CMO Files: Anjana Arora, VP of Marketing, Infinite

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'.

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'.

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Name:  Anjana Arora      

Organisation: Infinite Computer Solutions (Infinite)

Job title: VP, Marketing

Location:  Rockville MD


(1) Where were you born and raised?

I was born In Patna, India and lived in Delhi till I was 10.  I grew up in Vestal, NY

(2) What was your first job?  

My first job out of college was GE - I was on their Manufacturing Management Program (MMP) program

(3) What was the first product you got really excited about?   

The iPod.  I remember the first one I had – it was white, it was a gift, and it took me three months to start using it. But, after I did, I immediately loaded my 10 CDs on it and declared my commitment to MP3s.  

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

I have two singular figures that have impacted my career. 

The first is my father. Any career starts with a good foundation in education and confidence in my abilities, and my father has always been a strong supporter of women in the workplace. He gave me the confidence to go back to work after being at home to take care of my children.

The second was Dave Pittman, a PwC partner who taught me how to think strategically – which is crucial when trying to approach very large scale projects. When I had to execute a multi-million dollar end-to-end compliance protocol rollout, he helped me develop logistics, manage relationships, and prioritize carefully. He mentored me and also gave opportunities to conduct business internationally and lead experienced teams very early in my career.

The most recent influencers in my career have been the leadership team at Infinite. They have been my staunch supporters on my business-critical initiatives as VP of Marketing (my current role).

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?

Personally, my greatest achievement is instilling the love of learning into my children.

Professionally, I think the best is yet to come. However, I am proud of my early successes, becoming Senior Operation Manager at age 24 and managing a multi-state, multi-million project at a Fortune 10 company.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?

Not taking time after college to travel. I was so excited about starting my career with GE that I jumped right into my first job.  Many of my friends took the year after college to travel both across the U.S. and internationally and entered the job market a year later. They’ve told me that the travel was formative for them. While I have gotten a chance to travel for business and pleasure, I wish I had backpacked across Europe and Asia for adventures that now I’ll probably have to delay for some time. I still have high hopes of traveling to those places, and include Africa in the mix,

(7) What is your greatest strength?

The ability to see other perspectives.  I’ve worked in diverse business organizations, from manufacturing to finance, and they’ve allowed me to see issues from many viewpoints. I use this skill regularly when developing marketing strategies that need to meet the needs of today’s dynamic marketplace.

(8) What is your biggest weakness?

The quest for perfection. While being detail orientated is a good thing,  striving for that last 1% can be challenging and there’s a danger of losing the big picture perspective.

(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?   

Communication. While the need for communication pervades all business areas, marketing can have a larger variety of communication needs. Information must be tailored for its specific audience, whether it be team members, customers, shareholders, peers or analysts. The challenges of communicating with this diverse an audience may not be readily visible to everyone.

(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?

The phrase that is my mantra is “know thyself”

The phrase that makes me squirm? “Think outside the box.” 

(11) What makes you stressed?

Two very different things. In my professional life, people working in silos, because we’re not making the best of our company’s resources. In my personal life, I think watching Reality TV is stressful, because how do these people handle this much drama in their lives?

(12) What do you do to relax?

I go for walks with my family and my dog. I also like listening to music.

(13) What is your favourite song?

U2’s Beautiful Day.

(14) Which book taught you most?

The Tao of Pooh, because it highlights the beauty of simplicity.

(15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

The Redskins, rain or shine.

(16) Which country would you like to work in?

Switzerland.  Along with being one of the most innovative countries in the world, it is also one of the countries with excellent work-life balance, which I think is correlated to their level of innovation. That along with great weather and great chocolate.  

(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?

Luxury handbags.  I think the way they’ve created the value perception around a $5K bag vs. a $50 bag is exceptionally well done. They both serve the same function.  

(18) What do you love most about your job?

I love the variety of the projects I work on – it keeps things fresh and fuels my creativity.

(19) What is your favourite book?

Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins. It’s sweet and romantic but contains a deeper message.

(20) What keeps you awake at night?

The adventure of what tomorrow brings and the lists I make to ensure our success there