In this series of posts, we’re talking to our own leaders to get insights into the challenges and solutions of the telecommunications industry.
In this special episode, we welcome Monica Visconti-Patel, AVP of Marketing for EMEA. Something of a celebrity in the SaaS arena, Monica has occupied numerous directorships at software companies including CA Technologies, Jive and MuleSoft, and was featured in HotTopics.ht’s Top 100 B2B European Marketing Leaders list for 2019.
This is Monica’s second stint at RingCentral; just when she thought she was out, they pulled her back in.
Monica, what’s your role at RingCentral and what are the challenges and opportunities that come with it?
As Head of RingCentral EMEA Marketing, I’m blessed to work with the most talented and creative marketing professionals in the business (and some of the nicest people on the planet) in identifying, sourcing and producing pipeline for our sales teams. We employ a variety of tactics to connect with potential buyers including paid search, paid social, affiliate marketing, direct mail, events and blogs, to name but a few. With so many moving parts required to support the business, the team needs to be connected at all times, which can typically consist of a minimum of 8-10 conference calls a day, hundreds of shared instant messages a day, scores of files being shared, hours of collaborating followed by more calls, messaging and collaborating. Productivity is the key to keeping up with the needs of the business and our customers. Each day is full-on and by the time Friday evening rolls around, the team is fulfilled but we’re exhausted; the weekends are designed to give our fingers, and vocal cords, a bit of a break.
In what ways has business communications changed over your career?
I feel very fortunate to live in a lifetime of workplace innovation. I recall starting my first job and the sheer pride and excitement in having my own desk phone, a large piece of kit, which occupied about 1/3 of my desk and weighed the same as ten cans of baked beans. When I was given my own extension coupled with a voice mailbox, I felt I had hit the jackpot.
But by the time we reached the turn of the millennium, business communication became all about the mobile device. I was running a team dispersed across EMEA, travelling an average of 3 days/week, so mobile communication was vital to keeping in touch with the business and my staff. Texting was very limited, therefore it was all about voice communication and I, for one, was certainly racking up my fair share of talk time.
Fast forward to 9th January 2007, a date which will be forever etched in my mind, when Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone at an Apple conference and the media attention was insane. I was counting the days to when I could ditch my trusty BlackBerry brick in favour of this ‘three devices in one’ piece of kit. Later that year, the first iPhone was released, blurring the lines between personal and business communication, changing everyone’s world as we know it.
How do the tools RingCentral provides help in your job?
Call. Message. Meet: RingCentral in three powerful words.
When you work for a firm like RingCentral and have access to the industry’s most advanced communication tools, you can become a little spoiled. I left RingCentral for a 12-month period and found myself hugely frustrated that I didn’t have the same quality of productivity tools. In my role, communicating and collaborating with my local colleagues, HQ-based teams, vendors and customers is critical. It’s true that I do a few things myself, but to operate at the scale we do now requires collaboration, and our tools facilitate that really well.
Call: The RingCentral phone is one of my core daily apps. What I love about this is that I have one phone number, which follows me wherever I am; no need to give out my mobile number. I love the fact that I can use RingCentral, via my mobile, without using my mobile minutes.
Message: A few years ago, RingCentral acquired an amazing messaging tool to round out the product offering. Our R&D team has created such an amazing, seamless experience; I can be messaging a team member and immediately switch to a phone call or video call where the two of us can collaborate in and around a document or presentation. It just goes: Click, Click, Boom 😊
Meet: Maybe it’s a generational preference, but I like to see people as I talk to them, even if I can’t meet them in person. Video meetings really help to improve communication and establish a relationship with someone. More than 60% of my daily meetings involve a video element, and RingCentral has made accessing video calls so easy that I have no excuse.
Technology remains a male-dominated sector. In addressing the lack of diversity, what efforts would help to benefit businesses and individuals? What does success look like?
In 1989 when I chose my core focus subject at university—Management Information Systems—I knew what I was getting myself into. Walking into my first lesson, I was one of two women in the lecture. At the end of the four years, there were five of us graduating in the field. I feel this prepared me for the professional journey ahead.
I’ve now had a 25+ year career in high tech and although we’re seeing a positive movement in employing more females, there is still so much more to be done. The good news is that the business world is taking this narrative seriously and is shining a light on balancing the books in favour of more diversity in the workplace.
When I reflect on my career, I do feel I had to work 10 times harder to prove my worth in such a male-dominated environment, but I am not sad nor bitter about it. In fact, I made the decision, very early on, that I did not want to play the ‘female’ card so I mentally and emotionally moved the goal posts and played to my strengths; I focused on striving to be the best professional I could be, bringing my best self to the table each and every day, and kept my eye on being a successful professional and authentic person. This was about focusing on me and not devaluing anyone else along the way.
At the end of the day, talent comes in all shapes and sizes and it is refreshing to see how much more prepared the world of work is to support the rise-and-rise of talented women in the workplace. As I continually tell my young teenage daughter, you’re living in a wonderful time; be positive and thankful for it and remember the key to a successful life lies in your hands. Be your best, authentic self each day, have standards—not an attitude—and above all, it’s better to be respected than liked.
As we graciously thank Monica for her time and insight, we wish all of you out there a Happy International Women’s Day for this coming Sunday. Are you or your organisation doing something special to mark the day? We’d love to hear about your experience. Drop a note in the comments below, and look out for more episodes in this series of Ringside.