Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in a small suburb outside of Hartford, Connecticut. Looking back I would describe myself as a well-rounded kid. I was always focused on doing well in school and bringing home good grades. If I didn’t have my nose in a book, I was usually running around playing with other kids in my neighborhood. I was the type of kid who got along easily with others, I was friends with everybody rather than just one particular group.
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
I studied business and marketing at the University of Connecticut. I was always very interested in marketing because it was something that allowed me to be creative, and I am fascinated to learn what makes people buy certain products. Right out of college I was very intent on getting an actual marketing job, not just any job. I hunted for a while until I found an entry-level job at a small startup called Excel Switching that was looking for help in marketing. I was the first marketing person at that company so I was given the opportunity to learn all aspects of marketing from day one.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
As time went on, the startup I was originally working for brought in additional marketing professionals. This gave me the opportunity to have many talented bosses who helped propel my career as the company grew to over 900 people. I also had many mentors, and one who was pivotal introduced me to the idea of a partner program and together she and I built the partner program for that company. This gave me opportunities to travel and build partner marketing programs. Looking back, that experience was the key moment that transformed my general marketing career into one that was focused on partnerships and alliances. To this day I am still thankful to her!
What is your current role and responsibilities?
Currently, I am Vice President of Partner and International Marketing for Wasabi. I am responsible for marketing to, through and with Wasabi’s partners. My team and I work to recruit technology alliance partners where our products are complementary, and we then take those partnerships and drive a better story together. We then go out and recruit their channel partners. Along the way, we are building a sea of evangelists of the Wasabi product. On the international side, we basically walk through the same process but from an international partner perspective. We work with the broader marketing team to build the brand and create content, along with all the other wonderful things that are used to promote the brand overall. I enjoy the role because it is both fun and challenging. I get to work with very talented people and do something different every day.
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
I am not the type that had a set specific goal in mind, especially when I was younger. I always knew that I wanted a job that would challenge me but also be fun at the same time. It was important to me that I worked with great people and this path took me to where I am now. Looking back, I am exactly where I want to be at this stage of my life. I think it is important to have the ability to roll with the punches and make adjustments along the way. You never know what opportunities will arise and where they will take you.
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, it is important to be able to work well with others. It may sound overly simple but it is important to be inclusive and respectful to everyone no matter their level or title. It is also important to never adopt the mindset that you know everything, no matter what your title is. I would advise someone just starting out in their career to recognize that you are never done learning because your industry, technology, products, processes, and people will always be changing. Marketing has completely changed and gone inbound digital since I started my career and I had to adapt. You have to always be able to adjust and learn along the way.
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
Communication is the most important skill that comes to mind. Over-communicate and communicate often. And be diplomatic. In each partnership, some people have different timelines and styles than you and you may not always see eye to eye. But if you are patient and open you can come to a solution that all are happy with.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?
I love our creative marketing and voice at Wasabi. Telling our story in a fun and interesting way through social campaigns, our Migrate with Nate campaign and more makes Wasabi a fun company to work for. We are very marketing-driven, and while many tech companies underfund marketing, I’d say we fund it well. One of the most challenging parts of my job is finding patience. Some companies we work with are big companies and don’t want to give you the time of day or they are on a different timeline than we are.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
My instinct tells me my proudest moment is happening right now. At Wasabi we launched a partner network that has tripled in the last few years and continues to grow so rapidly. So much has gone into it including digital marketing automation which constantly feeds the sales team with leads and new partnerships to activate. We are building an A+ team which is our best asset.
Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?
I wish, but as a mother of twin girls, that’s what keeps me busy outside of work.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love going to the beach and being active - hiking, biking, skiing, yoga. I really love cooking, and I did lots of it especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of my favorite new recipes that I made recently is roasted salmon with honey-mustard pecan crust.
How do you manage stress?
Taking my dog for daily walks and going to yoga every week keeps me sane. I think it is important to take time away from work, kids, etc., and focus on yourself.
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
I usually have one giant cup of coffee every day.
What's one of your favorite places in the Boston?
Legal Harborside is one of my top favorites. They have everything I love - seafood, great gluten-free options, ocean views and so much more.
Any book or podcast recommendations?
The Power of Habit is a must-read. I love that book because it helps you think about how you operate and how your brain uses more energy when you are out of habit. It applies to pretty much every aspect of life.
What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
Don’t settle for any job. Go out and find the one that is the best fit for you, even if it takes time. Also, use your network, and don’t be afraid to reach out. I’d be impressed if a college grad reached out to me and asked about partner marketing.