Women Of The C-Suite: Toma Sabaliauskienė of Nord Security On The Five Things You Need To Succeed As A Senior Executive

Data: 2021 m. rugsėjo 07 d.

Toma Sabaliauskiene is a technologist with a background in computer science and an award-winning marketing executive. She is the Chief Marketing Officer at the world-renowned VPN brand NordVPN and its parent company Nord Security. That means leading a team of more than 200 professionals across the world — from Japan to Brazil.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?


Thanks for having me! My path to a marketing career started before I even knew that you could have a career in this field. Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated by advertising. When we would watch a movie with our family, everyone would leave the room as soon as the commercial breaks started. Not me, though. I’d stay glued to the TV, spellbound by the limitless creativity ads seemed to have.


I didn’t go straight to marketing, though. I discovered my love of math and computer in school, so I got a degree in computer science. I focused on it for a while; I could say I was a proper geek! But eventually, I found the perfect career path for me — digital advertising. It’s a great blend of creativity and numbers. Since then, I’ve had a clear vision of what I wanted to do and how to get there. I’ve tried many different roles — from a PPC Manager to a Project Manager — and all these experiences have led me to where I am now.


Certainly, not everyone is cut out to be an executive. In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?


I think this goes back to the lone wolf thing. Solo fliers aren’t really great leaders. Especially when you’re in charge of a marketing team with hundreds of people and dozens of different departments. There’s no time to micromanage every aspect of a marketing campaign. You have to trust your team leads and work the problems as a team.


What advice would you give to other women leaders to help their team to thrive?


Anyone who wants to be a good leader can make use of these tips I try to follow myself:


  • People. I care about people on my team on a personal level. There has to be an equilibrium between good results and the happiness of my team. This may sound like a cliche, but you can’t achieve greatness without good teamwork. And for that, as I like to say, you have to truly enjoy at least 55% of your daily tasks.
  • Sharing know-how. Don’t ever keep your know-how to yourself. You have to pass it down — knowledge sharing is the thing that will push your team forward.
  • There are challenges, not problems. Each time I come up against a problem, I put in extra effort to frame it as a challenge in my head instead. Challenges motivate you way more than problems.
  • Accept challenges. Don’t fear facing new challenges both in personal and professional life. You never know what new thing you may learn.
  • Don’t be scared to take risks. Yes, you might fail, but it’s part of the fun. Be ready to try, fail, and try again.
  • Prioritization. I don’t think there’s such a thing as no time to do something. It usually comes down to poor prioritization.
  • Think five steps ahead. Honestly, thinking three steps ahead is not enough.
  • Listen. Less talking, more listening. It’s not just about what your team tells you. You have to be able to ‘read the room.’ Maybe someone who’s lagging behind in your team could nail it at a different department?
  • Take responsibility. You have to take responsibility for your team and the decisions you make. You’re going to fail. That’s unavoidable. But own it when you do.
  • Be creative. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Sometimes making an unorthodox decision can be just the thing that your business needs.


Full interview  „Authority magazine“