Role Models: Jen McNamee, Senior Manager of Partnerships and Channel Development at Braze

Jen McNamee, Senior Manager of Partnerships

Today’s Role Model is Jen McNamee. Jen began her career analyzing ad revenue, but later realized she had a strong skill set for building relationships. Over time, she moved from tracking campaign data to managing accounts and eventually brokering large corporate partnerships. Jen is currently the Senior Manager of Partnerships and Channel Development at Braze, a mobile messaging customer engagement platform.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

My title is Sr. Manager, Partnerships & Channel. I’ve been in this specific role since January, but I’ve been with my company for 2.5 years. Prior to this role I was Manager, Partnerships & Channel.

What attracted you to this role?

This role provides the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of internal & external groups creatively figuring out ways to collaborate for mutual fulfillment.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

My typical day begins early. I start reviewing anything that’s occurred overnight on our various Slack channels & email prior to getting into the office. Once I’m in, I try to respond to any time sensitive emails prior to kicking off meetings with a mixture of internal & external groups.

I don’t have a daily routine for meetings, so everyday provides an opportunity for something fresh. Externally, I meet with potential tech partners to investigate if the partnership would be fruitful or with current partners to plan out additional ways we can collaborate across product enhancements and sales growth or to drive market/brand awareness.

Internally, I meet across a number of departments in our organization (Marketing, Sales, Product, Customer Success, etc.) to build out plans for how to work with our partners and figure out areas for improvement.

Meetings fill up most of my day, but in between, I answer emails/Slacks and also set time aside for long-term partnership planning. Additionally, we have lunch delivered daily, which is an amazing perk, as it saves so much time and interjects a breather in the middle of the day.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

Evernote, Slack and Google Docs help me with organization, collaboration and time efficiency.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

I really enjoy working with our partners to figure out ways we can create market/brand awareness on the back of each other for mutual company success.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

The biggest challenge, yet also one of my favorite things, is working across such a multitude of groups. It can be difficult to connect the dots between different departments and collectively organize to drive one common goal.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

Within my role I work with our internal Marketing, Sales, Product, Customer Success, Legal, and Engineering teams. Externally, I’ve worked with those same groups at our partner companies, as I have to help connect teams across both organizations.

One such example of this collaboration is when we roll out new Partners. I get to work hand in hand with our internal Product team to select the Partner. Once that’s established, I connect with our forthcoming Partner and their respective Product team to build out the integration. Then I meet with our Customer Success team to address prospective beta users to test the integration. In addition, I also work with our Sales / Marketing team to share our Partner positioning and value proposition for usage across prospective clients, current clients and forthcoming marketing initiatives.

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

One specific area I’m looking to grow is being more outspoken. I need to improve on sharing my opinion in a confident, firm manner.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

A person within this role needs to be a team player, flexible, collaborative, creative, empathetic, easy mannered and engaging.

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

I have learned an incredible amount about partners in the tech space, as well as product/technical intricacies within our Product offering. Both of these are evergreen areas of knowledge that will only grow with time. I also had to become more situationally aware of the best way and times to address certain partners & departments to work in the most efficient manner. In addition, I had to improve my understanding of the ‘controllables’ of a situation and work to my strengths to make those a success.

In your role, what metrics define success?

The three main areas are successfully building out new partnerships, collaborating internally/ externally in impactful ways for success, and hitting a sales pipeline revenue goal on the back of Partner introductions / referrals to new clients.

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Role Models: Maimouna Siby, Marketing Strategist at Squarespace

Maimouna (1)

Today’s Role Model is Maimouna Siby. From her college days, Maimouna understood media’s potential as a communication and empowerment tool. She worked as a data analyst for the Wesleyan Media Project, helped build engaged online communities at several tech startups, and even launched Girl to the World, a line of multicultural children’s books. Maimouna recently got promoted to her Marketing Strategist role at Squarespace, a company that makes software for website hosting.

What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?

My official title is as Marketing Strategist and I’ve been at Squarespace for 1 year.

What attracted you to this role?

The opportunity to combine my fascination for technology, business, and storytelling by sponsoring podcasts and supporting creatives that use our platform.

Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?

On a typical day I get in before 10am, grab breakfast (usually Honey Nut Cheerios and cold brew), and then start working through my emails and determining my major to-do’s for the day. I don’t love staying at my desk for too long, so once I’ve organized my to do’s and calendar I move to the bar area. This area has more daylight or work on the roof to further awaken my soul.

My job is multi-pronged as I work across three legs of marketing: Podcasts, Editorial, and Paid Social. In a typical day I work on researching new podcasts to sponsor, editing a custom editorial post, and managing our Paid Social Twitter campaigns.

My meetings differ by marketing channel, but I am either on a call to learn about a new podcast or publication sponsorship opportunity or I am in strategy brainstorms with the general manager of each of those channels. Lunch is always around 12pm, but we head over around 11:50 to beat the office lunch hour.

What skills/technologies help you succeed?

I rely on my communication and time management skills the most in this role. As my position requires different levels of attention to multiple marketing channels, I rely heavily on my calendar and build in reminders and blocked times to work on bigger projects. The Google suite is also super helpful in my day to day; I don’t know where I’d be without Sheets, Docs, or Slides. Dropbox is another lifesaver; it helps me to organize and stay on top of the many documents involved in locking in sponsorship deals.

What’s the most fun or creative part of your role?

The most creative part of my role is actually also really analytical. After analyzing the performance of each channel, I use those insights to drive my decisions around finding new podcast creators to sponsor or new editorial partners. It’s fun to spot areas of opportunity that are easy to overlook when you’re not digging into the data. Working on our content strategy and workshopping sponsored editorial pieces also allows me to get creative.

What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?

The biggest challenge in working across multiple channels is consistently diversifying the way I approach and seek solutions. It can also be difficult to work with  multiple channel managers but that is where I’ve also been able to become a clearer communicator. I learned the important questions to ask and figured out when it’s crucial to manage up.

How much access to management do you have in your role?

I have a lot of access. My manager and I check-in weekly. We also have several statuses regarding each channel so if I have any additional questions or concerns, I get answers there.

What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?

I’ve worked with the Product, Customers, and Organic Social teams the most thus far. A lot of our sponsored editorial pieces highlight our Squarespace customers and the product so whenever we embark on a new piece, we get together to brainstorm who we’d like to feature and how we’d like to position the product.

What’s currently missing from the team?

I think our team is built out really well, actually!

What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your role?

As a Strategist, my job can be filled with a lot of projects where I assist, but I want to grow into owning more projects. I’d also love to become more comfortable and confident in presenting my ideas and findings.

What, in your opinion, is the career trajectory for your role?

The career trajectory for my role at Squarespace is becoming a channel strategist and then growing into more of a managerial role, helping to manage each of the marketing channels.

In your role, what metrics define success?

Our team pays attention to website subscriptions, trials, and growth in brands awareness. To progress in our roles, it’s important to showcase our ability to effectively manage our marketing channels, offer up new strategic/creative ways to approach the market, and independently conducting research and presenting new opportunities to the team.

What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this role?

My analytical skills, business strategy, communication, and organization have all improved and are continuing to improve as a result of this role.

Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?

It is really important to know how to simultaneously self-manage and ask questions you may think aren’t smart or feel elementary without fear. It is also important to be your best self-advocate, understand how crucial you are to the team.

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