The CMO Files: Kathy Schneider, Sungard Availability Services

What keeps CMOs awake at night?

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Name:  Kathy Schneider

Organisation: Sungard Availability Services

Job title: CMO

Location: London, UK


  1. Where were you born and raised?   
    I was born in Rhode Island and raised in Italy and Rhode Island.     
  2. What was your first job?
    I worked at the ice-cream and take-away section (shack) of a local seafood restaurant.
  3. What was the first product you got really excited about?  
    I have to say two: the original Ballerina Barbie….and later the bright yellow Sony Walkman.
  4. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
    My parents. They supported me when I wanted to start an international career in marketing in Mexico City with little experience and even less money. 
  5. What has been your greatest achievement?
    I’m not sure I’ve had my greatest yet, but I was very proud of the successful marketing and PR activity for Criteo’s IPO event which was a heavy lift for me and my team having just joined a few months before the big day. It was thrilling to see the video clip I developed with our new brand look and messaging running on the Nasdaq tower in Times Square and being in the studio supporting our CEO with his TV interviews.
  6. What has been your biggest mistake?
    Not learning a musical instrument. 
  7. What is your greatest strength?
    Being energized and invigorated by challenges and change.
  8. What is your biggest weakness?
    Lack of patience.
  9. What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   
    The executional detail involved in making a marketing campaign effective – we get our hands pretty dirty. 
  10. Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
    My mantra – actually from my father-in-law – is: the harder I work, the luckier I get!
  11. What makes you stressed?
  12. What do you do to relax?
    I go the gym and get lost in thought on the cross-trainer or treadmill, or go on a beach holiday.
  13. What is your favourite song?
    Ever? Anything by Stevie Nicks. Right now? The Latino remix of ‘Shape of You’.
  14. Which book taught you most?
    It’s a classic – ‘Principles of Marketing’ by Kolter. While there are many new technologies for marketers, the principles are still relevant and foundational to employing these new technologies successfully. 
  15. Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
    My husband and boys are big rugby fans, so I follow their team, the Richmond Minis and England.
  16. Which country would you like to work in?
    It would be interesting to work in Asia. I’ve had responsibility for Asia but not worked or lived there daily.
  17. Which company do you think has the best marketing?
    Coca-Cola…. brown sugar water that commands a premium and is internationally recognized as aspirational and has spanned generations.
  18. What do you love most about your job?
    I love the variety of challenges, projects and people that my role brings. No day is ever the same and I’m continually learning.
  19. What is your favourite book?
    I love reading historical biographies and one of my favourites is ‘Wild Swans’ by Jung Chang. I couldn’t put it down and was lucky enough to attend her London launch of her second book on Mao.
  20. What keeps you awake at night?
    Trying to stay on top of our sons’ school and social activities.