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.
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!
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.
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?
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!