Name: Anna Sharkansky
Title: Marketing & Sales Operations Manager
Company: Xtium, Inc.

YPN Member Spotlight September 2014 Anna Sharkansky
Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do? What inspired you to go into your field of work?

A: I am responsible for marketing operations at Xtium, a local managed cloud hosting provider for small and mid-sized businesses. That means that I manage the systems that support our marketing processes (i.e. CRM, marketing automation, website) with the goal of driving new business for the company. I’ve always known I wanted to work in marketing because it combines strategy, analytics and creativity. So I concentrated in marketing in both my undergrad and graduate business degrees. I got into B2B technology marketing by chance, through one of my co-ops at Drexel University. Then my first job out of college was for a global financial services software company. And I’ve been in tech marketing ever since.

Q: I’m sure your job looks different from day-to-day, but what does a typical work day look like for you? What are some of the most exciting aspects?

A: I’ll skip the generic “sit in meetings” and “do emails” part—which, face it, we all do on a typical workday. For my role, though, a typical day includes a lot of time spent in our CRM and marketing automation systems doing things such as adding content to our website, building out campaigns (email, landing pages, automation) and managing our lead flow processes.

I’m also responsible for reporting on all of our marketing efforts, and that, believe it or not, is one of the most exciting parts. Not so much the actual reporting, but seeing the results. We do A/B testing on our ads, for example, and it’s cool to see how the small changes we test affect the results.

Q. What’s one piece of advice you would give a young professional looking to transition into your line of work?

A: Intern; do a co-op; anything you can to get hands-on experience in this space. Because although the marketing theories we learn in school are great, they alone aren’t enough. The real world experience is so much more valuable.

In addition, I suggest taking advantage of the tremendous amount of free, educational marketing content that’s out there, created by organizations such as MarketingProfs, Content Marketing Institute, HubSpot and many others. It’s always good to learn about new marketing tactics and best practices, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used their resources (like templates and guides) in my day-to-day role. And they’re free! Well, in exchange for an email address, that is.

Q: How has being involved in YPN benefited you?

A:  YPN has benefited me because it’s allowed me to broaden my networking reach outside of just tech and marketing circles, and connect with young professionals in similar stages of our careers from a number of different industries.

Q: What has been your favorite YPN event thus far?

A: I need to cheat a little on this one because my favorite event was actually a larger Chamber event, which my co-workers and I got to attend as members of YPN. It was last year’s State of the Region event, in which Lori Greiner, of QVC and Shark Tank fame, spoke. Her story as a female entrepreneur is pretty empowering, not to mention her impressive successes.

Q: What do you love about being a young professional in the Philadelphia area?

A: I think there’s a tremendous amount of opportunities for young professionals in Philly. Not only referring to the job market, but also networking and development organizations, as well as the ability for young professionals to continue onto higher degrees in many of the local schools’ part-time programs, which cater specifically to that type of student.

Q: YPN has a professional development bookshelf. Is there a book that you’re currently reading or have read in the past that you would recommend?

A: I’m a big fan of the Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics books. It started out as books we were required to read in business school, but I’ve actually reread them multiple times since. I’m fascinated by how simply they connect economic concepts to all aspects of our everyday life.

Q: What kind of things (hobbies/interests) do you like to do in your free time?

A: I really enjoy working out, so I spend a lot of time doing CrossFit, kickboxing and Zumba classes.