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What Company are you currently working for and what is your role?
Zebra Technologies, Chief Marketing Officer. I have responsibility for leading the team of Zebra’s marketing professionals around the world. In addition to being steward of the Zebra brand, our team has responsibility for business & market intelligence (sizing markets, tracking share), identifying top solutions in our key vertical markets, designing and implementing our new global channel program, and driving awareness and demand for Zebra’s portfolio of products, solutions, primarily sold with and through our global eco-system of world-class partners. We do this through a mix of marketing channels (events, digital, social) across all regions. We also are focused on telling the story about the new Zebra Technologies, as we continue to integrate the Enterprise business from Motorola Solutions and help customers gain greater efficiency and customer intimacy by deploying enterprise asset intelligence solutions.
Professional Career Summary/Highlights
My career spans over 20 years working in B2B technology companies, including IBM, Accenture, Bridgestone, NCR, and Motorola Solutions. Most of that time has been spent in go-to-market roles (Sales & Marketing). I’ve had the opportunity to work with a broad portfolio – evenly split between software/services and hardware, as well as a variety of customers/partners from regional assignments to global roles. During that time several of the channel programs I have helped design have been VARBusiness/CRN 5-Star Programs and I have been recognized as a CRN Power 100: Top Women in the Channel (2009-2014), Channel Chief (2012), and “25 Executives to Watch” (2007). In addition, in 2012 I was honored by Diversity MBA Magazine as a Top 100 Diverse Executive Leaders. And earlier this year, the Illinois Diversity Council recognized me as one of the top eight “2015 Illinois Most Powerful and Influential Women.”
Insight into personal life/hobbies
Life outside of work right now is filled mostly with spending time with family. That includes raising our three children and spending time with grandparents. We enjoy watching our children’s sports activities and musical performances; helping with Scouting projects; and, dusting off those algebra and world history skills that we thought we left behind! In the summer, I love to work in our garden; it is a never-ending source of challenge, and year-round finding time to run helps keep me grounded. I am also a board member of our church. While I love to read, I find that right now it is hard to get in more than three or four books in a year.
Why is involvement with groups or associations around Women in Technology (WIT) important to you?
Studies show that women are less likely to pursue a technical profession after college. Having top talent in our industry should be something we all strive for. If you have big parts of the population opting out of your business, you are missing out on talent. And it’s not just recruiting women into our field, but giving them the confidence that they can have a career, including leadership roles. A Bain study released earlier this year showed across all industries, not just technology, a huge drop-off in the number of mid-career women who both aspired to and had the confidence to be in leadership roles. And rarely do these women get their confidence and interest back. So not only do we need to recruit, we need to enable throughout the journey to create an environment where women feel confident and want to take on more.
One piece of advice you’d give to women entering the business world or wanting to advance within the channel?
Stay curious. The successful people I have met throughout my working years have all been curious. They ask good questions, they aren’t afraid to appear like they don’t know the answer, and they genuinely want to keep learning more. The technology channel is constantly evolving. Understanding what those macro-trends are and the implications for the channel are important in being able to build a strong channel eco-system, if you are on the manufacturer side. As a channel player (VAR, ISV, SI), knowing how your customers are changing the implications for your company is paramount to running a profitable business. And the curiosity should not just be on the business, but don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your performance. Many people are hesitant to offer feedback, but once you invite them to, you will learn a lot about how you are perceived and how you can improve.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
This is the hardest question of all! I have had so many great mentors and leaders I have worked with that have imparted lots of wisdom on me, choosing just one piece of advice is really challenging. The piece of advice I have carried with me longest has been something my parents taught me early on: “Any job, big or small, do it right or not at all.” Showing up halfway doesn’t work for me. I think that advice applies to so many things in life: projects at work, raising your kids, relationships with your family, your work team, your peers, and even your boss. You need to be committed, which is how I try to live out that advice. Sometimes it is uncomfortable and hard, but I’ve never looked back and regretted doing something in that spirit.