Resa Gooding: Making The Pivot To Being The Best In Your Field

Resa Gooding, a Partner Engagement Manager at HubSpot, is one of the top women nowadays in the uber-competitive & fast-pace world of B2B marketing.

Born in the West Indies, her rise to the top of HubSpot, a Dublin-based company that Fortune named “One of the top 100 companies in 2022” was never given.

When she immigrated to Israel, she quickly realized that her greatest assets is her mother’s tongue: English.

Without knowing anyone, she rose through the ranks in Israel’s tech-scene, until recently the offer from HubSpot to move to Dublin came.

She recently wrote a book Empowering Marketing and Sales with HubSpot: Take your business to a new level with HubSpot’s inbound marketing, SEO, analytics, and sales tools to help other B2B marketers to learn the trade’s secrets.

I sat with her to ask her about her career, powering through the tech world as a double minority, and why she once flew to Singapore for a Tony Robbins concert.

You started your career as a digital marketer and a HubSpot expert. Now you’re a Principal Manager at HubSpot. How did that come about? 

Resa: When I moved to Israel in 2007 I quickly realized that as a native English speaker the best opportunities that existed to grow my career professionally were in Marketing.

So I worked with a creative agency for 8 years honing my skills in Project Management and Marketing Communication but when I discovered HubSpot I knew I found my tribe.

HubSpot became my North Star from that point onwards as I found their marketing materials, particularly their blogs, to be so instructional.

I literally learnt everything I know today about marketing from reading online material such as these blogs.

Eventually I decided I had sufficient knowledge in the digital marketing space and went to work with a HubSpot partner agency.

After a few years I decided to start my own agency as I had a burning desire to help ambitious entrepreneurs achieve their business goals.

My agency quickly grew into a success and was one of the top 3 agencies out of 46 in Israel as well as one of the top 3% of HubSpot partners worldwide.

So many opportunities came my way and one of them was to eventually join HubSpot and scale their services to partners.

So here I am…

What was, for you personally, the most difficult thing about making it to the top of your field?

Resa: Sacrifice of my personal time and yes often family time.

I often worked 12-14 hrs a day and 7 days a week.

There was always something to do.

Fortunately I had a very supportive partner who gave me the space and time needed to work on my craft so that certainly helped.

You’re a “double minority”: a woman and a black person. How did that affect your career? 

Resa: Lol! How much time do I have? 🙂

Listen, the struggles and microaggressions minorities face are certainly insurmountable but I no longer choose to focus on this.

How did I pivot?

Well, one day while lamenting  to my dear friend, Hillary Sargeant, about how unfair life is and how hard it is for us black women, she said to me, “Girl, you just need to leverage your difference.”
This became my mantra since then.

I no longer see my differences as a setback but rather a setup for the greatest comeback.
I knew once I became the best in my field they won’t be able to ignore me.

So this is what I focused on – becoming the best.

I always did an inner backflip when companies who previously rejected me for a job called me back a few years later to hire services from my agency.

When you started out, did you have any role models? Mentors? How did they help (if at all) your career? 

Resa: Role models and mentors are a MUST if you are to succeed in life either professionally or personally.

What most people get confused with though is looking for people within their immediate environment or even to be able to physically interact with them.

This isn’t always possible though so you must be willing to sometimes take “3rd party coaching”.

I often took inspiration from the many autobiographies and self help books I read, or conferences I attended. 

I am a huge Tony Robbins fan for instance and besides reading all his books and listening to countless recordings I even invested in attending one of his conferences in Singapore.

My driving time is spent listening to a podcast or a book from Audible.

So people like Oprah, Carla Ann Harris, Dr. Dharius Daniels, and John C. Maxwell, to name a few, are my daily doses of mentors whose instruction I devour in order to build my career path.

But I also look to my partner, Yossi Efraim, or my kids and their friends for mentorship because I believe you can learn something from anyone everyday.

So I have learnt to cultivate a mindset of curiosity and learning where instead of judging someone’s actions I seek to understand the WHY behind it and then use the experiences of those who have gone before me to give more insights into the experience.

Working in tech and marketing can be super stressful, with demands to be connected all the time. What do you do outside work to relax and recharge? 

Resa: Read, sleep, binge watch tv series on Netflix

Has the Covid-19 pandemic changed or impacted your working and/or management habits, routines or priorities? If so, how and why?  

Resa: For sure.

During Covid-19 my workload tripled and I found myself having no separation of my personal time from work.

By the end of 2021 I vowed to change that and decided to carve out a routine for myself that helps me to better prioritize both my physical and mental health.

So I start my day by exercising or just giving myself time to BE – not doing anything. I also don’t work on weekends anymore and I try to ensure I get 8 hrs of sleep every day.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career so far? 

Resa: My limiting beliefs.

Sometimes I think a job, or project or task is beyond me or that I could never do it or I am not good enough.

But then I remember that G-d never gives you more than you can take.

So if this opportunity came to me then it must be because it was meant for me.

So I’ve learnt that the only thing that is holding me back from my success is ME.

Over your career, you’ve helped and worked with a lot of start-ups. In your experience, what makes a hi-tech company successful?

Resa: The leaders.

You see, good leaders are always open and receptive to new ideas and the opinion of others.
Even though they may not always be in alignment with what they envisioned they are able to discern when an idea or opinion should be taken into consideration.
They pay attention to the signs and trends and know when to adapt or to pivot.
And they generally are aware of their weak points and know how to hire the right people around them.

So this is what drives the success of the business.

I’ve come to see the product is really last.

When it comes to Israelis they can sell ANYTHING, but their lack of willingness to really learn to be a better leader is what sets them back at times.

What do you think are the biggest challenges women face when trying to break into the tech industry? 

Resa: Their confidence.

Women often think they don’t have relevant skills or experience and that is because they haven’t understood how to translate what they know into what tech companies need.

What do you think will be the most important skill for managers in the next 5 years?

Resa: Psychological safety.

How to build a mentally safe space for their employees to thrive and really feel part of a community, note I didn’t say a family. 

Because work could bever be family like but it must represent a true space of community where you are given the necessary resources to learn and grow in your work but at the same time given the grace and support when needed for some much needed downtime or self-rehabilitation.

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