Heather Zynczak, Marketing Leader, on IPOs and M&As
By age 12, Heather Zynczak had racked up more business experience than adults three times her senior. At seven, she handled major shipping and receiving responsibilities in her father’s hardware store. She moved on to oversee all 10 cash registers three years later. And at the age of 12, when her Dad was forced to close the store as the economy tanked, Heather managed the liquidation. “I just started making decisions. People would come to me and I’d say, ‘Yes, you can do that,’ ‘No, you can’t do that.’ “
Heather also learned business fundamentals as a child working at the carnival owned by her grandparents. “I collected tickets at the cotton candy stand. Big Betty taught me a lot about customer service and how to deal with finances.”
She leaned on those early experiences as she navigated the overwhelming University of Texas campus of 50,000 students. “I learned how to advocate for myself, and how to accomplish the absolute best while figuring out how much effort I needed to put in.”
Being part of a large organization that’s doing massive M&A leads to a lot of great learnings about pitching ideas and post-merger integration work.
After earning her MBA from Wharton and immersing herself in solid training at Andersen Consulting – now Accenture – Heather spread her wings by working in the trenches at tech start-ups. Once she landed in product management at Oracle, she learned a ton about M&A and was on the due diligence committee for the Siebel acquisition. “Being part of a large organization that’s doing massive M&A leads to a lot of great learnings about pitching ideas and post-merger integration work.”
Next Heather made her way to SAP, where she rose through the ranks to own a broad set of established products. Her burning desire to be at a massively growing company led her to the CMO role at Domo. There Heather faced the challenge – and opportunity – of marketing in stealth mode. “We capitalized on the mystique of being a stealth company to generate huge buzz at Dreamforce.”
She took on a new challenge as CMO of Pluralsight. “Pluralsight had crossed the $100 million mark and grown 100% year over year. The year before I started, growth had gone flat.” Hand in hand with the new head of sales, Heather built a go to market machine that reignited growth, paving the way for a 2018 IPO. “Morgan Stanley told us we were the only company they knew of that had accelerated to above 50% year-over-year growth after going flat over $100 million. I’m really proud of that work.”
Some of Heather’s other keys to success:
- Always bringing her A game. Heather gives it her all because her best career opportunities have been the result of doing so when she thought nobody was watching.
- Building consensus. No matter what the company culture, Heather understands that consensus building is a must so she invests in it early.
- Treating IPOs as marketing events. Knowing that going public provides massive market exposure and a press bump, Heather believes CMOs must be involved to craft the story.