8 months before this picture was taken I was no one.
After a decade in the corporate world building a standout reputation, winning awards and becoming a thought after executive, my husband and I decided to pack our bags (and lives) and move to a new country.
I had no job, no network, no reputation and no personal brand. At the age of 37 I had to start all over again in the most competitive place in the world - San Francisco. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life. Going from 100 to 0 was not fun. It was frustrating and painful. But 8 months later… I spoke on stage at key industry events Named top 100 leaders to watch Invited to multiple podcasts Landed my dream VP role Wrote a bestselling book And today, I want to share with you what I did to build my reputation from scratch at 37 and become the person you know today, because you can do it too.
The real story - from 0 to 100
The first couple of weeks in San Francisco were tense. We had to find a place to live, open a bank account, get our Driver’s License and settle in a new country. For some reason I thought it was vital that I also interview for roles during this time. I was distracted and confused, and as a result kept getting rejection after rejection.
That didn’t help my mindset at all. I already felt like I was at a disadvantage competing with the best marketers in the world, and I convinced myself I have to take a step back. Instead of applying for VP roles, I interviewed for Director and Sr. director positions, and I was getting rejected!
I could not understand how that was even possible. Was I that bad? My self esteem hit a new rock bottom. I decided to get a reality check. I had 15 years of experience to prove I was good enough, so it was hard for me to accept I somehow became bad overnight.
I booked a call with an executive coach to get some answers. It was the best thing I could do.
The executive coach helped me understand that I was applying for the wrong jobs. She reminded me what my strengths are and helped me see I need to pursue more senior roles.
She also gave me some great advice that helped me improve my executive presence.
That’s how I eventually got several offers for VP roles. By changing my mindset and believing in myself. Instead of taking a step back and trying to be someone I’m not, I started showing up as who I have always been. Conclusion: Don’t lose sight of who you are. You don’t need to take a step back to fit someone else’s mold of what’s possible.
While I was going through a massive mindset transformation I was also doing one other thing that set the foundation for my success.
I talked to people who had the job I wanted to have.
Yep. I reached out to the more than 100 marketers in California and shamelessly asked for their help.
For months I kept sending messages and having conversations with complete strangers.
It was so embarrassing but I did it anyway. Here’s why:
↳ They overcame the challenge that I was facing
↳ They had priceless insights (the good/bad/ugly)
↳ They knew what it takes to be in their position
↳ They had a community I could tap into
I sent more than 100 LinkedIn messages over the months. I just stopped counting after the first 100…
It wasn’t one conversation that magically changed everything, but the process delivered a lot of small wins that compounded and created momentum.
I connected with two headhunters who opened doors at several companies.
One of them took me to an invite only event with the most senior women executives in Silicon Valley.
An ex VP at Slack helped me position my skills for a startup job by giving me her pitch.
Several VC partners connected me with their portfolio companies.
Some of the Marketing execs I spoke with referred me to jobs.
One of them introduced me to the product marketing alliance community.
That’s where I got my first opportunity to speak on stage in San Francisco in front of the best marketers in Saas B2B.
That opportunity got me a few more keynotes and podcast interviews.
Those opportunities helped boost my visibility and brand and I started getting incoming interest for VP roles.
Eventually, one of my connections introduced me to the CEO of a startup valued at $400M, who hired me as a VP.
I wish I could say this was an overnight success, but it wasn't.
I worked my butt off for almost a year to start the reputation flywheel that created the above opportunities.
For more than a year I mostly heard ‘no’ but I kept going. I had a vision for what my life could be, and I wanted to make it reality.
Every interaction was a building stone for my reputation, but instead of adding up, they compounded.
Two years after landing in a new country I was once again a thought after executive, an opportunity magnet and a known marketer. Rebuilding my reputation helped rebuild my confidence.
No bells and whistles, no crazy hacks, just good ‘ol networking got me to where I am today. And If I could do it starting from scratch, you can do it too.
I believe in you and I’m rooting for you.