Heidi Cerenzia is the Vice President of Demand Generation at Wrike. She oversees the entire demand gen function, including integrated campaigns, field & virtual events, customer & partner marketing, and is currently building out the Marketing Development Rep team. With more than 20 years of experience, Heidi has developed a data-driven approach for outbound demand generation strategies. She has held positions at Bromium, AlienVault, and HP Enterprise Security, among other organizations.
How did you break into leadership?
When I was an individual contributor, I often sought out more responsibility. As my career progressed, I had the opportunity to become a team lead and then a manager. That presented me with the chance to truly understand the importance of the people and not just the projects. I learned to understand the person, individually, and make an effort to approach them, uniquely. With this knowledge, I seek to be a trusted leader to motivate them individually and as a team.
What unique obstacles or challenges have you faced as a woman in a tech leadership role?
I learned early on to meet obstacles head-on. It’s very important not to sacrifice your value or morals. When I was starting out, I took things personally; now, I allow my work, leadership, commitment, and data speak for themselves.
I’ve also been very fortunate to have strong women mentors and men who have also advocated for me.
How do you negotiate a higher salary?
When negotiating a higher salary, don’t let fear influence your value. There are certain areas where you may choose to compromise, like, commuting a certain distance (although, not many people are commuting these days). As you’re negotiating, make it factual: it’s about your worth, your skill, and your experience. If, out of the gate, you set a precedent that you should not be compensated for your those things, then it’s possible you’ll often be undervalued.
If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
Not to be cliché, but I believe everything happens for a reason and the journey leads us along the path where we are meant to be. At times, I didn’t ask the difficult questions or if I did, I needed to ensure that I really listened to the answers. For instance, what is the culture ‘really’ like and examples of how those values are exemplified. I needed to have a better understanding of the role, responsibilities, and how I would be measured and eventually promoted. I learned the hard way, by accepting positions where I didn’t have full knowledge of the above mentioned. Again, I learned from it and am now where I am meant to be.
What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?
It would have to be where I am today. It has been an honor to build and manage this team. We share respect among one another. There is a celebration of success and a bond when we overcome obstacles together. I chose this role to be challenged and implement everything I have accomplished and learned throughout my career.
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“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” —Oprah Winfrey
Thanks to Jes Kirkwood who conducted this interview in September 2020.