#StandApart Profile: Dorit Shackleton, Senior Director, Cloud Communications at SAP

Working as an enterprise account manager at HP in the late 90’s, Dorit Shackleton was what you might call killin’ it. As in 190%-of-quota-in-her-first-year killin’ it.

Quickly identified as a high-performer, Dorit took on the gold rush mentality of the dot-com boom with a sense of fearlessness. She hopped on a plane to San Francisco and then after a few years, sensing burnout despite still being in her twenties, she hopped a plane out (for a three-month leave backpacking around the world; coincidentally just a month before the dot-com bust).

With that same fearlessness, Dorit took on a new role in London, and then – leapt again – to start a new, values-centered life in Vancouver. Within 5 weeks of her arrival, she’d lined up a job with Business Objects and made her move from Sales to Marketing.

Dorit credits “lots of support” in landing her most current role: Head of the Cloud and Line of Business Communications team at SAP. “I always try to help other people and add value wherever I go. I never work in a silo, and when another team comes asking for something, I always try to be ready to add a little more.” Here is her #StandApart profile:

 

Describe your current role in 140 characters or less…

I lead a global communications team at SAP that focuses on cloud business solutions.

 

One word that best describes how you work.

Collaborative.

 

What is your “Superpower”? (What is the one thing you do you do better than most?)

Enthusiasm! I tend to look at what we CAN do, how we can pull together to get something done, not why it can’t work.

 

 Moving to Vancouver gave my family the outdoorsy, active lifestyle we love and that all-important feeling of space and calm.

 

Intentionality or Happenstance?  Which has played a greater role in building your career path?

Happenstance if I’m really honest with myself. I’ve had more than my fair share of “right place, right time” moments, but I’ve also been game enough to ‘go with it’ when it really counted. That includes, moving to San Francisco during the dot-com boom, and moving to London for a job (and, as it turned out, my future husband) – neither of which were clear at the time.

 

Where does your motivation come from?  Does motivation come easy for you or is it work/discipline to sustain it?

I am highly motivated by ‘missions’. I like short-term projects, which is why communications suits me so well. There is a launch, an event, or a crisis that is all consuming, and then it’s over and we’re on to the next thing. And if I get to work with super smart people on that mission, then I’m happy. No discipline required.

 

How has your motivation worked for you?  Has your motivation ever worked against you? Have you ever had to wrestle with your motivation?

I’m not great at sitting idle waiting for something to happen. Usually I’m motivated to move – and fast – but sometimes it’s patience that’s required, not more friction. Those are the times I wrestle with. But, more often, I’d say my restlessness has led me great places. For example, a couple of years ago, I had a role that wasn’t so busy. So, I took on another project in a completely different area of communications: news surfing.  I led a team of media relations people charged with looking at the top headlines of the day – World Cup, the royal baby, Olympics – and figuring out how to insert SAP into that conversation. We had a blast.

 

My restlessness has led me great places.

 

Can you point to any career/life turning points that either:

a) Provided clarity   or

b) Served as a spring board/accelerator/ launching pad

Living in London, England for three years provided a huge dose of clarity. It is a fantastic, vibrant city, but it is also a place consumed with class, stature and money. Moving to Vancouver gave my family the outdoorsy, active lifestyle we love and that all-important feeling of space and calm that I’m grateful for on a daily basis.

 

Why did you make the educational choices you did and what would you recommend for others on this front?

I studied French and International Relations thinking it would lead me to a life in politics or the Foreign Service. Looking back, my ‘path’ did no harm, but it didn’t necessarily help my career either. For anyone working in high-tech communications and marketing (or wanting to), I’d recommend they get at least a basic understanding of economics, finance and business strategy under their belt.

 

When you look back over your career to date, what are you most proud of?

I’m in that moment right now. Leading a global team of smart, talented communications professionals at the forefront of a major milestone in SAP’s history: the move to cloud for business.

 

We asked one of your team members, Deb Lyons, what makes you #StandApart. Here’s what she said: 

Dorit is easily one of the most clear and bright communicators I’ve ever worked with. She approaches projects with speed, urgency and passion – and brings the kind of insights that go hand-in-hand with her ability to connect across the organization. She’s our teams’ true-north of what’s important, where we need to be focusing and how to prioritize.

 

You’re interviewing a candidate and there’s no doubt, they’ve got it. What ingredients were you looking for? When it comes to hiring, what do you/your organization consider the special sauce?

I’m looking for someone experienced and talented of course, but also high-energy. Positivity is contagious.

 

I am highly motivated by ‘missions’. I like short-term projects, which is why communications suits me so well. And if I get to work with super smart people on that mission, then I’m happy. No discipline required.

 

 

Describe the best team you’ve ever led – one that was ‘firing on all cylinders’ – what made that team #StandApart?

I led a team in London that was trying to do something nearly impossible at the time. Every single one of them believed in the mission, brought insane creativity and lateral thinking. We all fed off each other.

 

What devices/apps/tools form part of your regular routine?

iPhone, iPad, Twitter: following every major journalist, analyst and blogger in the tech industry and business world. I read the headlines of most major outlets before my morning coffee.

 

How “LinkedIn” are you? Do you use it?  What role has networking played in your career?

I use it more and more. I like to know what people are up to, reading, discussing, and it’s always good to know when people are on the move in their careers. Networking has served me well, I’ve been fortunate to have people stand in my corner and vouch for me, and I am always happy to do it for the people in my network too.

 

I read the headlines of most major outlets before my morning coffee.

 

This question was passed on from our last #StandApart Marketer, Katie Drechsel @VegaTeam: What’s playing on your ipod on repeat?

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

 

If you could put one question on the list for our next #StandApart Marketer profile, what would it be?

What do you want to know? What’s your purpose? How are you leaving things better than how you found them? I ask myself that all the time.