Introducing Shannon Rentner!
• Fractional CMO
• Startup Consultant
• Coach and Mentor
I first met Shannon, now an Alliance of Women in Tech Leadership member, in May and knew she was exceptional. Status quo just isn’t in her vocabulary...ever. Shannon, a Fractional CMO who relocated to the Triangle from Atlanta, specializes in helping organizations navigate high growth and transformation.
Shannon has a track record of moving SaaS companies top right for successful capital raises and exits via acquisition by bringing simplicity, clarity, and alignment to their sales/product stories, multi-channel marketing strategies, and operating Systems. Her commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship and social impact is evident in her mentorship roles in the startup community at the Atlanta Tech Village, ATDC, Flashpoint, Startup Weekends, and Mentor Capital Network as well as her service as a board member for Technology Association of Georgia.
Andrea Mohamed, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at RTI and Alliance of Women in The Leadership member, agrees. “Her recommendations were spot-on and she left a lasting effect on the organization--propelling us from 'what is' toward 'what is possible.' If you need a tech-savvy marketing exec, look no further. Shannon would be an asset in any marketing organization, but especially one that is looking to unstick, innovate, and grow.”
I can't say it better than CMO Gary Brooks. “I've had the positive experience of working with Shannon at four companies. Why do I continue to hire her? Because she has the courage, can-do attitude, energy, experience and intelligence needed to overcome obstacles, get things done and deliver results that matter. In less than six months, Shannon increased traditional media coverage by 32% and social media coverage by 50% while significantly driving up inbound leads via social channels. She understands the value of great marketing content and knows how to deploy it across relevant demand, communication and social channels to efficiently answer buyers' questions and accelerate their buying cycles which improves marketing and sales conversion rates.”
Fractional C Suites are gaining popularity now that recruiting talent has changed almost overnight. According to the 2018 Nielsen CMO Report, CMO's aren't just looking for more data, they are looking for insight and Shannon provides that. And did I mention she earned her Masters Degree from the University of Notre Dame on a full academic scholarship? Learn more about this dynamic Tech leader in our Q & A.
1. What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of personally?
It would be my “Phoenix. Rising” journey. Two years ago, a car accident re-injured my neck. The whiplash caused crazy muscle spasms and acute pain. I had difficulty raising my arms, driving a car for longer than 10 minutes; or sitting upright without neck support. So, I left my life and career in Atlanta to do an extensive, months-long rehabilitation program here in the Triangle. It’s not easy to abandon one’s career and professional network, but worth the experience as I’m fully recovered, fully functional and even completed Yoga certification training. Now I am seeking professional opportunities in the Triangle.
2. Your professional roles include Teacher, Reporter, PR Director, Consultant, and Fractional CMO? What can you share about the evolution of your journey so far?
Working as a business technology reporter in Austin during the dotcom bubble and bust, I had a front-row seat to the collapse of some really innovative software companies that were simply ahead of their time. The role of participant-observer provided me with a brief taste of the enthusiasm, energy, and creative problem-solving involved in building a software startup. Had the dotcom bubble not burst, I probably would have joined the startup party. Even though I eventually left reporting behind to work in tech marketing, the desire to help transform an idea into an actual software product did not.
As capital investments in technology started to pick up in Atlanta, along with the use of the internet for marketing, I decided to hit two birds with one stone: work with a software startup in the digital marketing space. So I transitioned from corporate to startup. What a ride! I helped launch, pivot and grow several SaaS startups at various stages move “top right,” including successful capital raises and/or acquisition by companies such as SalesFusion, SalesForce, and Influence Health.
Working with early stage SaaS startups and entrepreneurs proved to be more valuable in learning about business growth, product innovation, and building a high performing team than getting an MBA. In an early stage SaaS startup, product development and software engineering aren’t departments on another part of the “campus.” They’re two guys sitting across the table from you, listening to the customer feedback you’ve captured; whiteboarding UI designs; planning release dates, etc. It also taught me the art and practice of “growth hacking” and “content marketing” before these were even commonly used marketing terms.
My experience in startups combined with a background in marketing enabled me to launch my own independent consulting practice where I applied “transformational marketing” concepts and applications to a wide range of organizations. It also led to working with brilliant practitioners and challenging client engagements at TopRight Partners, a boutique consulting firm founded by partners from Booz Allen Hamilton and Mckinsey & Co.
3. What would you like to do next professionally?
While I’ve enjoyed Consulting and Fractional ‘CMO-ing,’ I miss being part of a high-performance team. With a background in consulting, systems engineering, marketing and tech, I’ve developed an extensive set of skills that translate across business segments and sectors. My special sauce is in leveraging the right combination of Story, Strategy and Systems Engineering to generate demand, increase user adoption and improve customer satisfaction. I'm exploring opportunities in Solutions Consultant roles on a professional service team for a high-growth Marketing, Sales or Analytics tech company; Director of Marketing/Strategy positions within a SaaS company;Strategy Consultant roles within a marketing firm.
In the short-term, I relish new projects in Content Strategy, Content Marketing, Marketing and Sales Automation, and Market Research focused on Personas and Customer Journey Mapping.
4. How do you view the Triangle Tech scene compared to Atlanta?
I spent more than a decade in Atlanta’s tech scene—working in B2B enterprise software, startups, and as a consultant—and even though the entrepreneurial ecosystem has undergone explosive growth, it’s still a pretty tight-knit yet collaborative community for those of us in tech, startups and marketing/design. In fact, here’s some shameless name-dropping: It’s funny that now when I mention that I know Sangram Vajre, Chief Evangelist and Co-founder, Terminus, people here are like, “yeah, I met him too when he was speaking at….” But here’s the thing: We really do know each other from our time working on the TAG Marketing Society BOD, before he joined Terminus and became famous. I even tried to recruit him into a MasterMind group. He’s not only brilliant, but also very positive and giving.
Speaking of giving…In Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, making connections to like-minded people in business, tech and marketing is the lifeblood of the community. I’m excited to see some of that same energy here in the Triangle. That’s why I’m so grateful to you, Tricia, for forming The Alliance of Women in Tech Leadership. I found my tribe!
5. What were you like in High School?
Very achievement-focused. President of this, captain of that….And to my eternal horror, voted as “Most Likely to Succeed.”
6. Share something we might not know about you?
7. What do you hope to achieve from your Alliance of Women in Tech Leadership membership?
When I transitioned from corporate marketing to tech startups, I was so lucky to have found a tight-knit group of experienced and successful women with backgrounds in tech, startups and business who served as mentors, advisors, and jackass whisperers. I feel like the Alliance will prove to be a similar source of strength, strategy, and support.
Alliance of Women in Tech Leadership
Our professional woman’s peer group is designed for strong successful leaders in the Triangle. Members include executives in sales, marketing, and business development type roles in technology, pharma, biotech, and healthcare. Our group provides a confidential place to share best practices, discuss strategies, and address business challenges. We share successes, tools, vendors, networks, talent, and ideas that can help each of us grow and develop professionally.
Through our passion, enthusiasm, talent, innovation, recruiting, and success, Women in Tech Leadership support, mentor, and empower one other. We also support one another during trials and transitions, through coaching, collaboration, and resources. Our members are building healthy relationships and stronger networks, creating stronger personal brands, recruiting and retaining talent, positioning ourselves as thought leaders, and communicating with confidence.
We believe in candor and confidentiality, creativity and concision, confidence and circumspection. We believe in taking risks and grasping opportunities that challenge the limits of our capability, and encouraging others to do the same. We believe in winning with integrity, through inspiration and leadership.