Centering Humans and Culture: Internal Road to Leadership – Madeline Fitzgerald
Published: December 15, 2022
Author: Madeline Fitzgerald
In this new blog series, Centering Humans and Culture: Road to Internal Leadership, we get to know employees who started at 3Q/DEPT early in their career and have moved up the ranks into leadership positions by accepting no limits. First, let’s meet Madeline Fitzgerald, Director of New Client Growth at 3Q/DEPT.
How did you find 3Q/DEPT, and what was your first role at the company?
I was first introduced to 3Q/DEPT when I was in college. Joe Kerschbaum came and did a talk for a marketing careers group I was part of at the University of Chicago, and then I met Katie Long at a career fair on campus shortly after. They certainly made a positive impression, which is why I was so excited to see an entry-level opening pop up just a couple of months after graduating! My first role was a hybrid sales role and CS function for 3Q Accelerate, our then-SMB-division (#3QAyyye). This role structure helped me cut my teeth on digital strategy and execution, while also learning how to explain our services at a leadership level.
How was your time before becoming a leader and how were you trained or mentored during that time?
I’ve been so lucky to have incredible mentors during my time at 3Q/DEPT. For my first couple of years, I worked extremely closely with Sana Ansari, who spent countless hours teaching me from scratch how to be a digital expert and sell with authority and integrity, and she pushed me to learn and grow as much as I could. Later as I folded into the primary sales organization, I got to keep learning from other seasoned leaders across the team, including CRO Ellen Corrigan. I’ve learned to never take for granted that I’ve had the opportunity to work with leaders like those two who invest in and truly care about their teams.
What is your role now and how did you grow into your current role?
I help drive new business for 3Q/DEPT, which means I spend most of my time talking to prospective clients, developing custom pitches for them, and (when all goes well!) signing new deals. As a Director-level leader, I also help manage processes and resources across the sales team, support reporting on our progress and areas of opportunity, and pinch hit to help with upsells and other support for CS when they need a sales “story” lens on their presentations. The core components of my role have stayed the same from my start, but I’ve learned to sell bigger and more complex deals over time, allowing me to support broader parts of the agency (and now that includes more parts of the DEPT family)
Why did you want to become a leader?
It’s happened organically because 3Q/DEPT’s culture is one that rewards people who can learn quickly, optimize and iterate, and dive in to get the job done. I’ve always been someone who seeks out new challenges; that instinct gets rewarded here and I get to have my hands in many different pots as my skills have grown.
When did you know you could accept no limits at 3Q/DEPT and move into a leadership role at the company? What about the company made you feel confident that this was the right choice for your career?
The talent for sure. At a fast-paced and ever-evolving agency like this, there’s always something new to learn. I love that I get the opportunity to keep absorbing new information from the extremely skilled and intelligent experts that make up our whole organization. I do my best to soak up the learning opportunities like a sponge as much as I can, and the leadership opportunities have followed suit naturally.
What is the number one lesson you’d like to share for people who want to become leaders within their organization?
Proactively seek out new challenges, and understand the context you’re operating within. One of my favorite questions to ask a manager while I was early in my career is “what’s on your plate right now that I can help with?” The better you understand your manager’s objectives and responsibilities, and how that ladders up to their manager’s work, and so on, the better you can A) connect to the broader purpose you’re fulfilling within the organization, and B) learn skills and contribute at a higher level within your team, priming you for advancement. At the end of the day, it comes down to being a team player and showing initiative.