Leah-Rasori-headshot-fAs Chief Marketing Officer, US, Leah Rasori is responsible for setting the company’s global marketing strategy, facilitating collaboration, and establishing best practices. In her role, she is responsible for driving increased demand for Sovos’ solutions and services by optimising all aspects of the customer journey

Tell us a bit about yourself, background, and your current role 

I joined Sovos about six months ago as Chief Marketing Officer, with a charter to help build a stronger global marketing function for a company that operates in nearly 100 countries, and to launch our small to mid-sized (SMB) business initiative. Prior to joining Sovos, I have spent the past decade or so as a Senior Marketing Leader in Fintech.  Most recently, I have been focused on providing technology solutions for SMBs. Marketing is something that has been in my DNA from a young age, having grown up working for my parent’s start-up business. I’m incredibly passionate about providing simple and easy to use technology solutions for small businesses.

Being CMO at Sovos allows me to continue my journey to provide small businesses (along with businesses of any size for that matter) with solutions that help solve their tax problems.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

To say that I sat down and planned my career out would be overstating it a bit, however I have always had that “what’s next” mindset to ensure I’m always moving towards the next opportunity. I knew very early in my career that I wanted to be in the technology industry and I was highly motivated to build a career that would eventually lead to a C-level position. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to get involved in Wnet (a women’s networking organisation for the payments organisation) and was selected to be in a leading women’s career development programme with my employer. This really helped my career at the more senior level with access to planning tools and mentors.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Like most women with careers in technology, I absolutely faced challenges at various stages in my career.  Having a strong support system both personally and professionally gave me the courage and strength to either make changes, tackle them head on or pivot to a new way of doing things that ensured better outcomes for all those involved. Fortunately, building networks has become increasingly easier and more accessible to many more women in recent years and as more women reach greater heights within technology companies, the opportunity for mentorship increases for the next generation to continue to balance the scales across senior technology positions.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Growing with a company and ultimately leading the marketing for an Initial Public Offering on the New York Stock Exchange was a career highlight and most recently, joining Sovos as a CMO, both stand out as milestone achievements in my career. However, I personally feel the greatest sense of accomplishment seeing my team members succeed and grow their careers. The smaller wins along my journey tend to be the most meaningful to me –projects where I was given a blank slate and turned them into company successes, watching team members flourish and succeed and grow into leaders in their own right is extremely satisfying.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Being fearless: not being afraid of failure and having the courage to remove the obstacles in my way, even when it wasn’t the easiest path to take in the short-term.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

My top tips would be…

Get used to the feeling of being uncomfortable. Success takes work and rarely ever happens in your comfort zone.

Build your network: sponsors are just as important as mentors. Seek them out.

Tell your manager where you want to go and ask for help in getting there. Create your own career roadmap and then use your 1:1 meetings for coaching and mentoring to get you there.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I see two areas where working in tech a challenge is still for women.

1) Culture: technology organisations need to really investigate the culture of their operation and whether they are creating an environment where all employees can bring the best versions of themselves to work each day.  If women aren’t in a culture where they can thrive, they will continue to “opt out” like we’ve seen in recent years.

2) Talent and training pipeline continues to be a problem, which is causing a shortage of women for the senior roles in tech.  At Sovos, we have a set of core company values that we adhere to without fail. One of them is to be inclusive which has led us to sponsoring a number of great programmes aimed at getting more women into the world of technology, such as “Rewriting the Code.”  If we can fill the pipeline AND provide a great cultural fit in tech, we will start to see more success for women, and it will continue to build from there.  In my experience, culture takes hold from the top down. To drive real change you need buy in and commitment from the boardroom and C-Suite on down to the front lines.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Continued focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts is key. Companies can also start by challenging every successful woman in tech to give back in some way – by either mentoring, sponsoring or getting involved with the many organisations that support these efforts.

There is currently only 15% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

I would provide equal motivation and opportunity for women to get excited about careers in technology at an earlier age. This will help to fill the candidate pipeline with capable women full of enthusiasm and great ideas and ready to make their mark in the technology industry.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g. podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

Attend events like WIT and Wnet and get involved. Find mentors and sponsors. There is a lot of great content on LinkedIn, and I’m also a big fan of Patrick Lencioni’s books on general business topics.