Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Boss Reunion-Thanking The Teachers

I think it’s important, much like a college reunion, to periodically reflect on how your professional career has unfolded and to express gratitude for those who helped shape it.

There's no way I would have achieved any of my own success without the input and impact of those who hired me into my various roles.

I’ve been fortunate. I have always had a great relationship with bosses who hired me (not always with those who inherited me, but I digress).

One of these days, I’m going to get them all together in a room. For now, I’ll just introduce them all to you and to each other.

Todd Newfield, who gave me my first job doing Internet Marketing in Tokyo, Japan at FACT Communications. Even today, I can’t believe the amount of exposure and opportunity I had to do some great stuff. I certainly didn’t appreciate it all then. His two pieces of career advice still linger with me.

  • “Only do business with people you like.”
  • “Never believe your own bullshit.”

You want intensity? That’s Todd. He truly Never Stops Marketing.

Paul Cimino gave me my first sales job at Snickelways and introduced me to the world of doing business-and doing it well-in New York City. He’s a great salesman and showed how relationships and networks matter so much in building, well, anything. I had been dedicated to my network before then, but Paul supercharged that focus.  He taught me the value of strong negotiations (using that skill on me once or twice) and persistence.

Tom Begley made the call to hire me at Microsoft. He knew I lacked some professional polish (some would argue that I still do), but he saw potential and passion and believed that my love of technology and how it could possibly impact people would come through. Tom is a Zen Master (well, you know what I mean) of Emotional Intelligence, among many things, and taught me many of the nuances of navigating large organizations, the politics of it, and how to listen to a room and “know your audience.” 

Christine Zmuda hired me onto a different Microsoft team. Not only is she a great listener, teacher, and friend, but she’s a world-class planner and execution fiend.  She raised the bar in terms of my expectations and possibilities and showed me how to put it all together from a marketing perspective, giving me responsibility for my own piece of business—and accountability for it as well.  The operational and data side of marketing is where she truly excelled-and where I benefited.

And, Ragy Thomas, hired me into Sprinklr and, well, the jury is still out on him Winking smile  Just kidding…he’s a great teacher, but we don’t write the history until the chapter is over.

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