Visier CMO Christy Marble: “Instead of trying to achieve consensus, focus on really listening, building stakeholder buy-in, shaping decisions through collaboration, and expanding perceptions”

Alexandra Spirer
Nov 18 · 9 min read

In my opinion, one of the strengths that women possess is increased collaboration and facilitating open conversation. However, with that, comes the perception that it slows down processes because you’re taking in too much outside input and not making top down decisions. The more senior you get in leadership, the more you recognize that collaboration and consensus are two different things. Often consensus is not a reality. So don’t stop collaborating. Instead focus on really listening; shaping decisions through collaboration; expanding perceptions and mindsets; building stakeholder buy-in; and kick-starting change management rather than trying to achieve consensus.


As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christy Marble, the CMO of Visier. With more than 25 years of experience leading growing fast-paced global marketing teams, Christy most recently served as CMO at SAP Concur. Her appointment as CMO of Visier comes on the heels of a period of rapid growth for Visier.


Thank you so much for joining us Christy. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was in my first job out of college, 30 years ago, I worked with a man named Steven who taught me some valuable lessons early in my career. He was the first openly gay man that I had the privilege to know and work with. He was brilliant at his job and most importantly he was always authentic and generous with his advice, coaching and mentorship. While I had a strong work-ethic from growing up in a small family-run business, my executive functioning was definitely far from mature. One day we all came into the office and our printers were missing — they had been stolen overnight. This was before the internet and we were on tight deadlines. There was a lot of stress and I was venting and inciting more drama than the circumstance called for, and he really rallied not just me, but the entire team. In that moment and many other hard personal conversations thereafter, Steven taught me how to shift my attitude away from feeling like a victim to taking charge of any situation. I remember him saying “you are sounding like a victim, but I don’t think you want to be a victim do you? You’ve got this.” That mantra has played itself out in my head so many times since then. In fact, when I am at my best, I pull that out for my children when it is appropriate. I don’t think I ever appropriately thanked Steven for the lifework lessons he gave me, but I am going to reach out to him today and thank him for three important life lessons that have shaped who I am today: 1. be authentic; 2. be willing to deliver difficult advice — it might have a life-long impact; and 3. choose to take charge and persevere — You’ve got this.

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

In the last five years, I have become much more comfortable with my own authenticity — almost unapologetically. If I’m choking back tears because I’m moved by something, then I’m fine with that. No matter who sees it. By fostering a culture of acceptance and authenticity, we find the most success as a team. A culture that allows for vulnerability and risk-taking also produces some incredible results. We won’t win them all, but we will certainly be the first ones to try it.

From the standpoint of a woman in leadership, for a long time I didn’t feel entitled enough to have a “seat at the table”, both figuratively and literally. Literally, there is nearly never enough space to sit at the table as there are people in the room. Once I finally got to a point where I could confidently take my place, I’ve felt a duty to encourage others to take a seat with me, and most importantly, to participate. So the advice I give when I am speaking to other women is don’t just sit at the table, but take your space. If you are taking your space, it means you have something to contribute, but it also means you notice and help others be heard when they are trying to speak. That is how we can each make even a small difference every day. I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with men and women who have encouraged me to use my voice and to be heard — especially when I am the only woman at the executive table. I see that as my responsibility to the other women and minorities who are not yet at the table with me.

It all goes back to feeling entitled to have your voice heard and to help bring confidence to others. Regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or perceived ability. I have had the privilege of working with some brilliant people with dyslexia and on the autism spectrum. Creating an empowered and inclusive workforce is part of being a leader.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

In my opinion, one of the strengths that women possess is increased collaboration and facilitating open conversation. However, with that, comes the perception that it slows down processes because you’re taking in too much outside input and not making top down decisions. The more senior you get in leadership, the more you recognize that collaboration and consensus are two different things. Often consensus is not a reality. So don’t stop collaborating. Instead focus on really listening; shaping decisions through collaboration; expanding perceptions and mindsets; building stakeholder buy-in; and kick-starting change management rather than trying to achieve consensus.

For female leaders, take the time to listen to apply the input, but don’t let it slow you down. Ultimately, you will still own the decision and move forward with the action.

Lastly, my advice for all leaders — men and women — is to hire people that are better than you. Don’t let your ego or fear get in the way of building an amazing team. Lead them with kindness, and give them room to fail, to learn, and to succeed. Even more importantly, I encourage others to hire someone who wants your job and then help them get there. Embrace and sponsor your successor.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I don’t want to diminish the importance of my exceptionally close family, but I do want to clearly state that I have a tribe. Before I get to that, I have had the privilege of learning from a number of amazing leaders who have created organizational cultures that pair setting big-goals with creating a safe place to take them. Then, they have personally built and led with steadfast and infectious authenticity and kindness and a seemingly natural talent for giving people a voice. I want to call them out because I feel admiration for and gratitude to all of them: Nancy Deck, Barry Fierstein, Mike Eberhard, Elissa Fink and Steve Singh. Back to my tribe, I have a tribe of women — they know who they are — who have crossed any and all boundaries of my professional and personal life. We are simply and unequivocally there for each other. No matter what. We assemble via IM or in person, wherever we are, to lift each other up. Time and distance have no meaning. We are in this life together. Once you have found that, hold onto it. It doesn’t get better than that!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Early in life, when I was not yet in high school, some of my friends had taken summer jobs. Of course, I wanted to be like everyone else and be working, but my mom had other ideas. So instead, she helped my sister and I get involved in our local nursing home. We spent a couple of hours each week for a couple of summers just sitting and talking, reading to people, reading to them and doing puzzles. We make some friends across the generations and looked forward to seeing each other and catching up from week-to-week. I have carried those memories with me always, and the knowing that everyday, in some little way, no matter what you do you can make a difference for someone or something. That is truly the essence of servant leadership at its core. When I am at my best, I am living that everyday.

As a CMO, I have the opportunity to help companies to unveil, embrace and live our purpose through our — employees, customers and partners. I am super inspired by the work we are doing right now within Visier in these times of rapid growth. Previously as CMO at Concur I had the opportunity to increase awareness of travel challenges for women and gay, lesbian and transgender people and kick-off some initiatives to address the unique challenges of business travelers within these groups. I also advise SOAR Seattle, a program to prepare and equip emerging women and minority leaders for accelerated promotion and opportunities and I participate in multiple women’s networking groups.

As a leader or as a manager, everything you do needs to be led with kindness. You can think of the worst things you have to do in the name of business, like laying people off. Remind yourself that that decision is changing someone’s life. Bring empathy into your work life, or as I prefer to call it, “life work” because they are truly intertwined.

Outside of work, I encourage my children to immerse themselves into other cultures to learn empathy and connect with people. Before our society had broad access to learning the written word just 500 years ago, it was literally tribes of people who would help you get through anything. We need to keep that sense of tribe and community both in our social lives and in business, as a means to bring the goodness to the world.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I’m very passionate about using technology for good — to help improve people’s lives. That’s one of the things that attracted me to Visier and to prior companies. One of the things that makes Visier stand out is our founders’ vision of making analytics so beautiful and so easy to use that everyone within an organization can make data-driven decisions. We feel it is time to expand the domain of strategic decision-making beyond the data scientists and put it in the hands of people across the organization. That is when companies start to perform to their full potential — when they truly unleash their entire workforce on their biggest opportunities and their biggest challenges. When it is easy to access and easy to use, data and analytics can expose important truths and act as an equalizer. This happens when companies evolve away from limiting decision-making to those with the most tenure and power and progress toward enabling people at all levels of the organization to make decisions not just with intuition (as they do in the absence of data), but with analytics to support their intuition. This extends to women, people of color, people with different abilities, and the millennials and early career talent who have a lot to offer — who want to have an impact — but who are too often not empowered to do so. We believe software solutions used to inform decisions in the workplace should be just as user-friendly as the consumer-facing software we use in our homes, on our phones and in our cars everyday. To me, our passion for helping people see the truth and create a better future makes Visier stand out.

Thank you for these great insights!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Alexandra Spirer

Written by

I am an entrepreneur, publicist, journalist and event producer based in Sunny Florida. My passion is writing & giving back to others.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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