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

Cover Photo: 
Thumbnail Photo: 
Banner Color: 
#ed8d83
Alternate Thumbnail: 
Lead(H)er Profile - Zoe Silverman, VP of People at Yesware banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Zoe Silverman, VP of People at Yesware

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Zoe Silverman, VP of People at Yesware.


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

Northampton, Massachusetts, in what’s known as “The Happy Valley.” I’ve always been a pretty  equal combo of the blue and gold True Colors personality types. Basically, that means I’m part sensitive and emotional, and part focused and organized. 

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

I double-majored in Sociology and Leadership Studies, with a concentration in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies. My first job out of school was as an entry-level inside sales rep for a tech company in Boston that went public while I was there (thanks to me I’m sure). It was a challenging, fun, and exciting environment to be in and a great introduction the tech industry. I’m forever grateful for that experience.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I currently run our People Operations function. We do a little of everything -- from payroll and benefits, to talent acquisition, to DEI, to employee engagement -- the list goes on! I’m also part of the Executive Team. Right now we’re doing a lot of planning for 2021, so my role is to think about things like hiring, compensation, moving to remote-first, things like that. Lots of interesting problems to tackle! 

Zoe Silverman Yesware

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?

I think just be open to anything -- there are so many jobs and experiences that could contribute to a future in People Ops, you don’t necessarily have to start there (I didn’t). 

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

Emotional intelligence is by far the most important skill for me. Being able to context-switch/ multi-task different kinds of work is also important since our team works in more of a generalist approach rather than a specialist one. 

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

It’s always really rewarding when I see people advance within the company or take on new roles in other departments. That’s really the pinnacle of what we’re trying to do in People Ops - find great people and then empower them to grow with the business. At Yesware, we have people who have been promoted multiple times, we have people who have held different roles, and we have people who have been with us for many years -- all of this is what’s most rewarding to me. 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

A few that really stick out to me are: when Yesware reached gender parity and became a 50% female organization, when we won our first best place to work award, and when I was invited to join our Executive team. 


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I like to clean and organize things. That’s my gold side coming out! 

How do you manage stress?

Snuggling my dog works every time. It’s the Fritos paws. 

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

One year on my birthday I treated myself to the Tea Room at the Boston Public Library. It was magical and made me feel super fancy. Highly recommend! 

Any book or podcast recommendations?

Books -- anything by Brené Brown. Podcasts -- Hidden Brain with Shankar Vedantam on NPR.

About the
Company

Yesware is your all-in-one toolkit for sales professionals and sales teams.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Evadne Cokeh, Vice President of Social and Environmental Responsibility at ButcherBox banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Evadne Cokeh, Vice President of Social and Environmental Responsibility at ButcherBox

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Evadne CokehVice President of Social and Environmental Responsibility at ButcherBox.


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

I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles. As a child I was quiet, studious, curious, helpful and had a passion for singing. As I think about this question now, through a professional lens, there is a lot of consistency in traits that have stuck with me as I’ve navigated my career, particularly my curiosity which has lent a hand in my ability and knack for solving complex problems. 

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

I did my undergrad at Wellesley College where I majored in economics and I earned my MBA from Babson College. My first job was at Forrester Research as a research associate within the consulting firm arm of the organization working with marketing leaders. The biggest takeaway from that job was how I learned to be a business professional. I stayed a year with Forrester before taking an AmeriCorp year.

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

During my undergrad, learning about microfinance gave me my first exposure to the idea of an income-generating business model where the purpose was to make a meaningful impact and address issues of inequality. I think that exposure has shaped my career and my drive. 

I interned at a microfinance company in China which was my first experience in the non-profit world. Through that internship, I came to the realization that the non-profit world is not all rosy – it was a very eye-opening experience to the “real-world.” I learned a lot about the tensions non-profits face with funding and unfortunately saw first-hand the work that was being done versus the work that claimed to have been done. This experience made me doubt the effectiveness of non-profits.

My AmeriCorp year was great for my entrepreneurial spirit and my socially driven heart. I’ve always been drawn to wanting to address issues of injustice or inequality. In this role, I ran a college preparation program for high schoolers, a majority would be the first in their family to attend college. This experience was by far my deepest exposure to working with a very diverse community (racially, religiously, socioeconomically) and where I really developed my communication and facilitation skills. 

I did my MBA at Babson College, focusing on social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Business school was really where I had an opportunity to explore social entrepreneurship business ideas and really develop my business acumen.

I started at ButcherBox and soon took over the product development and operations as the general manager of our sister company, SmoothieBox. I always said I wanted to run a business and this experience reinforced my business acumen, enabled me to expand my ability to handle a lot of stress, managing a team. All of that work prepared me for my new role at ButcherBox. 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

As ButcherBox’s vice president of social and environmental responsibility, I focus on our strategy and initiatives related to driving forward change in animal welfare, the environment, worker welfare and farmers. I chair our internal diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee and look at how we are addressing DEI across our business. Part of my role also focuses on our corporate giving program and I also chair our internal diversity, equity, and inclusion committee.

We just became a certified B Corporation, which is an exciting milestone for our company and something that we will use to benchmark our success across all our social and environmental issues. 

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

The short answer is, yes. My career journey always has a continual search for the most effective way to push forward impact and address issues of injustice. Because ButcherBox is a privately held for-profit company, we have control over our money and can decide where that money is spent, rather than a donor, VC, or stock market dictating those decisions. I think this company structure fosters being able to do social and environmental work most effectively. It is definitely a dream to be able to drive new thinking, innovation, and business value while addressing social and environmental issues.  

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?

  • Take action to do the type of work you want to do as much as possible inside and outside of work. When I was working in positions that didn’t really allow me to make an impact on issues of injustice, I turned to volunteering. I would walk a certain neighborhood handing out cups of food that I made with a small group of other volunteers to the homeless community for years. I would give my time to tutor students in afterschool programs. All these experiences give you additional knowledge and experience that is valuable and helps you to stay in touch with what is important to you. 
  • Embrace opportunities that come your way even if it isn’t “exactly” what you want to do and learn as much as you possibly can from them. But also, don’t lose sight of what drives you, what excites you. Make sure to take time to understand what you love to do and what you are naturally good at. Part of this means trying different work, exposing yourself to different types of companies, asking and receiving feedback from people you work with/ who know you well. 
  • Do your job really well and then advocate for what you actually want to do even if it is outside of the scope of your job. If you are doing your job well, I find people are eager to give you more opportunities and responsibility. In all the jobs I’ve held I always did the job that was asked of me the best I could and in my “extra” time sought after projects and skills that I aligned with what I wanted to do. 
  • Join or start a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee at work. Getting exposure to influencing an organization is priceless. I was chairing ButcherBox’s DEI committee before stepping into my current role and I was also involved in the company’s women’s employee resource group. I got involved in influencing the company to be a more diverse and inclusive place with the structure that was available to me. 

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

The ability to break down very complex problems and tackle one piece at a time while figuring out the best way to measure them, is very important in my day to day. 

Patience, communication, empathy, and the ability to persuade are also skills that have gotten me to where I am today. I’ve spent many years honing those skills, they certainly are not skills you develop overnight. The variety of my work experiences really helped me with these skills too – which says a lot in terms of not needing a “traditional” career path to get where you want to go. 

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

Solving problems that are extremely complex and nuanced is the most rewarding, but also challenging part of my day to day. 

For a long time, the space of corporate social responsibility was primarily focused on good governance, corporate giving, and employee volunteering. What I love about social and environmental responsibility is how it can drive innovative thinking because you are forced to solve complex problems with constraints. For example, I’m working on a project right now to measure the carbon footprint of our shipping. I love that as you start to dig in and simply learn and measure—you discover so much opportunity and when you put the right metrics around your investigation you can identify really neat ways to do ROI calculations and make a business case for work that is really meaningful. 

Often times you are working on really complex problems and are taking very small steps at a time. This can make you feel like you are making no progress and making no change at all and when the work feels so urgent, this can be frustrating. To keep myself motivated, I do what I can to focus on making sure that I am taking some kind of action each day and believing that over time, there will be change. 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Starting a company, SmoothieBox, and leading my small team. I was very proud of the team I built. We had a lot of trust, had a lot of fun, really supported each other, and helped each other grow. I am proud of the obstacles I had to overcome to get the business off the ground (had a manufacturer drop us in the middle of product development, had to work through a lot of staffing challenges, figured out the product from scratch and launched within 8 months—a ridiculous timeline). 

A close second, which is a combination of a personal and professional accomplishment, was the mentoring relationship I had with a student, who was the first in his family to go to college. We met because I was running a college preparation program. Early on in my relationship with this student, he was very closed off and not willing to share much of what was going on in school or at home, which made it difficult to do things such as assist him with writing his college essay. I did my best to be consistent and present and over time our trust grew. So much so that one year, he joined me and my friends for Thanksgiving dinner one year!

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

I volunteer with Tutoring Plus, which is one of the longest-running out-of-school time academic programs for Cambridge students. I tutor a 9th grader, which has really been testing my Spanish skills!


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Spending time outside—hiking, biking, rock climbing, kayaking.

How do you manage stress?

I spend as much time as I can outdoors to manage stress and center myself around my core values.

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

Just one!

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

Walden Pond. Based on my answers above, it should be no surprise that I love spending time outside. Walden Pond is an incredibly beautiful outdoor space, it is also one of my favorite places to swim locally. I feel at ease when I arrive there, it is just so peaceful.

Any book or podcast recommendations?

Patagonia’s The Responsible Company— It is an amazing book to learn about how to balance environmental responsibility while running a business.

I’m currently reading Braiding Sweetgrass and So You Want to Talk About Race and highly recommend both!

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
While you're looking for jobs, don’t be afraid to talk with people at organizations you admire for informational interviews. Things internally don’t always match up with what you might see externally and it’s good to get a sense of those types of things before you accept a job offer!

About the
Company

Founded in 2015, ButcherBox™ began with a simple mission to make high-quality meat more accessible to all. The company soon discovered that meant more than delivering 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, pork raised crate-free, and sustainably sourced seafood, it meant rethinking the country’s food system. ButcherBox is in pursuit of a better way, one that’s focused on animal welfare, supporting farmers, treating the planet with respect and upholding diversity, equity, and inclusion across its business.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Lynne Capozzi, Chief Marketing Officer at Acquia banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Lynne Capozzi, Chief Marketing Officer at Acquia

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Lynne Capozzi, CMO at Acquia.


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

I grew up in Tewksbury, Massachusetts and now live north of the city. I would describe myself as an athletic and social child. My parents instilled the importance of hardwork so I had jobs early on and that lesson has stayed with me throughout my career, helping me rise to the role of CMO. 

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

I attended Suffolk University where I studied business management. My first job out of college was working at a computer store running the training classes. 

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

I got my start doing classroom training on software, moved into a sales engineer role, and eventually joined marketing at Lotus Development where I found a passion for the field. I worked my way up to become a general manager of a product division and vice president of marketing at Lotus. After Lotus was acquired by IBM, I worked there for another two years before hitting the startup circuit. I ended my time at IBM as the vice president and general manager of the Internet Applications Division.

After IBM, I got bit by the startup bug again and served in a few chief marketing officer roles at Systinet, which was acquired by Mercury Interactive, and JackBe, which was acquired by Software AG, before coming to Acquia, first in 2008 and again in 2016.

Mine is a ricochet story with first joining Acquia in 2008, then leaving in 2011 to run a non- profit and returning in 2016.  While in my non-profit position, Acquia grew from a startup to a company with some 800 employees. Between my two-part tenure at Acquia, I observed many changes in the marketing technology world and was excited to learn that marketing was moving to be much more data-driven, especially with analytics tools and CRMs.

I came back to Acquia because I fell in love with the company again - everything from its culture to its people and the technology. The company’s needs had evolved and I felt I could make a significant impact with my passion and expertise for data and measurement. I have seen the role of the CMO change from a focus on creativity to data and technology tools and I think that moving forward there will be more consolidation in marketing, machine learning will play a major role in digital content marketing and we will find that digital transformation is more than a buzzword, especially in light of the pandemic. 

What is your current role and responsibilities?

As Acquia’s chief marketing officer, I oversee all global marketing functions including digital marketing, demand generation, operations, vertical strategy, analyst relations, content and corporate communications at the company.

Lynne Capozzi Acquia

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

Not at all! I actually thought I was going to be a lawyer.

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?

Set the goals, be diverse in what positions you take and put yourself in positions where you can experience different parts of marketing. I believe it’s important to have exposure to all of the marketing functions and various roles that make a marketing organization, and the entire company, successful. 

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

Leadership skills, financial planning and budgeting come top of mind, but also an understanding of all parts of marketing and sales, and how the two functions work together. We have shared goals with our sales organization to ensure that we are all working toward one common goal and are holding each other accountable. We’ve even gone as far as restructuring our kickoff to include the entire marketing department and have turned it into Sales and Marketing kickoff to help inspire both groups to achieve their goals. 

Also, compassion and a little bit of competitiveness in the role doesn’t hurt! 

Lynne Capozzi Acquia

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

Interesting/rewarding → the pace, variety, and changing market conditions. Growth in digital networking with other CMOs and learning from peers.

Most challenging → finding talent, growing talent, and once trained, how do you retain them? 

Explosion of marketing tools - finding right tech and the right people to use.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Being key member of exec team in former role where we sold company (prominent role, key exec member) 

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

Yes, I am heavily involved with a number of organizations that I care about and work to make a difference. I am a Trust Board Member at Boston Children’s Hospital, on the Advisory Board at Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, Chair of the Board of Directors at West Parish Garden Cemetery, and a Community Volunteer at Bellesini Academy. 


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Spending time with family, hiking, skiing, and running! 

How do you manage stress?

Working out and maintaining a positive attitude.

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

I typically pour about four cups a day but only end up drinking two of those.

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

Fenway Park 

Any book or podcast recommendations?  (professional or fun)

A good friend of mine and former Acquian, Tom Wentworth, has launched a podcast “Scaleup Marketing.” It’s a weekly podcast focused on B2B marketing at scale-up companies, covering the strategy and tactics it takes to win at $100m ARR and beyond. Definitely worth a listen!

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

I’m a big believer in doing internships while you’re in college. We have a great partnership with Northeastern’s Co-Op program that is not only extremely

beneficial for the college students to gain critical work experience, but has been a tremendous help for the various teams within our marketing organizations! 
Also, I often tell people that their career paths won’t be linear. It’s important to be open to new opportunities, roles, and industries. Gain as much experience and knowledge as possible and if you are no longer passionate about the role or work you are doing, try something new! 

About the
Company

Whether you are a dreamer, doer, maker or builder, we make it possible for every Acquian to thrive and make a lasting impact.

View Company Page
24 Impressive Women Leaders in Tech banner image

24 Impressive Women Leaders in Tech

As part of our Lead(H)er series, we have had the great privilege of interviewing so many incredibly talented women who are founders or executives at some of the fastest growing companies in the vibrant startup scene.

They’ve told us about everything from the challenges, successes, and surprises of their careers to how many cups of coffee it takes to get through a day, so take a look at our list of the talented women we’ve spotlighted this year.


Jill Wiseman

“From childhood, my goal in life has always been to be successful. I’m extremely competitive and want to be #1 in anything I do, whether that’s sports, business, or anything else. I think that attitude could have taken me anywhere -- but I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d end up as a VP of Sales.”

Check out the full Article   View examity's Jobs


Carolyn Pampino Brightcove

“Bring your whole human to work. Create a psychologically safe work environment and set goals. Then trust your team to use their wisdom. Laugh. Celebrate. Cry if you have to, and watch how much more you get done together.”

Check out the full Article   View brightcove's Jobs


Bridget Gleason Tidelift

"This isn’t where I thought I would be professionally, but only because I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I have always sought out interesting and challenging positions with interesting and innovative companies. My goal remains the same: to do meaningful work with like-minded people who are trying to make a difference in the world. ”

Check out the full Article   View tidelift's Jobs


Suzy Peled CyberArk

“I grew with the company. I have many friends here who’ve been my friends for a seriously long time now. I believe there is such a thing as “the CyberArk DNA”, and that it sets us apart from other organizations. So looking at the Company, the way it keeps evolving, makes me very proud. I see the fingerprints of the many people I know and love on it, as well as my own.”

Check out the full Article   View cyberark's Jobs


Kim Simone Constant Contact

“Be committed to learning, work hard every day and be open to the opportunities that come your way. And don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. If you’re not making some mistakes, you’re probably not working hard enough. ”

Check out the full Article   View constant contact's Jobs


Potoula Chresomales Skillsoft

“Find something you’re passionate about. There’s nothing like getting up to go to work when your passion and work are aligned. Every day is a joy.”

Check out the full Article   View skillsoft's Jobs


Erica Smith CyberArk

“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.”

Check out the full Article   View cyberark's Jobs


Nancy Liberman JRNI

“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.”

Check out the full Article   View jrni's Jobs


Heather Bentley Mimecast

“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."

Check out the full Article   View mimecast's Jobs


Bela Labovitch athenahealth

“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.”

Check out the full Article   View athenahealth's Jobs


Nausheen Moulana Kyruus

“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.  ”

Check out the full Article   View kyruus' Jobs


Cindy Stanton Rapid7

“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.”

Check out the full Article   View rapid7's Jobs


Joanne Wu CyberArk

“Whether you are looking at Business Development or not:  build up your network. Your network is an asset that will be with you for life; it will follow you wherever you go.  If you are in Business Development or Sales, it can be an essential asset to furthering your business. If you are not in Business Development, you will develop contacts and friendships that may last for life.”

Check out the full Article   View cyberark's Jobs


Jennifer Sartor Poppulo

“Hands down, my proudest moments are those where I’ve been able to contribute to the growth members of my team members, colleagues and mentees. Seeing them achieve career success is incredibly gratifying.”

Check out the full Article   View poppulo's Jobs


Laura Major Motional

“Follow your passion first and foremost and keep your eyes out for creative ways to align your passion with significant needs across society. ” 

Check out the full Article   View motional's Jobs


Melissa Herman Wellframe

“My proudest accomplishment has been the growth and success of Wellframe over the last 4 years.  When I initially joined the company, we had about 30 employees, and were seeing early traction in the market.  Three years later, in 2019, we started to experience amazing progress and recognition as the model started to come together.”

Check out the full Article   View wellframe's Jobs


Michelle Wong Jackpocket

“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.”

Check out the full Article   View jackpocket's Jobs


Tzipi Avioz Mirakl

“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.”

Check out the full Article   View mirakl's Jobs


Mary Beth Vassallo Nexthink

“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.”

Check out the full Article   View nexthink's Jobs


Jess Riley Pathai

“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.” 

Check out the full Article   View pathai's Jobs


Jenny Kim DeSmyter SS&C Eze

“Being able to help/inspire/mentor others directly or indirectly is probably the most rewarding part of my job. There are different ways to find fulfillment in your career. I realized early on that it's rewarding to impact one individual's path at a time in my industry.”

Check out the full Article   View ss&c eze's Jobs


Jackie Hazan EditShare

“Never stop learning and don’t ask for permission. Too often I hear employees say they are waiting to be told they are ready to move up or waiting for permission to jump into a new project.”

Check out the full Article   View editshare's Jobs


Vinda Souza Bullhorn

“Focus on adding meaning to the world and pursuing what makes you happy and fulfilled, not following someone else’s dreams or trying to meet abstract expectations.”

Check out the full Article   View bullhorn's Jobs


Laura Tomaino HealthEdge

“My proudest professional accomplishment had been building the HealthEdge Human Resources function, from a box of loose leaf papers on my first day to a robust and engaged team that is recognized by its peers and external organizations as being innovative, supportive, thoughtful, and inquisitive about being an employer of choice.”

Check out the full Article   View healthedge's Jobs

Lead(H)er Profile - Laura Tomaino, VP of People and Culture at HealthEdge banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Laura Tomaino, VP of People and Culture at HealthEdge

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Laura Tomaino, VP of People and Culture at HealthEdge.


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

I grew up in Massachusetts, then moved to Vermont when I was 11 years old. I am told I was a shy but determined, inquisitive, and well behaved child. I remembering wanting to be involved in things and make a difference and help others. I believed this desire to help sparked my interest in HR.

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

In college, I remained undecided until late into my sophomore year when I finally declared business management my major.  Due to an internship in Human Resources the summer before I also committed to doing a minor in “Human Relations and Work”. My first job out of college was a Human Resources Representative/Executive Assistant at Dartmouth College working directly for our CHRO and supporting her calendar and pet project initiatives.

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

After leaving Dartmouth I moved to Boston and worked in HR at Harvard University. While at Harvard I held two distinct generalist positions which gave me wonderful opportunities to learn from many different people and on many topics. After 6 years, I wanted to try something new and seized a risky but great opportunity to join a startup called HealthEdge. It was here that I experienced tremendous career growth due to the opportunity to build out the department from scratch. The most critical moment in my career was when I requested time with our new CEO at HealthEdge and was able to lift the HR function from compliance/ perfunctory to strategic. By the end of that meeting, we made a commitment to build a company and focus our leadership around being an employer of choice. I am still at HealthEdge learning and growing as we take on the new exciting challenge of being PE-backed and acquiring companies ourselves.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am the VP of People and Culture at HealthEdge. I am surrounded by an amazing team of HR and TA professionals. Overall we drive the organizations focus on employee engagement and ensure our practices support our goal of being an employer of choice. I personally partner across the organization doing strategic workforce planning, nurturing our organization's talent, helping build resilient and high performing teams, and M&A.

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

Yes, I think so. As a kid, I knew I wanted to end up doing something where I could help people.  Today I spend a lot of time trying to build strong teams and solve the puzzle of how best to motivate and engage our people to take on our newest challenges. I find this work very gratifying.

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?

Join SHRM, and NEHRA, learn about employment law and listen to your instincts. I am also a big believer in learning more about your weaknesses and how to build upon your strengths. When you get an opportunity to build a team around you hire people that inspire you and that you can learn from (not just lead).

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

Empathy, Courage, Business Acumen, Resilience  

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

My favorite thing, or the thing I find most interesting about my work is interviewing candidates for open positions, I love unlocking what makes them tick and identifying not just how their skills match the open position but also who they are and what their style is. One of the most challenging opportunities I face is supporting and coaching teams through change. While change is constant it can still be very hard to work through and it is important to go slow and listen.  

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

My proudest professional accomplishment had been building the HealthEdge Human Resources function, from a box of loose leaf papers on my first day to a robust and engaged team that is recognized by its peers and external organizations as being innovative, supportive, thoughtful, and inquisitive about being an employer of choice.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Getting outside – hiking, boating, playing with my kids

Listening to podcasts, audible, or TedTalks – I am a nerd. I also enjoy keeping my sourdough alive and baking for my friends and family.

How do you manage stress?

When I am passionate about something I dive in and can easily lose track of time. Time eludes me and being overcommitted is typically the cause of my stress. To manage that stress I make lists and just start. I value productivity and so the momentum from starting typically gets me out of the stress funk. It is also really helpful to remind myself of all the great people around me (my family or team at work) that are ready to help.

How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
0 before kids – as many as I need now 😊

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

My favorite spot in Boston is the North End. The pasta, the desserts, the culture, and celebrations!

Any book or podcast recommendations? 
My favorite business book is “Go Giver” by John David Mann & Bob Burg

My favorite podcasts right now are “Unlocking Us” with Brene Brown AND Adam Grants “Worklife”. 

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
Be patient with your career. Focus on being really good at the job you are in. When you have your work well managed and all is going well ask your boss what you can do to help take something off his/her plate- this will give you insight into what might be next and position you well for advancement.

About the
Company

HealthEdge is an innovative software company that provides the only integrated financial, administrative and clinical software platform for healthcare payors.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Laura Major, Chief Technology Officer at Motional banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Laura Major, Chief Technology Officer at Motional

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Laura Major, Chief Technology Officer at Motional.


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

I grew up in Naples, Florida.  My parents would’ve politely described me as “curious” (I asked a lot of questions), and my friends would’ve called me competitive.  I was heavily involved in sports, and played basketball, volleyball and fast-pitch softball.

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

From a young age, I was interested in STEM.  I was drawn to space and then robotics.  Specifically I developed an interest in how to bring autonomous systems, or robots - unmanned aerial vehicles or ground robots - more naturally into our daily lives.  

For my undergraduate, this led me to Georgia Tech’s Industrial and Systems Engineering program, where I studied under Professor Amy Pritchett, a world-leading expert in aerospace engineering, and a pioneer in human-robot interaction. This cemented, but didn’t satiate my curiosity - so I then went on to the Aeronautics and Astronautics department at MIT, where I focused on human and autonomous design in air transportation systems. 

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’s most frightening, most uncertain moments have also been its most defining.  Two moments come to mind - the moment I became a mom, and the moment I became an aspiring writer.

My children are today, 7 and 4.  If you’ve come within 100 feet of a toddler, you’re probably doing the math and wincing as you realize that meant I had an infant, a threenager, and a big full-time job. I love nothing more than being a mom - but it’s hard.  Especially when you’re a young, female leader in a male-dominated field.

Laura Major Motionak

I was at a peak in my career; I had established a new technical team and developed a research program to change the way information is gathered and shared across many national security applications.  But I made the tough decision to temporarily step back and give myself time to focus on my family.  I moved to a three-day week, left my role building and leading a big technical team, and shifted to a commercially-focused role shaping new opportunities with DARPA.  It was risky, it was different, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  That role forced me out of my comfort zone.  It taught me strategy, business and communications skills that opened doors I’d walk through shortly afterwards, and become the CTO of Motional.

The second defining moment was an invitation to speak at an elite small gathering of the world’s foremost experts in robotics, automation and machine learning, called MARS.  This isn’t the kind of presentation you throw together on the flight over - no, it’s the kind of presentation you spend weeks or months preparing for.  And I did.  And as I did, I realized I had a lot more to say - about a book’s worth.  That book comes out in a month, and I had not taken on the truly terrifying challenge of speaking in front of the heroes in my field, I’m not sure it would exist.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I’m the Chief Technology Officer at Motional.  I lead a team of hundreds, and all of the engineering and technical program management that’s required to make self-driving cars a reality.

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

I always imagined myself leading large teams and making an impact on the world.  I just didn’t know where or how. There was one engineer in my family, my great uncle.  He was a civil engineer and all that I knew about engineering, until I went to college, I learned from him.  He had a major impact in the housing industry, by inventing the Gang-Nail connector plate and then launching an international business.  Though I quickly learned I didn’t share his passion for civil engineering, he inspired me to pursue engineering as an avenue to make a significant positive impact on the world.

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

To be successful in developing a first-of-its-kind technology, you need to focus on three critical areas: building and empowering a strong team, defining and continually refining an inspiring vision for the technology roadmap and solution, and honing strong problem-solving skills to see you through the many challenges you’ll face as a leader.


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I spend all of my free time with my two kids.  I love being present with them and exploring their interests.  We read, we hike, we swim, we see friends, and we generally have fun. In the evenings between my meetings in the US and my late-night teleconferences with our teams in Asia, you’ll often find me on the floor building legos with my 7 year-old or at the kid-sized art table working on a project with my 4-year-old.

Laura Major Motiona;

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

I try to stop at two.  But if I’ve had a sleepless night because of work stress or sick child, I’ll allow myself a third.

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

I’ve fallen for Cape Cod.  I spend most of my time in the city and I enjoy the energy and access to so many activities and amazing people.  But escapes to Brewster and Chatham have been good for my soul.  There’s tremendous natural beauty, and such diversity from the crashing waves and severe sand dunes on the ocean side, to the mile long low tide revealing interesting sea creatures on the bayside. We’ve discovered breathtaking hikes, taken up water sports - and it’s all less than two hours from our house in Boston.  

Any book or podcast recommendations? 
 
Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

Follow your passion first and foremost and keep your eyes out for creative ways to align your passion with significant needs across society. 

About the
Company

Motional is making driverless vehicles a safe, reliable, and accessible reality.

View Company Page
Lead(H)er Profile - Melissa Herman, Chief Financial Officer at Wellframe banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Melissa Herman, Chief Financial Officer at Wellframe

Open Jobs Company Page

Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the Tech Industry.  In this Q&A, we are featuring Melissa Herman, Chief Financial Officer at Wellframe.


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

I grew up in South Jersey, and was a true child of the 80s that was obsessed with reading encyclopedias, acting out WWF moves, and taking long bike rides until the sun went down. At 11, I secured my first job by convincing my neighbor to give me his paper route.  When I was 16, I took a job at a local market.  A year later, not only did I know how to make some of the best hoagies in the Philadelphia area, I was promoted to shift leader and trusted with the keys to the safe. Thinking back now, my excitement over holding those keys should have been a sign that I was destined for a finance career!

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

I studied Economics at Rutgers University, and had secured a full time job in a stockbroker apprentice program in the NYC suburbs.  In my first year, we experienced a recession and 9/11.  It was a difficult time for the markets, and a sensitive time to prospect for new clients.  We were a small regional firm, and we pivoted to use our time and cold calling skills to plan and publicize a fundraising event to benefit first responders, and to source necessary supplies for the K-9 units at Ground Zero.  This experience was my first exposure to the positive impact that companies can make in their communities, and that has stayed with me, 20 years later.

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

After my first year in sales, I transitioned into a client services role at an online trading platform startup based in Jersey City.  I loved the job, and the technology focus of the company, but in my second month they announced that they were being acquired.  Rather than start a third job in the NYC area, I used my severance pay to move to Phoenix, which was experiencing rapid growth.  Once settled, I enrolled in an evening Masters program at Arizona State, which opened the door for me to transition from financial services to an FP&A analyst role at Intel. Intel took me from Phoenix to San Francisco, and right before the 2008 crisis, I started a 6 year stint at Riverbed Technology, a network optimization company well positioned for the recession.

Halfway through my time at Riverbed, I relocated to Cambridge, and had the opportunity to lead finance for our fastest growing business units.  The business units were born out of multiple acquisitions, including one for $1B, and I learned a lot from the entrepreneurs on those teams.

In 2014, after a decade of working for publicly traded companies based on the West Coast, I returned to the startup world. I joined ObserveIT, a cybersecurity software company originally headquartered in Tel Aviv, and then Iora Health, a primary care provider based in Boston.  My transition to healthcare in 2016 was another key shift.  Wellframe’s mission has been a great fit for me - I love applying my prior experience from early stage companies and the technology world to help people get the care and support they need, when and where they need it.  

Melissa Herman Wellframe

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am currently the Chief Financial Officer at Wellframe, and responsible for Finance, Accounting, Business Operations, People and Culture, IT / Security, and Legal / Compliance.  When I initially joined the company, many of our administrative functions were outsourced, so I have been blessed with the opportunity to build a high performing team from scratch.

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

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a crossing guard, then a veterinarian, and then Jerry McGuire.  I initially started college as a sports management major, but transitioned over to Economics during my sophomore year.  Once I started in my first FP&A role at Intel, I knew I had found what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.  As I made a series of moves to progressively smaller companies, I was able to take on larger roles in Finance, and eventually bridge out into other related areas - first Sales Operations, then Accounting, then HR, and then all other administrative and compliance functions.  I had always had a goal of solving challenging problems and helping others, but I didn’t find my path until 4 years into my career.

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?

Build a great team of experts, and then trust them to do their jobs.  I would also emphasize the importance of the first hire that you make at a new company.  At two of my startups, I was pregnant when I joined the company, and I knew that my first hire would not only need to learn the company quickly, but also cover parts of my role within the next 6 months.  In both cases, I looked for someone who had the right experience, but also the comfort and desire to take on ownership.  The first few members of your team are the core of your future organization.

An emerging finance leader should also trust their experience and instincts.  While you may not be an operational expert in every area, you know more than you think you do - and if you are open to doing the work to learn and fill in the gaps, you can easily add value.

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

In order to do a finance job well, I would recommend that you focus on adaptability, relationship building and quality of analysis. If your finance career takes you to an early stage company, I would suggest also focusing on grit, talent assessment and confidence.  At smaller companies, the finance role can blend into other operational areas, and it is important to be able to source reliable data quickly, and make decisions in areas where you have less experience. 

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

The answer is the same - the variety!  Our company is engaged in an evolving space at a very unique time.  When the external dynamics are combined with internal growth and expansion, it can be an incredibly exciting experience.  While no day is the same, and there is no boredom, it can be challenging to carve out time for longer term projects, and we need to pivot frequently.  It is important to have a team that can handle ambiguity and thrive in changing times.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment has been the growth and success of Wellframe over the last 4 years.  When I initially joined the company, we had about 30 employees, and were seeing early traction in the market.  Three years later, in 2019, we started to experience amazing progress and recognition as the model started to come together.  We were recognized as a Deloitte Fast500 company for our growth, a Boston Business Journal Best Places to Work for our culture, but most importantly, we were seeing increased impact delivered to our customers and their members.  While I was excited that my work had helped us to get to this series of wins, I was most proud of how thrilled that my team was to see their efforts pay off in a big way.

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

Professionally, I am a member of the CFO Leadership Council, and was honored to be invited to participate in their Emerging Leader program last year.  Personally, I am most passionate about volunteering with organizations that support and mentor women and girls, including the Junior League of Boston, Science Club for Girls, and the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.  Volunteering has been an important part of my life in Boston, and I have worked to incorporate my interests in community impact into Wellframe’s company culture.  I am the sponsor of an employee-led initiative called Wellframe Cares, which matches our volunteers with local non-profit organizations such as More Than Words, Catie’s Closet and Community Servings.

Melissa Herman Wellframe

Melissa Herman Wellframe

What’s next for you and your career?

I am excited about the opportunities ahead for Wellframe, as we prepare for the next stage of growth.  I will be attending MIT Sloan’s Executive MBA program this fall, and I am looking forward to learning new models and frameworks that I can apply at the company.  I have also been focusing more time on networking and learning from others.  One of the things that I love the most about Boston is that it is a small community, and very supportive and collaborative. 


Q&A

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Spending time with my family - we have a 3 year old son and a 5 year old daughter.  We love being outside and exploring new places.  I also enjoy working on my family tree - the role of family historian was handed down to me from my grandmother a few years ago.  The research is essentially a series of puzzles and matching problems that can be very satisfying to solve.  My current project is to work on documenting my husband’s Ukrainian family history for our kids.

Melissa Herman Wellframe

How do you manage stress?

Laughter.  There can be many setbacks and frustrating moments as you work with your team to build a company.  Finding the humor in it can be a healthy release.  I have also had to learn to fully unplug during this time when work/life integration is at its peak.  It is hard to be home with the kids during the week, but not be able to spend time with them.  For the first time in many years, I am no longer working on weekends, as I need them to know some time is only theirs.

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

Usually 2-3!  Although I am not originally from New England, I have adapted to drinking iced coffee year round, even in the dead of winter.  

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

One of my favorite places in Boston is the Rose Kennedy Greenway area.  It is a great place to eat lunch outside during the work week, and it really comes to life in the summer.

Any book or podcast recommendations?

I am currently reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde.  The latter is with the women’s book club at Wellframe.  Both of these books have provided interesting insights for leading and relating to others in this unique time.

What advice do you have for recent college graduates?

All experience is valuable, and you can find something in every role that can be used later.  In my first role in sales, I learned how to build relationships, extract the needs of my clients and prospects, and communicate my point quickly.  These skills served me well as I transitioned to corporate finance, and was partnering with busy executives in other areas of the business.  

I would also suggest that you ask a lot of questions, and try to learn as much as you can about what is happening at your companies.  Later in your career, it can be helpful to reference how your companies addressed certain challenges, or accomplished something exceptional.  As a last tip, I would suggest that recent graduates not be shy about asking for advice and help from others.  It can be intimidating to ask someone to enter a formal mentor relationship, however, almost everyone can make time for coffee or tea, and then it is on you to follow up!

About the
Company

Wellframe strategically partners with health plans nationwide to reimagine the relationship between plans and members.

View Company Page
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 offers the industry’s first and most advanced enterprise marketplace SaaS platform. With Mirakl, organizations across B2B and B2C industries can launch marketplaces faster, grow bigger, and operate with confidence as they exceed rising customer expectations. 

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

Pages