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In honor of Women’s History Month and inspired by the United Nations theme of “Women in Leadership: Achieving An Equal Future In A COVID-19 World,” we’ll be featuring five of Codility’s inspirational leaders. Each week in March, we’ll share these Q&A sessions to inspire, encourage, and support anyone in tech looking to elevate their leadership skills.
Today, Sally Lee, Head of Communications at Codilty, shares what inspires her as a marketer in tech, pivotal moments of change that launched her career, and the attributes that make a great leader.
What is your role at Codility, and what do you aspire to do in tech?
I have the privilege of leading two incredibly talented creators Róża Zgiep, Visual Brand Designer, and Vienna Urias, Content Marketing Manager, as the Head of Communications overseeing brand and content. Together, we are responsible for creatively and visually telling Codility’s story. I have spent my entire 15-year marketing career in B2B startup tech because of my passion for tech innovation.
Technology has changed our lives and impacted the way we: communicate (Slack), connect (Facebook), drive (Tesla), meet (Zoom), operate (Microsoft), pay (PayPal), search (Google), sell (Salesforce), and evaluate the skills of software developers to make it all possible (Codility). As a marketer, I believe that when a product inspires you, you can inspire the world so, in line with Codility’s purpose, I aspire to unlock the problem-solving capacity for our customers to help them push their tech innovation further than it has ever gone before.
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What challenges have you encountered in your career?
At one point in my career, I had a tough time accepting that I needed to move on from a role that no longer served me. It was particularly hard because I enjoyed the people I worked with and had the most amazing manager. It was a pivotal moment in my career because I took a huge leap of faith to branch out into other areas of marketing, uncertain if I would succeed.
I credit that point in time as the real start of my marketing career. The benefits of me making that move paid off in ways that I never imagined possible. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and facing my fears of the unknown allowed me to learn and grow into the marketer I am today. I can’t say that the journey has been easy, but I can definitely say that it has been worth it.
What advice would you give someone who is aspiring to grow in their leadership responsibilities?
I give anyone who aspires to grow in any capacity major kudos because it means that they are open to being uncomfortable and vulnerable, which can be difficult but is necessary to broaden one’s skill set enough to be valuable in a leadership role. The best leaders, in my opinion, are selfless. They care more about their team’s success than about getting recognition for themselves.
They pave the way for the people they are leading to perform at their best. They are honest, transparent, and not afraid to speak the truth. They inspire, motivate, support their team, and most importantly, make work fun. I’ve learned this from one of the best managers I’ve ever had (shout out to Diane Perro), and what I just described is the type of leader that I, myself, aspire to be.
What are some strategies you’ve implemented that have helped to create a safe environment that fosters diverse ideas and promotes authenticity?
I spent my first 1:1s with my team on communicating the qualities that we both value as individuals and as a team to understand what’s important to us and what team dynamic we want to build together – qualities like flexibility, honesty, reliability, transparency, teamwork, etc.
It helped us build a foundation of trust and respect and created a safe space for open communication and a work environment where we can all be our authentic selves, do great work, try new things, and have fun.
If your leadership journey is anything like mine, you’re due to encounter roadblocks and setbacks, most of which are self-imposed, but if you are patient with yourself, stay focused on performing at your best, rely on the quality of your work, look to other leaders for inspiration, and focus on the positive impact that you can make on those around you, you’re on your way there.
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