The CMO Files: Christine Washburn, Rocket Software

What keeps CMOs awake at night?

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Name: Christine Washburn

Organization: Rocket Software

Job title: CMO

Location: Waltham, Massachusetts, USA

 

  1. Where were you born and raised?   
    Buffalo, New York (armpit of the US) and then raised largely in Michigan (the only state shaped like a mitten).
  2. What was your first job?  
    My first professional job was working as a legislative aide/speechwriter on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. As a teenager, I sample-sold dried fruit and candy at a kiosk in a mall.
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?   
    A Betamax VCR!
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    A boss early on who taught me to quantify my “asks” in terms of revenue and margin for the company and not to whine about what “I wanted”.
  5. What has been your greatest achievement?
    Raising a teenage girl who respects herself and others.
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Not learning a language and not taking time after college to backpack around the world.
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    Determination
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
    Perfectionism – not settling for the “good enough”.
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   
    Establishing good peer relationships with your non-marketing counterparts, especially sales and finance.
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    My mantra is “Ask for the order”. But I hate empty words such as “seamless,” “paradigm shift,” “game-changing”.
  11. What makes you stressed?
    Disrespect
  12. What do you do to relax?
    Reading, running, and eating chocolate (sometimes simultaneously)
  13. What is your favorite song?
    Vultures” (John Mayer), “Hymn to the Weekend” (Coldplay)
  14. Which book taught you most?
    “Atlas Shrugged” and more recently, “How Will I Measure My Life” (Clayton Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”).
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    Got to be the New England Patriots with Tom Brady
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
    Any Mediterranean country would do
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
    H&M, Atlassian (software), Airbnb
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    The ability to transform a company’s revenue with good marketing.
  19. What is your favorite book?
    The Great Gatsby
  20. What keeps you awake at night?
    Nothing