Here at Immersive Labs, we’re focusing our priorities for the next phase of our scale-up journey: building out our marketing team. But what is it really like to work here? What does it take to be part of one of the most exciting marketing teams on the planet?
This is part one of our Marketing Leadership series, featuring Lucian Lui, Chief Marketing Officer; Kristine Hunt, VP, Revenue Marketing; and Russ Miller, VP, Product Marketing.
They talk about their vision for the team and what excites them about their roles here at Immersive Labs. By the end of the series, you’ll have some great insights about the team and understand what you can bring to the table.
You’ve all recently joined Immersive Labs. What excited you about the opportunity here?
Kristine: What excited me the most about the opportunity to join Immersive Labs is the opportunity to grow and scale the business. The team here is already very strong, and the chance to put an engine behind our go-to-market motion is particularly attractive. It’s exciting to build a team to level-up our marketing, while making sure we give them the career development paths to get them to where they want to be in the next five to ten years. I had a lot of really fantastic mentors along the way who really helped me, and I really love to pay that forward with my team, that’s very important to me.
Russ: From my perspective, the market opportunity is incredibly unique and exciting. There is so much investment in cybersecurity in many different areas from governments to large and small organizations. Up until this point, a large part of the solution has been to throw money at the problem, and it’s typically more and more technology. But ultimately, cybersecurity is about people. That’s an area that has been significantly underinvested in, and one that Immersive Labs champions. The idea that we are building a company that can measure and prove the capabilities of people and teams is something that has been a very neglected area of cybersecurity, so that’s something I am very excited to work with the team and help build out. The potential here is massive.
Lucian: There are three things that excited me about joining Immersive Labs. The first thing is the mission and the purpose of the company. It’s unique, it’s inspiring, and it’s the ability to make a real difference in the safety, security and resilience of our customers. The approach is very different from the sea of vendors in cybersecurity out there. It also really ties to the origin story of why James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs, founded the company and his unique point of view of the customer challenge.
The second is the connection I feel to the people and culture and the leadership team. I am really excited to be working with people who are passionate about their work, who are innovative in their thinking but also very empathetic and people-first leaders. That is the kind of group I want to be working with.
The third thing is the opportunity to make a difference. I look at the problem set and where the company needs to grow. I think I can help. I can make an impact, and I am excited to do so.
In your opinion, what makes a great leader? How do you attract and foster strong leadership at the company?
Russ: The first trait of a great leader is to be a great listener. You need to be empathetic and understand all of your audiences, not just the people who work for you directly. It’s to understand the people who work for you, understand your peers, and understand your ultimate customer. Having that emotional intelligence to understand how to interact with different types of people with different needs is really the most important aspect.
More tactically, the most important thing about a leader is that they do what they say they’re going to do – not someone with a broad vision who doesn’t execute on it, nor someone who just executes without vision. Rather, they need to be able to set out the steps of what they’re trying to achieve and expectations for how people can help them achieve these goals, inspiring people to do that, and making sure they carry through every time. To me, that makes a great leader.
Fostering that strong leadership in my team, it always comes down to customer value – and when I say customer value, it’s the end customer and also our sales team. Whenever a member of my team comes to me with a problem or a challenge, that’s the first thing that I ask them – what are we trying to achieve and for whom? Then I give them the autonomy to go and achieve that. Go meet with customers, meet with people in sales, meet with other stakeholders and truly understand them. Then from there they can work out a solution working with those people. If you set people in the right direction and give them guidance, they’re going to step up and execute.
Lucian: One is about listening, learning and seeking to understand – having that growth mindset versus just driving your own perspective. The second thing is providing clarity in direction and purpose.
The third thing is about being a multidimensional strategic thinker because a lot of problems have multiple aspects to them. The fourth thing is bringing people and the team together. A lot of enabling success is around fostering collaboration, getting the best out of people and showing them that there are ways of solving a problem that they couldn’t do as individuals but they can do as a team.
Leading is not an easy job. There are as many bad days as there are good. It’s about how you continue to persevere and push forward even when things aren’t easy. Those are some of the things I think are hallmarks of strong leaders.
I try to foster this by communicating, encouraging dialogue and providing feedback. It’s also about creating the room to make mistakes. It’s often how you respond as a leader when someone makes a mistake versus when people have successes that make the biggest difference. We all like to celebrate successes, but I think the moment of truth is when someone fails or someone makes a mistake to use that as a learning opportunity. I think that’s how people grow.
Russ: Kristine, you hear that? We can make mistakes.
Kristine: Phew! That’s good because my list is getting long of the ones I’ve already had!
Lucian: That’s funny! In all seriousness, I was telling my daughter this weekend – you will learn more from your failures than your successes. The only time it’s a true failure is when you didn’t learn from it.
Kristine: I concur with everything Russ and Lucian said. I found in my own experience from leaders who I’ve admired is a huge amount of self awareness, accountability, strong morals and just being a good person. Understanding that who you are at home is really who you should be in the workplace. As a leader, the more people you have, the more leaders you have, you need to accept that in some cases you’re not the expert – they are. Then you need to get to the information to help drive the business by working that expertise, shining a spotlight on them so they will have opportunities for the rest of the organization to see their expertise and how they’re moving the needle in the business.
You foster those skills by being very candid, very transparent and making sure to connect with all team members and let them know they’re supported. My function is to ensure we are all marching in the same direction and we’re all going after the same goals. My job is to make a safe space so that my team can do their job and do it well. I’m there to work through conflict resolution, whether that be between internal teams or externally, just to ensure we all have the ability to focus on our real jobs and not have the noise. Letting the team know that I can help cut out the noise and that we can work together to move forward is very important.
As you grow the marketing team, what kinds of skills and experiences are most important for future success?
Lucian: At the highest level there are two key priorities for us as marketers: building a new category – Cyber Workforce Resilience – and driving enterprise growth. Our success depends on a couple of attributes or skills that I think marketers need to bring. Customer focused, team collaboration, data driven in decision making, focusing on impact, and creativity are just some of the skills one needs to bring.
Kristine: I think Lucian covered a lot of it, it is very much from the customer perspective for me, where we’re listening to the customers and we’re responding to their needs. I have to say, one thing that I am very impressed about with Immersive is that we really are working hand-in-hand with our customers and also responding to the market. We are very quick to make sure that if there is an interruption in the market that we’re putting together labs to be able to address it. We’re also taking our customer feedback to be able to ensure that our product is meeting their needs. I think from a marketing perspective, that truly is my number one focus of skills I am looking for.
Russ: What I am looking for is people that take the initiative and they don’t just do what they’re tasked to do, but really understand fundamentally what we’re trying to accomplish as a team, and even exceed their job function to help us accomplish that and work together. I would say a little more tactically, when I look at people’s resumes, I look for people that are very results-focused and not talking about what they did and what their responsibilities were. I look for – what did they accomplish at each step? Did they show the right initiative for growth and the right initiative to keep making the next step and progress? That’s what I’m looking for – that data and action.
We hope you enjoyed this first sneak peek into the world of our marketing leaders. Immersive Labs is actively hiring in our marketing teams. View all the active roles on our careers site to become an Immerser yourself!