Lead with Confidence: The Only Limit is Imagination

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
March 29, 2023
Brooke Bartos

People take all different types of career paths; how did you get to where you are today?

My degree is in psychology and forensic science. I spent my internship doing diagnostic assessments and autopsies and realized that I didn’t want this as my career. I pivoted and found an internship with Daimler Chrysler doing market research. But then the recession hit, and there was a hiring freeze.  

I pivoted again. There were bills to pay, so I worked in the restaurant industry for a few years. But my love of marketing hadn’t gone away. I did some freelancing before working for a manufacturing company where I first got my hands on Marketo. And I was hooked. 

I put my name in the ring for the open Marketo admin role but was initially told, “no” because I wasn’t certified. I continued to push for the opportunity and got the role after a leader went to bat for me with HR and leadership. I seized every bit of that opportunity.  

What excites you most about your role today?  

One of the most exciting parts about being in marketing operations today is that there’s no shortage of things to learn or experiments to do. The only limit is your imagination.  

Marketing operations also requires a very wide-ranging skill set. You’re a data analyst, IT, legal, and digital marketer all in one. It makes for a very interesting personality having that blend of technical and creative.  

How do you move from being an individual contributor to a leadership path?  

When you’re the subject matter expert, getting out of the weeds is hard. Or if you have a real passion for the work, it’s hard to disconnect. But if you want to make the transition then you need to start framing your thinking around what is important to your stakeholders.  

What matters to your stakeholders in marketing is not the same as leadership stakeholders. Executives don’t care about open rates; they care about pipeline and conversion through funnel stages. Learning what’s important to your executives and speaking in the language of the business is incredibly valuable.  

Many marketing teams have been impacted by budget cuts recently. What are some things you’re doing now to keep your team motivated when you have to do more with less?  

Be very clear when communicating and managing expectations with your stakeholders and your teams. Everybody wants to do everything, and they want it right now.  

But they only see their slice of the pie. Set clear expectations around when things can be delivered, who is responsible, the timelines they can expect, and what you expect of them in return. My team will burn out if I allow everything to become a fire drill.  

I’m fortunate that my budget is stable. We’ve also done some restructuring that brought teams together and opened up additional headcount. Now we’re looking to fill those roles and help balance the workload. 

It’s the year 2023, if you’re looking back at your 23-year-old self, what advice would you give? 

There will be bumps in the road. Some of the bumps will hurt, and it can be hard to see the light at the end of the path. But it does get better.  

And anytime there’s a crack in the door, kick it open. Don’t wait for someone else to open it for you.  

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