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Women of Qualified: Meet Maura

Meet Maura Rivera, Chief Marketing Officer at Qualified. Maura's calm leadership, warm heart, and strategic intelligence are exactly why she's a fantastic leader. Learn more about how Maura thinks about her role, channels her inspiration, and what excites her most about the future of Qualified. ⬇️

How do we move forward when everyone is telling us that our idea won't work?

Maura: I've definitely had experiences where there's doubt about ideas that I bring to the table.  Andrea Wildt, CMO of Campaign Monitor, and now runs her own company called Harlow, once told me it's okay to fight for an idea.

I think sometimes as women, we're more soft-spoken or more nervous to ruffle feathers, or we don't want to be seen as causing issues. But if there is an idea that you really believe in, you should go to bat for it. That's something you learn with experience and in time as you grow and build confidence in the workforce. I took that feedback to heart.

When you have an idea that you really want to fight for, the best thing you can do is assemble a plan. If you come to people with a clear presentation of 'here's my idea and here's the why; here's the audience,  here's the impact that I think it will have,' if you present the facts and the vision, they'll buy it. They'll buy into it more because you went out of your way to fight for that idea.

When all else fails, you need to put your head down and work hard. The best thing to do is to put your head down, work hard, and people will start to build trust in you and see that you're a big contributor and that you're a hard worker. So that when you bring future ideas to the table, they'll listen. It's a combination of those two things.

What is your 'why'?

Maura: My 'why' I want to get up every morning is to do work we're proud of alongside a team that all loves working together. I feel like we have a special gig going here both as a whole company and also as a marketing team. We're always pushing ourselves to deliver really modern, innovative content. We don't want to just be seen as any other B2B company.

We want to do things that are new and that are innovative. When you look back on our time, we can say, 'I'm so proud that we launched Demand Gen Visionaries as a podcast, I'm so proud of this launch of Qualified Plus, our new streaming network. I'm so proud of all of these cool web pages that we're doing and cool campaigns we're putting into market.' That fulfills me when I feel like we're putting really great customer-facing work into market.

It's also always about the people you work with. I feel like we're building this a team of not only people who work well together, but people who genuinely enjoy each other's company. When you have those two things going on at work, that when you're happiest. Those are my motivators. It's the work and it's the relationships. And how can we have fun along the way? That's what keeps me going.

Why are you passionate about what we do?

Maura: It's cool to market our product because I'm marketing to marketers. I'm marketing really to people like myself. It becomes really easy when you're speaking the language that you speak. So we're marketing to people like me and my team. I think about it through the lens of 'what are the metrics that I care about, what are my problems as a marketer?'

Then I can help translate how our solution and Qualified solve those problems. That helps me be passionate about what we're doing because it's a solution that I genuinely see the impact. I use Qualified every single day. I'm in there when new campaigns launch, seeing the website traffic, or sales reps talking to people, the messaging they're using. How are they, 'wowing and surprising and delighting' people who are on our website. It's very cool.

Another reason I am passionate about Qualified is because I joined so early on. I feel this passion for seeing the company succeed. Kraig, our CEO, I said, 'you're going to have your fingerprints all over everything,' because at the beginning, it was a smaller group building and ideating. It's been really cool to see it grow and see it succeed. It's extremely motivating to me.

What has you most excited about the future?

Maura: I'm super excited about where we're going. This company has grown faster than we could have ever imagined.

Our customers love our product and it makes me excited about our constant product innovation. I love the team that we're building. There's something special that's brewing, and that makes me excited to fast forward a year, two years, three years. What's the team going to look like? What's the product going to look like? We have infinite potential.

Who inspires you and why?

Maura: This might sound cheesy, but it's my sisters. I should probably give my brother a shout out, too. But the reason I say my sisters, all three of us are in B2B tech. One of my sisters does corporate communications for a B2B tech company and one of my sisters does enterprise sales for a B2B tech firm. We all are in the same space and speaking the same language when we talk about our work. We're also all moms. We all have kids and we live close to each other, so I look to them a lot for inspiration because I feel like we're all navigating the similar world of trying to be working moms and trying to we all have this similar kind of work experience in common. We ask each other for advice, and we have actually worked with a lot of the same people, so our networks overlap a lot. I look to them for inspiration because they are just badass working moms who are really working for incredible companies, and that keeps me going. It's fun to watch them succeed and have us all guide each other on this journey.

What is some of the advice you share with young women entering a male-dominated profession?

Maura: You don't need to be like all of your male counterparts. You don't need to always be the loudest voice in the room to get heard. As a woman, you have the chance to offer up a different perspective and  let that opinion be known. It took some time for me to figure out that I don't need to be like them. I can form my own opinion and offer my own point of view. It takes time to build up your confidence when you're the only woman in the room or one of few women in the room. Imposter syndrome is something that happens to a lot of women in the workforce. Being confident in your idea and being confident in your point of view and being able to speak up and offer them when it makes sense.

I wish I had more confidence earlier in my career.  Women need to stick together. I know that it sounds so cliche, but women supporting women—I really value my relationships at work when we can talk about 'how did you navigate that situation or how do you approach this when it's all men in the room; how are you successful in communicating that point of view? How are you as a working mom, navigating, like boundaries or school pick up or going to doctors appointments?'

Amy Clausing, a woman who runs events and marketing programs for us, has been so helpful to me in this respect. I've looked up to her for years. We've worked together at past companies, and she started her mother had journey earlier than I did, and she gives me a lot of advice on how to create boundaries and how she balances being a working mom.

Leaning on other women to navigate has been really helpful to me. Both women who I work with at my own company, but also just all of my girlfriends who are kind of in the same industry. We lean on each other a lot.

What’s an important leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Maura: Hiring is so important. As a leader, you're not going to be able to do everything.

You're not going to be able to be in the weeds on everything. You need to hire other leaders who you  trust and can instill confidence in, and hopefully help coach and learn from each other. Not all leaders are the best at everything they do. As a marketing leader, you have to trust your Demand Gen leader, your Product Marketing leader, your Comms and Content leader, then because then you can step back to lead.

Hiring the best is super, super important. Maybe more important than I ever thought it was.

Thank you for sharing, Maura! See Maura in action for our Dreamforce '21 session over on Qualified Plus.

Posted on
September 15, 2021
by
Emma Calderon

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