“When they zig, you zag.”
Like the title of the book by advertising legend Siimon Reynolds, Joanie Thomas’ career path demanded adaptability and reinvention. But this “zagging” eventually landed her a job at a company she loved.
Originally, Thomas studied journalism. “I had my heart set on going to New York upon graduating college,” she explained.
But jobs were scarce. It was time for a major pivot.
Eventually, Thomas found her way into the marketing industry, and to Redgate — a software company focused on solving complex database problems — where she now works as an enterprise marketing manager. Leading a team of ABM managers was also not part of Thomas’s original plan, but she discovered in Redgate an engaging work environment and a team of colleagues invested in providing long-term opportunities for career growth.
“While I hadn’t managed a team in the past, I had full support from my manager and the sales management team as I navigated — and made mistakes in — the new role,” Thomas said. “I’m one of a huge group of people who’ve benefited from Redgate’s willingness to take a risk on them.”
To speak more about her fascinating and successful journey at Redgate, Thomas sat down with Built In for an extended conversation.
What’s your role? What are your responsibilities?
I’m the enterprise marketing manager. I lead a team of ABM managers to drive pipeline and grow revenue from our enterprise account set.
Give us a snapshot of your career so far. What has been your path to this point?
I’d be lying if I said my career path has been structured or intentional. Getting into marketing was an accident but I’m so happy I ended up here. I studied journalism in college and had my heart set on going to New York upon graduating. Job opportunities in the journalism field were slim in New York, so I widened my net and ended up at an advertising agency. I loved the creativity that came with that role but struggled to connect my work with the business impact. How was my Facebook post about tire safety helping Michelin sell more tires?
Marketing seemed like the natural next step, so I took a digital marketing course at General Assembly to get that ball rolling. Since then, most of my experience has been in B2B tech marketing at SMBs. I’ve found it provides a great combination of creativity, business impact and consistent challenge that keeps me engaged and excited about my work.
How does working for Redgate help you make progress toward your career goals?
Redgate values and trusts in its people. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to fill an interim management position that turned into a full-time role because of this. While I hadn’t managed a team in the past, I had full support from my manager and the sales management team as I navigated the new role. I’m one of a huge group of people who’ve benefited from Redgate’s willingness to take a risk on them.
What makes Redgate a unique place to work from a professional development perspective?
One of Redgate’s values is to “be reasonable,” and they really stand by that. No one expects Redgaters to be here forever, so you’re supported to grow and thrive in your role, advance to the next stage when possible and move on to a new adventure when it makes sense for you. Because of this, you’re encouraged to set your own development path and aren’t limited to improving the skills listed in your job description. I think this is one of the contributing factors to our low attrition rate.
How have you grown professionally at Redgate? What skills have you learned?
I started as an ABM Manager and learned about developing strategies that play to an account’s needs, developing targeted value propositions and executing integrated campaigns. Working closely with sales leadership in my current role has sharpened my commercial acumen, and I’ve learned a lot about the differences between leadership and management. I have a ton of room for growth when it comes to leadership, and I find myself learning valuable lessons from my manager, peers and team every day.
What professional development tools and resources, informal or formal, have you utilized?
I’m currently going through the ITSMA ABM Certification, which I’m thrilled about. We have an established ABM program at Redgate, but I’ll have the ability to help the team implement best practices from the training which will help take our program to the next level.
How are managers involved in the career development of direct reports?
Each Redgater is responsible for her own personal development plan. You decide where it is you’d like to go, and your manager will help you get there by helping you assemble that plan. It might look like helping to assign you internal mentors, finding training programs or pointing you in the right direction to sharpen the skills you need to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself.
“It’s given me the autonomy to drive projects that motivate me, and it’s introduced me to a really fantastic group of people I’m grateful to have in my life.”
What are you excited to accomplish next?
I’m excited to become a mom at the end of February next year, so I’m considering motherhood my next big accomplishment. I’ve already begun maternity coaching courses that Redgate has provided to help me transition into maternity leave and navigate the transition back into work alongside motherhood.
How has joining the company positively impacted your professional and personal journey?
Redgate’s helped me step out of my comfort zone to take on new challenges, it’s given me the autonomy to drive projects that motivate me, and it’s introduced me to a really fantastic group of people I’m grateful to have in my life.