Q&A: Paula Shannon from Lilt

Regan Hamilton Hexagon

Paula Shannon is the Chief Evangelist at Lilt, and previously the CSO and SVP at Lionbridge. Working with artificial intelligence-powered enterprise translation technology and services, she’s basically Elon Musk with much better hair. She not only sports the coolest job title I’ve ever seen, but has also volunteered with Translators without Boarders, and is the VP of Royal Montreal Golf Club.

Jobs in Martech are always super layered and complex. Your position is no exception! So to make things a little bit clearer, could you describe your role in five words or less?

Illuminate Lilt's AI-Driven Translation

What is your biggest martech/ marketing ops gripe? Don’t hold back!

Language as an after thought. If content and processes are designed for English-speaking audiences first and foremost then translated and adapted content will never feel authentic, or persuasive.

It’s a bit 2008, but do you have a personal mantra?

I love this question!

Acting with high integrity is always the right decision.

Have there been any women along the way, who have helped you out and supported you?

Yes, Yes, and YES.   My first boss, Anita Komlos, took me in hand and taught me so much about business, sales, and marketing. I still keep in touch and have shared various success moments with her in the past. My grandmother was another huge influence in my life. She believed that anything was possible and that gender was irrelevant where limits were concerned.

How do you see the martech scene in the Post-Covid days? Apart from everyone going straight to the pub, of course.

I believe that some technology, post-COVID, is introducing bad habits. For example, sales people are using Zoom to "get to the point: and jump into presentations instead of probing and doing diagnostics. Similarly, attention spans are shortened and people are impatient to get to the small piece of info they want—missing a company's broader message. There are incredible new developments such augmented reality (AR) for e Commerce. I am even affiliated with a firm, Auras Studios, using AR and 3d audio filters to drive fan engagement for bands who can't tour or do concerts.

What are your own plans Post-Covid? Are you looking forward to being back out, or are you enjoying the Netflix binges?

Definitely looking forward to some human connection! I would even take a droning conference keynote right about now!

Do you have any advice for bouncing back from failure or difficulties, especially for young women within the industry?

Do not ever chart your path on a linear trajectory. Sideways can be success, reversals kick-off new journeys. Nobody is looking at the totality of your success as harshly as you might. The journey IS the reward.

What career advice would you give to your younger self, on how to succeed in marketing and tech?

Never be afraid of the inner-workings of technology. There is nothing you can not understand or learn.

Who are the professional women that really inspire you?

  • Whitney Bouck at HelloSign
  • Loni Stark, VP at Adobe AEM

What are your plans for the future? By this I mean what are your upcoming projects, and what are you having for dinner?

I am very involved in chairing, for the third time, a charity event for the Old Brewery Mission, the largest resource for homeless men and women in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I am also working on a number of webinars for Lilt, exploring AI-driven translation. Roasted mushroom soup is on for dinner to night!

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