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New VP of Marketing Heather Adams Talks About Why Octane AI, Remote Work, Culture and Scaling the Team

new-vp-of-marketing-heather-adams-talks-about-why-octane-ai,-remote-work,-culture-and-scaling-the-team

The Octane AI team is excited to announce Heather Adams as its first-ever VP of Marketing! 🎉

Heather is a marketing and ecommerce veteran, bringing over 20 years of experience building best-in-class brands and teams for a range of companies. Honing her skills working at digital agencies and tech startups (large and small) in the B2B and B2C space, Heather is passionate about helping build and scale teams and companies. 

While at Carbonite, Heather delivered exponential growth that led to a successful IPO and has also led marketing teams at Shoes.com, Shutterstock, Wistia and DigitalOcean. She is also a graduate of Harvard University—we would love to tell you more, but we’ll let Heather do that herself.

We’d like to give you a chance to get to know Heather like we do. So, in this article, Heather shares why she chose Octane AI as her new work family, her past experiences growing teams and companies and more! 

Graphic welcoming Heather to Octane AI

Today, I am super excited to share that I recently joined Octane AI as VP of Marketing! 

I’ve actually been here for about four weeks and have been waiting to make this announcement officialthe feeling reminds me of being a kid on Christmas morning waiting for all the adults in the house to wake up!! 

In many ways, it already feels like joining Octane AI has resulted in finding a new family. The Octane AI team has grown so much this year, and I am employee #33 (which, as a nearly life-long Boston area resident, conjures up legendary visions of Larry Bird and the CelticsI can hope that our mark on the ecommerce space becomes this memorable). This is the smallest company I have joined in my decades of marketing experiences; I have been welcomed so warmly, from opening that fun box of company swag (Octie is just the cutest!) before my first day to the weekly Monday all-hands syncs (where I learned how to “fast parrot”), and the hilarious and heartfelt welcome GIFs populating across Slack. 

Screenshot of Slack messages welcoming Heather

My path to Octane AI began in June, with what seemed at the time like an ordinary birthday text to a former colleague and friend (👋🏻 Ali!), who casually asked if I had seen the VP Marketing job posting for Octane AI. I hadn’t, but it immediately sounded quite interesting. So she happily made an intro to one of the co-founders, Ben Parr, and the recruiting firm, True Search (who really invest in creating an exceptional candidate experience, by the way). The rest, as they say, is history.

What resonated with me about this opportunity was not only the product, vision, and market opportunity but perhaps most importantly, the quality of the people and cultural alignment I felt with my personal and professional values. Having worked in many different environments, I’ve gotten good at understanding that being the best version of myself is partially driven by my internal motor, but is also quite affected by who I surround myself with. Part of feeling so immediately at home here at Octane AI has been finding the too-rare combination of how enthusiastically new ideas are embraced, the deep empathy for how our customers’ (and their customers) lives can be positively impacted by what we build, the drive to move quickly and innovate, and the humbleness of a group a highly intelligent people who do not feel a need to try to out-smart one another and instead prefer to support and care about each other, both as teammates and as whole human beings.

Screenshot of Octane AI's core values

Another perk is that Octane AI is a 100% remote company. While this is my first time being fully remote, I’ve been partially remote and leading remote teams for a number of years now. I’ve never been happier trading in my 75-minute commute (each way 😱 ) for a 75-second jaunt to the upstairs office (aka guest bedroom). For me, one of the best ways I get to reinvest that saved time is spending it with my family, especially with my 7-year-old daughter who is psyched to have me around every morning for breakfast and to escape for a quick mountain bike outing before dinner on a random weekday.

I am also a big fan of how remote work opens up the talent pool and can help with assembling a more diverse team. (We currently employ people across a dozen countries!)  I am hopeful that a silver lining from COVID-19 will be that more companies permanently adopt remote work as a viable option. While I still look forward to the day when I get to meet all of my new teammates in person at our next all-hands retreat (we were just brainstorming locations on the Friday team lunch Zoom), the fully remote interviewing and onboarding experience felt nothing but personal and stellar.

As I have been diving into everything, I keep getting even more excited about our products (Messenger, SMS & Opt-Ins, oh my!) and how the team has been continuing to evolve the platform in the spirit of fulfilling our vision of helping fast-growing direct-to-consumer merchants humanize the ecommerce experience. 

In my first week on the job, we launched what is arguably the biggest and most important new product since the company’s inception, a slick ecommerce Quiz builder that is an engaging way to build out buyer profiles and recommend the right products. Not only do we sit in a space that is accelerating quickly in the face of a global pandemic, but we are able to positively and materially help thousands of small to large businesses grow faster by easily serving up lovable and personalized experiences. 

GIF of Rooted's quiz

As a marketer myself, I can barely keep from drooling while thinking about how the data collected via these quizzes can be used to power smarter and more effective marketing across ALL THE CHANNELS! 🔥

As you can tell, I am pumped to be here! There is so much opportunity and already such a long list of innovative and creative ideas to tackle. Our biggest limiting factor is only having six hands on deck with our small-but-very-mighty team of three marketers. Which brings me to my ulterior motive with this announcement: we are hiring for THREE more marketers to join the team immediately. 

If you have read this far, I thank you immensely. I hope to have given you a sense of what Octane AI is all about, our culture, our product, and me, as a human and marketer.

Now please go check out our careers page and submit your resume or share these openings with your networks…we have lots of exciting work to do to help more businesses adapt and grow in these changing times.  🙏

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This article originally appeared in the OctaneAI blog and has been published here with permission.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of VisionPros.com, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.