Lead with Confidence: Don’t Be Afraid of Mistakes

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
June 29, 2023

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

My first role was in inside sales, and as I look back at that now, what I was doing was more a form of rudimentary, manual ABM than anything else. Then I moved into the marketing department and worked as a generalist. I jumped into every task with both feet trying to learn as much as I could.

I stumbled into marketing operations because I had a propensity towards trying to fix things. After a few years working for professional services organizations, I worked at BT Global Services and inherited a technology-based program around key account marketing. The program itself was great, and through process optimization and further automation, it was the springboard to a robust, digitized ABM program. This program changed the course of my career by combining two fast-paced and dynamic areas—technology and operations—and unlocked a whole new way to ‘fix things’.    

At Genpact, I was brought in to run the demand center and fix the outbound channel. As I dug into the work, it was clear it wasn’t just an outbound issue that needed to be addressed. I moved quickly into working on standing up MDM, defining campaign processes, automating manual tasks, creating and executing the technology roadmap, the list goes on!

What excites you most about your role today?  

There’s always something new. How do you create a campaign utilizing the right channel mix and targeting the right individual at the right part of the funnel? The tools we used to answer that question a decade ago versus how my team would solve that now aren’t the same. Marketing technology is so dynamic, there are always new tools, new integrations, and new insights.

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

When I think of leadership, I don’t define that as having a direct report. Leadership is your ability to build trust, respect, and inspire people to come on a journey with you.  

It’s important to walk the walk if you think that you’re ready for the next step. Think about how you collaborate with other teams. Are you contributing during team meetings and speaking up? Do you roll up your sleeves to get things done?  

If you don’t have a team of direct reports, mentoring is an amazing way to gain experience. If you’re an individual contributor with domain expertise, collaborating with somebody else and teaching them aspects of your domain is a great way to practice those tactics and communication skills.

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?  

When I took over as VP, I created a roadmap for marketing operations. I walked my CMO through our gaps in data cleanliness, field mapping, and budget management, and how we should fix them.  

Fast forward to today, and we can now show the value of every single marketing tactic. We’ve automated and integrated everything we possibly can. The more we automate, the fewer mistakes we find downstream—that’s been critical to our success. It also enables us to continually improve our marketing efforts to drive higher levels of impact for the business. This is critical in time where budgets are tight, and it raises team engagement levels to see the work efforts pay off. 

And now we’re at a point where I can say this tactic, campaign, or vertical is driving the most return for us. It’s exciting to see all the work we put into the tools, technology, operations, and processes come together to prove the value of marketing.

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

Be bold. Be curious. Don’t be afraid of mistakes.  

We’re in marketing, we’re not heart surgeons. If a mistake is made, then we’ve learned to never do it that way again. But if you’re not willing take a chance, then you’re not going to learn or challenge yourself.

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