ASCEND Podcast: Carol Carpenter on  Lessons in Leadership

ASCEND Podcast: Carol Carpenter on Lessons in Leadership

Written by

Anne Gherini

Published on

October 1, 2023

Sierra's ASCEND podcast explores excellence at scale. In this episode, Anne talks to Carol Carpenter.

Carol has led an incredible career. Before Unity, she was the CMO at VMware, ClearSlide, and the Global VP of Marketing for Google Cloud. Carol also stepped in and became CEO of ElasticBox, which she helped get acquired by Lumen.

In this interview, we discuss Carol's career in tech and dive deep into how she builds exceptional teams. 


Top Takeaways: 

  1. Be a product expert: Marketers need to have a deep understanding of how the product works. This goes far beyond buzzwords. If you don’t understand the product, you have no hope of marketing it effectively.
  2. Marketing connectivity: Carol emphasizes the importance of a strong end-to-end marketing strategy in order to make great technology accessible and visible.
  3. Don’t disqualify yourself: Reflecting on a pivotal moment in her career when Carol embarked on her journey to try to become a CEO, she recalls how she had to “remove the blinders” in order to take that step.
  4. Try new things: In order to get the right messaging, pitch, or right way to show off a product, it is important to be open to trying different things.
  5. Build your own “kitchen cabinet”: Create a safe venue to bounce ideas off likeminded professionals and trusted allies (ex. Dinner once per quarter).
  6. Consult different perspectives: Find someone who thinks differently from you, which is not our natural instinct as humans.
  7. Understand your customers deeply: Gaining a deep understanding of them is crucial, particularly in marketing. Anyone in the tech industry needs to make an effort to know their customers thoroughly and go above and beyond to do so.
  8. Hire talent, not resumes: In building a great team don't be dazzled by someone who has worked at successful companies. Focus on what they have done in their careers and what they have learned, especially from their failures.