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Success Spotlight: Charlene Sterphone

26 Jun 2020 8:00 AM | Women of Martech Content

Strategic, dedicated and resilient, Charlene Sterphone knows how to tackle a challenge. 

Two years ago, I was laid off from my previous job. It was a hard time, and I was struggling with the uncertainty of where I would land. I was able to overcome the obstacle by not giving up and trying not to be discouraged – I knew I had to keep moving forward to do my best to find a new position where I’d be able to continue to grow and learn.” Although Sterphone is no stranger to career challenges and setbacks, her story can inspire many marketers who are struggling professionally during this time of economic uncertainty. 

“The entire marketing team [at her prior company] was let go,” Sterphone said when describing one of the events that shaped her career. She was shocked - Sterphone was known for her commitment to the company and she was recognized by leadership for her contributions. She never felt at risk. 

Having a young family, she knew she had to find a job but needed to maintain balance. Unfortunately, it is easy to fall victim to feelings of defeat after a layoff, but difficult circumstances motivated Sterphone even more to find her next opportunity. In the beginning, her job search was all she thought about. She set specific hours of the day dedicated to her search, and she devoted time to self care and her family to maintain some normalcy.

“I can achieve success,” she had to remind herself. 

Work Identity, Resiliency and Supporting Others

During the few months between jobs, Charlene read books about resiliency and learned how to separate her professional life and her personal value. “Work is such a big part of my identity, and I struggled with not losing confidence during the process.”

“I came out stronger and more resilient, I’m proud of how I handled the situation. I am lucky that I found an opportunity for growth in my career. It’s hard during that transition [after a layoff] to stay motivated and positive.”

Unfortunately, the current pandemic crisis has triggered layoffs for many in marketing and martech roles. Sterphone said, “There are so many emotions that go along with that, and I know how difficult and unsettling it [a layoff] can be. I encourage people to keep faith in themselves and their abilities.” Sterphone noted the importance of building and maintaining lasting relationships as key to career development. 

Empathetic to the layoff experience, Sterphone tries to be more of a mentor and broaden what the teams work on to increase skill sets and be more marketable. She strives to be a positive influence and offer support to lift her teammates.

English Major To Marketing

Sterphone went to college as an English literature major and had every intention to go into publishing. Her first job was at the Guggenheim Foundation in data entry. Although the role wasn’t her dream job, she felt aligned with the mission of the foundation.

After her time at the Guggenheim Foundation and a short stint as an editorial assistant, her career migrated into sales and marketing.

“What I like about my role now, at Digital Media Solutions, is that it’s different every day, I’m involved in many different projects and verticals, and I enjoy working with sales to help them accomplish their goals.” 

Proud Of Sales Collaboration Driving Revenue

I’m proud of the success I’ve found at Digital Media Solutions, initially as Marketing Manager and now as Senior Marketing Manager. I’ve been working closely with the sales team to find various ways to help them achieve their objectives, from leveraging technology to creating customized prospect email workflows and unique landing page experiences they can direct prospects to, as well as helping prepare pitch decks to showcase the right solutions for the right prospects.”

I’ve been excited to be a part of many successes the sales team has had, from connecting with prospects that became customers, re-engaging previous customers, and also expanding relationships with current customers to additional services DMS offers, all helping to drive revenue for the company.”

Be Confident, Don’t Worry and Embrace Change

“There are different ways to get recognized at work, especially for those who are more introverted. Be dedicated, reliable and do your best, the loudest person is not necessarily the smartest or the most successful.” 

“If you struggle with confidence, look back at what you’ve done and achieved. Look at what you have accomplished, and be proud.” Many women struggle with issues related to confidence. In fact, the confidence gap tends to arise in women ages 25 and older, when the talents of men and women are equal but their self-perception and levels of self-assurance differ greatly. 

I would love to tell the less experienced me not to worry about the uncertainty of where I’d end up, because I’m really happy about the way things worked out. I’m part of an incredible team of smart and motivated women, and I’ve been able to learn and grow so much already, and I’m excited to continue to build on it!”

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