Lessons To Live By From An Award-Winning Marketing Leader

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Laura Kendall, the VP of Marketing at SimpleLegal, shares her personal journey through the marketing industry and noteworthy lessons she learned along the way.


Laura Kendall didn’t always know she wanted a career in Marketing. In fact, she grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and dreamed of becoming either a large animal veterinarian or a nutritionist. But even on the farm, Laura was honing her marketing and operations skills which led her around the world and back again. 

Below highlights some of her journey and the life lessons she picked up along the way.

Sustainability

Laura Kendall started building business skills early on by using technology to support data entry and other administrative duties for the family business, a dairy farm in Columbus, Wisconsin. 

Once college time approached, Laura gained admission into the Wisconsin School of Business, where she studied Marketing and joined clubs like BASE (Business Action for Sustainable Enterprise), UW-Madison Real Estate Club, and the Mu Kappa Tau-Marketing Club. 

In school, she learned about sustainable farming and the importance of organic foods. Inspired by the sustainability trend, Laura sought to transform the family farm into an organic operation. But the traditional profit model didn’t align with this new-age thinking. Through this experience, Laura saw the benefits of how marketing and a deeper understanding of how business can change mindsets and influence organizational shifts.

Beyond The Classroom

From early on, Laura was ambitious. She felt that to set herself up for the career she wanted, she would need to continue expanding her skills beyond the curriculum, instead of waiting until after graduation. 

She worked various business jobs during college, including as a Marketing Intern for a commercial real estate firm, and with the Office of the Registrar at UW-Madison, supporting their upgrade to a digital interface for student records.

Newly graduated and with 2 years of marketing experience under her belt, in 2010 Laura traveled abroad to Thailand where she taught English as a Second Language (ESL) through the American TESOL Institute.

Data-Driven

Back in the states, Laura spent the next 6 years kicking off her B2B marketing career which ultimately brought her to the tech industry of the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Roles in demand generation, sales & marketing operations, and other go-to-market functions took her to Gilson, a biotech firm in Wisconsin, Quantum Secure (now HID SAFE), and Apttus a contract lifecycle management software firm.

In 2016, Laura accepted her first executive role as Director and later promoted to VP of Marketing for SimpleLegal, a legal operations software provider that acts as the system of record for corporate legal departments. Here, Laura works in a strategic capacity, leading a team of marketing professionals and agencies, responsible for all aspects of marketing including brand strategy, demand generation, product marketing, and communications.

From her very first marketing internship, Laura had a natural attraction to data, process, and technology. As a Certified Salesforce Administrator, she is passionate about the convergence of marketing and data to inform decisions, none of which is possible without a deep understanding of the martech landscape. 

As a data-minded marketer, she has leveraged many data-driven tools in her roles helping to launch several account-based marketing strategies, measure marketing influence on pipeline and revenue, and more. 

Laura brought her martech knowledge to SimpleLegal, building an advanced tech stack that includes machine learning tools, automation, and deep business intelligence to drive account-based sales performance. 

Laura also won the 2018 FIRE Marketer Awards, which recognizes a prestigious group of marketers who are using data intelligence to drive world-class results.

Recalling one of her favorite programs with SimpleLegal, Laura shared about a “LegalOps Super Hero” Campaign, an integrated, personalized direct mail campaign that included an infographic and leveraged a hyper-targeted account list, which was precision-scored and prioritized using advanced AI modeling in the EverString Audience Platform®

Confidence, Collaboration, Community

Laura’s strong work ethic started young and continued persistently throughout her studies and career. Many have influenced and guided her along the way, including many women in tech sharing a common message of advice: “Show that you’re confident, especially as a woman in technology.” 

Being the only female (and often the youngest) in certain leadership roles, Laura realized that some communication strategies worked better than others. Backing up opinions or statements with facts (as well as presenting them with confidence…see above ^) was incredibly important and ensured she was seen as a peer. 

We asked Laura what she would tell young marketers who are new on the scene. She advised, “Try and say ‘yes’ to new opportunities: Extra projects, business trips, responsibilities… whatever comes your way.” She notes that by keeping yourself open to new experiences, you learn new skills and gain a chance to expand your perspective. It may open up doors down the road.

If you find yourself being the first or only marketer on a team (like Laura did) it can be a double-edged sword, both empowering but also isolating. To balance that Laura recommends cultivating a network of fellow marketing or business professionals you can learn, grow, and share with. Having a community mindset is important and she is proud to be co-leader of the San Francisco Women in Tech Salesforce User Group, helping fellow professionals connect on a deeper level. 

Stay Current With The Trends

Marketing technology is changing rapidly. To stay informed, Laura connects with marketers she admires, like Maria Pergolino and Vivana Faga. Listening to podcasts and participating in online communities also helps stay current. Here are a few that made Laura’s shortlist: B2B Growth, 20VC Podcast and Women in Revenue

Whatever your career objectives, there are some lessons meant to last a lifetime. Laura Kendall’s education and career journey thus far remind us about the importance of community, inspiration, and motivation. 

Sending a massive THANK YOU to Laura for sharing her story with us!!!

To connect with her more, visit Laura Kendall on LinkedIn

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