“I want to be HAPPY when I grow up”
Gina Sansivero, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications at AtlasIED
What are you currently doing?
First and foremost, I am, and will always be, my son’s mom. Professionally, I am currently Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications at AtlasIED. I am also on the Board of Directors for CCUMC, AQAV and the NSCA Education Foundation. I am a local leader for the NYC and Boston AVIXA Women’s Council groups and a member of the AVIXA Leadership Search Committee.
What was the catalyst for your recent job change?
My desire to challenge myself with what I can do and what more I can learn. I was not only interested in expanding my understanding of the industry but about my field, my fit and about my professional self. The last position I held was fantastic. The company trusted me and provided freedom for me to build a program and process that significantly increased their visibility within a strategically chosen market segment. I learned a lot from that position and knew I could take that knowledge further within the right environment and company culture. This new opportunity found me and it seemed a perfectly challenging, scary, fun, crazy and exciting next step. The organization has been developing some interesting new solutions and beyond that, has been investing in some key talent acquisition to help inject new energy, relevance and creativity. This momentum – this transition- is something that I am excited to help perpetuate.
What was the first job you had and what did you learn from it?
The first paying job I had was as a babysitter at 12 years old. And while it seems like a silly answer, this first job taught me that when you have confidence, communicate well and are strong, little people (children) and big people respond to it. You are given responsibility- and that responsibility means a lot. You don’t want to lose their trust and so you work hard to meet and exceed expectations. You keep building on that foundation of confidence, communication and strength, partner that with life-long learning- both academically and experientially- and your career starts to map itself out. That’s definitely not to say that I knew where I was headed or who/what I wanted to be at age 12 (I am still learning).
Did you meet anyone along the way that made an impact on you and your career path?
I have met many people along the way who have impacted me- both men and women. Some who were formal mentors, some who were informal mentors, some who were confidants and friends and others who were challenging and abrasive. I take from each of them an opportunity to learn how to communicate and listen; when to walk away or try harder; how to support others as they have supported me. I can’t list them all here, although they each deserve recognition. XO
What advice would you give to some who wanted to move into a similar career path as you?
You mean to imply that this crazy ride was intentional? Ha! I had no idea where I would end up. I fell into this industry, like many, by accident- answering an ad for an open marketing position on CareerBuilder (is that website still around?) It was scary- not knowing anything about AV or anyone beyond my own office circle. So I guess the one piece of advice is- don’t get discouraged. Everyone is scared and nervous when they start out. Jumping out of your comfort zone can be exciting, and it can lead you to a career you never thought you’d have. Make it a point to reach out to people who you see as potential influencers for your own growth. Have them introduce you to others. Keep an open mind and absorb what you can- in the beginning, and always. Maintain your core values and build upon them. Keep track of where you are and where you want to go and ask your network to help you get there. It is practically impossible for you to make it on a career path alone. And truly- don’t undermine your standards or sabotage yourself.
To remain competitive in the job market, what is one critical skill that an employee should have?
This is going to sound so cliché but I believe integrity is the cornerstone to your own success. So often people think you have to compromise your values or morals to be a successful professional. But, I think that if you define, early on, what professional success looks like for you and you create a path for yourself that doesn’t require you to compromise what’s important to you. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy and may not always make you more profitable, but it will always make you more marketable. Trust is something that is hard to earn and very easy to let slip away. When you take responsibility for your actions, as a professional, people learn to rely on you and trust you and help you and support you when you need it. And you, in turn, do all that for others. For me, professional success is far more than financial stability and when hiring I look for integrity in my team members and those who are motivated by more than money. (disclaimer: this does not mean we pay poorly)
What is a lesson(s) learned you can share that someone reading this may benefit from?
It is harder than you think to take negative experiences and create positive outcomes without first going through some internal turmoil. Sometimes, though, that turmoil will lead you to realize that whatever happened actually had little to do with you and everything to do with unrelated circumstances. It’s how you use the bad experience- how you learn from it and respond (if at all) to that negativity- that will make a lasting impression on you, influence your reputation and inform those around you. This is a lesson I learn over and over again. And the second piece of advice- which I already mentioned- no one can achieve their own definition of success alone. Surround yourself with supportive people who want to see you take flight. And then- don’t forget to be that support for others. That’s what creates a strong network and a strong industry.
What is something that folks would be surprised to learn about you?
I don’t like going to the movies in a movie theater. Really dislike it. Nothing about the experience appeals to me. But I LOVE live theater.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
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