Sandra Moran

Inspirational Woman: Sandra Moran | Chief Marketing Officer, WorkForce Software

Sandra Moran

Sandra Moran has more than 25 years of experience enabling global software and technology companies to strengthen their brand and accelerate revenue growth through a customer-centric approach.

Having held leadership roles in marketing, sales, new business, and product management, Sandra has built and led high-performing global cross-functional teams to support the identification and delivery of sustainable business growth. Before joining WorkForce Software, Sandra served as the CMO at LLamasoft and INTTRA and has held global leadership roles at OpenText and Hyperion. Sandra earned a bachelor’s degree in business analytics and research from Texas A&M University.

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

I’m Sandra, Chief Marketing Officer at WorkForce Software, the first global provider of integrated employee experience and workforce management solutions.

I’m proud to have 25 years experience in roles of increasing responsibility across marketing, sales, new business, and product management. Through this, I’ve built and led many high-performing, cross-functional teams that have enabled global software and technology companies to strengthen their brand and accelerate revenue growth.

As CMO, I focus on raising brand awareness for WorkForce Software’s enterprise workforce and employee communication solutions, which help some of the world’s most innovative organisations optimise their workforce, protect against compliance risks, and increase employee engagement to unlock their potential for resiliency and optimal performance.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Early on, I didn’t imagine my career would lead to marketing. With a degree in Business Analysis and Research and an early start as a systems analyst developing software and implementing it for businesses, marketing was not on my radar. Looking back, there were several pivotal moments where opportunities presented themselves and I leaned into them.

The first, moving from behind the keyboard to a pre-sales role presenting solutions to potential customers. An acquisition that offered a national marketing position, and a trusted mentor who saw my ambition and work ethic and continued to offer more opportunities in roles of increasing responsibility and authority that gave me the chance to grow into a global role. Today, marketing is more about the use of data to maximise marketing investments and my systems background has served me very well, as we are increasingly using technology to reach our buyers and support them through their entire life cycle.

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

Like everyone else, I have faced career challenges – not taking a promotion that would have required a relocation, for example. I think it’s important not to dwell on setbacks but to consider what lesson they had for you and what opportunity you can make out of it. In my case, not accepting that promotion created a chance for me to move into the sales organisation to drive adoption for the product line that I was previously responsible for building. It was a great experience that has enhanced my knowledge today.

The biggest challenge was reconciling my personal life with my work life, and it saw me leaving the traditional corporate world for several years so that I could be present and available to my family. There is no shortcut to getting in touch with things that matter most, and I was fortunate to have started my own business and then return to corporate life easily. It’s been one of my greatest blessings to have been able to feel successful in both my professional and personal life.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to work on the successful unicorn exit at LLamasoft for the $1.5 billion acquisition by Coupa Software. It is what many private equity-backed senior leadership teams work for. The acquisition followed building an amazing global team, successfully repositioning and re-branding the company and the development of an effective global demand generation capability and partnership with sales to achieve double-digit revenue growth.

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

I have always been a consistent executor, undeterred by not having done something before and committed to surrounding myself with exceptional team members. Being someone who consistently created company ‘firsts’, has helped me to develop a love of learning, the ability to build momentum for change, and a steady focus on seeing projects through successful execution – even when faced with resistance to change. It also taught me to be willing to take the first step to get projects moving and actively plan for learning and rapid adaptation that is often needed when you are doing something new. At today’s pace of business change, building “perfect plans” isn’t always possible. Building plans with key milestones and the ability to listen and rapidly adapt has been an important lesson and one that together with amazing teams has been important to my success.

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

Be curious. Make sure you fully understand the business problem and whether it’s worth solving. Some people call this the “5 Whys” – asking 5 layers of “And why is that important”. Practice it for anything you give your time and attention to.

Be willing to say no to things that will prevent you from doing the things that matter. Be true to yourself and know your strengths. You don’t have to be afraid not to know everything. You must be committed to finding the right answer and bringing the right people together to achieve success.

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

The pandemic further exposed the diversity challenges that continue to persist in the workforce, despite the investment in DEI initiatives and training programmes by many large employers. The reality is that women have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, with many opting to change their roles to navigate the personal and family challenges created by this unique situation.

In fact, among the women employed full-time prior to the pandemic, almost a third (29% have since reduced their hours, while almost one in ten (9%) left the labour market altogether. This mass exodus of women from the workforce has contributed to the labor shortage and left a void in more diverse thinking – particularly for fresh ideas around innovative new services and products, as well as problem solving and balanced leadership decisions that only the inclusion of more women can provide.

In my opinion, having the right company mindset to support new ways of working, enabled by workforce management systems and processes to support their implementation, will provide female workers with greater flexibility and ensure they feel valued and engaged in the wider business.

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

Businesses must be dedicated to not only hiring and retaining more women within their workforce, but also helping them to evolve in their roles. Organisations should be offering consistent opportunities for upskilling and job training. This will also require companies to consider new levels of schedule flexibility, work shift patterns, and other alternative coverage models that support the needs of women who often have additional responsibilities outside work.

I’d also love to see more tech companies adopt earned wage access (EWA) payroll solutions, to help single mothers to access their wages before payday as they are working up to higher earnings. The technology behind this is mainstream and involves capturing an employee’s daily worked hours and processing payments based on the rules that apply to that day. In an environment where inflation is at its highest in thirty years, I believe EWA should be in the plans for employers.

There are currently only 21 per cent 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?

For me, I think the one thing that will truly accelerate change is more female mentors with hands-on experience in STEM subjects. We all need guidance, particularly those considering or just starting out in a tech career, so experienced female mentors are essential to help young women navigate through workplace challenges. While this is a lot of pressure on the 21% of women currently working in tech, I believe these trailblazers will be key to enticing and retaining future generations of female talent.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

I am a big fan of McKinsey Research, and I am a subscriber and avid reader of their articles, research, and regularly listen to their podcasts. Having a deep understanding of business is critically important – before you start applying technology solutions. Find a quality source for operational best practices, for marketing that was Forrester Decisions (formerly Sirius Decisions), that you can leverage and adapt versus building everything from scratch and to establish targets as you are pioneering change. I also recommend webinars and presentations from vendors selling solutions and tools for your area of work. They are sometimes full of better practices and ideas for continuous improvement. Whether you learn one new idea or confirm that you are on the right track, looking for ways to continue to learn and grow should make it onto your priority list every week.