Much like a tropical plant, talent needs the right environment to flourish. A culture that encourages growth, cultivates resilience and rewards collaboration is fertile ground for a thriving career.
In five and a half years at the customer data platform BlueConic, VP and Chief of Staff Morgan Simpson said she’s experienced a decade’s worth of professional growth — or at least that’s what it feels like.
“We joke about life at BlueConic sometimes as being baptism by fire, but this has its merits — it's forced me to discover that I’m capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for,” she told Built In.
Rising through the ranks from her starting role as the company’s first account manager, she’s made close connections throughout the organization and credits her colleagues’ openness and support for helping her achieve her goals and reach for new, more ambitious aspirations.
“BlueConic gives you such breadth of opportunity to try your hand at and learn new skills because of our range of customers and internal teams. And, given how much our business changes as we grow, we’re afforded the opportunity to change and grow along with it,” she said.
“BlueConic gives you such breadth of opportunity to learn new skills because of our range of customers and internal teams.”
The company’s customers run the gamut from midsize regional businesses to Fortune 500 corporations, and in her day-to-day experiences, Simpson interacts with team members from all corners of the organization. This diversity of backgrounds and expertise has been a consistent source of motivation, she said.
“You’re never the smartest person in the room, and our internal and external relationships are so strong that you're inspired and compelled to develop your own skills and competencies,” she said. “Rising tides lift all boats!”
Below, Simpson tells Built In about the most impactful experiences she’s had at BlueConic, the value of paying it forward and the daunting challenge she’s looking forward to tackling next.
WHAT BLUECONIC DOES
BlueConic is a pure-play customer data platform that liberates data in the privacy-first era. Built from the ground up with privacy in mind, the platform gives business teams access to unified, privacy-compliant first-party data when and where they need it to transform customer relationships and unleash growth.
I started my career at a very small startup before moving to an agency for several years. There, I got a ton of exposure to digital marketing strategies across all sizes, industries and compositions of clients. As that agency piloted new products and engagements, I helped bring them to market and found myself leaning into the technology products.
From there, I made the jump to BlueConic as the first account manager, managing all of our U.S. accounts for a couple of years. This gave me an incredible perspective across our customer base and the opportunity to help build the account management function for the business. I slowly transitioned out of account management into an operations and special projects role, supporting cross-functional net-new initiatives as we scaled, before becoming chief of staff at the start of 2023.
How does working for BlueConic help you make progress toward your career goals?
Working at BlueConic not only helped me make progress toward my career goals but also helped me shape them. I’ve been given opportunity after opportunity to try new things and test different skills, challenge my biases and learn from each experience.
BlueConic is a unique incubator — like a microcosm of opportunity. You have global, multi-brand enterprises and smaller mid-market businesses as customers. You have exceptionally talented software engineers and bright, creative marketers and strategists on your team.
“BlueConic is a unique incubator — like a microcosm of opportunity.”
Having the freedom to move and work among this breadth of talent, skills and industries has been instrumental in helping me identify my strengths and weaknesses. I’ve begun to lean into and support areas of the business I knew nothing about just two years ago, including ones I might have shied away from in the past.
Additionally, having regular exposure to our board and working closely with our management team has challenged me significantly and helped me develop and apply a broader perspective.
What makes BlueConic a unique place to work from a professional development perspective?
No one here has ever told me "no" when I've had a question or asked for help. Not just management, but my colleagues as well. No one has ever told me, "You don't need to know that," or to "stay in my lane" when I've wanted to understand something better, whether it be the way a complex integration works or why we're investing in one feature over another. Everyone is always more than happy to hop on a call and talk through something or debate a topic over coffee. I crave context, and working in an environment that fosters transparency and collaboration has been a game-changer.
How have you grown professionally at BlueConic? What skills have you learned?
I feel like I've grown 10 years in the five and a half years I’ve been at BlueConic — it’s like being in an Instant Pot for career development! The things I’ve learned are honestly too numerous to list. However, a few of the most valuable and impactful skills I’ve developed are an understanding of the Martech and CDP market, the ability to be agile and continuously effective in a dynamic organization and market, and the aptitude to identify complex business problems and coordinate cross-functional efforts to improve efficiencies and experiences for both our teams and our customers.
What professional development tools and resources have you utilized?
First and foremost, I have exploited the heck out of our internal resources. As I said, you’re never the smartest person in the room at BlueConic, and I have the privilege of working with some of the most talented folks in our industry. Everyone is deeply committed to paying it forward and supporting each other’s development, so I’m always learning from my colleagues.
“Everyone is deeply committed to paying it forward and supporting each other’s development, so I’m always learning from my colleagues.”
I was also fortunate enough to participate in Raw Signal Group’s management training, which was hands down the most valuable training I’ve taken in my career. Additionally, because BlueConic is a Vista Equity Partners company, I’ve had access to resources and communities within the Vista portfolio that have been immensely beneficial.
How are managers involved in the career development of direct reports?
Managers are very involved in their direct reports’ career development, but it takes a village. I know a lot of people say this, but we really do promote and foster collaboration across the business so that every member of the BlueCrew is exposed to multiple perspectives, subject matter expertise, communication styles and specialties.
Managers help direct reports identify their goals and aspirations, provide incremental opportunities to work towards these goals and ensure other leaders that can offer focused support are engaged and aligned. They also elicit feedback from colleagues so they can provide well-rounded guidance on a tactical level, coach direct reports on areas of improvement and elevate their strengths to support other members of the team.
How has joining the company positively impacted your professional and personal journey?
How much time do we have?! I know in my bones I will look back on my career and be able to pinpoint my time at BlueConic as one of the most critical facets. I’ve belabored the things I’ve learned, how I’ve been supported and how much I’ve grown. But most important to me are the people I’ve met and worked with during my time here.
Whether they’ve lasted my entire tenure or for briefer periods, the impact of these relationships can’t be overstated. I’ve had many colleagues, mentors and leaders here bet on me more often than I’ve ever bet on myself, and it’s had an immensely positive impact on the way I see myself and challenge myself moving forward.
What are you excited to accomplish next?
In the immediate term, I’m really excited about the programs and initiatives we’ve launched this year to bring more efficiency to our teams in how they work together cross-functionally and report those efforts to the business. That’s probably a boring answer, but I’m passionate about efficiency — yes, I’m super fun at parties and very chill — and it has a material impact for an organization like ours in a period of growth.
More broadly and personally, I have several ambitions to challenge myself in areas I’ve always struggled with, primarily public speaking. Presenting on a stage to a large audience makes me nauseated, but it’s something I plan to do more of in the coming years to develop that muscle.