In our latest meet the team blog, we get to know Serena, Chief Growth Officer, and one of Lingoda’s newest members of the Senior Leadership Team. Serena knows a thing or two about languages and marketing, and she explains how learning languages has helped forged her successful career.
Hi Serena – please tell us a little about yourself!
I was born in Italy where I attended a language high school. I learnt French, Spanish, and continued learning English. At 16, I moved with my family to Paris, where I stayed for the next 9 years and completed my studies. I completed all of my studies in French and specialised in management at Sorbonne and Dauphine University. After that, I moved to Geneva, Switzerland where I worked for an American company. It was there that I became bilingual in English, before finally moving to Berlin, Germany.
Alongside all this, I have always loved to teach; whether it was at Sorbonne University, or within the various companies I worked for, or most lately in the field of marketing and entrepreneurship on various MBA programmes.
As you can see, languages have always been a passion of mine!
What does a Chief Growth Officer (CGO) at Lingoda do?
As Chief Growth Officer of Lingoda, I am responsible for the strategy and planning of the Sales and Marketing departments across all markets.
More concretely, my job is to help the Demand Generation Team in deeply understanding our consumer’s language learning needs, turning that understanding into offerings perfectly fitting those needs, and designing communication campaigns that will deeply connect with our consumers.
I am also defining the growth strategy at global and country levels. In that context, I help the International Expansion Team identify business opportunities at a local level and I support the Digital Team in successfully bringing to life our global and local strategy.
Finally, I work very closely with the other functions, in particular supporting the Product Team in ensuring students have a great experience with our brand and offering.
With Lingoda being present in more than 250 countries, each with specific local realities, makes my job at times complex but also incredibly interesting from the human point of view.
How did you end up at Lingoda?
Prior to joining Lingoda, I held several senior management positions in the marketing and sales departments of multinational corporations, such as Procter & Gamble. I had also founded three startups in the fashion, food design and the management training industry.
After more than 15 years between corporate positions and entrepreneurship ventures, I was looking for an opportunity which would allow me to merge all my passions: consumer understanding, marketing and sales, but also, as you read in my first answer, languages and teaching. Lingoda gave me that opportunity and, even more importantly, gave me the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of other people. Learning a language really can positively change lives. It brings people together and gives them access to opportunities which otherwise might be out of reach.
What does your typical day involve?
There is no typical day at Lingoda! However, top line, my day will be centred around meetings with my team, making sure I understand what are the key barriers they face to deliver their projects and how I can help them remove those barriers. I will define Demand Generation’s top line priorities so everybody can focus on fewer yet bigger projects vs. spread their efforts across too many projects.
What do you look for and/or admire in your fellow employees?
I love working at Lingoda! We have high business targets and people do work hard to deliver them. Yet people remain light hearted, fun to work with. I admire their flexibility and the fact that people are always ready to help each other. Finally, I love the lack of “politics” that you might experience in other companies.
How has learning a language influenced your career?
Learning a language has not influenced my career, it has totally defined it! If I couldn’t speak French, I would have never been able to live and finish my studies in France, which exposed me to a new culture and habits, and opened my eyes to new opportunities.
Without English, I would not have been able to work for an American company and get exposed to even more mentalities and usages. And finally all the languages I’ve learned brought me to Lingoda and daily help me change the life of thousands of students everyday!
Do you have any tips for someone who wants to pursue a career in marketing?
Yes of course! Anybody wishing to work in marketing should have a real passion for human psychology and be interested in finding the real motivation behind somebody’s behaviour. Indeed, a good product or a communication campaign will never be born from the first answer given by consumers. A marketing person should never be afraid to dig deeper, and ask multiple times “why?” to get to the real driver of a person’s behaviour.
If you are considering starting or continuing a career in marketing, and you believe understanding consumers is THE base for success, then you should consider joining us!