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Jennifer Comisford
Marketing Operations & Performance Management Leader
Olive, A healthcare-specific artificial intelligence solution sold as a service

 

Late in 2019, Jennifer “Jenny” Comisford was faced with a question from her Leadership that many of us struggle with: What do you want to do?  In her case, should she go all-in on Marketing Operations?  Should she continue to work in a place where she can leverage her Digital/Demand Generation skills?  Jennifer decided to stop letting her career “happen” to her, and she took control of it.  She sought out coaching from Crosworks, which ultimately led to not only a confident response to the question posed but greater success and satisfaction in her career.

Here are some of the highlights of our interview:

Q: What were a few of your “A ha” moments from coaching?

A: I recognized that I have a really unique skill set to take to the market, and that is powerful. The coaching program gave me a bit of a confidence boost and a reset on what I most uniquely have to offer and what I’m really good at!  Other “a ha’s” had to do with the discovery we did around who are my best bosses and ideal working environments.  Examples included:

  1. I need time to think! If I’m put in a work environment where I don’t have time to percolate on those big decisions long enough to make the right ones, to whiteboard it out, to inquire with the experts I know, or even to figure out there’s an entirely different potential approach – I will not deliver my highest quality work!
  2. I need to work with the numbers. If I weren’t a Marketing Operations leader, I would be an accountant (no seriously, my coach tried to get me to consider a career change).
  3. I need a boss who knows when to give me more direction and when to step back and let me do my thing. This was an interesting insight from my Birkman assessment results, which indicated that I need both “clear direction” and “autonomy to come up with the plan.” Ultimately, it’s [about] having leadership that sets clear expectations but then allows me to exercise my strengths autonomously based on those expectations.

Q: What discoveries did you make that helped you clarify your career path?

A: Honestly it all stemmed from the exercise of mapping out my greatest accomplishments and intersecting that with what I enjoyed doing most. Going through that exercise made it clear that Marketing Ops was the right path for me, as all the accomplishments that I most enjoyed doing were related to that and not the other functions that I’ve worked within.  Even for those items I identified related to Digital and Demand Generation, when I analyzed them closely, it was the numbers and process components of them that I enjoyed most, which again, pointed back to Ops.

Q: You received a promotion shortly after completing coaching.  How did that come about?

A: First I came back to my Leadership and said, “This is what I want to do.” But then I followed it up with, “I don’t think you’re thinking about this function the right way, and here’s why.” Right around the same time I got a new supervisor, I pitched her the idea of a built-out Marketing Operations team. She immediately recognized my value and was able to push the promotion through.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m building out the team and continuing to advocate for its importance and role within the organization. We just launched Olive Agency, a new internal and totally transparent agency, dedicated to supporting the whole organization with strategic marketing, so right now, we’re doing a lot of work to build out processes and constructs for that team. Lastly, I’m building out an Analytics function with a new hire, attempting to take our data practice to the next level.

Q: Any advice for others who want their career to work FOR them vs. letting their career happen TO them?

A: You should put as much effort into defining what you want to do as you put into doing it. Be mindful of your work and what you enjoy most and what you’re best suited to do and where you’re most uniquely set up to provide value. Having the “5-year plan” doesn’t mean defining the exact company you want to work for and the exact title as much as it’s about defining the most important attributes for you in a role and an environment to ensure your happiness. If you think you need help in making sense of all this, then call Crosworks! They truly were so helpful in this for me, and I’ve gained a lifelong mentor and friend in my coach.

Jenny, thank you for walking us through your career coaching journey!  It’s always great to talk to a client who had such a great experience with one of our coaches.

If you are a Crosworks client interested in telling your story, we’d love to hear from you! We welcome you to complete this form. You could be selected for a future client spotlight!

And, if you are ready to take charge of your career, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to share more about our approach. Schedule a free introductory call here.

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