Work Title: Director of Marketing Automation
City, State, Country: New York, NY, United States
Twitter handle: @erikaywong
How did you get started in Sales or Marketing?
My school, Northeastern University, offered a co-op program where you alternate going to school for 6 months and working for 6 months (with a total of three 6-month long internships by the time you graduate). My first two co-ops were good learning experiences to let me know these were areas I did not want to focus in. My last co-op was on a marketing team that introduced me to marketing automation, I realized it was an area that I really enjoyed and continued to work there past my co-op, was hired full-time after I graduated, and the rest is history!
When hiring, what skills or attributes do you value most?
I strongly believe in looking for attributes over skills. Skills can always be learned, but attributes are much harder to develop. The most important characteristics I look for are having good common sense, having a thirst to continue to learn and improve, and having a collaborative mentality.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Talk to the person, not to the title. Don’t back down on something you believe in just because someone with a higher title doesn’t agree. At the same time, don’t discount what someone says just because their title is lower than yours or in a different functional area.
What advice do you have to find an ally?
Be honest with yourself and with others, build trust, and don’t forget to trust your own instincts. People will respect you more if you have an opinion over simply always agreeing with them, and will be more willing to be an ally if they believe they can trust you. At the same time, you need to rely on your own instincts to understand the motivation behind others’ actions, and respond accordingly. The best allies are not always the loudest or most powerful people in the room -- they are the people you can trust.
As someone who can be overly cautious and thinks about everything way too much, I fall back on my strengths, which is to ask and answer questions to get myself to a place where I’m comfortable with my decision, whichever direction it may be. I’ll separate out different kinds of risks when evaluating what to do, e.g.: am I scared because it’s new and unknown but I know it will be good for me, or is it truly a bad or reckless decision? What’s the worst that can happen, and will I (or others) be ok if that did happen? What would I regret more -- taking the risk and it not working out, or passing on it entirely and never knowing what the outcome could have been?
If something seems too daunting to think through, break it down into smaller pieces that you can process. The most important thing about taking risks is to make sure you are ultimately comfortable with your decision -- if I determine I can assume the risk, I will push myself to do it even when it pushes me clear out of my comfort zone.
On Balancing personal and work life..
My philosophical answer is: to each their own. If you love your job and/or you are happy to blend your personal and work life – by all means, please do that. If work is just a paycheck for you that enables you to do the things you love, that is fine too! Find what motivates you, and use that as your driver to put in your best work. As long as you are happy with the balance you’ve created for yourself, you don’t try to shove your own thoughts and values onto others, and you are satisfied with the amount of work you’re putting in (and able to deal with the consequences if that amount is not enough for what is asked of you), then carry on.
But if you need actual tips for separating the two:
- Set yourself a rule that if you stay late at the office, don’t also do work at home that night
- Turn off the push notifications on work mail or Slack, esp on weekends or PTO
- Start looking for a new job if you realize that work is making you miserable even when you’re away from work.