October Consultant of the Month
Silicon Valley native Laura Wilton has over 25 years of B2B marketing experience. She’s worked with pre-IPO startups, medium and large-sized organizations such as Adobe and HP. Once she got a taste of consulting, she never looked back. In her spare time, Laura loves to travel, explore the outdoors, and try new recipes.
What are you currently working on?
Laura’s Keys to Success
- Breadth of marketing experience
- Working in a variety of companies
- Networking for new projects
- Finding fulfilling and challenging work
I'm working for GoDaddy on the global partner marketing team, focused on the integration of Poynt into the GoDaddy infrastructure and network. The acquisition is interesting. It helps to broaden the omnicommerce experience for GoDaddy customers, bringing payments, invoicing and point of sale capabilities to entrepreneurs in addition to giving them digital business tools to help with acquisition, website creation, hosting and marketing. It brings brick and mortar and online selling components together into one complete experience.
Why did you decide to become a consultant?
I was looking for something fulfilling and challenging that would use my skill set, yet that offered flexibility and better work-life balance. The last company I worked with prior to consulting was large but still operated like a startup. The hours were extreme and I was looking for something more fulfilling.
I had a colleague who had been at Intuit and recently started consulting. Because of my experience and broad network, she said I should give it a shot because it would be a great way to try something new and I could always go back in-house with no problem. She graciously referred me into an opportunity at Intuit, and that's how I started doing consulting work. Nearly every company I have consulted for has asked me to be a permanent part of their team, which is always flattering. It's validation that they appreciate your contributions and value your work. But I got a taste of consulting and there was no looking back. I just fell in love with it.
What do you love about consulting?
I love the variety of companies and roles I can choose. I love the challenge. I love not being involved in company politics. I love the flexibility. I love being able to feel like you're really adding value.
What was your favorite project to work on or work you are most proud of? Why?
When I was working on the product marketing team for Adobe, they were transitioning from boxed software to the SaaS model, now known as Adobe Creative Cloud. Being part of reinventing the business was fascinating. What's the right pricing model? How do you protect the brand loyalty of your existing customers and partners? How do you communicate the value they're going to receive while making that massive transition? It was such a pivotal point in time and it was a great ride.
The second is my recent experience at Coursera. I had never worked at a company that went IPO while I was there. That was exciting and fun to be a part of. Jeff [Maggioncalda] is an amazing leader.
In ed tech, you feel as though you're truly impacting people's lives in a positive way. You're opening doors and affording them educational opportunities they may not otherwise have. All learning takes place online at a far lower cost than it would to get the same education physically in the classroom.
When the world changed with COVID, the business had to pivot very quickly. We gave away a ton of content and coursework for free to both consumers and universities for roughly nine months. We were reskilling and up-skilling people at a time when the world was in a lot of pain and many people were displaced. Many individuals were looking for ways to reimagine their role or career. Many universities weren't prepared to do a hundred percent online learning, but in some cases, we may have had a program that was a good match for what they're offering. It was phenomenal to be doing something for humanity.
How do you market yourself?
Primarily through LinkedIn and word of mouth. I love seeing the success of my former colleagues and try to celebrate their wins. I make an effort to check in on folks every once in a while. If I'm looking for work, I will reach out to my top five or 10 people — the ones I enjoyed working with, respect, or may have an opportunity on my short list of companies I’d like to work for — and let them know I’m wrapping up a consulting engagement. Often that's what will generate activity or work. Molly at EM has been the account executive for all my engagements and she’s always looking out for me.
What are the things you like to do when the work slows down?
I enjoy traveling around the world and exploring different cultures. It gives me that mental break, which is so important. Next on my list is Australia and New Zealand.
I love to delve in the kitchen and try new recipes. Of course, there's a bit of wine involved in that. I love the outdoors — hiking, biking and running. I try to keep the physical and mental sides sharp.
What’s one tip you would give to new consultants?
Just give it a try. Having a base of experience and a good network helps you feel more comfortable and confident starting out. Don't be afraid of trying something that you haven't done before, because you'll learn, and learning is a continuous process.
Find your passion and head in a direction that's going to fulfill you. If you're happy with the work you're doing, that's going to shine through in the quality of your work. You’ll get good will from the clients as well. And everybody wins.