Personas Behind the Brand
Today’s featured leader: Jessica Wesley
As a leader in cloud solutions, Onix understands the importance of effective leadership in driving innovation, growth, and success in today’s rapidly changing business environment.
That’s why we’re excited to introduce our new series of leadership blogs, ‘Personas behind the brand’, featuring perspectives and insights from influential and innovative leaders across our organization. Join us as we explore the latest trends, strategies, and best practices in leadership, and learn some fun anecdotes about our leaders too!
In this installment of ‘Personas behind the brand’, we chat with Jessica Wesley, Chief Marketing Officer at Onix, and gain insights into her leadership philosophy, marketing strategy, and her love for her canine coterie!
Jessica joined Onix in January 2023 as Onix’s first Chief Marketing Office. She is a marketing and communications leader with a track record of leading global marketing teams, creative co-marketing with hyperscaler partners, building a leading brand within the Google Cloud ecosystem, and driving demand generation and pipeline for services organizations. Jessica joins Onix after a decade at regional and global systems integrators and Google Cloud partners.
Q. What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing, and how has your background shaped your approach to leadership in this field?
I started my career on the advertising side, working for a creative agency. I thought advertising was such an exciting place to work and I loved the fast-paced nature of the business and being around creative thinkers all the time. This gave me a strong foundation for understanding what goes into the creation of effective messaging, understanding the target audience, and creative campaigns.
My exposure to working with clients taught me that I was more interested in being on the strategy side of advertising and wanted to be a part of an in-house marketing team. I pursued a Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University to accelerate this more business-minded skillset. It was my time in grad school that really shaped my goals and vision for my career in marketing. The principles and strategies I learned throughout that experience have stuck with me today.
Q. What are some of the biggest challenges facing marketing leaders today, and how do you approach these challenges in your role?
Breaking through the noise continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing marketers today.
As consumers, we are consuming content 24/7 on our phones. The ability to create a message that resonates with the right audience, at the right time, and in the right place can feel like an insurmountable task.
Fortunately, marketing tools and technology have come a long way in terms of helping marketers identify those audiences and how to reach them. Additionally, it’s important to not do the same thing that everyone else is doing, so that you stand out from the noise.
Q. How do you foster a culture of innovation and experimentation within your marketing team, and what are some of the most important qualities you look for in new hires?
I am a big believer in failing fast and thinking differently. I encourage team members to try new things, bring innovative ideas to the table, and test them out. As marketers, we have to constantly be innovating, adapting, and evolving. Testing new marketing strategies is possible in the digital space. I also try to avoid being stuck in the mindset of “this is what we’ve always done” so that we are always moving forward.
When hiring new team members, this open and creative mindset is something I certainly look for; in addition to culture fit, a willingness to learn, and being results-oriented.
Q. How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies in marketing, and what strategies have you found to be most effective in staying ahead of the curve?
At Onix, we encourage our teams to never stop learning. There is a lot of ongoing training and certifications that are available to all employees, but we also encourage our teams to identify learning opportunities outside of Onix and in their personal lives.
Personally, I have found podcasts are a great way to stay up to date and to inspire new ideas. I also enjoy attending industry events and conferences whenever possible, in addition to participating in peer networking groups. Additionally, I am a member of Chief, which is a private network designed for women in executive leadership to strengthen their leadership, magnify their influence, and pave the way to bring others with them.
Q. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing women in tech today, and how can companies and individuals work to overcome these barriers?
Women in tech have come a long way, but there is still far to go. In fact, women hold less than 20% of all leadership positions in technology. There are a lot of reasons for this, but it starts with teaching girls about tech from a young age and encouraging them to study STEM and other similar fields in school.
However, companies also need to do their part in providing opportunities and training to elevate women in the workplace. Support and mentorship programs within the company are hugely important too, as well as exposure to strong female role models in the field.
Q. What do you think are the most exciting opportunities in the cloud solutions industry in the coming years, and how do you see marketing playing a role in driving growth and innovation in this space?
Cloud continues to be one of the most exciting spaces to work in. There is still so much opportunity for companies to take advantage of the wide range of benefits of running a business in the cloud. Specifically, AI/ML is disrupting just about every industry and this technology will continue to enhance our lives.
Additionally, the opportunities for cloud, data, and AI to transform healthcare are particularly exciting. These have the potential to revolutionize care in multiple ways, from providing more accurate patient diagnoses and personalized care and treatment, to accelerating the drug discovery process.
Marketing can play a role in driving growth for these technologies through effective storytelling – helping companies understand the power of AI in a way that resonates with them and helps them achieve their goals.
Q. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the cloud solutions industry in the next 2-3 years? How do you plan to address this challenge through your marketing efforts?
The first challenge is hiring and retaining tech talent. As the battle for top talent continues, marketing can help overcome this challenge by creating a brand and a culture that attracts top talent. It’s no longer about free lunches and foosball tables; job seekers today want flexibility and to work for a company they really believe in and can grow with. Marketing can tell that story in a way that resonates with job seekers and keeps employees motivated and excited to contribute to the company’s mission every day.
Secondly, remote/hybrid teams can be seen as a challenge or an opportunity! The way we work has forever changed. It can be challenging to keep teams productive, motivated, and connected to the company’s mission in today’s hybrid or fully remote world. Marketing can support greater connectivity by providing effective communications and programming to keep employees engaged and connected to the organization.
Q. Let’s talk about some fun stuff. What’s your favorite hobby or activity outside of work, and how do you find time to pursue it with a demanding career as a CMO?
My hobbies include cooking, traveling, being active (hiking, skiing, etc), and spending time with my dog, Koa. I try to incorporate these into my everyday life and plan travel in advance so I always have something to look forward to!
Q. Your love for dogs is well-known among your friends and coworkers. If you could create a cloud-based app or platform for dog owners, what would it be?
An app that helps keep him entertained while I am working! My dog requires a lot of love and attention, so it would be great to keep him busy during the day so I don’t feel guilty!
Q. If you could pick any band or musician to headline your company’s next big event, who would it be and why?
The Rolling Stones – classic, universally appealing, and they put on a great show!
Q. Finally, if you could travel anywhere in the world for a dream vacation, where would you go?
I will never say no to a trip to Italy! I studied abroad there and it is by far one of my favorite places. Australia, Japan, and Patagonia are on my list of places to go next!
As we continue to feature exceptional leaders from Onix in our leadership series, we invite you to keep your eye out for the next installment, where we will explore the latest trends, strategies, and best practices in leadership. Stay tuned for more thought-provoking and fun content!