Human Resources

CMO Files: Joe Staples, CMO, Workfront

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'.

Name: Joe Staples

Organisation: Workfront 

Job title: Chief Marketing Officer

Location: Utah, USA


(1) Where were you born and raised? 

Born in Reno, raised in Las Vegas (one block from the Las Vegas strip). I’m a second generation American from Italian immigrants.

(2) What was your first job?

Working in my Dad’s cabinet shop for 20 cents an hour (a clear violation of child labor laws)

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

Probably my first digital clock radio

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

I can count four personal mentors that I’ve had during my career. My advice to everyone – find a mentor and be a mentor. Of the four, they happened at different times in my career, from early on when I was first learning business basics, to later on when I was trying to refine my executive leadership skills. And they came from different relationships, from a peer, to my CEO boss, to a board member.

(5) What has been your greatest achievement? 

Personally, it’s been to raise five wonderful children.

Professionally, it’s been to be a part of building three different companies from being insignificant players, to becoming industry leaders (and we’re working on #4).

(6) What has been your biggest mistake? 

Not taking enough risk and not living abroad at some point in my career.

(7) What is your greatest strength?

I’m a good mix of strategy and execution.

(8) What is your biggest weakness? 

I can be too trusting.

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

Understanding that as a marketer, the buyer doesn’t care about you. He or she cares only about themselves and your only relevance to them is how you can help them.

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

My favorite word is “yes” – it’s positive; shows progress; and means you’re getting things done. The word that makes me squirm is “synergy” – so over-used.

(11) What makes you stressed? 

Not a whole lot at all.

(12) What do you do to relax? 

Drive with the top down.

(13) What is your favourite song? 

O Holy Night (I love Christmas!)

(14) Which book taught you most? 

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen 

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

I’m a HUGE baseball fan. Love the Seattle Mariners

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

The UK, Australia, New Zealand, or Italy are at top my list.

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

Avoiding some of the obvious answers, I’m really impressed with Oakley, Ogio, Ducati, and Under Armor.

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

Marketing is the absolute fun part of business. I’m amazed everyone doesn’t want to be a marketer. The job is filled with a great mix of data analytics and creativity. And you get to see your work come to life.

(19) What is your favourite book? 

Anything short and to the point.

(20) What keeps you awake at night? 

Thinking about the next day.


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