By Tifenn Dano Kwan, CMO, Amplitude

I often get questions from aspiring marketing leaders about the lessons I’ve learned throughout my career. Mentorship, especially from other women, is something that I deeply value. I have been lucky to have many great mentors, and I try to pay that forward whenever I can. I’m incredibly proud that three of my former direct reports have become Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), and many others serve in various marketing leadership roles. So, whether you’re hoping to become a CMO or level up in your current role, I’d like to impart some of those learnings.

Lead with empathy

One crucial thing I learned was never to view my career as a solo venture, particularly as I began to move into more managerial and senior roles. I increasingly recognised that I was not the only person impacted by the decisions I made, or how I acted, in my working life. There are teams to lead, peers to collaborate with, and customers to inspire. Every decision I make has a ripple effect. It is so important to be a compassionate, empathetic, and human leader. Many of us are very careful with our personal relationships whilst sometimes overlooking our professional ones and I think this is a mistake. Both should be handled with equal care.

Of course, leading with empathy is not only important with your team, it’s critically important with your customers. As marketers, we always need to be empathetic to our customers’ pain, and of course, work to resolve it. Today’s customers need to understand the value your business provides to them at every turn. They want to interact with a human, not a corporation. Leading with empathy both within your own organisation and with customers is a truly excellent way to rise in the marketing ranks.

Find the place where you thrive

Another piece of advice I’d give is that it’s incredibly important to find the place in which you are happiest. For me, that’s in mid-sized companies in hyper-growth. Throughout my career, I found my sweet spot in organising teams, processes and programmes, all around the goal of scaling up. I love to be the person to thread the needle and bring it all together.

I’ve entered into companies to help instrument and coordinate this shift many times. In my last role as CMO at Collibra, a leading data intelligence platform, I facilitated a data-driven transformation of the company’s marketing functions, helping to build a category-leading brand. Prior to this, as CMO at Dropbox, I centralised the marketing programming to drive revenue growth through customer centricity.

I started my role as CMO at Amplitude almost one year ago—and it’s been one of my most exciting ventures yet. Many leaders within our go-to-market organisation have joined in the past year, so my passion for organisation and process has proved incredibly useful. Today, our marketing, sales, customer success, and strategy and operations teams are more aligned than ever, and I’m personally thrilled about the opportunity ahead for us.

While integrated programmes happen to be my strength, it’s not everyone’s. I always encourage marketers to be well-rounded, but also to identify what their super strength is. And then keep pursuing that.

Become a natural collaborator

Last, as a marketer, you must embrace the role of collaborator. This will look different for every role and in every industry. For me, this has looked like being the person at the helm of the convergence of product and marketing teams.

Product and marketing teams have typically worked in silos. However, the relationship between product and marketing teams has shifted with the rise of digital products. Now more than ever, these teams need to work together. Let’s take an example from my time at SAP Ariba. When I started, the product and marketing teams were fairly disconnected. But when the organisation planned to announce and launch 12 product innovations in two months’ time, I knew the only way to pull this off was through collaboration. We needed to align our objectives and outcomes.

To make this happen, I practically moved into the product team’s office and encouraged our different departments to speak the same language and problem-solve together. Although you don’t need to be quite so extreme to drive collaboration, establishing a shared foundation for success requires positive intent and effort.

One of the greatest things about growing your marketing career is that you’re always learning new lessons. I know I will have many more learnings over the next decade — and beyond! Remember, as you reach new stages of your career, to always be open to learning. You never “complete” your career. Those who seek to be lifelong curious and humble leaders will always get the most out of themselves and their teams.