The leadership in any company sets the stage and expectations not only for employees but for everyone on the outside looking in. Leaders take on the responsibilities that come with their roles but also represent the business and brand. 

This is a big part of why we’re proud to have Christine Novak in the role of Senior Vice President. It’s been 90 days since Christine stepped into her position, and we want to shine the spotlight on this outstanding addition to the ranks of Emarsys leadership. 

In this interview, hear from Christine in her own words about what led her to become a leader in tech and also her ambitions for the future of the Emarsys customer engagement platform.

Experiences in Tech

What does Emarsys do that Tivoli, Peregrine, Aprimo, HP, and Salesforce do not? 

It’s not about what Emarsys does and the others do not but rather the current Emarsys opportunity for exponential growth as an SAP business. It’s the adage of “right time, right place, right people,” and Emarsys is just that. With the acquisition by SAP, their scale provides so much opportunity for us and our customers. 

Why move from Salesforce after 7.5 years?

It was time for me to bring my full breadth of expertise to a leadership role; product management, support, integration SWAT teams, account management, alliances, and product operations. As SVP for North America, I bring perspective and can empathize across the business. But honestly, this role for me may be a bit self serving; I love working with customers, building trust and relationships. I will have that and so much more.

What do you think are your biggest strengths when it comes to delivering customer success?

I understand the business of our customers, how they are successful and how our solutions help them achieve their goals. I ask a lot of questions, listen and read a lot. I bring a point of view that challenges both my own team and our customers to deliver the best outcome possible. 

What has been your career’s biggest learning opportunity? How are you bringing that to your new role? 

Managing across the organization is so important; senior executives, managers, individual contributors. I do not doubt my ability to deliver consistently, but I’ve learned that consistent, effective communication is key to the team’s success. This is critical both with customers and internal stakeholders. No one wants to be in the dark.

Emarsys and SAP

What’s the best thing about Emarsys’ acquisition by SAP? What does it enable the company to do that it couldn’t before? 

The reach and relationships SAP has is incredible, and bringing that to Emarsys is key to our growth. SAP also brings a greater level of investment to our product and engineering.

As SVP for North America, what are your overarching objectives for the next 12 months?

I will create growth opportunities for our employees so they are engaged and challenged in their roles. This engagement translates to delivering superior products and experiences to our customers, so that we can continue to innovate the way marketers engage their customers (as we are with the extensive updates coming in our Spring Release 2022). And ultimately, both of these objectives — employee and product development — drive incredible business growth.

What do you and Emarsys see as the number one priority to help marketers work at their best?

In our unPredictions 2022 ebook, we have seven key priorities detailed for marketers. To highlight one, personalization is critical for marketers to cut through the noise in our digital world. As a consumer, we are well aware of the variety of channels and onslaught of marketing messages we get each day. For the marketer to connect with their consumers, the message must resonate and provide value: right time, right place, right message. Marketers are busier than ever, and not all businesses were ready to take on a full digital experience with the pandemic. Marketing became the driver for digital, CRM, customer experience, and customer retention, adding to marketers’ very full plate. With marketing automation and AI, technology can help marketers get some time back to do what they love most. Leverage the tools you have to analyze data and see patterns, removing the uncertainty and guesswork that surround marketing, especially when it comes to predicting your customer’s actions. 

What has impressed you the most during your first three months at Emarsys?

I’m most impressed by the people, who form an incredibly talented and passionate team across the globe. The team has been so welcoming and indulged me with many 1:1 meetings, answering questions so we can deliver an incredible 2022 and beyond.

What Emarsys experience did you enjoy recently?

This week I was at eTail West, which was our first in-person event in nearly two years. It was incredible to see everyone. We had Emartians who had never met face-to-face with colleagues and customers they have worked with for two years — let’s just say, there were a few hugs, stories to share, and champagne bottles to pop! 

When we talked to marketers at eTail, no matter the industry, their challenges were the same: deliver an amazing customer experience across channels while driving growth for their business. Emarsys is ready to help marketers deliver with our proven tactics, AI, and insights. 

There was so much energy from just two days — I’m looking forward to keeping the momentum going.

Women Leading in Tech

What inspired you to get into tech?

At an early age, my dad introduced me to programming on a Commodore 64. I sat for hours typing in lines of code from a book so I could play an early version of Frogger. While it wasn’t very exciting, I loved the logic behind the code and learning from my typing mistakes. Yet after earning my undergraduate degree in Computer Science, I realized my love for problem solving went beyond the code; I wanted to solve business challenges with technology.

How is Emarsys empowering you to achieve the things you want to do as a female leader in the tech space?

Yes, SAP and Emarsys executives have been incredibly supportive with proactively reaching out for meetings, offering their support, resources, and further introductions. SAP and Emarsys have employee resource groups (ERGs) specifically to support, mentor, and grow our female colleagues.

How is Emarsys helping women more widely to progress in their careers?

Through mentoring and planned career goal conversations, we look for opportunities to shadow senior leaders and other professionals across the organization. We have an open calendar policy and are always ready to have a career conversation with our employees.

What advice would you give to yourself all those years ago, starting out?

Find your board of directors, those people close to you professionally and personally who will support as well as challenge. Always take the opportunity to connect, whether it is networking, volunteering, or otherwise. Learning from others’ experiences is one of the very best ways to expand your own perspective, and it’s a vital technique that will help you grow and succeed.

How much would you say the tech industry has changed since you started?

Tech has changed exponentially! And that might be an understatement. While it wasn’t my first job in tech, at my first job in software, I literally would work with the team to burn CDs to send out our software code releases — can you imagine, not in the cloud!

With International Women’s Day happening this month (March 8), we’re especially happy to celebrate and congratulate Christine on her first 90 days. We look forward to many more landmarks still to come. 

We’re making marketing magic together! 

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