Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in a small town in South Carolina. As a child, I was fairly shy and not comfortable having the spotlight on me. But as I approached my teens, I grew out of my shell. In high school I founded our first volunteer based service club, was Senior Class Vice President, and was voted Most Friendly. To this day, I find that while I’m fairly extroverted, I’m not someone who relishes being the center of attention.
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
I went to the University of South Carolina and double majored in Marketing and Business Management. I’m not sure I had the foresight at the age of 18 to know that I wanted a career in marketing, but the leadership roles I carried in high school helped me find my interest in business.
When I graduated, I joined a company called Belden as a part of their Leadership Development Program for sales and marketing. My first role was an Inside Sales Representative where I learned the ins and outs of electrical cabling and connectivity. It was great to gain the experience of carrying a quota, building relationships, and learning value based selling.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
I spent four years at Belden. Three of those years I rotated through various individual contributor roles including sales, partner marketing, and product marketing. I spent my final year with the company leading product marketing, content, design, and lead qualification/development. After leaving Belden, I moved to a Product Marketing role at Trustpilot. After a few years, I was promoted to oversee Demand Generation for the US, and with time had global Content, Digital, and Marketing Operations added to my plate.
I feel very lucky to have had considerable career progression at both of my previous companies.
As I reflect on how I’ve progressed in my career, I attribute a lot of my success to saying “yes” to new opportunities and additional work responsibilities. I’ve always tried to play the long game when it comes to my career, meaning filling in gaps in responsibilities, even if it's not technically a part of my role and thinking of them as opportunities to learn something new. This approach has sometimes come at the expense of appropriate compensation, title, or credit, but I believe it has enabled me to learn new skills and gain expertise in various areas of marketing and beyond.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
I’m currently the VP of Marketing at Ordergroove, the leading subscription platform for retail and eCommerce businesses. My responsibilities include developing a high performing team, accelerating sales growth through demand generation and qualification, creating content and messaging that positions our brand as a market leader, and enabling and engaging our partner ecosystem.
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
I’ve always enjoyed all areas of marketing, leading teams, helping people develop professionally, and building things from the ground up. I also really enjoy marketing to marketers and being in the eCommerce space. Reflecting back, the stars seemed to have aligned.
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 single biggest piece of advice I have for someone looking to lead a department or team is to be open to trying new things, not be afraid of taking on new responsibilities, and take risks. While it’s absolutely important to set boundaries for your workload and mental health, if you have interest in leading a team then getting hands-on experience in the various areas you want to oversee will allow you to better connect the dots so you can create a holistic strategy and empathize with your team.
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
At the moment, the ability to think strategically but act tactically is key to making consistent progress toward our long-term goals. Vision of where the market is going and how to best position the business is critical, along with the ability to analyze and interpret data. I also think the ability to be flexible and resilient is critical for Marketing leaders to be successful. It's not uncommon for businesses to pivot, especially at an earlier stage, and marketing leaders need to be ready and willing to adjust their strategy and plans with it.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?
Watching my team drive toward critical business outcomes is by far the most rewarding. We’re a new team, but over the last few months we’ve started hitting our stride and setting records when it comes to lead and pipeline generation.
The most challenging part of my job right now is figuring out what we’re not going to do or what we’re not going to perfect. The perfectionist in me doesn’t like launching things that are incomplete or imperfect, but it allows us to learn faster through tests and iterations.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Pre-COVID, I enjoyed traveling, exploring new neighborhoods with my husband in NYC, and spending time with friends and family. Nowadays, my free time is spent more on cooking and baking.
How do you manage stress?
Talking through business challenges with my husband, mentors, or members of my network helps me gain new perspectives and crystalize my thoughts. I lean on my network and mentors to turn my stress into solutions. Spending time with friends and family usually helps me stay grounded and refocus on the important things in life.
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
Usually just one. If I’m having a second cup of coffee then it’s likely been a long day.
Any book or podcast recommendations?
I’m a Kara Swisher fan, so I enjoy listening to Pivot and Sway podcasts. I also enjoy a good murder mystery podcast. And my favorite book that I’ve listened to on tape recently was Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime.
What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
Don’t settle, but also don’t wait for the perfect job. Trying new things and figuring out what you enjoy and don’t enjoy is key to eventually landing a role you’ll be happy and successful in long-term. And failing is a part of the process.