The CMO Files: Lara Shackelford, Vice President of Marketing, Platfora

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:  Lara Shackelford

  Organisation: Platfora

  Job title: Vice President of Marketing

  Location: San Mateo, CA





(1)           Where were you born and raised?


Kansas City, Missouri



(2)           What was your first job?  

When I was 12, my dad hired me to build out Access databases with his client contact details in them. When I was 16 and could drive, my friend helped me get a job where she worked, at Skinny Minny's. I got the job and sold frozen yogurt desserts to Weight Watchers clients. The irony is that I was a really skinny kid and drank a product called, "Weight On," to try and gain weight.




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

When I went to college, my dad bought me a word processor. I was one of the first in my college to have my own word processor in my room. I typed and printed everything out just because I could. That was before we were aware of global warming, of course.


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


My mom. She was constantly taking me to the library when I was young, helping me pick out books about Amelia Earhart, Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth, Katherine Graham, and others throughout history who had found their niche and achieved beyond expectation.


(5)           What has been your greatest achievement?

Influencing my niece, Christina, to try her hardest, aim high, and accept failure in exchange for the reward of reaching for your dreams.


(6)           What has been your biggest mistake?

I don't keep track because I believe you aren't trying if you aren't making mistakes. I only know that every time I fall down, I get back up and climb to new heights.




(7)           What is your greatest strength?

Belief in what's possible. I believe, at my core, that there is always a way to a positive outcome.  This is whether I'm negotiating with a client or trying to resolve a personal situation. Creativity helps a great deal in getting to positive outcomes.


(8)           What is your biggest weakness?

I take on too much. There are just so many things that I want to try, learn, experience and achieve.




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

Storytelling from the heart. No matter what the professional goal a person is trying to achieve, there is also a personal story and motivation behind it.  If you strive to understand that, the rest will follow.


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

My mantra would be "I have two legs and they'll take me anywhere I want to go", and what makes me squirm is hearing someone say, "It can't be done."




(11)       What makes you stressed?

When I don't have time to unwind, clear my head, and put things in perspective, I feel stressed.


(12)       What do you do to relax?



I go inwards. I do yoga, I go for a long walk or a hike, take my dog for a walk. And when I really want to relax, I cook a giant feast. I have a great passion for cooking, I get lost in it, and that helps me keep perspective on the other things in my work and personal life.


(13)       What is your favourite song?

"Man in Black" by Johnny Cash




(14)       Which book taught you most?

The Count of Monte Cristo. It reminded me that anything is possible, and that you can't change the past, you can only change your experience in the present. This moment is the only moment there is.



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

My default answer would be that my "sport" is yoga, but it doesn't count since you don't compete in yoga. For a sports team, it is the Kansas City Chiefs.




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

I worked in London for two years and loved it. That ignited a desire to work in many more places, including Paris, Rome, Singapore, and more.


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



Over the next year or two, I fully expect that to be Platfora for B2B companies in tech.

For consumer, I love the marketing the teams at Nest and Tesla have done. It's top notch.



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

The opportunity to do things differently -- to take an unexpected approach. I also love the fact that I get to influence all aspects of the company and help drive a culture of openness, innovation, and shared creativity.



(19)       What is your favourite book?

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas



(20)       What keeps you awake at night?


Nothing. I am tired at the end of a day at Platfora!


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