Women in Business Q&A: Kristin Hambelton, Chief Marketing Officer, Evariant

Kristin is responsible for leading marketing and inside sales at Evariant. She oversees all marketing strategy and operations including product marketing, branding, demand generation, and corporate communications. She also manages the team that is responsible for identifying, qualifying, and developing opportunities for the Evariant sales organization.

Prior to Evariant, Kristin worked for Adobe via the acquisition of Neolane, a leader in cross-channel campaign management software. Kristin was an early Neolane employee and part of the executive team that raised $27M in funding, drove significant year-over-year growth, and eventual sale of the company to Adobe for $600M.

Before Neolane, Kristin spent her career in global marketing leadership roles driving leads, building brands, creating desired market awareness, and providing competitive advantage for the high technology products and services companies that she worked for including IDC, Kronos and Digital Equipment Corporation.

Kristin has been honored for achievements including a Bronze Stevie Award for Women in Business Female Executive of the Year and Sales Lead Management Association's 20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
There are two things in particular that have contributed greatly in helping me to become the leader I am today: having a strong work ethic and being surrounded by a variety of people with different personalities, cultural backgrounds, and work styles. My work ethic was something that was instilled in me early in life. Since I was sixteen, I've worked in a variety of industries at a variety of jobs. I made sure that I worked hard at whatever task I was given, as well as learned as much as I possibly could in the given situation.

From being a waitress to a secretary, and then ultimately landing in my career as a marketing professional, these experiences helped to truly provide me with a sense of appreciation for every job that is done and for the people that are doing them. By having that awareness, this allows for leaders to garner great loyalty to and from the people that work with and for them.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at Evariant?
At Evariant, I am responsible for overseeing the marketing and inside sales sectors, which are functions that require a broad experience base. I've purposely shaped my career by taking on different roles that give me a deep expertise that I can blend into the overall strategy and decision-making at Evariant today. As a result, this gives me a greater level of confidence and higher probability for success, knowing I have faced similar decisions in the past. I have been able to tackle them from different angles and as a result I am nimble in making assessments.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Evariant?
I've recently joined the Evariant team, but in the short time I've been here one of the major highlights, as well as learning opportunities, has been working on messaging and branding that will really set us up for success over the next two years. Part of this exercise was engaging with both our clients and employees to understand what they thought about Evariant in terms of the company itself, the leadership team and products. Not only has it been an interesting process to learn about these things from the perspective of others but also for me being new to the company.

My background lies in B2B high-tech, so coming into a new vertical industry of health care I don't see it so much as a challenge but an opportunity. Also, being new to the company I want to make sure that I understand the challenges facing the company so I can be a good marketer and provide the applicable solutions to these problems.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
While I see myself hovering between two industries in B2B high-tech and healthcare it is important within any industry to get as much experience in as many areas as possible. Additionally, I strongly believe that you should always be thinking one job ahead. You have to manage your own career because no one is going to do it for you. Thinking one job ahead keeps you focused on objectives in your current role as well as forces you to continue to network.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
There are many important lessons I've learned, but I'd say the most valuable lesson thus far is that you need to ask for what you want. I think often times it's hard for women to ask for what we want and to recognize what we think we're worth. No one is going to just hand you the key to success. Of course when making your case, you have to be reasonable: do your homework and have the right data to back yourself up. In contrast, this also means that you have to have the courage to walk away from the opportunities that just aren't right. In the end, you will thank yourself because more often than not this will lead you on the path to where you want to be.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I'd like to call this a work in progress. It's difficult to do, I won't deny that. But, I am very fortunate that I have a secret weapon that I like to call my husband. We're a great team and we work together to try and keep a balance as a family. When you have some help trying to manage so many tasks, things don't seem as daunting.

Additionally, incredible organizational skills are crucial. I myself am trying to better manage my personal time with that of my daily work schedule. Recently, I took a family vacation to Aruba that happened to fall during a very important week at work (doesn't that always seem to happen!). I had just begun working in my current role and it was an extremely difficult decision to make, but it was the right thing to do when it came to my family. Fortunate for me everyone at work was incredibly supportive in me taking the time to be with my family. I find more and more that people are respectful of the fact that you aren't trying to be something you're not and they appreciate the pursuit to manage the balance between work and life.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
There are social norms that have been created over hundreds of years in regard to the roles that women tend to carry whether that is caring for kids, elderly parents or just others in general. Many tasks are still expected of women even if they work outside the home and are the primary breadwinner. The discouraging thing is that these have not only become society's expectations of women, but also expectations of ourselves, which makes it hard to break the barriers. I had a hard time letting go of being the perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect employee; I can't do it all so I tried to at least be good at them. I accept help where it makes sense, which is something that is really important to acknowledge. I'll be the first to admit that some days I'm better at being one version of myself than another, but I think letting go of some of those high expectations of yourself are necessary so that you can maintain that you can be both successful at home and in the workplace.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
The women I admire have all been the first to accomplish something and accomplish that something really well. These women are natural-born leaders who recognize significant opportunities and capitalize upon them. Some of these women that I think embody these characteristics range from first female Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor , Condoleezza Rice, Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren to Oprah Winfrey, Julia Childs and Ginni Rometty.

What do you want Evariant to accomplish in the next year?
I want us to be recognized as the leading provider of the most innovative healthcare CRM software. More importantly, we want to act as an important resource for hospitals in learning about how they can engage with their patients and physicians and really enable more proactive care by doing so. Evariant truly has the ability to help hospitals drive greater connectivity and engagement across the whole care continuum, which really can improve society's overall health. So, our goals at Evariant are much bigger than just marketing software: This can really have an impact on the health of society, and I find that incredibly exciting. I wanted to be part of something bigger and that is what Evariant plans to accomplish.