Gone are the days when traditional ways of business can drive an organization forward. Today, companies with innovative ideas can only realize the full potential of those ideas and business growth if they can quickly adapt to change.
A natural leader
Mary Jo Rose – MJ – VP of Global Communications at Xactly has always been a believer in ‘the need of change’ and innovating for the greater good. As part of this belief, MJ carries a consistent eagerness to learn, and importantly, apply those learnings to her daily work. MJ credits several role models throughout her life with shaping her into the disruptive leader she is today. One in particular, her high school track coach, helped her re-envision success. “Upon joining a competitive track team with over 100 girls, she told me ‘winners never quit, and quitters never win’,” recounts MJ. “It may sound straightforward, but it helped me realize that you don't always need to be the best player on the team, but you can strive to be the best person on the team.” Today, MJ continues to apply this lesson to shape her work, bringing positivity, authenticity, and genuine care for others to her teams – which she believes help her team win inside and outside of the workplace. The results speak for themselves. MJ and her team have grown Xactly into a respected global brand, earning the company global recognition within the business press and the wider enterprise technology industry. Moreover, being a creative, high energy executive, with experience designing strategic communications she drives decisive leadership and her teams deliver extraordinary results.
While paving the path for her success, like many business leaders in positions of power, she’s experienced self-doubt. On this, she says “We may find ourselves in moments of doubt, but I find that consistently finding small ways to improve performance every day can help build confidence over time.” She finds encouragement and confidence in the fact that she is backed by a collaborative, intelligent team that she trusts to continuously strive for excellence. “Additionally, I have a great manager and mentor in Chris Cabrera, Founder and CEO of Xactly. I know that no matter the circumstance, he’ll always be completely direct with me and will constantly push me to be my best,” she says. MJ firmly believes that irrespective of gender, one ought to come to terms with one’s self-doubt and work to become a better communicator, collaborator, teammate, and coach. “In the midst of feeling like you’re falling apart, you’ll find clarity on the best path forward and see ways to overcome adversity to emerge even stronger. Everyone needs to come to terms with their emotions, even embracing breakdowns as opportunities to grow,” MJ asserts. “I believe “breakdowns” are opportunities for reflection and reinvention.”
“We may find ourselves in moments of doubt, but I find that consistently finding small ways to improve performance every day can help build confidence over time.”
On women in the workplace, MJ says we collectively as a society need to step out of the gender box. She says, “Women are often stereotyped as “over-emotional” in the business world.” Rather we have an ability to be more empathetic, effectively multi-task, and bring many other unique strengths to workplaces. “It’s also okay to be a woman and be assertive, candid, and direct,” MJ quickly adds. “Women should not try to show up in ways that aren’t true to who they are.”
As a catalyst for change herself, MJ believes that most change happens when business leaders take bold approaches to reject traditional business practices. She states that every woman must be given an equal chance to serve organizations without any misperceptions or assumptions based on their background or identity. “Organizations like The Televerde Foundation are leading this charge, supporting formerly incarcerated women in building impactful futures.” MJ admits it’s challenging for large organizations to move as quickly as many people would like, “but that doesn’t mean changes aren’t happening,” adds MJ. “In fact, many are embracing a gradual approach that makes small adaptations authentically – not performatively. Each organization faces unique challenges in building an equitable workplace and will need to diligently work across their companies’ overtime to ensure changes are long-lasting, authentic, and impactful.”
It’s her belief that organizations must expand their views of who comprises a strong corporate citizen and can make teams stronger. “There are great people with fresh ideas that may not have the resume needed to get in the door. It’s our role as business leaders to give them the opportunities they need to grow. With the right opportunity anyone can shine,” said MJ. “True leaders prioritize service, and I urge all business leaders to create opportunities where they otherwise wouldn’t. Support young professionals in building their careers. Be there for other people, colleagues, or otherwise. Look beyond your title and ask yourself honestly how you’re doing as a leader, as a colleague, a friend, and a mentor.”
A Peek into Xactly
Xactly Corporation, founded in 2005, is a leader in revenue intelligence solutions. It is a global organization that operates in 130 countries and is headquartered in the Silicon Valley with offices across the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, as well as in India. “Backed by our 16-year data set and AI, we’re on a mission to provide enterprise sales organizations with the technology they need to optimize their revenue pipeline and up level performance,” MJ notes. Xactly’s Intelligent Revenue platform carries organizations through the full revenue lifecycle by focusing on planning, territory and quota, incentives, and pipeline management and forecasting from initial strategy development through execution and prioritization of all aspects of revenue optimization. Xactly clears immediate sales roadblocks with adaptable products and services delivering planning, strategy, and optimization. Used together, they provide an expansive infrastructure that secures businesses for tomorrow’s competitive landscape.
Xactly is implementing several new programs to ensure the company is hiring diverse talent that will help build stronger teams. “Based on internal and industry studies, we’ve reshaped how we recruit – reforming job descriptions to encourage more female applicants, exploring new talent pools, and broadening our geographic recruitment to ensure we’re inviting diverse voices into our organization,” shares MJ. The company has received 18 workplace awards for living by its core values and striving to ensure excellence across the organization that Xactly founder and CEO, Chris Cabrera, envisioned from day one.
To conclude, we would like to shed some light on MJ’s journey. She had the privilege of working with some of the most notable CEOs and executives in Silicon Valley. From her time working with these successful leaders, she’s learned that the biggest risk is telling the whole truth irrespective of the circumstances that appear. “At times, especially early in my career, it was daunting to be direct with these power players. I learned that I needed to have the confidence to know that what I was saying was in the best interest of not only them, but the companies that they lead,” said MJ. She advises every individual out there who strives to be a powerful leader, that it will be difficult to please everyone but one must present his/her true authenticity through their work.