As a Senior Director of Product Marketing, Carisa Stringer sees her job as an advocate for the customer and an interpreter for the masses. She helps connect Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and its related products with customers’ needs, supporting sales, coordinating with technical teams, and leading executive briefings, webinars, and other outreach. She loves the fast-paced environment of tech and the opportunities at Citrix to push her ideas and see them become reality and benefit customers. This post is first in a series of blogs spotlighting women at Citrix.
How did you get into technology?
I got an engineering degree in college, and I came to Citrix in 2002 as a web systems programmer. Eventually I moved into our Citrix Consulting organization, leading a team that developed technical collateral making my way to Senior Manager. So I had an IT background and was in very technical roles until I moved into product marketing. That background helped me, though, because I feel that I’m able to quickly understand our products and relate well to the people I marketing to. I know the challenges and the pressures the IT side can face because I was in that role.
What’s one skill that has helped you be successful in your career?
The ability to listen. Product marketing isn’t an exact science. In my role, you might have a strategy you are passionate about. But you have to be willing to get off your high horse and listen when someone comes in and challenges you. You’re surrounded by smart people, and they usually have great points. You have to listen. And that means listening to those who report to you, too. Ideally, you’re working with the best and brightest. You have to have the confidence to listen and change direction based on input because we are all working together for the best interest of the company and our customers.
What advice would you give to give to women who want to work in technology?
There’s always the standard advice — don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s important because it shows that you’re interested, curious, and engaged, and you’ll learn. But, coming from a technical background, I think it is really powerful to have marketers who truly know the products and get the relevant certifications. That gives you a level of “street cred.” It gives you a solid foundation when discussions get technical. And it helps make you a reliable resource for your team and your company. However, I would caution that while the technical knowledge is important, don’t be afraid to walk away from the technical side and move to the business side. It’s easy to get too comfortable in an area you know and stay there. But sometimes you can have a much bigger impact outside that comfort zone.
How can people in a role like yours help build others?
You don’t have to be a senior leader to do that. Find really excellent people through your company’s college hiring and internship programs and help them grow. Look for ways to support colleagues who are seeking new opportunities or who are going through career transitions. It doesn’t have to be a formal mentoring relationship. It can be just having meaningful conversations and regular lunches and check-ins. The network you build is what makes you successful, and you can help support others as they build theirs.