Last year, Insight Partners launched the Faces of Change Executive Leadership Academy with a cohort of six inspiring women from our portfolio of ScaleUp software companies. The program provides these executives with resources, connections and coaching to support their development and the advancement of female and minority employees.
To celebrate Women's History Month, we interviewed each of the women who were selected to be a part of the program. In the interview below, learn more about one of the members, Sydney Sloan, Chief Marketing Officer, SalesLoft.
What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?
Looking back a decade, I still hadn’t learned to listen with empathy. I always thought I had to be perfect, work the hardest, and outshine my peers. If I had allowed myself to be more real and take down my façade, I would have developed more meaningful relationships and enjoyed work more sooner.
How did you get to where you are? What was your career path?
I started my career in marketing at a software company and discovered that I loved talking to customers. By spending time with them, I was able to bring their voice and perspective back to the company. This put on the path to product marketing, which I did with Adobe for 15 years. I then moved to Silicon Valley to be exposed to more opportunities and learn different facets of marketing. My role now is a CMO, but I think of myself first as a leader and a member of the executive team, marketing just happens to be the function that I’m in. What I love about my role is that I get to partner with all functions and translate the customer experience throughout.
What was the most unexpected part of your career?
It was actually being let go. I spent over a decade at Adobe and the company decided that our business unit was no longer a priority. Getting that call was unexpected and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was so committed to my job, even at the expense of my family, which is a lesson I will not have to ever learn again. I decided to move to California and as soon as I began interviewing, I saw what opportunity was out there. By being pushed out of my comfort zone, I was able to be in the position that I am now.
Have you had a mentor?
I've been fortunate to have a number of mentors, but I also have had some fantastic coaches. I believe mentorship and coaching are different because professional coaches can help teach you things like communication styles, how to manage stress, developing an executive presence, and how to handle difficult situations.
What is your superpower that has made you successful in a ScaleUp?
When you’re a leader of a high growth company, one of the most difficult things to do is saying no, sticking to the strategies that you choose to pursue, and getting alignment across the company. One of my superpowers is the ability to define a long-term strategy and build an alliance around our goals.