Why mentorship and being a learning leader makes a difference: Views from Tina Tuli

To read the first part of Tina Tuli’s journey to become a VP of marketing valuing analytics in our ITWC blog channel, go here. 

How do you define the role of a mentor? How have mentors helped shaped your success?

Tina, defined a mentor as ” someone within your organization, whom you have worked with in the past and/or someone that you find influential and aligned with your core values and beliefs. Mentors are individuals that provide open and unbiased discussions, constructive feedback and guidance for your personal and professional ambitions and conflict situations. “A trusted ear you can count on for fair advice and support”.”

During our interview, Tina stressed the importance of mentors to help her cultivate her personal EQ and help develop her leadership style stressing the importance of interpersonal communication development. “Good mentors don’t provide the answers but provide clarity and guidance that allow you to arrive at your decision with confidence,” stated Tina.

Tina, what advice do you have for young professionals who want to aspire to become a chief marketing or a chief sales officer? 

Tina stressed that for young professionals to be thinking about a C-Level or executive position early on in their career, can seem ambitious and far-reaching, but the formula for success is very simple. Here is Tina’s formula for success: “Don’t get fixated on the ideal role and job early on, remember that all experiences are a building block to your long-term success. Keep in mind, that it’s all a journey and path forward in achieving success and growing your skillset.

She further stressed the value of diversification across the Marketing and Sales disciplines; to help expand knowledge to increase expanded responsibilities that are more complex and strategic. There is tremendous value in gaining experiences cross-functionally to allow young leaders to understand channels and tactics that can be applied across diverse products, services, and industries. Tina reinforced that: If you’re in Marketing, try expanding your experience across Brand, Digital, Media, Social, Analytics and Operations. If you’re in Sales, expand in areas of Consumer or Enterprise sales, outbound and inside sales, Strategy and Operations. Diversification is key and this is what employers are looking for in leadership roles.”

Based on my own career experiences working in sales, operations, marketing over the years, Tina and I were very aligned on the importance of having skill development in both Marketing and Sales functions as they are tightly interconnected. Tina said this well, I’ve always referred to the two departments as “sisters” or you can say, siblings. If you have the opportunity to work in both Sales and Marketing, this will give you a competitive edge and provide strategic opportunities within either discipline. You will understand the sales cycle coupled with the impact of demand generation which will drive the revenue for the organization; you are at the “tip of the spear.”

Looking ahead into the field of AI Advanced Data Sciences, and Augmented Reality with Spatial intelligence, what types of challenges do you see are needed to embrace these forms of disruptive technologies more rapidly?

Disruptive technology and innovation drive society forward, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. The unknown can be scary and technology battles that hurdle more than any industry.

Tina has experienced tremendous growth in both AI, AR/VR and Spatial Computing. Her most recent assignment at MagicLeap demonstrated a passion for the potential of this technology but also believes AR/VR in every-day business is still many years off. 

When asked about the market growth, Tina had this to say about AV/VR and AI. The market growth will come from “enterprise organizations looking for technology that can provide efficiencies and effectiveness to their bottom line by reducing cost, reducing training, reducing errors and reducing turnover. This is why we are seeing an increase of enterprise POCs (proof of concepts), ISVs with vertical focused solutions and enterprise targeted marketing communications. The enterprise market (B2B) will set the way and bleed into the consumer market. The initial segue into the consumer market will be through the Media and Entertainment vertical through LBX (location-based experiences) and gaming/media consumption (B2B2).

What are the top three lessons learned in your career growth that you want to pass along to others?

  • Take risks. We all have ideas in what we perceive as our “dream job”. I have heard this term many times from peers, colleagues, direct reports and friends. Sometimes the job opportunity may not be in the field, or product category and/or industry that you are seeking. I have always found risk-taking opportunities are the ones that become the most valuable and yield the best results for your career path. So take risks, and get out of your comfort zone! This is where you will excel! The opportunity may not be external but can be internal through your strong relationship currency. This is the easiest and effective way to diversify quickly. 
  • Build diverse teams. Building motivated teams from various backgrounds bring diversity into any department. Motivated teams work well together and exceed in achieving goals. It’s important to ensure cohesiveness and a collaborative environment where team members openly share opinions and suggestions driving the business. Celebrate the wins, learn from the pitfalls and cultivate the growth of all on the team!
  • Be agile. Agility is more important than ever in our current faced paced business environment. Corporate strategy is changing consistently to adhere to a changing marketplace. There will be decisions that will be top-down from leadership that you may not agree with and/or cannot change even if the feedback is given and managed up. A former mentor of mine had a saying that always stuck with me when we encountered this type of situation. He would say, “We are here today, not to make the decision. We are here today, to make the decision good!” Be flexible and don’t stress over what you cannot control. Do your best in what you can control!


What will you take with you forward as you build a new career path, and what will you leave behind as well? 

Tina stressed she will remain agile and strive to manage uncertainty in fast-paced and results-driven organizations and markets. With the emergence of AI and AR/VR/MR, she sees a powerful and new computing revolution. The ability to navigate and adapt to corporations that are at the forefront of this new revolution and disruptive tech will allow for continued market penetration and adoption. The current global climate with COVID-19 has forced organizations and professionals to become more agile and adapt to uncertain times. The ability to change and course-correct with a moving market is going to be crucial for future success. I’m ready for these uncertain times and will bring my leadership to allow organizations and teams to adapt and manage accordingly, stated Tina.

Tina was not sure what you would leave behind as she said, life throws you curveballs, which you learn from and grow. Embracing the lessons learned both Tina and I agree only strengthens your growth potential.

One of her most memorable mentors said early in her career, “you want to be the smartest person in the room. People listen to the smartest person in the room”. Simply translated do your homework and always be prepared with Facts and be the best you can be Stand Out Always! Making a difference is hard work.

To listen to the first part of Tina Tuli’s journey to become a data scientist in our ITWC blog Channel, go here.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Dr. Cindy Gordon
Dr. Cindy Gordon
Dr. Cindy Gordon is the Founder and CEO of SalesChoice, an AI SaaS Advanced Sales Analytics Company specializing in Accelerating Growth and Ending Revenue Uncertainty. She is an expert in SaaS, Enterprise Technology, Customer Relationship Management, Predictive Analytics, AI, Data Sciences and Enterprise Advanced Analytics solutioning. She is currently a Forbes AI Board Advisor, an Adjunct AI Ethics/Strategy Professor at George Brown College, the National Spokesperson Board Seat for Women in Tech for CATA and a winner of both the Governor General Award and the EY-CATA Sara Kirke Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

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