Recovering CMO: A most flattering title.

A couple of weeks ago I met with an up-and-coming sales rockstar. She was referred to me by a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), and friend, in my network.  When I met this leader, her first words to me were something like “I am told you are a recovering CMO who is someone I should know and leverage learnings from.” Flattered and slightly blushing, I thought to myself – yep, that is me and I am going to own it.  I couldn’t be prouder to be known as a “Recovering CMO.” It has its perks.

A lot of self-reflection the last 90-days led me to focus on two things:  1) professional achievements made the last 3 years AND 2) personal time sacrificed.  With a bigger title comes bigger responsibilities.  Add in private equity backed tech firms and you pretty much are on the clock, ahem, a lot. 

This isn’t a blog that shows my professional accomplishments – because no one cares (except maybe myself and my mom & dad).  But instead, I am drawn to the keyboard to share what happens when you take a leap of faith.  A much-needed leap to find balance (and — oh, how I loathe that word “balance”) or as I like to call it, better juggling.  When you have less to juggle, you find life simplifying. 

My favorite Medical Doctor once told me that the key to not having messed up teenagers is to keep them busy – get them active, early.  Sign them up for church activities, sports, after-school programs, music/band – you get the idea.  I tried this and quickly realized it was no fun being the Uber Mom.  Shuffling around kids and stressed about what/when I would feed them and how on earth I would make it to x thing when y thing was back-to-back and in the next town over.  It was a good lesson on the importance of quality over quantity — a better approach to finding balance. Sorry Poms and Cub Scouts – you got nixed.

As a CMO, I was constantly juggling e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.  Board of Director demands, reporting demands, sales lead demands, corporate brand demands.  While I was a pretty darn good juggler (mainly, because I had an army of talented professionals beside me), it took its toll.  Missed school events, rushed good-night reading time, absent around-the-table dinner time.  It took being insulted in front of my fellow officers, minutes before a board meeting – for me to realize, enough is enough. I (and Nick) waited years for three blessings – and something finally clicked in my mind, like a brick was thrown at me that had a note attached saying “look at how quickly your littles are growing up and are these work, ahem, jack asses really more important?” Don’t prioritize work over the four things you love most in this world. Now, some may challenge me (for being too hard on myself about work/life balance) by reminding me of my 72-hour rule.  That I held myself to, firmly.  The rule being I would never be away from my family for longer than 3-days.  It was a good rule.  However, in the back of my mind that little voice would creep up reminding me “why did I need to have such a strong rule.” Could I find something that was professionally satisfying PLUS have better balance? 

For years, Nick would tell me I need to be a lawyer or a sales leader.  When put in the right situation, I can debate and persuade quite well.  My love for solving over selling is a gift, that’s not a brag but 100% truth! 

Selling ultimately won (for now – ha) and this Recovering CMO is loving her new role at one of the largest big-tech firms in the world.   Building a new sales motion that is 100% virtual and digital. 

Nothing is ever a given and I count my blessings, often. I get to go to work, share my learnings with an eager team, solve customer problems.  PLUS enjoy dinner with my family, Star Wars themed band concert, ballerina dance routines with a little hip-hop, clone troopers and Barbie playing nicely in the Barbie dream house….I could go on. 

I get to eat ice cream again (who knew lowering stress levels is the cure for eating dairy again).  I get to work out and have it paid for (thank you big-tech). I get to coach volleyball on weekends.  Heck, I might just volunteer to be on the school PTO (I do have a pretty good connection).  Net-net is I am enjoying the journey where I am seeking balance and simplifying.  The ice cream, glass of, occasional, red – and family game-night never tasted better.  

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