career. 

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school? 

At Dartmouth College, I studied biology modified with environmental science.  And I continued my penchant for being engaged outside the classroom.  I served as Vice President of my sorority and captain of the college’s rugby team.  I also worked in a local start-up bookstore.  At that job, we started a business creating copyright-approved packets that professors wanted their students to read (i.e., articles) beyond the textbooks that we stocked.  It was an amazing experience.  I was involved in creating an expo for other businesses that wanted to access the student market during our back to school rush and designed a database and workflows to support our business processes.  That taste of entrepreneurship influenced me greatly.  Indeed, it shifted my path from medical school to business.  I participated in on-campus recruiting and took my first post-college job as an account rep for a paper mill.  You know the television show “The Office”?  We sold to companies like Dunder Mifflin.  I was told by several people that I would never regret the sales experience.  They were correct.  It was extremely beneficial and fascinating to meet the needs of different types of companies ranging from a school that needed copy paper to the retail company trying to minimize shipping costs for catalogs to the largest publishers in New York City.  There was also a bit of a wow factor working on deals that would take fifty truckloads to deliver.

Cindy Stanton Rapid7

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today? 

I never viewed my career path as having definitive milestones and/or a linear progression.  Rather, I have always looked for a team of people I can enjoy and learn from and a challenge that I find interesting.

One obvious key moment in my career was switching from a paper mill to an Internet start-up focused on the paper industry.  At its core, this was a move from manufacturing to technology (where I have stayed ever since).  With respect to the security industry—where I have spent almost twenty years—it was more luck than long-term planning.  I took a job in security initially, because it would give me some time in London, while I applied to graduate school.  Instead I found that I really loved the security space and have since been able to partner with all sorts of companies to help them protect their businesses.

I would say most of my critical moments were the result of managers believing in me and trusting me to take on more projects and responsibility.  When I have lost track of that truth, I have made decisions to work in situations that did not necessarily propel me forward and in fact were detrimental.  It is something I have promised myself to be mindful of going forward.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am responsible for the Vulnerability Risk Management Practice at Rapid7, which includes our vulnerability management, application security, and offensive security products and services.  Rapid7 is structured into practices that are devoted to focusing on particular customer problems in the security space.  By bringing together product management, user experience, engineering, product marketing, and team members that help us map back to key cross-practice functions like Sales Engineering and Support, we are able to be highly focused on our customers getting the most value out of the solutions in each practice area.  In my role, I am responsible for our products and services meeting our promises to customers and working with my team to set our roadmap and plans to continue to evolve and delight our customers. I have an amazing team, and it is a real delight to work with them, as we set ambitious goals to improve the way customers consume our products and strive to meet them.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally?  Was it always your goal to be in this position?

A person can only foresee so far into the future.  Cybersecurity was not on my radar, when I was in college and applying for jobs.  Once I did find this market I enjoyed, I have looked for ways to explore new facets like moving to a company focused on securing Public Cloud, because I wanted to understand how that IT trend was going to impact my area.  Some of my decisions worked out, some were not as positive. However, I am so grateful for all of those experiences. I certainly am happy where I am today and am excited about what the future may bring.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

My advice would be to look for opportunities to work cross-functionally to solve problems.  I have spent most of my career in product management, which is grounded in understanding customer problems and working across teams to help solve them.  It is of critical importance to develop deep partnerships within your organization to deliver results.   I sought out a product management role out of graduate school to gain that perspective, and I found much satisfaction in those roles.

I would also advise being open to taking customer facing roles that are opportunities for impact.  These roles can help build perspective invaluable to developing the right solution and working with your peers to get that solution to customers.  And being open to opportunities to drive impact that are outside your comfort zone is always a plus. Be comfortable taking risks and be okay with admitting when those risks have not delivered your desired result, so you can change your course and get in a better situation.  Broad experiences and perspectives provide the experience to tackle a cross-functional role like the one I enjoy.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

I think the most important skills for my job are systems thinking, being data driven, and having empathy.  System thinking allows me to look at each part of our work to build and market our products and think about how it impacts the overall customer experience.  Then using data to understand those experiences, solve problems, and develop the right metrics to track our progress is critical to how we stay on track and help influence others to support our mission.  And I don’t think I can overstate how crucial empathy is to helping not only to understand what our customers need from us to get value and meet their needs, but also to be better partners internally to drive a cohesive approach across all functions to support progress for customers. 

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work?  What’s most challenging? 

What intrigued me about cybersecurity from the start was the need to evolve to meet the changing threats from human adversaries.  Over time, it has become clear that easy to use and effective solutions are the best deterrents to the majority of threats.  I have worked with many customers on the bleeding edge of technology and security, but at this stage in my career I am also really passionate about solving security problems for companies with fewer resources and skills.  Often, we are working with customers as they navigate their worst day.  Helping them respond, separate the initial fears from the reality of impact and supporting them as they plan to evolve to mitigate the threat in the future is really rewarding. 

The challenge that I like to tackle is making navigating the complex world of cybersecurity simpler for our customers. Making security more attainable to every organization is a passion of mine and an exciting challenge to take on.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I am proud of a number of moments in my career.  One that was early on, but always stays with me is working to find a new home for my team, when my first cybersecurity company in London lost funding, due to a conflict with investors rather than health of the business.  I am proud of staying focused in that turbulent time to build the case to be successfully acquired by a US based cybersecurity firm.  Our office’s success following the acquisition allowed us to quickly become 25% of overall revenue, responsible for bringing in the top commercial clients and supporting that firm’s acquisition by a large telecom.  Our team of wickedly smart penetration testers, experienced security consultants and sharp sales people came to work everyday believing we could slay dragons, and somehow we did.  I am proud of our accomplishments and also the friendships that I still cherish today.

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work? 

I genuinely do wish that I were involved in professional organizations, but there are only so many hours in a day.  I do attend local events for women’s technology and product groups.  I have two elementary school aged daughters and a 16-year-old stepson.  I find myself thinking about life as seasons, and this is a season where my commitment to my children and our community has taken precedence over professional organizations.  I am a board member of my children’s PTA, lead my oldest daughter’s girl scout troop, and manage my daughter’s sports teams (my husband serves as the coach).  I am also involved in community service programs through our church.

What’s next for you and your career?

I have been at Rapid7 for almost a year.  When I joined Rapid7, I felt like I was coming home.  I love the culture, the people and the problems we are solving for customers.  Hopefully, what is next in my career is to continue to contribute to our mission in a way that maximizes my impact for our team and my customers.  I know it sounds corny, but when you find a place that lets you be your best, you want to just stay there and do just that.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Free time is such a lovely idea! I wish there were more of it!  In my free time, I love to spend time with my family.  Whether playing or watching sports (we live very close to a college, where we are big fans of their teams), walking in the woods, or just cuddling and watching a movie, they really are the focus of my free time these days. 

Cindy Stanton Rapid7

How do you manage stress?

I should say exercise, and I have found particularly during the last month here at home, it has been a big help.  I try to stay focused on all the things that I am grateful for.  During the Coronavirus, I still have plenty of work to do.  But there is no group of people I would rather be on lockdown with than my family.

I think for me the greatest stress relief is connecting with others.  Before the lockdown, one of my best friends and I would connect for 15 minutes in the morning on our commutes.  I also have friends from my children's school that share the frustrations and help see the funny side of things.  Sharing my worries, helping someone else with theirs and trying to find humor in this crazy journey we are all on is something that helps me to manage my stress. 

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?

Zero.  I am one of those strange people that does not drink coffee.  Everyone told me it would happen in college, first job, living in Europe, graduate school, first baby, and I just never liked the taste.  I have a terrible habit of grabbing a Coke Zero in the mid-afternoon for a little jolt.  If you see me in the morning, please excuse my uncaffienated self.

What's one of your favorite places in the Boston area?

I grew up in Boston and one of the things I have loved about joining Rapid7 is getting back to Boston regularly.  Spending time in Boxford at my parents’ house with my kids is probably my favorite thing.  Having two little city kids from DC getting to roam the woods and enjoy lots of space to play has brought me a lot of joy. 

 Any book or podcast recommendations?

I do not read nearly as much as I did when I was younger.  But I do listen to podcasts, while commuting and exercising.  My favorite podcasts are SaaStr, Darknet Diaries, and Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Every role in a company is important.  Being a great team member is about not only your skill and hard work, but about how you work to make everyone on the team better and meet your shared goals.  Trust that a focus on being part of and contributing to a great team will deliver opportunity.  And remember that careers are long.  You are not in a race and oftentimes your progression is not linear, so be patient and maximize where you are versus always looking to what is next.

About the
Company

With Rapid7 technology, services, and research, organizations around the globe can break down barriers, accelerate innovation, and securely advance.

View Company Page

Pages