Lead with Confidence: Leadership Happens Without Direct Reports

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
April 3, 2023

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

I started my career in management consulting right out of college before going back to get my MBA.  

My interest has always been in the go-to-market space, especially at enterprise tech companies. I’ve spent a lot of my career on corporate strategy teams helping companies think through their longer-term strategy across go-to-market functions.  

I wanted to explore a different part of go-to-market, and the marketing chief of staff role was the perfect entryway.  

What excites you most about your role today?  

I love learning or doing something new. Every day and with every project, I’m learning a new aspect of marketing.  

I’ve been in this role for about six months and that sense of newness hasn’t worn off. There are so many different areas that marketing encompasses, and working with all the different teams within the marketing organization at Splunk has been a series of continued discoveries.  

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

There’s a difference between being a leader and being a people manager. You can be an individual contributor and still be a leader.  

So many of us work in cross-functional settings that require lots of communication and coordination to bring people together toward a common goal. And that’s a very important aspect of leadership that you can start to gain experience with—whether you’re currently managing a team or not.  

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?  

There’s an aspect of trade-offs with budgets and with programs. We can’t ask our teams to do 1,000 things and do all of them perfectly. We’re doing fewer programs, but we’re focused on the most critical initiatives and projects that support our priorities this year.  

Those key programs are guiding our planning efforts and helping us prioritize where we need to allocate spend. Strategically, there are areas where we are bolstering our investments because it’s the right investment to make in this environment.  

I’m thankful that my team hasn’t been impacted by a lot of the budget scrutiny. But we are focused on how we can be more intentional about the way we manage our budget. 

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

Be ready for a wild ride. Your idea of what the future holds can’t possibly contain all the exciting and amazing things headed your way. The journey is a huge part of the fun. 

Keep an open mind. There are so many paths to your end goal, and you don’t have to travel in a straight line. 

Be patient. I’m no stranger to instant gratification, but building your career takes time. It can take a decade—or more—to gain that level of richness and expertise.  

Join the Huddle

A Slack community to share strategic marketing operations best practices

Share on
Uptempo-FacebookFace Book Uptempo-LinkedinLinkedin Uptempo-TwitterTwitter

You may also like:

Lead with Confidence: Just Go for It
Abby Koble
Lead with Confidence: Just Go for It
Lead with Confidence: Let Life Come to You
Lead with Confidence: Let Life Come to You