EP 14. Shannon Curran, VP of Marketing at Mad Kudu.

In this Key Moments Episode, Shannon Curran, VP of Marketing at Mad Kudu, shares her career journey and insights on leadership. She discusses the importance of being a systemic thinker and connecting dots between different areas of expertise. Shannon reflects on early career failures and the lessons she learned from them.

In this conversation, Shannon Curran shares insights and experiences from her career journey. She emphasizes the value of building a network and seeking out communities of like-minded professionals. Shannon also highlights the impact of Brené Brown's work on her leadership style and the importance of leading authentically. 

Check out the episode below.


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In this conversation, Shannon Curran, VP of Marketing at Mad Kudu, dives into her career journey and shares valuable insights on leadership. She discusses the importance of systemic thinking and having the skill to connect dots between different areas of expertise, something that was important in her career. While discussing early career failures, Shannon says using these experiences is a stepping stone to success. She highlights the importance of creating a strong professional network and seeking out like-minded individuals. Shannon also emphasizes how Brené Brown's work has influenced her leadership style, stressing the importance of leading authentically and finding allies who support your values.

Shannon shares personal stories of taking risks, finding supportive leaders, and recognizing potential in others. She discusses the concept of giving and burnout, placing importancing on receiving feedback and finding fulfillment outside of work. Shannon also speaks about embodying one's values and seeking out opportunities that align with them. This includes passion and excitement for work that can lead to exceptional performance and career growth. Her experiences illustrate the power of authenticity, continuous learning, and building meaningful connections, showcasing that taking lateral moves and developing a diverse skill set can lead to long-term career success.

In general, Shannon's path serves as an illustration of the need of genuine leadership, the significance of locating role models who share your values, and the advantages of taking calculated risks. She exhorts others to see the potential in people and to give them chances to advance their lives. Shannon thinks that one can succeed in their profession and find long-term contentment by realising the bigger picture of the work they do and putting their own needs first. Her observations are a potent reminder of how crucial it is to welcome change, never stop learning, and cultivate solid bonds with coworkers in order to create a positive and rewarding work environment.


  • Be open to change and embrace different career opportunities.
  • Develop a systemic thinking approach and connect dots between different areas of expertise.
  • Learn from failures and use them as stepping stones to success.
  • Build a strong network and seek out communities of like-minded professionals.
  • Lead authentically and find allies who support your values and leadership style. Embody your values and seek out opportunities that align with them.
  • Giving and receiving feedback is crucial to avoid burnout.
  • Find energy and fulfillment outside of work by engaging in activities that align with your values.
  • Passion and excitement for your work can lead to exceptional performance and career growth.
  • Taking lateral moves and building a diverse skill set can lead to long-term career success.
  • Continuously learn and explore new opportunities to stay engaged and grow professionally.
  • Authentic leadership and finding role models who align with your values can have a significant impact on your career.
  • Taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to personal and professional growth.
  • Recognize the potential in others and provide opportunities for growth and development.
  • Understand the impact of your work and how it connects to the broader business.
  • Industry experience is valuable, but transferable skills and the ability to adapt are equally important.
  • View change as a fresh start and an opportunity to level the playing field.
  • Building strong relationships and leaving a lasting impact on your team can create a supportive and fulfilling work environment.
  • Prioritize personal fulfillment and find meaning in your work to achieve long-term satisfaction and success.


00:00 Introduction and Background

01:20 Career Path and Decision-Making

04:29 Enjoying People Management

07:40 Systemic Thinking and Connecting Dots

09:17 Finding the Right Fit

11:09 The Benefits of Being a Systemic Thinker

13:12 Early Career Failures and Missteps

15:42 A Defining Moment of Failure

20:26 Building a Network and Making Connections

22:19 The Value of Business School and Active Participation

29:33 The Impact of Brené Brown's Work

32:55 Leading Authentically and Finding Allies

35:58 Embodying Values and Taking Opportunities

37:01 Giving and Burnout

38:15 Finding Energy Outside of Work

39:18 Passion and Excitement in Work

40:11 Taking Lateral Moves and Building a Career

41:09 Continuous Learning and Job Changing

42:11 Authentic Leadership and Finding Role Models

45:14 Taking Risks and Stepping Out of Comfort Zones

46:16 The Impact of a Supportive Leader

47:15 Working with Different Personalities

48:39 Recognizing Potential in Others

49:43 Understanding the Impact of Work

50:13 Looking Beyond Industry Experience

52:21 Starting Over and Embracing Change

55:28 Leaving a Lasting Impact on a Team

58:25 The Importance of Personal Fulfillment in Work

01:02:56 A Fresh Start and Leveling the Playing Field




I did all of the things you're not supposed to do like, and I didn't have the resources.

Like my where I went to college was a great school, but was not focused on having sending people into corporate America.

And I look back on those first few years as just a series of failures of like could have been lots of opportunities for jobs that I could have gotten but I just did not know how to interview properly.


Shannon, welcome to the show.


It's so good to see you.

How long have we known each other?

Virtually, at least at this stage, a long time.

I think like maybe five year.

I don't know, you probably know better than I do in your CRM, but probably like five years or so.

I know it's in a while.

Yeah, I was gonna say, I was gonna say like 3 ish years, but yeah, five, five years would have been yeah, I think time time definitely flies.


If it's if it's three-year plus, I think time definitely flies for sure.

So for folks who may have not met you before, how would you describe yourself?

Yeah, so my name is Shannon Curran.

I guess to describe myself professionally, I am a marketer, like a marketing leader.



I've worked in multiple industries, but have had kind of like the biggest stretch of my career in tech.

And I come up through the content and brand function.

So had my background as a journalist and as a writer and communicator, PR professional, then came into running content in brand orgs.


And now I'm the VP of Marketing at a revenue technology company called Mad Kudu.


And it's so interesting because right before that and actually even before that, you've made some pretty interesting moves before you've ended up with Mad Kudu.


I mean, you were coming fresh from the VC world and before that you were pretty much coming from like a more or less kind of like a corporate ish background.

So I'm wondering, was that like a?

Was that always in your mind like this this sequence of events that I could say yes now but no.


So it's you'll find that I'm kind of I'm a person that doesn't.

I don't believe in plans like five year plans or three-year plans.

I the way that I've thought about my career and I think anyone that got into marketing or any of the more softer skill careers around 20/13/2014, the market was terrible.


Like I would apply to like 80 jobs and have one like and I graduated in the top whatever 3% of my class in college, right.

So like it was tough to get a job and I remember trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do next and the way that I think about my career I'm a little I'm much more thoughtful now because I think I have like a path that I I feel like I feel pretty strongly about.


But at the beginning, it was really, what do I want to learn?

What environment do I want to be in?

What are the kinds of people I want to be around?

And does that work with where my life is at the stage that it was in?


So yeah, I started out in, I worked on nonprofit and healthcare.


I moved to higher education because I wanted to get my MBA and I wanted them to pay for it.

So I made very little money, but I got $100,000 degree for free and well, I guess we'll talk about in a little bit, not quite for freaks.

Ended up leaving right before I was done, but then I made my way into tech.


It's OK.

It was worth it.

It's it's been the, I think a really pivotal decision in my career.

But yeah, and then I made my way into tech and was like, OK, this pace feels really right to me.

Like this is where I started to really get my stride.

I started to grow really quickly.

I saw the most financial success and then the offer to go into VC came at a really important time for me personally as well.


So it was a big lifestyle change and I was working for a VP of Marketing there that I just adored.

I really respected her and I also was going to a VC that only invested in B to B SAS companies.

So it meant a lot to me to stay in tech because I knew that's where I wanted to try and ride out my career from A from a kind of vertical perspective.


But I'm very open consistently to to change and to change my mind.

And I I really think about career opportunities as do they align to my value system of the way I want my life to be.

And that's that that that hasn't changed actually a ton, interestingly enough over overtime.


And so that's where I make all of my decisions from.

Do they align with my values?

Does it align with the way that I want to live my life?

And if that's the case, then let's go do it.

I love solving problems with people that I really like.

So that's I'm very lucky to enjoy doing this kind of work.


I love that.

And I'm gonna.

I'm gonna.

I know we're going to talk about books in just a second, but one book that comes to mind right now is one that I've talked about before in the show, which is called Range by by David Epstein.

And the subtitle for it is, I believe, How How Generalists Triumph in a Specialist World.


And he he basically talks.

It's basically the opposite of Malcolm Gladwell's like 10,000 hour rule thing.

And I think Malcolm Gladwell either like wrote the the foreword or.

I quote but he very publicly said looked like I'm very happy to be proven wrong.

Clearly seems that the 10,000 hour rule doesn't always apply.


Fascinating book, but basically the the long and short of it is that basically talking about like the benefits of being a generalist and interestingly enough like the dangers of just always doing the same thing and thinking you're specializing or something like that.

And I think something that really set out to me when I was obviously like just.


Reading more into like, your professional journey so far is that you've done so many different things as opposed to like keeping on.

I really hate this expression.

But like, double clicking, like, it's not like you're necessarily double clicking into the same direction.

You're like, hey, let's do this and let's do that, let's do PR, let's do corporate, let's do VC, let's go back to startups.


So it's a lot of people would find that confusing, but not you.

Yeah, I think honestly the way my brain works is I can get good enough at something relatively quickly to understand it, to get the acumen, to get the language, to then be able to connect it to other things.


So I actually really struggled at the beginning of my career because I think that is not a skill set that is well utilized in, in early career jobs, right.

So you're typically hired to do something very specific and you're hired to go really deep on it.


And I have horrible attention to detail like that.

I do not have that kind of mind that can sit in a spreadsheet all day or can like really pick something apart into a bunch of little pieces.

I definitely am a more systemic thinker.


I, you know, I went to college for political science.

I think about things as as systems, I think about things and how they connect to one another.

I spent the majority of my life in the arts, so I don't have that same kind of background that a lot of folks, a lot of marketers have in terms of like performance, marketing.


And so I think that all of these things to me make complete sense when I tell the story of all of the things I've done because they're typically just that need to be connected to one another to make make itself greater.

It just depends on what the inputs are.

So the variables are always different, right?

Is it at a private equity owned company that we're trying to sell, you know, five different products to four different verticals And I have a team of five that I'm trying to connect to one another to figure out how to achieve the goals that we're trying to achieve.


And I think the biggest through line for me is I really just love growing and coaching high performing teams.

I really love doing it.

I think a lot of folks get into people management.

Almost like the human element of it, yeah.

And that's why I like what I do.


And I think that that's what kind of kept me through the pandemic.

Being a people manager was exhausting, but I was really, really focused on making sure my team was doing well as people as well as doing well professionally.

And I think that that is something that I've really taken with me to each role that I've that I've had after that.


So yeah, I think it does seem luckily I've been able to have like pretty good stints at each one of these jobs to get good enough to feel like I have a pretty good understanding of of that, either that industry or that specific company or that product.

And I think as I get older I'm slowing down a little, but I think there is definitely, I was racing really fast for a long time.


I'm just a voracious learner.

I just love to to learn new things and but I don't like to get too deep on them.

What I do is then I hire someone that's really good at going deep and I stay at the level that I think I'm best suited for, which is building the strategy, understanding how it all connects.


I think Business School really served me well in understanding the acumen of all of the other disciplines in the leadership team.

So I can sit in an executive team meeting and sure, I'm in there as the VP of Marketing, but I'm really there as as a member of the leadership team that's deciding on the strategy for the business.

So I think that there is a yeah, it's just a different, like my brain just operates slightly differently and it did not serve me for, you know, the first five years of my career and has been really successful for me in the last five.


So it's, I guess it just depends.

You got to find the right spot, right.

You have to find the right.



Yeah, you have to square peg, square hole, right.

Like you have to figure out where where you best fit.

Yeah well you're you're you're in good company with the the Steve Jobs of the world and so on.


I think like it's interesting what you said about how like you you you know your idea of a good time is not necessarily sitting in a spreadsheet for a whole day but in the same.

But on the other hand, you are a systemic thinker and just before we get into the the key moments for folks who are tuning in and they're trying to distinguish between the difference between those two because.


Starting with me, like, I would have thought that like a systemic thinker, like my cofounder who's super detail oriented, unlike me, I'm kind of more similar to like maybe what you were talking about.

I would have thought that's a systemic thinker.


I think about, I think about things in systems and how they impact one another, right?


That's the way I think about systemic thinking.

So if you think about like looking at structures.

It's like a bit more zoomed out, yeah, building the machine right?

Like how does the machine impact like and so if there's I'm pretty good at like understanding like the leading indicators of when things are going wrong if something start or or where things are going right, what we need to measure.


Like I love, I love a scoreboard.

Like I really, it doesn't mean I don't love data right.

Like, I really love a scoreboard of like what are the north stars of knowing that we are going in the right direction and what are the leading indicators that are going to get us there?

And then typically all of the detail under there about the how is where I really love to to hire.


Well, right.

So especially I've noticed this a lot in growth marketing right now.

I have an excellent growth marketer that's a big technician.

He spends a lot of time really digging in on like what's work.

Sorry, my God, on what's working, what's not like all of the like every leave that comes in making sure that they're all scraped clean, things like that is definitely not the way my brain works.


It would take me 5 times as long as it takes him.

So gotcha, gotcha.

And I think it's interesting because it's it's almost like a complimentary.

It's obviously a complimentary skill set.

And I think some of the some of the people who love to to get into into the nitty gritty of things would not necessarily would probably like shine in that as opposed to like looking at something that was that would be a bit more you know they might look at like just like thinking of something that's a bit maybe too abstract or a bit too zoomed out.


Versus something that's maybe a lot more tangible and a lot more palpable for them to be able to go in and have an impact on.

So, yeah, I'm with you on that, for sure.


And a lot of what I do is just connect dots.

I connect dots between people that are doing really deep work, right.


So my product marketer, the growth marketer, I have someone in field like you look at all what they're doing, they they're so deep into what they're doing and what I do is connect them to one another, right?

I say, hey, it looks like this, there's a pattern where this matches this.

Why don't the two of you go work on something that's integrated, right.


Same thing with like looks like the product team is launching you know a feature that has something to do with this research that this product marketer is doing or something like that's a lot of what I'm doing and I do early stage.

I found I actually do have to get deeper than I've historically had to get.

And so that is a big challenge for me.


And I think that's a, you know, This is why this job really pushes me and forces me to say, Shannon, you need to understand the data just as well as your team does because you know, we're working with small volume, we're working with like lots of experimentation.

So it is a little different than when I was, you know, working in private equity and we had a lot of repeatability.


But I think there's a lot of what I do is just say like, hey, did you go talk to that person?

Did you go talk to this person?

Like have you compared your plans?

Like it seems like that's a lot of what I do.


Yeah, I mean, there's just, yeah, there's just so much to unpack there, like and I can't wait for the for the book section.


So let's get into it.

One failure.

I think I so I think about failures often as as missteps.

So I definitely feel like I was not prepared to go into the workforce when I did go.


So I was very high achieving kid, very good at school.

School was not hard for me.

That's not a flex.

That's just like I happened to be set up well for the United States education system.

Pretty good test taker, classic oldest daughter achiever, right?


Like that was.

It worked fine for me.

I got into, I went to art school, got into the workforce and did not know how to interview.

I did all of the things you're not supposed to do like, and I didn't have the resources.

Like my where I went to college was a great school, but was not focused on having sending people into corporate America.


And I look back on those first few years as just a series of failures of like could have been lots of opportunities for jobs that I could have gotten, but I just did not know how to interview properly.

Like I was consistently not showing the impact of the work that I had done.


I worked at a really in a really tough environment in my first, my first job.

Not like a founder transition and things like there was.

It was pretty toxic and I was honest about it in my interviews and that was not seen as something someone early in their career should be honest about.


It was like, you just hide that part and just say you're looking for more, you're looking for more opportunity somewhere else, right?

Like you're looking for.

She's weird because you think you think they'd almost like commend you for being honest about it or something, right?

But I think also it was like, what is this 23 year old girl know about toxic work environments?


To be fair, I think I knew more than than they than they gave me credit for.

But I do think I was not well prepared and I wasn't mentored well.

I I didn't have like a lot of folks that I could look to as good examples of where I wanted to go.


So it's kind of floating around, which was, I think, just a series of of failures that finally landed me on a path where then I was in an environment where I had mentors, I had structure, I had support, I had all these things right.

But until then, it was.


What was one big moment during that kind of string of failures that kind of stood out to you?

Or it's something now that you look back on many years later?

It's just something that you kind of think about from time to time and maybe how it set the trajectory for everything else afterwards.


Yeah, I remember right before I decided to go to Business School, I was in like the fifth round of interviews for a job at a tech company.

And I ended up not getting it because one of the leaders was like, rubbed the wrong way by something I said in my last interview.

And they because I was, I think, I I think I said something about like, I'm really struggling with the leadership team at my current company.


I don't think they they have the, you know, I I I don't think they have the best of intentions for the organization and I think they're really struggling as people.

And this person took that as she doesn't respect authority and I and at least I got the feedback that was helpful, right?


Because the hiring manager wanted to hire me the whole time, right.

She had been pushing me through the process, really want to hire me.

But now her boss's boss was like this girl's a red flag.

And so I remember being in a Starbucks, like being whatever, 24 years old and 20, maybe I was 25 and I get the call and I couldn't believe I didn't get it. 6 rounds of interviews.


It was just like and look now at like the money I was going to make too.

It was like, it was like peanuts, right?

Like to them.

And it was the fact that they wasted 6 rounds of interviews was pretty crazy.

But I just remember being devastated and just feeling so like I I'm never going to be successful in my career like I could.


Like I am never gonna be able to figure this out.

I'm gonna be sitting in a job that feels really unfulfilling to me forever, and I wasn't used to.

Because you really felt like this was, this was the one you've you've done the six interviews, you felt like you've done great.

This was the one.

And I just didn't didn't pan out applying to jobs for a year like I had been applying.


I probably applied to 50 jobs and I'd gotten a few screenings, but not really a lot.

And then I'd finally made it to the last round of interviews for this job.

And I was like, I was like there's no way I don't get this one right.

And they were reference checking like everything.

And then finally this, this leadership team member was like, Nah, this girl is gonna be a problem.


And I cuz I would say all these things, I would probably say them differently in an interview now, but I just didn't know right?

Like I wasn't coached or trained on exactly how to communicate that right.

So and so I was just.


I really felt like that was it.

There's no, I'm never gonna have a job.

Like I'm gonna have to.

Like I'm always gonna have three jobs.

I'm always gonna be kind of hustling my whole life like I've never.

Like, I really thought that that was the end when it hadn't even begun yet.


That is crazy because like I've, I follow just to the listeners if they've heard me say this story before, but with you know.


Early on in my career, like, I I tried to get an internship right out of college and I couldn't.

I couldn't even.

It got so bad, Shannon, that like, I I was willing to pay to get to do free work.

And they're like, listen, like we appreciate this, appreciate the gesture, but no.

And I stumbled across this, this word, you know, startups and this other word, entrepreneurship.


And I figured, you know what?

Well, why don't I just try and do my own thing?

And I basically.

Long story short, I had a failed restaurant, kind of like marketing start up like a couple years ago and this is when I first decided you know what like I need to because I'm I'm living in in Ireland, which is different than my my home country which is Egypt.


And so I needed to always have a visa and the legal reason to be here at all times.

And so I started applying to other jobs and I tried to be like clever with it as well as like.

What do I have that's going for me that could be like one, like mildly like unique or whatever.


And I thought okay, well maybe the language angle.

And over here like you have a lot of like the Imia headquarters of a lot of the big companies like the Googles, the Facebooks and so on.

And so I thought Google, Facebook, let me apply to both of them.

Let me apply for like a an Arabic kind of like related role or something like that.

And I I was doing pretty well, perhaps not not not dissimilar to your situation, like I kind of climbed the the interview steps of each one of them.


And they both ended up rejecting me in that same week.

So I got to the final stage in both of them in the same week.

So like, you know, stage 1 past, stage 1 fast, stage 2 past and so on all the way until the final week where they both rejected me.

And luckily I had.


I had an opportunity with an interview with LinkedIn as well and I was writing off of my my fake confidence applying for Facebook and Google.

Think I'm 1000% going to get that?


Perhaps that kind of played to my favorite to to to to land the role in LinkedIn eventually, which I'm super grateful for looking back.


But yeah, it's it's crazy because like, there was this period of time where Facebook said no, Google said no, and LinkedIn is still a maybe.

And you just feel like, wait a minute.

Like if this doesn't work.


And and you know hindsight 2020, but like in the moment you just your your world almost like I don't know if you felt that but like your world kind of like narrows a little bit and you just stop thinking outside of the you know your life becomes that moment basically.



And I thought it was so deep at the time.

It felt like everything.

And now I look back.

I'm like, I had no bills.

I had no one relying on me.

Like I lived with my boyfriend, who then became my fiance, my husband, who became right.


I felt like we were really early and living together and like.


But it just felt so big.

And that's why I have so much empathy for folks at the beginning of their career.

And it really just takes the right person, giving them the right opportunity to start the whole rest of it and then they can take it and put it in their hands.

But so much of it is out of your control at that time.


And it's it's it's really challenging.

They always say if you had told me this was not even 10 years ago, this was what, 8 like six years ago?

If you had told me this is where I'd be now, I would have absolutely laughed in your face.

Like how is that possible?


Like that doesn't make any sense.


Which it doesn't.

But you just need.

I just needed to be, you know.

I get we'll get to your other questions.

But with the right people to give me the right opportunities in the right place to to really be able to take my career in my own hands and excel and I just, I I it took me a little while to find it.


I was not recruited out of undergrad into HubSpot and you know, worked there for five years and then moved to, you know, moved to another startup.

Like there were people I went to college with that did that.

And now we have the same job and it's just, yeah, we just got to different places, right?

If with in different ways, right.


It just it's everyone's path is so fundamentally unique to them.

Yeah, I've never actually asked this before on the show, but what?

Given that, like what I want to ask you to like, what advice would you give having told us that story to folks who are kind of?


Going through that right now, I would reach out to a lot more people and understand how they got where they were.

And even if I didn't know if I wanted their job, because I didn't know at the time, right?

Like, I I wasn't exactly sure.

I thought what I wanted to be was a communications director for a nonprofit.


Like I wanted to work for the United Way and run their like like be their speechwriter for their CEO and like run all of their corporate communications.

Have been a lot more forward with people about understanding where they got, how they got, where they were, not just hey, can you set me up with an informational interview, but really understand how they did it and taking more and more and building more connections outside of like the industry that I was working in at my first job, because I kind of, I didn't end up staying there, right.


So making a broader kind of group of connections and honestly, a lot of people will.

Look down upon going to Business School, it is fundamentally one of the biggest, like the biggest levers in of growth in my whole career, because of the network, because of the business acumen, I was able to join.


So like maybe it's a certificate program, but it should be in person with a cohort like things that where you actually make real connections with people, like not an online certificate from a college you never see.

Because I don't think it's actually just the content that's useful.

You can learn those on webinars.


You can learn how to build a you know.

The profit loss statement on a webinar from you know, I'm sure if Merrill Lynch has many, you know what I mean?

Like you can do that, but it's it's about YouTube or whatever.

Yeah, exactly.

It's about being in community with other people that are also thinking about growing their career and are also thinking about getting better.


And so I think I I it was a great decision for me to go to Business School.

But I also, you know, I found a way to not pay for it.

Critical and just being more open to making more connections with people and learning more about how they got where they got to.


Maybe pick up some more tricks that I hadn't thought about at the time.

Yeah, I love that.

I love that.

I mean, I have a it's not even an unpopular opinion.

It is a popular opinion about Business School, which which is a bit different from what you said in terms of like the fact that you know, actually I would say it agrees with it in the sense that I didn't learn that I I started marketing for for like 4 years and I didn't learn anything in college.


The day I started learning was the day that I graduated, which is, Which I think exactly speaks to your point in the in the sense that the knowledge itself, the tactical stuff, first of all, you're going to learn that on the job.

And if you really need to learn that information in the meantime, like you could get access to like webinars and like online material and so on.


But the thing that really cannot be, cannot be like maybe replicate it too much like outside college specifically when you're starting out from scratch is that network that you build specifically when you are like building it with like kind of like like as you said like like minded people who are kind of like in a similar similar path and so on.


So yeah, I'm I'm with you on that for sure.

But it it's I, I I think like for anyone who feels like anyone listening or watching this right now and they feel like they are in a Business School, that's not necessarily giving them all that they expected.

As Shannon said, like think about like the community that you are building and think about not not those people necessarily right now, but look at like where they're going and how you could continue to add value to them to to to mutually like grow your network in that regard.


Because you never know like where people will end up.

And it is a lot about what you do with it.

Like I was in Business School with a bunch of people that some of which I worked with, that I would watch them go into meetings the next day and not apply anything they could not understand how to apply.


Like they had like the things they learned in school and the things they did at work and they could not apply.

Like, the good thing about going part time for me is that, like, I was going while I was working, so I had context the whole time, right?

It's not like full time Business School.

I have hot takes though, I think.

It's not like, I think a lot of it is vacation.


Like, yeah.

Because I was full time.



Yeah, so I whereas I was really like grinding.

Like it was like I went to school at night.

And I not to like feed into hustle culture.

No one needs to do this.

But like it's it worked for me Business School at night.

I was working during the day and I was able to immediately apply a lot of the.


And then you know when we talk about a key turning point in my career is when I realized I could no longer apply it because I wasn't in an environment that wanted to learn and change.


But I watched a lot of people not even apply it at all.

And I was like, yeah, this won't be useful to you because you're not applying any of it.


And you're also not looking to like, build relationships with professors that are consultants at big firms that maybe you might want to work at or other things like like you kind of have to.

It's hard because it is this weird model of like you're paying to go to school, so it should be giving you things, but you have to be an active participant in that experience to be able to get the most out of it.


Like, I was really committed to being a student, even though I was part time.

Because I was really ingrained in the community, I was getting the most I could out of it because I knew that this is, I'm not going to get this back once I graduate.

And I'm an alum.

Like, I don't have these resources anymore.


And so how can I use this as much as I can in the time that I have it, which I think is the differentiator?

Like, you can't just sit back, write the check and get your A's right.

Like, I got probably worse grades than most of those people.

But because I wasn't just focused on the content, I was focused on the experience, right?


Like I was.

You know that I was never going to get an A in seven weeks in finance.

It's just not going to happen.

But what I could do is great, have a great relationship with the professor, really learn the language of finance.

And now I go into board meetings every three months and I can speak to our, you know, our the pack of all of our channels and understand what our, what our CFO is going to care about.


Understand that our Board has questions about where we put our cogs and where we put our like that stuff.

I totally get because I was there that I, you know I understood that that is crazy.

I I feel like you've I tend to be an agreeable person Shannon.

But I I have a pretty strong opinion about the college stuff and I have to say that you are actually, you've actually convinced me that like I could have done more.


I could have done more in my in my 4 years it was actually a five year degree because I thought I could be an engineer.

So I wait so that was one year wasted and then four years of marketing and I and I was like I'm I'm just trying to to like I I don't think I went into it with like the right mindset because to your point like you're not necessarily waiting you shouldn't necessarily just because you are paying for it.


You know you're the you're not necessarily the the the customer as it were because you still have to do work and you still have to like be proactive in terms of like actually building up these relationships.

And just in case, you know your, your the faculty doesn't include any like superstars well maybe they're connected with folks who are you know in like practitioners right now kind of thing.


So yeah look we can we can keep talking about this a lot.

So I am, I am conscious of of your time and I almost know what you're going to say to this next one because you've already dropped a couple of like, kind of like terminologies and keywords that I would argue you could have only picked up from like very specific books, which I've also come across by coincidence.


But why don't you tell us like, what's one book in your journey that made all the difference?

Yeah, actually, maybe I'm not gonna.

I don't know.

I don't know what you think I'm gonna say, but I think the day I discovered Brené Brown was like a big.


Turning point in my in my career, in my personal life.

To be honest, I think she's It was the first time I saw someone in corporate America or a leader that I felt I saw myself in because this person talked about being vulnerable.

They talked about caring for people as people and also understanding how to get the most out of them as a team.


And so when I read, I read a few of her books and then I read Dare to Leave, which I think has really crafted how I've.

I built myself as a as a manager and a leader because I for the first time I saw myself not as you know.


I think a lot of people talk about representation and being you can't be what you can't see.

And a lot of the, you know, Vp's and the executives and the CEO's that I saw.

Were number one, they were all men and they led in a very kind of like masculine way.

Or they were women that found a way to work themselves into being more masculine, like they were just into into being fitting into the mold, right.


And so I think those women are amazing and I like they have opened so many doors for people like me.

But I am really committed to leading in in an authentic way of who I am, and not authentic in the buzzword way, but saying like, I'm showing up the way that I am and I'm living within my values and I'm leading in those values.


And I'm only working for organizations that support that.

And I think that when I read that book it, it showed me that you can be successful, you can be a CEOI don't know if I want to be one of those.

I don't, actually.

Can be, you know, an executive and still lead with so much empathy and vulnerability and thinking about, you know, the systems that make people successful and building equity across your teams and inclusion for people that don't all look the way that leaders look.


And I think that that made a yeah, it made a huge difference for me.

Yeah, I've definitely heard of the book and it was not the one.

It wasn't any of the ones that I was thinking of Deep work.

I was thinking of the four disciplines of execution because you mentioned like leading indicator, leading indicators and and scoreboard and stuff like that.


And I was thinking of oh, there was one more as well that I that I that I'm blanking out on.

But either way going back to something important you said, let's say someone's listening to us right now and they're saying you know what, I believe that too.

But my situation does not necessarily allow me to to be able to pick and choose where I want to go but but that's what I want to do and I don't necessarily want to be stuck in the cycle of like working for companies that don't don't operate the way that I that that is in alignment with my values.


What would you what would you share to to help them out?

Yeah, it's hard.

I think I really lucked into this.

I ended up working for a CMO that fundamentally changed my career when I moved to quick base, which I made the choice to leave Babson where they were paying for my degree in full.


I moved to quick base when I still had like $20,000 left worth.

Actually, I think it was a little more than that left of school.

But I was I I just knew I was.

I was like, I gotta move on, you know?

It'll be worth it for me to pay for it.

And I worked for a CMO that was really open to my.


Style of leading, right?

It took time.

Like, I had to prove that I could be successful.

I had to prove that it worked. 20 years experience.

I have one.

Who am I to say right?

But But that math does not make, you know, you don't need an NBA to know that math doesn't make sense.


But I and I felt very strongly about it, right?

I had a lot of conviction and I backed it up with being an excellent individual contributor, right.

Like I deliver.


And so when I'm saying that I think that we should structure our teams differently or lead differently, it's because I'm really passionate about the fact that I think it's going to make them even better and make them more like at the time, I was able to make them more like me, I'm delivering in the way that you want people to deliver, right?


And this is the environment I need to be able to continue to do that.

And so if you feel like you're in an environment that can take the push a little, try it, you sometimes will find allies where you didn't know they lived.

So maybe the VP of Customer success?

Is someone that you really love the way they lead, meet with them, see how they influence across the business, like understand how they've built connections and continue to build an org that you really respect.


If you still feel like in your current role or in your current company, this is not possible.

Really find communities of folks that are likeminded that you can start to really like.

Really start to talk with work about like when I joined my first marketing leadership like cohort community it was.


Sponsored by a tech company, right?

They love to build communities because they want you to buy their software.

And but I got so much out of that and I was able to say, look, this company is doing it.

I think we can do it, right.

And so I think you just need those data points that are already successful in the minds of what these people think they should be successful doing.


To be able to prove that things can look different and we can still meet our revenue metrics, right.

We're not sacrificing the success of the business.

I actually think the business is gonna be more successful because people will be more successful here.


I mean, I love the like one of the golden legacy you just shared is this notion of like almost like the wedge in the door thing where of like actually finding a community if you can't find that job, right.


Or you find the community or find the something like trying to find like a back door into the venue that you're trying to get into to surround yourself with those people.

Or even if it is internally maybe if it's like not just your specific department but like in an adjacent department and you see that they're embodying or or modeling a lot of the the values that you yourself believe in.


Just try and kind of like be in that energy cuz you never know.

Once you actually express your interest, you will learn things that may make that you can start to apply as as a leader yourself for for whatever future opportunities hold for you.

But in the same time, you never know, like one thing might lead to another and they could say, you know what we actually are looking for, what we are actually growing and we are.


We would love to have Someone Like You go through the process.

So yeah, I'm with you on that.

That's that's actually really, really, really cool.

And I think one more, one more tiny thing that perhaps I could add is just like if, if even if it's something that's not related to like your work whatsoever.


This is something that I've learned from since we are talking about books book called Give and Take by Adam Grant, classic book at this stage.

And he, I mean timeless book.

He's actually talked about a lot of different concepts including one which is the concept of burnout and how sometimes you keep giving and giving and giving and you burnout.


And he says the solution to that is to actually give more and that the reason why people burn out is because they give give gift but they don't necessarily get any feedback back.

And so one thing that and I know you and I are both not necessarily promoting like hustle culture like feeding into that at all.


But you know after work, if you feel like you can still give more energy and get something back for it, consider like doing something that would would become like maybe not super related to like what your day job is, but it's something that allows you to be in this environment where your values are actually are, where you can actually like have see those values in practice.


Now I do have an example of that.

It's not, it's not like a textbook example, but like during my time at LinkedIn, of which which I'm super grateful for and I learned a lot, I was working in in support because they needed Arabic support.

But I just finished a freaking four year marketing degree.

And so there comes a time where you can only recover so many passwords, right?


And so.

After after some time, me and my yeah, there you go, right.

And so I really wanted to do something marketing related and so I quote UN quote, took on more work after work. 6:00 PM me and my my brother who who is now my my cofounder for for for Chopcast, we did a social media consultancy which was such a shitty social media consultancy.


We had like a grand total of like one client.

But they were happy and we were happy and we were delivering value.

It was shitty in terms of like the the size of the size of the business, but like it gave us, it gave us energy from 6 to like 9:00 PM or whatever it was.

We just felt like, you know what?

And I know that's a little bit different than what you're talking about in terms of like values and so on, but.


It totally.

It just speaks to the go ahead.

I was gonna.

Say, it totally relates though, because I did have like this boundless energy at that time and I always think about where did it come from.

And I was just really passionate, like I really loved what I was doing.

Like I I was engaged in a lot of the and I found also that the thing also I'm not like like a Business School shill here.


But I am saying like the classes that I was really excited about were the ones about leadership, organizational design, like strategy, like how are we building better businesses, like how do we, how do we think about market opportunity, things like that.

And so it was easy for me to you know get out of there and say you know, let me talk to some other companies about how they're doing this.


Do they need some help?

Like, I certainly shouldn't be their consultant, but like.

I would go out to, we'd go out to bars and I'd meet people that were like running local businesses and I'd be like, let me look at your marketing plan.

Like, let me fix that for you.

Like, that is not.

And just because I knew like 10% more than they did, right?


Like I didn't actually know a ton.

But like you were saying, like you knew a little bit about social media and that business knew nothing.

So it was, you know, you were helping them, right?

And so I definitely feel like if you're in a job or in a career field, general field where you're super jazzed about the work that you're doing.


Then you're going to excel at it, right?

And I think even taking a lateral move, like I took a downgrade in my title when I went from Babson to quick base, I made way more money because there's no no money in the higher end.

But I but like, look at where it's gotten me, like that's a longterm investment, right?


It's not about it's getting yourself in the right place at the right pace with the right people.

And that is a game changer for your career.

Like there is no and like consistently re interviewing for your current job.

Like every year like I know people are getting a little burnt out on job changing and I think that that's that's really important right now.


Like if you need stability take it.

Like I I want to be at this job for a long time.

I want to get really good at really good at the product.

I want to scale the whole business like I'm feeling really solidified in it.

But when I was an individual contributor in a much larger org, I was taking calls.


I want to know what what like what other people are doing right.

Like if people are coming to me like and I didn't take those jobs for many years, but I definitely.

And it's not like I came in and tried to counter all the time.

Like, I never even got to that point.

But I learned a lot about what I was doing based on what other companies were looking for people to come and do right.


And so it's as much as you can be out there, as much as you can be out there, just try, right?

Like you're never going to meet.

I always say I never regretted taking a call.

Was it a waste of 15 minutes?


But like, do I waste 15 minutes on Tiktok every morning?


So, like, it's not like, like, you can take the call, right?


Like, it's not going to.

Like, even when you called me the first time, did I need new software?

Not really.

But you were building a new company and like, I was interested in learning at what you were doing.

And now we've maintained a relationship over many years, right?

So I think it's not thinking about.

Everything is so transactional.


Not everything has a big, like a a solution at the end of the call.

Like, sometimes it's just a part of the journey, right?

Like we're all just, you know, bumping into each other as we're all trying to do this thing.

It's not.

It's not that deep, you know?

Love it, one person.

Oh yeah, yeah.


I think I mentioned him earlier.

His name's Eric Olson and he's the CMO at Quickbase.

He's still there, and he actually happened to start on the same day I did and I didn't realize that we were getting new leadership, things that I now know to ask in interviews, but the same.


You guys literally started on the same day together.

Same exact day, same exact day.

So he was the CMO.

I started as a Content Marketing manager and I was working for a senior manager of like content and community who ended up giving his notice the Friday after I started.

So I came in to work for this guy.


I was super excited to work for him and ended up directly reporting into the CMO and this is me first tech job like first time really owning content marketing and it was one of those days where I remember Eric walked by my cubicle back in the day when we had those and he said hey, can you like come into my office for a minute just want to talk like content about with you And I didn't know enough to be scared of him because I never worked in tech before.


I didn't know he was a big deal right And I had a great conversation with him about the place.

I think content can hold in the strategy of a business, and I was really passionate about it and he ended up giving me the opportunity to be a people manager right away for the first time, not now.


I know him, not something he does very frequently and I grew exponentially in those few years getting to work for him and now we're still very close.

She lives in the town next to me and I still look at him so much as someone that has made.


It just takes one person taking a chance on you and seeing potential in you and saying I know this girl hasn't done this before but I see the profile of who she is and I've seen people like her be really successful.

So not actually a risk to give her the opportunity.


Like I've he's had a very similar like kind of pattern type mind that I have and he was like this pattern's worked for me before because he's like a four time CMO, worked in the Vista portfolio for the last like millions of years.

Don't tell him I said that makes him sound old.

He's not old, but he made a really, really big difference in my career.


And he leads like he is so authentically himself.

Like he comes to work just who he is, but he's so smart and so good at his job that who's who the heck is going to say anything to him about it, right?

And I just felt like this is a person that leads really authentically, and it is who they are.


And he likes to be personally.

He tells people about his family.

He tells people he like, gives people nicknames.

He's like very casual about it.

But he's so freaking good at his job and like that's.

I think I saw myself like a person, kind of like who I was interesting.


It was a man, but doesn't really, you know, it didn't matter in this case.

Very similar to who I thought I wanted to be as a leader.

And yeah, I made a huge difference in my career.



And I mean it's because we were talking about like, you know, gravitating to the, to the, to the environments where like you can see your values in action.


And in your case, obviously it's like being able to to show up as.

Your authentic self and still be able to to to succeed without necessarily like worrying about like you know all the externalities and stuff.

And it's amazing that it seems like this is kind of like the the first.


Am I right in saying that this is almost like the the first real life example of you kind of seeing that in action and and gravitating towards that?


And I it's funny because at first I was like, I am now going to work harder than I've ever worked in my life because this I know that the barriers are now gone.


All I can, all I can do now is this is mine to take now.

And I will say, if I'm talking about burnout, that can happen, be careful.

But I didn't really understand the balance of like, needing to care for myself at the time.

But it was so freeing and it was when I did my best work right like I in the I was I was barely a quick face for almost three years and I grew from an individual contributor to managing like a five person 4 function like part of the business.


That became a strategic lever to what the business then later turned into.

And I was building slides for you know for board meetings.

I was doing like things that I never thought I would even have the capacity to see.

Just like, so much exposure as well.

Yeah, so much.

And a lot of trust from this person.


Like, very.

And it wasn't just him, right?

He built a leadership team of folks that were also, like, really different than him.

He taught me really well how to work with people that don't just work with us.

Because if there's just people like us like we are.

I don't know where this analogy comes from.

But kites and strings, like, like a kite needs a string to hold it, to hold it down so it doesn't fly away.


But the string needs a kite to get off the ground, like, or it would just lay on the ground, right?

Like, And you need a leadership team full of kites and strings, right?

Like, you need people that are that balance one another out.

And like him and I were kites.

Like, we would just fly off into Astro space if we didn't have, if we weren't surrounded by strings, right.


And we're not exactly the same, but definitely have like similar profiles like if you take any of those like disk assessments and things like that.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And so I think.

That means if I were to take a guess, that means you're probably like a mix of maybe D and I or I and D, something like that.


All yellow.

I'm like 97 yellow.

Yeah, all yellow.

I yeah, Yeah, nice and a little bit of D I'm less D than he is.

But I have some green.

I have some more of the empathy, but I'm not AS I'm not as hardened yet, so but I think there's but yeah, it's definitely like you, it's showing how to work with people.


And I guess like a question that I had is now that the rules are reversed somewhat, yeah.

So seeing yourself in someone and then realizing it's super important now to surround yourself with people that aren't like you, but super.

What do you look for when you're trying?

I'm gonna blurt something out and I need you to help me out cuz I'm.

Like what do you look for in someone where you feel like, you know what I know this person has not done it before, but I want to give them a chance.


Not even not.

And it's not even like, oh, just cuz I've been just it's not even like I've been given chances.

Therefore I want to pass it out.

It's not even that.

It's more so like just objectively.


How do you, how do you like, what do you look for Yeah, I think so much more about.


Also stage of company is super critical like it is really dependent.

So like when I hire people onto my team now you need a little bit of the been there done that because you are the only one doing it.

So my team is 4 people.

So there is no coaching happening around you to learn the actual tactics.


So you need to have about 60% like you kind of do, whereas like if you're going into a forty person marketing team, there's like three other people that kind of do your job.

If you have the right behavioral mindset, I think you can be really successful there and you have time to scale up, right.

But when I was working in DC to like there's there was a little more time to scale right, like we had a little bit of a broader, like a little longer runway.


So but what I think what I look at a lot is can this person understand how what they do connects to the broader business.

That is where I've seen, and that sounds really simple.

But if I have a product marketer that comes in and interviews and says, and I asked them, you know, when like what's a project they've been really proud of or something.


And they talk about a project that involves 15 stakeholders that is like excellent and they actually understand the impact on the business that the work they did.

If they come to me and they say they built the most beautiful sales enablement piece of content that you've ever seen, that person's going to be an amazing individual contributor on a super large team or they're a really good freelancer.


They are not someone that's going to help me scale from 5 to 10 million, right?

And looking at and I don't care if they've sold to this exact dot.

I fight people on this all the time.

When people are like they haven't sold to our ICPI was like, guys come on like, are you kidding?

You think that's hard like this, If this person has been able to sell to developers, forget it, they can sell to anybody.


So if you've worked at a developer or you can sell to anybody, if you've worked at a company that has multiple verticals, if you have even worked at multiple technology companies that have been able to scale up within three months and prove business impact, that is a non starter.


Especially if we're selling to revenue teams and you are a marketer, forget it.

Like this is like that's not important to evaluate someone on what's important.

Yeah, it's almost like you're looking for these sort of, like patterns.

And you know what I mean?

Like it's almost a good thing if the pattern is not exactly like sometimes I would see folks in my network.


And I wish them all well of course, but like I would see them go from like one company and then they go to like literally that company's like you know competitor and and I and I and I'm sure they do great and I'm sure that's why maybe they got headhunted and stuff like that.


But I always wonder, I always go back to like the that book that we talked about earlier range with by David Epstein, this notion of like I wonder if you can take.

All of your skills that you've learned in like X industry and applied to Y industry the same way that but hungry.


Not something in the food examples, but like kind of like Henry Ford's assembly line and that innovation coming to like sushi restaurants.

And it's like, you know, if I was just if I'm a sushi restaurant and I'm just copying all the other sushi restaurants, I'll probably just give free green tea ice cream at the end and that's it.


But I wouldn't be able to innovate beyond that.

So I I think there's a almost like award double points for having an irrelevant industry, if that makes sense.


And or even your ability to transition.

Like we're all working in a like everyone knows everything's changing right now, right?


We claimed that things changed quickly the last 10 years.

They were at least linear, like you knew they were going up, like everyone was going up, right.

So change was always compounded with growth, right, Like you thought about like we're growing really quickly.

Change right now is really volatile.


So you see companies looking to sell to different verticals to different personas.

Your like your account maps are changing, the way we sell is changing.

You have lots of discussion happening about outbound versus inbound versus quality versus quantity.


And what I need is people that are that are actually think really deeply about how all of these things impact one another.

So if I tell you that we've always sold to B to B SAS companies and we've sold to these specific personas and now we're going to start selling into manufacturing.


If I have a whole team that's only ever sold, they've worked at 4 Martec companies before.

They've never sold into an industry that's not B to B SAS, then then where do we have like, then where's the problem life.


And certainly I I appreciate.

I think this goes back to your commentary on my background.


Like when I interviewed for this for the job at Mad Kudu, I'm sure they weren't.

They didn't look at my background and they were like, yeah, this girl looks exactly like the profile that we were looking for.

Like, there's no possible links.

There's very few people that have my background for better or for worse, right.

It gives me a good story.


Like it gets like.

And so I and I was introduced to them by a peer like I didn't, I didn't apply for this job.


And so it was a little bit of a different scenario, but I think there's there's a lot of value in that.

It doesn't mean, it does mean that the road typically will be not as clear, right.

Like I said to you earlier, like I don't know what my next move is and I hope it's not for a while, but I'm also confident that you know, the the foundation that I've built, just how I think about my life too, right?


Like you can't, yeah, you can't know what's gonna happen next.

But if you're building a foundation that you know that can take, can take the storm, right?

Like that's that's the most important part.


And I and I think I love how versatile your journey has been because for folks listening and you're watching like I think it just, it just goes to show that like you could still, you could still make it if I can say that you can still make it without necessarily like following, you know what I mean?


Like the typical.

You know path of like of, yeah.

Like what What you were talking about earlier, you know, and how you kind of ended up in a very similar position to some of those people even though your story couldn't have been more different.

And I think that's like for people who are paying attention and paying attention even to their own story, especially if they have like a story that's a bit more on the on the kind of like, yeah different side.


Like you can lean into that and that could literally become part of your personal brand and and your story that you bring to interviews or that you bring.

To customers, if you are a founder and you're starting to build your own founder brand and so on.

So we'll probably do the final two key moments like super quick.


Yes, just because I'm conscious of your time.

One decision, yeah, I think the big one I talked about earlier was leaving a job where my degree was free a year before.

I had anticipated leaving to move into tech because I thought that it was, you know, I was like, you know what, I'll make up this money within a year and this feels like I'm gonna.


I took my first risk on myself that I had in my career and it was the most critical.

I think I think about some decisions after like going to open view after quick base and stuff not being a big difference.

But I think the real pivot was when I really took a chance on myself that I could go somewhere that scared me and and yeah, I'm giving and being given that opportunity.


There's so much confidence as well, right.

Because like you're like, hey, I I'm the person who who did that.

And again we were talking about a lot of books today.

Another book which which we've talked about in previous episodes, it's called Can't Hurt Me by by David Goggins, the the former Navy, former Navy SEAL.


And he talks about some of the mental tools that he uses to go through to like overcome like difficult situations.

And one of them is the the concept of a cookie jar where anytime you've had a previous.

Kind of like achievement or or or triumph.

You kind of take a mental note of that and you put it in your proverbial cookie jar such that when things like show up in the future, you just refer back to that.


You just grab a cookie, as it were.

And so I imagine that was like a cookie for you where you're like, you know what, I know I'm facing X right now, but I'm the same person who who, you know, said no to this thing when everyone else would have, you know, did something different.


And I still managed to.

Not only survive, but like, triumph and so pretty sure the same person that can do this thing that I'm going through right now, yeah, the data proves that you've always learned it, so you'll probably continue to learn it.

That's what I usually say.


I love that.

I remember my first like all hands meeting my first week at Quickbase, sitting in and just hearing Eric was talking, talking about our strategy, talking about all the things.

I've never even seen a marketing org that had like I didn't really know what demand was like to be honest.

Like I come out of industries where like that was marketing management, but like not really.


And I was like, I don't even know what that team does like.

I don't know what product marketing is like.

I know like I.

Took the but do they demand?

I haven't seen it.

Yeah, exactly.


I've exchanged a lot over the years and I was able to make my unique perspective, apply it to this job and learn a ton really fast.


And so, like, I'm done.

Done before I.

The data proves as a person that believes in data, the data proves that I've done it before so I can I can do it again.

And that's how I coach my team, too.

They're scared.

They're like guys.

They're like, I've never learned that before.

It's like, well, did you learn the thing?

Like everything you know now you never learned before until you did.



Like, I love it.

I hired you because you've already done it, right?


Yeah, Ohh, man, we can.

We can keep talking about that specific point because I'm really passionate about it.

But four episodes?

But let's move on, cuz we want to get that last one.


So one accomplishment or learning that meant something that maybe wasn't that big of a deal to others, but to you it was just different.

Yeah, and I think this was a big of a deal to the people that were involved.

But when I left quick base, it was very emotional.


It was hard.

Like I built that team from the ground up during a pandemic and I've been through a lot with them.

And I had been through a lot with, you know, like a lot of us had gone through a lot of life in that time and we've gone through a lot of like professional work in that time.


And it was very sweet.

My team felt very tied to me and I think that was very and I I remember saying when I left and it was very hard leaving, it was like, you know, are we like, you know guys, There's nothing that's going to make me stay.

This is the right opportunity for me to go for my life and for me and and for my career, which it was true.


I I said I I was like please do not backfill me.

My team can handle this.

Like they better get recognized for that and I felt.

This based based on merit, obviously.


And this isn't a private equity company that does not promote people easily.


Like, that's not something that just like happens, right?

Like it's not.

And each one of them has now grown so much since I left and actually and and as a a reminder of this I they all found out.

So I'm pregnant with my first child and when they all found out that I was pregnant they sent me a gift as a team two years after I had left.


Like I'm just selling software to other businesses that also create software that sell more software to other businesses like and you start to think about it too much.

It's like does not matter.

Or like when my husband asked me like what B to B means and I'm like, he thinks it sounds like a pyramid scheme and he's like, where's the money start?


But when you get yourself into a head like that, you have a really hard day.

And then you have this moment where you like, get this package at your house and you're like, who's this from?

And it is from a team that you hired over three years ago that are still feeling the camaraderie of being a team that still are so invested in you personally and your life is.


It just meant so much to me.

So I think that that it might have seemed little to them and but you know all of them together have really been a big culmination of like every team I've built since and I'm really proud of all the teams I've built since then.

But I think that first one is always special, right?

And I think that knowing that I was able to make a huge impact on them professionally as well as personally, I think has been it's been definitely the most rewarding part of my career.


Wow, what a what a story.

And I mean.

I I think yeah, like like kind of like what you're saying maybe for them they're like oh it's just it's just a small thing.

But for you like it just it just means so much because it's not even with all due respect to like current managers and and current direct reports where it's like let's just buy a gift to like our current freaking manager.


This is obviously very different where it's like they are under 0 obligation like.

Beyond zero obligation to do anything like that and just show goes to show that no, it's bigger than that.

Like it doesn't didn't even matter what we did.

It's more about who we did it with and how you were able to lead us to get from where we were to to where we are today.


And I mean, a testament to that is, yeah, like they didn't necessarily backfill your role.

And if anything, that the folks on your team got promoted shortly after, which is, which is amazing, super cool.

So Shannon, we can keep talking on forever.


In fact, this is the longest episode we've done since we started the show.

Ohh, no, no, no, no, it's it's that's just how good it was.

And I think I'm still not going to let you go.

I still have one final question for you, which is where?

Is there something that you wanted to give to our community or or anything that you wanted to share that you think could be could be helpful just given?


All of what you've, all of what you've been, you've been experiencing and learning as a person lately.


I think, I, I don't think I have much unique advice that you don't see, you know, on your LinkedIn feeder in your TikTok algorithm.

But I think what I would love to give to folks that are, I know your audience is mostly creators and leaders and marketers.


And what I would give to them is the ability to step back and really say what we've been doing for the last, you know, 8 to 10 years, it may not matter as much as you think.

So we may be all on the same playing field again.

And just because you've seen a CMO have three beautiful exits over the last eight years and do super well at a bunch of companies that look the same, I don't think a lot of this is going to look the same over the next year.


And so I would like to give you the gift of confidence that, you know just as much as as anybody else and you have the capacity to run a team or run an org or run your part of the team in a way that that feels new and really fits exactly with your business and what you're trying to do and really fulfills you as a person.


Like, think about your job and as a as just a part of who you are.

And I'm not saying you need to to bring everything, don't bring yourself to work necessarily, but like, it's a huge part of your life.

So like, I think that you should feel fulfilled by it.

And I think there's this gift of like we might all be kind of starting over.


And I think that's that's a huge gift to those that feel like they missed the bandwagon or worked in that first wave of really successful people that things are going to look really different now and success as.

Part of the club or something, Yeah, yeah, exactly.


I wasn't in the club so I get it, you know, Like I.


And I think there's there's an opportunity for that club to look really different, I think.

Yeah, I I love that.

I I love the fact that like, right now it's right because like so many people are interpreting what's going on right now in so many different ways.

But I think looking at it as like a a fresh start or an opportunity for a fresh start to level the playing field could be really powerful and can really help like people's mindsets, like whether they're going into something new or whether.


They're, they're still in the same place, but now they can start to actually have a fresh outlook on things and have it actually matter and and and create like, tangible results.

So yeah.

Shannon, thank you so much for doing this episode.

And finally, where can people find you if they want to, if they want to learn more about you and Matt Kudu.


Yeah, if I didn't just tell you everything there is to note.

I'm just kidding.

I have a bunch of other stories if you want them.

So yeah, I think probably the easiest place is on LinkedIn.

I spend a good amount of time there.

So I'm just Shannon Curran.

Shannon Sweeney.


You might have known me as Shannon Sweeney before.

It's my maiden name.

And yeah, that's pretty much it.



And also, I work the current company work at Madkudu. if you're interested in hearing a little bit more about what we're doing.


Well, Shannon, thank you so much and we'll see you soon.


Thank you too.


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