Meet 11 women who are accelerating the next wave of customer experiences

Countless intelligent, confident, and powerful women are driving the high-paced innovation that shapes our world. Thanks to their ingenuity, we enjoy essential technologies like Wi-Fi, caller ID, thermoelectric power generators, and even the ice cream maker.

While studies continue to highlight the obstacles women face in promotions, growth and pay equity, the impact of gender diversity in companies cannot be overlooked. Research shows that gender-diverse companies excel — 60.2 percent report increased profits and productivity, while 54.4 percent report greater creativity, innovation, and openness (source: Forbes). These statistics underscore the importance of celebrating the extraordinary women who are transforming the high-tech industry.

Hear from the women who are leading the way

In honor of International Women’s Day, we sat down with some inspirational women in tech (who also happen to be Adobe customers and partners) to hear their stories about breaking ground in the industry and building a foundation for the next wave of customer experience strategy. These women prioritize world-class products, customer needs, and inclusive work environments. Their resilience, talent, and innovation not only inspire change, but also pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.

Nicole Allen, director of marketing engineering, Microsoft

What excites you about your role?

As the director of marketing engineering, I bring different stakeholders together to dream about what’s possible, and then we work together to build a best-in-world product that serves our marketing functions with precision and purpose.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

We are committed to continually refining our approach and exploring new ways to improve how we responsibly use the information customers share with us — their preferences, interests, how they want to be contacted — to help them find the solutions to the problems and achieve their goals quickly. By putting the customers’ needs first and making the information that matters most easily accessible, we enable our marketing teams to build strong relationships and create long-term loyalty.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

Recognizing bias and creating inclusion are powerful steps to helping remove some of the barriers that stifle women’s voices. My top piece of advice is to unapologetically be yourself. Don’t be scared to be firm and stand up for what you know is right or what you believe in. My second is to help amplify other under-represented voices. By lifting others up, you become a leader who actively contributes to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment, for the long term.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Start building a network of supporters early on and seek out people who are doing the types of jobs you admire or exhibit qualities you aspire to have to guide your journey. Having access to a variety of mentors will accelerate your growth. That said, always stay true to your own core values. When receiving feedback or input, listen to your gut and ensure it aligns with your moral compass.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

Code, Candor, and Coffee: A Woman’s Journey to Tech Leadership.

LaSandra Brill, vice president of global digital marketing, NVIDIA

What excites you about your role?

My passion is driving innovative AI marketing initiatives and integrating NVIDIA’s technologies to enhance our customers’ experience.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

As a digital marketing leader, the customer experience across our digital touchpoints is a top priority. We put a big focus on understanding our customers interests and behaviors to enable data driven decisions that deliver a 1:1 personalized content across email and web.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

The lack of diversity in leadership positions is a major issue and we have to stop expecting men to change it. Women need to be more confident, advocate for themselves, and seek growth opportunities — and for those who made it, we need to act as mentors, hire more women, and help them grow into leaders.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Doing a great job isn’t enough. Know where you want to go and understand what it takes to get there. It took me a while to learn, “What got you here won’t get you there.” I would also tell myself to keep working hard and have more confidence in my ability to achieve anything I set my mind to.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

The Power of Passion and Perseverance. While I feel like I have been lucky at times, I don’t think I got here by accident.

Cynthia Chapple, founder and managing director, Black Girls Do STEM

What excites you about your role?

I am most excited about setting organizational direction and inspiring the team to create an awesome learning environment for our girls. This looks like having operational excellence, being a motivational speaker at times, and creating a culture of joy through hard work, transparency, and trust.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

We are prioritizing digital literacy and the importance of knowing how to research and identify reputable sources of information. Not only do we have to get comfortable in digital environments, but we have to have trust that we are seen and safe within the experiences digitally.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

Women can amplify their voices by speaking up and occupying space within tech through leadership for, collaboration with, and education of others. I think women can negotiate more across pay, title, position, and avenues for advancement within the workplace to break more ceilings and overcome obvious barriers.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would simply tell my younger self, “You are good enough just as you are.” I think more young black women need to be able to be their authentic selves in more spaces.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

Roaming Curiosity, Radical Imagination and Freedom Dreaming: A Story of Courage.

Toni Clayton-Hine, chief marketing officer, EY Americas

What excites you about your role?

Although I love all aspects of marketing, I’m most excited by transformation, and more specifically, transforming our marketing organization to meet the evolving needs of our business and our clients. I’m energized by the process of leading our marketing teams as they evolve and innovate our function.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

We are always thinking about the brand experience, which I see as how the brand makes people feel and how customers interact with our solutions and offerings. Every single customer touchpoint needs to be considered.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

First, organizations must ensure that the voices of all underrepresented people are heard and that they have a seat at the table. Mentorship programs, a focus on work-life balance for working parents, and a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusiveness, and belonging are all table stakes.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to be more patient and have perspective. Truly, I have learned to not sweat the small stuff and to not take things too seriously.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

I would call it Show Up How You Want to Be Seen. The title says it all — I truly believe that our actions define us and shape how others may perceive us, and this holds true for organizational and personal brands.

Elise Cornille, chief marketing officer — North America, Accenture

What excites you about your role?

The most exciting part of my job is envisioning, shaping, and teaming to bring breakthrough thinking and innovations to market.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

Today, you must have the ability to anticipate and respond rapidly to adjust content to context. Ongoing advances in artificial intelligence are enabling us to better understand, predict, and adapt to ever-changing contexts. That enables us to better provide the right content, in the right channel, to the right person, within the right context.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

Belief — it’s that straightforward and that nuanced. I’ve learned that sharing my passion, my enthusiasm, and my energy on things I believe in not only engages people to work with me, but also inspires others to do the same.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to be much more vocal in expressing my curiosity, especially when it challenges commonly held norms and conventions. Curiosity can be a bit of a superpower. It often helps galvanize problem-solving, visioning and creativity, and leads to better solutions and ultimately, innovation.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

Seeing Around Corners. I’m particularly passionate about trying to envision what’s ahead, be it a future trend, upcoming need, or unexpected twist.

Jessica Jensen, chief marketing officer, Indeed

What excites you about your role?

I get to champion positive social change for workers every day, which is an honor and a joy.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

Our marketing team works extremely closely with our sales and product teams to ensure that we are educating our customers, exceeding their expectations, and innovating on their behalf. That means creating the messaging, proof points, educational campaigns, and thought leadership to help our customers be more successful in using Indeed.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

Women need to learn better negotiation skills and get paid the money they deserve. As women, we do not ask for enough money — and we need to change that by bringing the gender pay gap to the forefront. And secondly, women stay in bad jobs working for bad managers for too long. You deserve a great manager, an exciting job, and career advancement. Don’t get stuck.

What advice would you give your younger self?

View every step in your career journey as a learning opportunity. There are no mistakes, only experiences gained. Work hard, but don’t stress so much about every decision. We get to work for many, many years, and the growth journey is fascinating.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

Wild Woman Surfs the Wacky Waters of Business and Is Still Standing.

Zarina Pasalic, director of digital customer experience, Cisco


What excites you about your role?

The most exciting (and important) part of my work is helping Cisco transform into a leading SaaS company. To be involved in this effort and engineer a new customer experience starting with Cisco’s largest digital properties is a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

The digital experience team focuses on engineering the end-to-end customer experience across Cisco. We start with customer research. Understanding their desired outcomes and mapping their Cisco experience helps us collaborate with teams across Cisco to prioritize where we can remove friction and simplify customers’ experience.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

Making ourselves available to share career advice, broker introductions to people in our networks, and advocate for supportive workplace policies (like hybrid work or flexible work schedules) will make women, many of whom are working moms, even more successful in the workplace.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop undercutting yourself. Early in my career, as a young woman (and often the only woman) in rooms full of what I perceived as more established business professionals, I would keep my ideas to myself. We all have expertise and strengths. We need to recognize this, lean into our value, and know that our contributions matter.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

Digital Stonecutter. The women — and men — working in technology today are building amazing new ways to improve the way we live, work, and play. Their work is as crucial to creating a better world as the stonecutters who built cathedrals that defined the world of the Middle Ages.

Deena LaMarque Piquion, chief growth & disruption officer, Xerox

What excites you about your role?

The collective mission and talent within my new organization excites me. Together, we will break down silos and align product, marketing, and sales through one unified commercial strategy. Our team—the Growth and Disruption organization—is critical to enabling our Reinvention and challenging the status quo. Disruption is in our team's name for a reason: our team is the epitome of driving change, and bringing our organization together is a disruption in and of itself. We are on a mission to Reinvent Xerox and foster overall growth, alignment and business expansion.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

We're focused on engaging with and being responsive to our clients to ensure client success. To support this, we’ve brought our Sales Operations, Client Experience, Digital Sales, Pricing, Global Marketing, and External Communications into one Growth and Disruption organization. This model enables us to address diverse queries and ensure consistent interaction with clients and partners. Our goal is to deeply comprehend their needs and drive positive impacts on their businesses. We will also serve as the vehicle to disseminate client and partner insights back into the organization feeding engineering, service delivery, order to cash and other departments with valuable insights on client pain points, needs and experiences.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

There are still very few women in C-suite roles, and entering my leadership position was no easy feat. It’s very important to me that I remain vocal about industry inequities and use my role to speak up when I have an idea or a difference in opinion.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Stop saying sorry all the time. I still say it too much myself. If we want to continue making forward progress, women need to speak more unapologetically. Really consider the point you’re trying to communicate and how you want to be confident in that opinion. While it’s very important to be polite, kind, and considerate, I think as a community we need to instill courage and confidence from an earlier age as well.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

Go All In for You: Shifting Your Mental State from Surviving to Thriving.

Jenifer Salzwedel, vice president of go-to-market technology and Marketing Operations, Anaplan

What excites you about your role?

I get the honor of leading our CMO practice on the Anaplan platform. That allows me to get the direct benefits of diving into our own product and innovating new ways to think about the business impact it can have. I get excited when our team dreams big and delivers beyond expectations. Unleashing creativity and passion are the keys to delivering exponential outcomes.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

Customer experience is one of our key company objectives, so there’s a lot of attention on a customer-centric mindset. My team influences our CX through marketing orchestration, where engagement points toward a consistent experience. We also personalize customer journeys to bring further relevancy and meaningfulness to the front of any experience.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

To me, it’s threefold. First, have courage in advocating for ourselves, our teams, and our contributions to the business. Second, encourage others who want to break into technology and provide the opportunities to do so. And third, encourage our girls to find their individual courage at young ages, take more risks, embrace their uniqueness, get out on a limb, be okay with not being perfect at everything, and in turn, break even more molds than prior generations have. Dream even bigger.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to celebrate the great moments more, have more fun along the way, and not worry so much about things out of my control.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

Team Resilience & Grit: The Keys to Adopting & Driving Change. I believe business is a team sport. The more teams come together toward a common goal and persevere through tough challenges, the more the outcomes are exceeded (by winning together!).

Antonia Wade, chief marketing officer, PwC

What excites you about your role?

PwC works with incredible clients and is able to hire a diverse range of talent, which means our thinking is continually evolving as well as being challenged. Understanding the complexity of our client’s challenges, how we can help, and how we balance global consistency with local relevance is part of that.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

We collaborate across countries looking at buyer types, buyer journeys, and channels to make sure our messages are relevant and that we show up where our buyers expect us to be. It’s exciting to develop digital-first ways of engaging with our content, not just because it drives up engagement but because we learn a lot about what our clients like and how they use our insights to further their thinking.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

First, be really clear about what the value is that your team adds to the business and tightly align the outcome of your work to the commercial imperatives of your organization. Second, be confident in meetings. If you have a seat at the table, use it to push the thinking forward in a constructive way. Third, to close the gap, you need to ask questions about pay, promotion, and what it will take to be successful within your company. Last, breaking ceilings needs some firepower. Make sure you have great leadership support, mentors, and friends, as well as a team who are focused on driving results.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I think there are times when it all feels a bit overwhelming — when you change organizations, get promoted, or have a family. At those points, it’s easy to feel like everything is against you. As I got older, I reframed my view — imagine that everyone and everything is on your side and wants you to be very successful. If you start with that mindset, you’ll be surprised how much it actually becomes true.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

“Lead, follow or get out of the way”. If I see something I can add value to, I will step up. If others are driving great work, I put my energy into supporting and helping them. And sometimes my job is to create the environment for teams to flourish then step back and let them get on with it!

Joanne Wright, senior vice president of transformation and operations, IBM

What excites you about your role?

The mission of my team is to reimagine how we can use technology to create the experiences that make IBM and the world work better. We are empowered to change how we do just about everything in the company to make our people more productive no matter their role, and in the process make the jobs that IBMers do more fulfilling by focusing on innovation that matters.

How do you prioritize customer experience?

Delivering personalized experiences with data and generative AI, at every customer and employee touchpoint, is at the core of IBM’s transformation efforts. What’s exciting about our work is how together we can uniquely bring together our strategy, technology, and consulting capabilities to improve the design and delivery of these experiences.

How can women amplify their voices, close the gap, and break more ceilings?

I live by the 3 As — amplify, appreciate and allyship. Let’s amplify our stories, both our successes and challenges, and share our experiences with other leaders. We have a real opportunity to share our appreciation and congratulate great work done by other women in our teams and across our networks, and inspire the next generation of leaders. And very important for me is allyship and congratulating leaders who are supporting diversity and inclusion by truly helping to break the glass ceilings and being exemplars to all.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. Just start and get feedback and then improve. Be curious and challenge the status quo.

What would you title a book about your career so far?

My title would be Let’s Do It! It captures the positive energy and can-do attitude that I have and that we all need to have.


This article was originally featured in the Adobe Blog at the following URL: https://blog.adobe.com/en/publish/2024/03/08/meet-11-women-who-are-accelerating-next-wave-customer-experiences


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