Q&A: Sharon Winterton from Catalina USA

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Sharon Winterton HexagonVice President of Customer Success at Catalina USA, Sharon Winterton is a sales op and CX icon. With an MBA in Business Administration and Management from Phoenix, AND a BS/BA in Elementary Education/Music from UD, she’s got the brains to back it up. Sharon is also a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, which sounds very cool, very Kobra Kai, very badass.

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?

Lead presale support and deliver customer value contract through renewal. (not 5 words, but I did the best I could!)

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

With a sales-driven organization, driving standardization is constantly pushing a huge boulder uphill! Our past success is often our biggest enemy with building future scalability.

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

My dad lived with Multiple Sclerosis for over 50 years before he passed away in 2014 at 83 years old. My mantra is actually borrowed from him. He always would say, "Do the best you can with what you have." He lived that example by being exceedingly positive and living a very full life despite his challenges. For example, he and my mom did a cross-country camping trip when he was almost 70 years old.

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

I was blessed to have a phenomenal team of women leaders as I came up through the leadership ranks in our delivery operations team. I learned a lot from their example, and felt a responsibility to continue carrying the importance of culture forward when they left Catalina to pursue new opportunities. When I joined Sales to lead the Sales Ops team, I was again blessed to have the opportunity to learn from another strong woman leader who modelled the importance of advocating for other women and sticking up for what she believed is right. She recently left the organization for a career growth opportunity, but I'm carrying those lessons and her example with me on a daily basis as I navigate corporate politics with the reorg work I'm leading.

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

I think there's opportunity to continue to migrate towards more ad-hoc, real time engagement and collaboration...both internally and with our customers. Everyone's acceptance of fewer formal meetings and in-person gatherings has the potential to allow for more authentic in the moment collaboration. I'm really excited about the potential that has with how we engage our customers.

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

I LOVE the slower pace, not commuting to the office every day, and getting to spend more quality time with my family. However, I can't wait to go on a real vacation, see my extended family, and go to a concert again!

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

Focus on the lesson. It's so easy to beat ourselves up when we make a mistake, but those are also the times we grow the most. It's hard to really grow when everything is going well. So if things are rough, look for lessons to take out of the experience and apply them the next time. And next time it will be something different. I'm still learning every single day!

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

Oh geez...maybe major in Business instead of Elementary Ed and Music? Kidding....I did go back and get my MBA to have some formal business training though. I think with the rapid rate of change in our industry, it's really important to build our "resume" or list of accomplishments with HOW we show up each day...how do we lead new implementations, build teams, adapt to and lead through change, vs. taking pride in specific areas of skill and expertise. Staying relevant in skills and knowledge is important, but invest in the longer lasting HOW over the WHAT.

Who are the professional women that really inspire you?

Amy Coney Barrett - I love her unapologetic priority of both her family and her career, and she embodied grace under fire during the confirmation hearings.

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

Primary focus through this year and into next will be standing up Customer Success at Catalina. Dinner is a bit more challenging. My husband just told me he's thawing some ground beef, so I'm guessing we'll have burgers or spaghetti.

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