Julie Liegl of Slack
We all know someone who is the life of the party…but what makes them so? In many cases, it’s a knack for spotting opportunities to create extraordinary moments –– and bringing those moments to life.
That description fits Julie Liegl, CMO of Slack, to a T. Her achievements range from skyrocketing Dreamforce attendance upwards of 140,000 to helping Slack invent a new market category and hosting wildly creative themed dinner parties.
Get to know Julie, and you understand the unique blend of interests and experiences that enable her to achieve these exceptional things.
As early as 5 years old, she began a love affair with the theater, even going to theater sleep-away camp and staying involved in high school and college. Recognizing early on that theater would be a passion and not a career, she simultaneously immersed herself in the academic atmosphere permeating her childhood home.
“My Dad earned a scholarship and it was his ticket out of his home town, changing his life and paving the way for him to earn an engineering degree as an undergrad followed by an MBA. That probably explains why I always loved school, literature and books.”
I used to think being wrong was a huge failure but it’s impossible to be right all the time. I know that some of my ideas will get shot down. And even though the stakes are now higher for me, that is fine.”
Her love of English was her entrée into the world of marketing, which she took by storm once she arrived at Salesforce. Perhaps she tapped into her love of the theater when she led the charge to reinvent the annual Dreamforce conference. Julie evolved Dreamforce into an annual larger-than-life conference that helped bring to life CEO Marc Benioff’s vision for a new generation of companies that give back. In doing so, she and her teams grew attendance +56% year over year and helped drive demand and sales through the event.
Her academic appreciation also helps explain her fondness for Vin Scully –– the longtime voice of the Dodgers. As Julie says, “I’m not athletic but my parents had an interfaith marriage and the agreed-upon religion in our household was baseball.”
That fanaticism led Julie to visit half the major league stadiums and attend every Dodgers’ World Series that occurred during her lifetime. It also gave her tremendous admiration for the teaching mindset. As the team’s biggest fan, Scully was known for passing along his love by teaching others about the game. Julie calls upon that same skill in coaching her marketing teams to reach their full potential and balance competing priorities.
Read the in-depth profile for more insight into how Julie leads teams that change the technology world – and details on those themed dinner parties.
Some of Julie’s keys to success:
- Going after what she wants. Julie puts passion into pursuing her goals – whether learning to make frosting as a kid, or earning a BA and MA in English from Stanford University in just four years.
- Keeping an open mind. “While I need confidence in my knowledge, it can be a double-edged sword because I can stop being curious about different perspectives.” She instills her teams with this mindset by requiring them to conduct project post mortems to see what they discover.
- Balancing collaboration with pushback. Julie coaches her teams to work together and with others in the organization to solve problems. But she also underscores the importance of saying no when it comes to keeping priorities straight.