I am coming up on the 14th anniversary of my career in HR Technology.
And with that milestone, I announce my resignation.
Not because I am done with the industry.
I will always love HR Tech.
I will always be forever grateful for the people I have had the honor to work with at Envoy, an amazing tech company building solutions around immigration management and CareerBuilder, one of the most successful brands in talent acquisition space.
No, I am not leaving the work world. Yes–I have been asked. Because, yes–I am a working mom. And while a 9 to 5 is not always easy, it is where I am my best.
I am leaving my career in HR Technology because I am embarking on a new adventure.
There are times in life when all of the stars align. Times when things happen serendipitously. Times when an opportunity is just meant to be. These moments do not come around often. But when they present themselves, you have to take the leap.
This new adventure was that kind of moment.
I have always said there needs to be three reasons for me to consider a new career opportunity:
- The business has to be technology company with a product that offers a clear value to its customers.
- The team has to be talented and smart but down to earth.
- Marketing has to be the linchpin of the broader business strategy. Not a nice to have. Not sales support. Mission critical.
After getting more and more excited with each conversation. After witnessing how the organization serves its customers and its team. After recognizing the impact I could bring to the table.
I had to take the leap.
I am beyond excited to join Sprout Social as CMO.
Social is the linchpin of today’s smart marketing strategies
Social was once a standalone channel with a limited role in the overall marketing mix for most organizations, but advances in ad tech, audience modeling, AI and listening have expanded the role of social to touch almost every capability represented by marketing today.
From content development and customer care to audience research and demand generation, social is emerging as the nucleus around which the smartest and most cohesive marketing strategies are built.
To lead the marketing department as an organization that not only understands the social sea change but is actually driving it at the platform level is an incredible opportunity.
A place where building the best team & product is not lip service
Before I considered the CMO role, I knew about Sprout. The team has won multiple culture awards and has an office space that is the envy of every other team in Chicago.
As an organization, Sprout prides itself on creating an inclusive workplace with authentic DEI initiatives, gender neutral bathrooms and murals dedicated to a progressive, company-wide belief system.
From the CEO down, it’s understood that a world class product is the reflection of a happy team.
A product is a portal into the company that made it. A complex/unorganized/unreliable product has a complex/unorganized/unreliable company behind it.
— Justyn Howard (@Justyn) April 4, 2018
As a beneficiary of social marketing, I have experienced firsthand how Sprout’s employee culture has positively impacted its product. Having researched, demoed and used a fair number of marketing and social media tools I can unbiasedly admit that Sprout is the best.
The product is intuitive, well designed and powerful. This, paired with more robust full-funnel analytics and listening tools due to the recent acquisition of Simply Measured, makes Sprout the perfect solution for large, cross-functional teams or small businesses.
Marketing propels sprout forward
Sprout is a marketing solution.
Therefore, the entire team is thinking about marketing and marketers each and every day. So it is not surprising that marketing is not only a key driver of success but the lifeline to the business’ future.
This position in the broader organization, paired with the impact social can have on the world at large, made signing my offer letter a no brainer. It is not lost on me the realized power of social and its use for good and evil.
Legislators were literally calling on Zuckerberg to defend Facebook’s data leak and potential role in the election as I was saying “yes” to Sprout. We are in an age where communication tools can become weapons.
Some are comfortable as bystanders. But myself and the rest of Sprout’s marketing team think it’s far more exciting to seize responsibility and be a part of the solution.
Boarding the rocket ship
A very wise mentor once told me, if you have the chance to jump aboard a rocket ship, don’t hesitate, leap from the platform.
The marketing team at Sprout is incredibly talented and now I get to help optimize and develop that talent. This is my passion. This is what made it so easy for me to take the leap from the platform and leave HR tech to become Sprout’s CMO.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.