The CMO Files: Connie Stack, Digital Guardian

What keeps CMOs awake at night?

Get inside the minds of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job... and what keeps them awake at night.

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Name:  Connie Stack

Organisation: Digital Guardian

Job title: CMO

Location:  Waltham, MA


  1. Where were you born and raised?
    I was born in St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland in Canada. I was raised in a picturesque fishing community just 20 minutes outside St. John’s, Petty Harbour, Newfoundland by my Mom and Dad alongside eight siblings.
  2. What was your first job?  
    My first “informal job” was babysitting. I started babysitting at 12 years old. My first formal job came at 16 when I ran the children’s summer recreation program in Petty Harbour. That meant teaching and coaching softball, football and ball hockey as well as peppering in arts and crafts for the all too common rain days in the Newfoundland summer.
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?   
    The first “product” that got me excited were the kids I worked with in our summer program back in Petty Harbour. I saw an opportunity to mold and influence them. To motivate them to achieve things they never expected to achieve.
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    There were so many people who influenced my career that I couldn’t narrow it to one person. There were a few high-quality CEOs that taught me how to build a start-up company from nothing to something of meaning and significance. And then there were all the various members of my teams over the years who did great work and made me look good.

If forced to make one pick, however, I’d have to say someone I never met in person, Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great. I read that book when it was originally published in 2001 and it became a blueprint for me for building great teams, cultures and companies.  

  1. What has been your greatest achievement?
    Winning the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, which was effectively a 4-year college/university scholarship. It enabled me to leave Newfoundland to participate in and graduate from the university program of my dreams, the Bachelor of Commerce in Sports Administration Program at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

But more than that, the award was named for someone I deeply admired, Terry Fox, a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Winning an award named for Terry Fox was a true honor.

  1. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Ahhhh, there were many mistakes along the way, but none so serious that I deeply regret. I believe mistakes are simply learning experiences and I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to learn J.
  2. What is your greatest strength?
    Team building. I build highly productive and efficient teams. But more importantly I build highly functioning and happy teams. We spend so much time at work I believe it’s critical to enjoy it. When you do, your output is maximised. That’s what I think I do very well.
  3. What is your biggest weakness?
    Playing politics in business. I’m not good at it. I say what’s on my mind and I’m honest to a fault. But always with the best intentions and with the best possible outcome in mind.
  4. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   
    Mentoring and growing your people. Unlike what some think, this doesn’t happen by default. You need to set clear goals and expectations and drive towards them with consistency. You need to be available to your team members and you need to give instant feedback so adjustments can be made in real time (don’t save it for the annual review).
  5. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    Mantra – “This is good, now let’s see how we can make it great.”

Squirm – “Our destiny is pre-determined.”

  1. What makes you stressed?
    Poor communication. Causes undue stress on an entire organisation. It is so common and so easy to alleviate.
  2. What do you do to relax?
    Exercise, read and spend time with my husband, family and friends.
  3. What is your favourite song?
    Any and all of Chris De Burgh’s early stuff (pre-1980’s)
  4. Which book taught you most?
    Good to Great by Jim Collins
  5. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    • American Football, NE Patriots.
    • Hockey, Toronto Maple Leafs.
    • Baseball, Toronto Blue Jays.
    • Curling, current reigning world champs from Newfoundland, Canada, Team Brad Gushue.
  1. Which country would you like to work in?
    England – I love London.
  2. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
  3. What do you love most about your job?
    My teammates. They make it all fun and worthwhile.
  4. What is your favourite book?
    Animal Farm – a classic.
  5. What keeps you awake at night?
    Work-wise, nothing. I’m a great sleeper, I think because I keep things in perspective.