The CMO Files: Amy Barzdukas, Polycom, Inc.

“'What did you learn, and what will you do different next time?'” is the constant question. If you didn’t learn something to improve, you weren’t paying attention."

Name:  Amy Barzdukas

Organization: Polycom, Inc.

Job title: Chief Marketing Officer

Location: San Jose, CA

 

Amy Barzdukas is a global marketing executive with 20 years of experience in the technology industry. She joined Polycom in 2015 as Vice President of Global Solutions Marketing and led Polycom’s sales enablement, product and services marketing, alliance marketing and competitive teams for nearly two years with significant successes before becoming CMO. Prior to joining Polycom, Barzdukas was Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for HP’s Business Personal Systems group and had a successful 16-year career at Microsoft that included multiple marketing leadership and general manager roles.


 

Where were you born and raised? I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised on the east coast – New Hampshire, Maryland and New Jersey. My parents were two displaced Texans who sent us off every summer to the family farm in West Texas. I’m pretty sure that counts as a multi-cultural upbringing.

What was your first job? I messed around in retail during college but my real start was as a copywriter. Who knew you could get paid for writing?

What was the first product you got really excited about? I’ve always honored my internal geek – our Kaypro PC was a breakthrough. It automated footnotes! I just really dated myself by admitting it there.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career? I’ve had two careers, really – one in publishing, and then one in tech. Bob Kelly at Microsoft taught me a ton about how to be resilient. 

What has been your greatest achievement? Being a partner in raising three amazing kids. I’ve been amazingly fortunate to marry into our children.

What has been your biggest mistake? Being in too much of a hurry when I started out!

What is your greatest strength? I read incredibly quickly, and I am a highly skilled touch typist. How anyone survives in a keyboard-and-email-world without those two superpowers, I do not know.

What is your biggest weakness? If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you it is my love for shoes.

What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers? Looking end to end across your global activities and truly doing integrated marketing. We get focused on the latest buzzword or tech tool and it becomes too easy to neglect your Ps and Qs. You need to focus both on the art and the science.

Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm? “What did you learn, and what will you do different next time?” is the constant question. If you didn’t learn something to improve, you weren’t paying attention. I hate “blandvertising” or buzzword blather. 

What makes you stressed? Teams who won’t cooperate. Grow up!

What do you do to relax? Yoga keeps me sane, Pilates keeps me strong, and my morning coffee cuddle with our two Goldendoodles keeps me smiling.

What is your favorite song? There is a different song for every mood.

Which book taught you most? King Lear.

Do you have a team or sport that you follow? Seattle Sounders FC.

Which country would you like to work in? I’d love a post in Europe at some point.

Which company do you think has the best marketing? There are a few companies that are consistently strong, but I am fascinated by radio advertising.

What do you love most about your job? Connecting with customers, creating a vision, building a strong team. Mostly, it’s FUN! Life is too short not to have fun with what you do for a living.

What is your favorite book? The complete Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

What keeps you awake at night? If I am awake at the worry hour – 3:30 AM – it’s because I am trying to process unfinished business or tie off loose ends.