The CMO Files: Sandra Zoratti, CMO, Dispersive Technologies

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:  Sandra Zoratti

  Organisation: Dispersive Technologies

  Job title: CMO

  Location: Colorado





(1)           Where were you born and raised?
In Cleveland, Ohio (considered the Midwest United States).




(2)           What was your first job?
Well, I worked two jobs to start:  in retail at a local pre-cursor to Wal-Mart, and at Sea World which was amazing.


(3)           What was the first product you got really excited about?
I'm a bit of a geek, so working on the design of a Lithium-Air battery very early in my career was pretty exciting stuff for me.




(4)           Who has been the biggest influence on your career? 
For inspiration, I look at well-known greats such as Mother Teresa, Richard Branson, and Seth Godin.  Other sources of positive influence include a host of people….from family (my parents were extraordinary) to teachers ("The Gorilla" at Case Western Reserve University) to co-workers (my teams…huge respect!) and a couple of managers at Avery Dennison and IBM.


(5)           What has been your greatest achievement?
My niece taught me this:  Always strive to leave something better than when you got there.  That to me is a great achievement.  Professionally, writing a book and creating, building and launching new businesses around the world have been most rewarding and impactful to the companies I have supported.  Personally, having an impact on the lives of children (including my daughter) as well as my family by creating exceptional experiences has been a beautiful and fulfilling hallmark of my life.



(6)           What has been your biggest mistake?
Worrying about my mistakes and missteps too much!  James Joyce said it best "Mistakes are the portals of discovery".  As you spend more time on this earth, you realize that life ebbs and flows and we learn with every action and experience.  Embracing this reality and knowing that no one is perfect is a much more powerful perspective than worrying about the mistake in the moment.  I'm learning….



(7)           What is your greatest strength?
I have a huge heart and love to give.  In both business and personal situations, I invest and I care. This has helped me to earn and build trust on my teams and in my relationships with others.  I value trust.



(8)           What is your biggest weakness?
Okay, being totally transparent, I lack patience.  I like to do many things and have varied interests and I value time as the one non-renewable resource.  So, I like it when I can use my time wisely and don't have a lot of patience for obstacles that just add clutter.




(9)           What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
I am a data-driven marketer, so my response is going to sound odd. I think it is EQ or emotional intelligence. Paradoxically, I believe that emotional intelligence can be gained by leveraging insights from data.  The two perspectives - data/IQ and EQ - make the perfect match for top notch marketing.


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

Two phrases I like:

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo da Vinci



"When deeds speak, words are nothing." African proverb

A phrase I don't like:

"Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."



(11)       What makes you stressed?
Dishonesty and untrustworthiness.




(12)       What do you do to relax?
I live in beautiful Colorado, so I love to cycle, hike, snowboard and am learning to fly fish.  Those are wonderful outdoor activities.  I also love to cook and be with my family and friends - which is always time that I treasure and enjoy.


(13)       What is your favourite song?
This is a tough question for me since I love all types of music from rock-n-roll, country, opera, R&B, hip hop, etc.  I'd like a free pass on favourite please. J




(14)       Which book taught you most?
Reading is something I have enjoyed since I was a little girl!  In the past few years, I have most enjoyed Marshall Goldsmith's, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There", "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott and "Just Listen" by Mark Goldstein.


(15)       Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
Not really…my preference is to be outside doing athletic activities vs. watching them….way more fun to me.



(16)       Which country would you like to work in?
Italy!  I love so many things about so many places and have been fortunate to see a lot of this world.   However, Italy has my heart. J



(17)       Which company do you think has the best marketing?
There are numerous examples.  I defer to companies who know how to communicate in very meaningful, relevant and specific ways to their individual customers and those companies who aren't afraid to have and show a heart.  Most recently, I've been really impressed with Southwest Airlines.



(18)       What do you love most about your job? 
Marketing is a passion of mine!  I love solving large scale, undefined challenges and creating something from nothing. I am a creator.  When I am able to create new businesses, new opportunities, build companies…that is fun for me. "Feeling emotions is what makes life rich.  You need your passions."  Daniel Goldman




(19)       What is your favourite book?
See question 14 for a few of them.  Add in Seth Godin books and you've got a good idea of the professional books I like.  For personal reading, I love fiction by authors such as Isabelle Allende, Barbara Kingsolver, Wally Lamb and many, many others.  My library is overflowing.  I place a high priority on reading and to reinforce that, all of the author royalties from my book are donated to an organization called Room To Read ( that enables and encourages reading around the world.


(20)       What keeps you awake at night?
Haha, well the truth is it is my daughter Shyla (she is 21 months old and not a great sleeper).



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