Apparently, I have a thing for Canadian companies.
Because today, I’m thrilled to share that I’ve taken a new role as Senior Director, Industry Leadership for Hootsuite.
It’s my third marketing technology company (apparently I have a thing for those too), and of course I’ve known Hootsuite since their earliest days as BrightKit. They’re now a sophisticated and robust social relationship platform. I’m really happy to be staying in an industry I love with a company that has an enormous user base, a sterling reputation for being awesome, fantastically fun and smart people, and tons of potential to grow and do more exciting things.
So what exactly am I going to be doing there?
After 20+ years as a marketer, I’m moving across the aisle to join the enterprise sales team and lead a team of Industry Principals, our resident subject matter experts at Hootsuite. The best part is that this is a very hands-on role with our clients working in the trenches on their digital transformation programs, along with our partners in sales, customer success, and solutions consulting. Ultimately, our goal is to add a ton of value, perspective and insight to our customer engagements and champion the power of human connection.
If you’re not familiar with roles like this, many SaaS and blue-chip tech companies employ subject matter experts to support their sales teams with specific industry knowledge, applicable use cases for our software and for our customers’ evolving digital strategies, and overall best practices in digital and social marketing. Our job is to help tell a compelling story about digital transformation in complex organizations, and share our practical expertise and knowledge with Hootsuite clients. It’s “thought leadership” but in service to our colleagues in sales and to our customers, not in service to our own personal brands or just for the sake of sounding smart.
As part of my role, I’ll have the pleasure of working with some of the most digitally-savvy Industry Principals in the world across a number of important verticals and disciplines. Amy McIlwain is our resident financial services expert (and published author, to boot) and she’s been working incredibly hard to establish the Industry Principals practice at Hootsuite and bring specialized expertise to our enterprise sales team for the past year. I first met Amy last year at SXSW thanks to my good friend Kate Buck, Jr. just as she was starting with Hootsuite, so I can’t wait to learn from her and get the chance to work together. She’s already been making a powerful difference at Hootsuite in terms of both relationships and revenue.
About a month ago, Hootsuite welcomed Phil Chatterton, our Industry Principal for Higher Education. Phil is incredibly well-respected in higher education and education technology like Blackboard, and brings over 15 years of experience to this role. He’ll be helping our higher ed teams and customers advance their digital transformation strategies, and help Hootsuite build better products and solutions for this important sector. This is a space I don’t know nearly as well, so I know I’m going to learn a ton from Phil in the coming months.
Most recently, we welcomed Koka Sexton as Industry Principal for social sales. Koka is a social selling expert — one of the early leaders in this discipline — and has been part of smart companies like LinkedIn (running their social programs) and InsideView, and he’s been consulting with companies on social selling strategies for quite a while through his firm Social Selling Labs. There’s some exciting stuff happening with Hootsuite on that front, and he’s going to help our teams and customers extend their digital chops into their sales orgnaizations.
I’ll also be looking to recruit Industry Principals in government and in the EMEA region in the upcoming weeks and months. (If that’s you or someone you know, head over here for more info.)
Our goal with this team is to build a brain trust of experienced professionals right inside Hootsuite that can help our enterprise sales teams better understand and work with companies in a number of specialized industries to make the most of social and embark on true digital transformation, and help our customers realize their visions for how digital and social can advance their businesses.
I’m especially thankful to my new boss, Zach Anderson our VP of Enterprise Solutions, for reaching out about this exciting opportunity a couple of months ago and having the faith that I was the one to lead and grow this important team. (Big thanks also to Michelle Hiltz-Kostya and Jaime Stein who were helpful in putting a bug in Zach’s ear). I’ve enjoyed meeting many of our talented leaders so far – from companies like SAP, Oracle, Juniper Networks and more – and if they’re any indication of the caliber of people we have across the Hootsuite organization, I’m in for a real treat.
I hit the ground running with a trip to London last week for our EMEA company kickoff, and I’ll be in Vancouver twice this month (including today!) for the North America kickoff and some other onboarding activities. It’s been a whirlwind, but I can say equivocally that I haven’t been this excited about a company in a long time. The leadership is inspiring, the product is incredible, the market opportunity is huge and everyone I’ve met so far is engaging, enthusiastic and smart as hell.
I’m staying in Chicago, but I’m sure to be on the road frequently to visit our offices and meet with our Hootsuite customers and partners, so I’m hoping I get to see YOU all very soon.
As always, thank you for your friendship and encouragement. I had so much support from so many of you during my very brief unemployment (67 days!), and I hope I can return a fraction of that favor one day. It’s been my pleasure to share my career adventures with you here on the blog for the past 8+ years, and I’m just getting started. Can’t wait to share more as we bring Hootsuite to enterprises across the globe. I’m as excited as ever to be in this industry, and know that there are incredible things ahead.
See you soon!