We recently welcomed veteran technology marketing executive, Steve Harrington, to the Cygilant team as vice president of marketing. Prior to joining Cygilant, Steve worked at Extreme Networks where he was vice president of marketing. I recently sat down with Steve to discuss his new role and decision to join the Cygilant team, and get to know him better as a person, including what makes him tick. Following is a transcript of our discussion.
Click here to view the formal announcement on Steve’s appointment and Cygilant’s new headquarters in Burlington, Mass.
JM: What’s your role at Cygilant? Can you give us an overview of what you do on the team?
SH: My role is VP of Marketing at Cygilant. I lead all marketing activities for the company, which includes PR, branding, digital marketing, content marketing and partner marketing, as well as all web-related activities. At the end of the day, my team is responsible for elevating the Cygilant brand in the market and driving opportunities for Sales, with the underlying mission to deliver our customers with exceptional service. We are a very customer-centric organization.
JM: I know you only joined the team a couple months ago, but can you describe what a typical day looks like for you?
SH: No. Day. Has. Been. The. Same.
That said, a typical day is as follows. I get up at 6 a.m., feed my dogs and wrestle with them, while having my morning cup of joe and strategizing about my workday. This time in the morning is when I do a lot of my idea creation and creative thinking –– this sets me in motion for when I arrive in the office. My typical day is filled with meetings that focus on execution versus meetings for the sake of meetings. Life at a fast-paced startup is all about what you can accomplish in a day, which requires a strong focus on execution and keeping a prioritized set of activities. Whether I’m writing copy, launching several integrated marketing campaigns, everything comes down to what I’m able to produce. My days can be hectic and I’m often juggling several projects at once that involve multiple parties, but the fast-paced team environment is what keeps me excited and constantly driven.
JM: Tell us about your career path. What did you do prior to joining Cygilant?
SH: I have been in the field of marketing since I graduated from college with a B.S. in marketing. I’ve always had a passion for marketing and even started my own landscaping business at an early age. I remember then how much I enjoyed making my customers happy by providing them with great service – something that still holds
true today. Early in my career, everything was about marketing my services, referrals and customer retention.
I previously worked in marketing at several large organizations, in addition to a long stretch of time spent working at multiple technology startups. Once I caught the startup bug, I had the privilege of helping lead marketing at several, successful tech startups. During this time, I set the foundation for how I tackle my job day-to-day and how I live my life.
Prior to Cygilant, I ran Global Marketing for Extreme Networks where I built and grew the company’s global marketing team. It’s a great company and I value my time there having worked with amazing team members who all respected one another and always produced solid results. During my five-year tenure at Extreme, the company had several successful acquisitions, all of which centered around marketing and other integrated activities.
JM: As a technology marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience, what advice would you give to your younger self?
SH: I would say, take more risks. Don’t stay in a job that is not fulfilling and does not match your ambitions, career or personal goals. Always take the time to listen and thank people, and always treat people with respect. Never deviate from these things. I would also advise my younger self not to take things personally. The business world is a tough place – sometimes rougher than what the human psyche can handle. So, it is very important to keep things in perspective, and treasure your family and your friends. Also, never lose sight of how important your health truly is. It is important to have a healthy work life, but make sure that you don’t let it take over your world. Always be kind, listen with respect, focus on execution, and keep a high degree of laughter in your step as you are going to need it.
JM: What do you like most about working in the tech industry?
SH: Working in tech marketing is wild and chaotic. Every day is different – from global launches and planning major events, to writing ad copy and leading diverse global teams. There are opportunities for growth every day. Unlike some professions where things remain stable, the world of tech marketing is constantly changing and evolving. To me, this is the exciting part. Whether experiencing the rush of going through an IPO or the craziness of M&A deals going live, nothing beats the thrill of being in marketing and meeting so many different people from different cultures and exploring the world outside of the US. Just when you think you have it all figured it all out, the rules change. Hang on tight!
JM: What attracted you to Cygilant? What makes the company different from other places you’ve worked?
SH: I was attracted to Cygilant for a few of key reasons. First, the market for cybersecurity is very real and so hot right now. I wanted to join an organization where I could really feel that I am making an impact on society and businesses. Protecting organizations from all the cybersecurity threats is fascinating.
The next reason is Cygilant’s CEO Rob Scott, who is a true and proven leader in the industry, and someone who is surrounded by amazing people that are making an impact in the tech world. Everyone wants to work for a leader who works hard and keeps a keen focus on their team and winning.
Lastly, I think there is a great opportunity within Cygilant to make a big impact. The thought of elevating our brand in the market and attracting new customers and keeping relationships strong with our current customers is exciting. We pride ourselves not on selling products, but rather on establishing strong partnerships with our customers to keep them safe and secure. There is nothing more important than our customers – something we really live and breathe here at Cygilant, every day.
JM: What are you most excited about in the coming year? Any announcements/news coming up that you can share?
SH: Our goal this year, is to aggressively market Cygilant’s leadership in the Security-as-a -Service market. The company’s strong customer-focus is evident by our very loyal customer base. I am excited to ramp-up our customer partnerships and dominate our sector of the market.
JM: When you’re not in the office, where can we find you?
SH: When I am not in the office, you can find me on the Cape with my family and dogs. The beach is my oasis for de-stressing and creative thinking on how to make myself a better person, both spiritually and professionally. There is something about being on a remote beach, with my Jeep and dogs, that enables me to really take in all that life has to be offer. There is no better feeling.
JM: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
SH: A couple of things:
· I have a cow valve keeping me alive and kicking, as a result of a congenital heart defect.
· My great, great, great grandfather played a key role in the famous Boston Tea Party.
JM: Those are all the questions I have for you today! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Steve. On behalf of our team, we’re psyched to have you on board!
Follow us on Twitter at @Cygilant and @SHarrington1.