Julie Weill Persofsky
Years in Technology: 13
Current Title: Chief Growth Officer
Current Organization: Self Employed
1. Why did you join the technology industry?
Honestly, by fluke. I was working in advertising in New York City and I didn’t see a future for me in that space. I started exploring and a friend of mine told me about a job opening at a consulting firm that focused on companies that addressed anything “below the line marketing”. I jumped on the opportunity, became an analyst and started learning about a bunch of tech companies I had never heard of. It was fascinating. When it was time for me to move back to Toronto, a partner I worked with encouraged me to look into Eloqua as “the top company in Toronto”. And so I applied (a few times, for a few different roles) and eventually became a Customer Success Manager in 2006. To be completely honest, I didn’t really understand what they did, but I loved their culture and knew that I could learn.
I love the impact that the technology industry can have, the fast pace and the opportunity for learning and growth.
2. Who is the person who has inspired you professionally?
This is tough to just pick one person. When I was 5, my mom went back to school and started her own tutoring business as well as held leadership volunteer positions, and raised 4 kids. From her I learned that you can accomplish and take on anything you want. There is literally nothing standing in your way other than yourself. I also learned a little bit of hustle, grit and tenacity.
Over the years I’ve had some great bosses, mentors, coaches and team members that have given me inspiration, pushed me to go further and challenged me in the right ways.
My favourite story from my career is back when I was applying to Eloqua. Because of my consulting background, I got pushed to the Customer Success team, and Paul Teshima who was leading that group, rejected me 3 times and I kept reapplying. At some point I said to him, I’m going to work at Eloqua in some capacity so you can give me a chance to prove myself now, or I’ll keep applying for different roles. He hired me, and I can promise you, he didn’t regret it. Paul was a great boss and I am very lucky to have learned from and worked with him.
3. If you could give one piece of advice to your 13-year-old self what would it be?
Strengthen your glutes, core and back muscles.
This probably isn’t what you are looking for, but even as a 13 year old I had a lot of the same characteristics that have helped me in my career. However, in all the time I spend at my computer or sitting in meetings, I’ve developed back problems and it all stems from weak glutes and back muscles that I spend a lot of time working on. I wish I would have started that physical work earlier.
4. How do you think we can encourage more women in tech?
I heard a quote once that men take on jobs they want to learn how to do, and women take on jobs they know how to do already. I think we need to encourage women to take on opportunities that they are unsure of, but will grow into. I also think as hiring managers and bosses, we need to encourage women to take on roles that are a bit of a stretch and coach them.
I remember at the age of 28 I was hired as the VP of Client Services at Pharmatrust. I walked out of that meeting scared shitless. I did not know how I was going to step up to the level of a VP, I called my mother-in-law who is a business superstar and she said “don’t worry, you can do it and I’ll help you when you get stuck”. That encouragement was all I needed to calm nerves and walk in on my first of work to a room full of men, most of whom had kids my age.
5. What is the best part of your job?
My job is constantly changing. In 5 years at Influitive I held 3 different leadership roles. And recently I went out on my own to help other companies realize their revenue potential and get to that next stage of growth. I love the constant challenges of a changing environment. Learning, solving problems for me is what gets me jumping out of bed in the morning. But the most satisfying part is helping other people realize their potential. When I can give my employees well deserved promotions, nothing feels better.