Which Self Are You Bringing to Work Today? 20 Questions with Elise Miller, Director of ABM, EMEA Region, ServiceNow

Just because your workplace is demanding you be authentic at work, doesn’t mean you have to reduce yourself to just one persona. It’s a refreshing take on what it means to be a leader (and be human) in one of the world’s most demanding B2B Tech marketing jobs. Join your host and Executive Creative Director, Barrie Seppings, as he fires 20 Questions at Elise Miller and learns why enthusiasm is your greatest asset, how box breathing became part of meeting prep and why she would probably make a great detective in a TV crime show. Welcome back to this month’s ‘Plugged In, Switched On’ podcast from Splendid Group. 

“Everyone’s got more than one self, so I think the question is, which self do you bring into work? And when? I’m lucky to work for a company that encourages everyone to be authentic. So creating belonging is actually one of our core values. So I’d say I’m always authentic, but which self I bring to work will depend on any given day and the situation that I’m in, which might vary, whether it’s an important meeting with somebody really senior within the company, whether I’m in the office with cross-functional teams when we’re collaborating or working on something together, or whether it’s a stressful environment, maybe I’m dealing with customers or with sales. So I’m still me. I think I’m just me on a different day. So it’s a different sense of self.”

The interview format at Plugged In Switched On is very simple: we ask every guest the same 20 Questions and invariably we get 20 different (but always great) answers. Here are some of our favourites from our interview with ABM Director Elise Miller:

  • What’s the one career move you wish you could go back and undo?
  • Who have you learned the most from in your career?
  • What’s the one thing in this industry that has gone on for too long and needs fixing?
  • What’s the most overhyped buzzword in tech marketing right now?
  • How different are you in ‘work mode’ compared to when you’re off the leash?

About our guest

Elise Miller has many years of experience in marketing and ABM specifically, working with global B2B brands such as Fujitsu, O2, Salesforce, Canon and The Marketing Practice. Elise is passionate about understanding the needs, challenges, and opportunities of customers, and is proudly ITSMA certified.

About our host

Barrie Seppings is the Executive Creative Director of The Splendid Group and the host of Plugged In, Switched On. Connect with Barrie on LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast episode 5

Full transcript of the podcast episode 5

Elise Miller (00:01):
Everyone’s got more than one self, so I think the question is, which self do you bring into work? And when? I’m lucky to work for a company that encourages everyone to be authentic. So creating belonging is actually one of our core values. So I’d say I’m always authentic, but which self I bring to work will depend on any given day and the situation that I’m in, which might vary, whether it’s an important meeting with somebody really senior within the company, whether I’m in the office with cross-functional teams when we’re collaborating or working on something together, or whether it’s a stressful environment, maybe I’m dealing with customers or with sales. So I’m still me. I think I’m just me on a different day. So it’s a different sense of self.

Barrie Seppings (00:53):
Welcome back to Plugged In, Switched On where we pull you into the conversations that matter in B2B tech marketing. I am your host, Barrie Seppings, and the quote you just heard was from Elise Miller, who is the director of ABM for the EMEA region for ServiceNow. More from Elise in just a moment.

Now, if you are new to Plugged In, Switched On, firstly welcome. Let me show you around. We do three things here at the podcast. Here we get some of the most interesting people like Elise in the B2B tech marketing space to tell us how and why they do what they do. Secondly, we run some special episodes where we look at some of the core skills that a marketer needs. We pull them apart and see how they’re built and see if they can’t be improved. And it’s a great place, particularly for a marketer looking to re-skill, up-skill or change the way they do things. So look out for those episodes. We also have a third type of episode. We pull back the curtain on how these high-performance marketing teams operate, how their leaders lead and the kind of tools and techniques and cultures that they’ve employed to get the results that they get.

Now we don’t try and do all of those three things in a single episode. Here at the pod, we like to focus. Today’s obviously an interview. The interview runs on a very simple rule, we have 20 questions that we fire at our guests. They’re the same 20 questions every time, but what is interesting is how different those 20 answers are.

Barrie Seppings (02:17):
Elise Miller, the director of ABM for the EMEA region for ServiceNow, your first Plugged In, Switched On question is, as always, the elevator pitch. What is your company or brand selling and why would anybody pay good money for it?

Elise Miller (02:32):
Well, hopefully they’ll pay great money for it, but ServiceNow helps enterprises unify processes and systems into modern experiences. I normally like to say that it allows employees to work the way they want to work, not the way software dictates that they have to. I guess besides that, it’s an absolute rocket ship, so it’s fast, innovative, relentless, and extremely fun.

Barrie Seppings (02:53):
Question number two.

Barrie Seppings (02:58):
Your superhero origin story. Elise, did you grow up dreaming of being a director of ABM? What did Elise at school think she was going to do instead?

Elise Miller (03:11):
I wanted to be a lawyer, so I thought arguing for a living, who wouldn’t want that?

Barrie Seppings (03:16):
Did you end up heading in that direction for studies?

Elise Miller (03:19):
No, I didn’t. I was hugely influenced by my family. So my father worked in technology. He spent a huge amount of time working for Dell and IBM and I just grew up loving it. So I knew I wanted to work in technology. He was an engineer, so I remember growing up, I just loved anything with buttons. I remember having conversations about Christmas presents and asking for, I don’t know, stereo system with as many buttons as I could.

Barrie Seppings (03:49):
If you had to start your career again and for some reason you were banned from technology and B2B marketing, what would you do?

Elise Miller (03:56):
Maybe I would choose a path of being a diamond dealer just because it’s super specialist, it’s very interesting, you get to work with people. It’s quite precise, just very exclusive.

Barrie Seppings (04:10):
Question number three, I do this for free. What part of your job do you just find yourself naturally enjoying and maybe spending more time on it than you should just through the sheer joy of it?

Elise Miller (04:21):
Working with people. I just love interacting with people, solving problems together, bringing people on the journey and coming in the journey with other people too. I think particularly when you find like-minded people with high energy. So achieving something as a team over individual achievement any day. And my favorite part right now is probably learning from my team and people around them. So the experiences and how do I advocate in the best way for them and the incredible things that they do. I would do that for free any day.

Barrie Seppings (04:52):
Oh, that’s lovely. And let’s look at the flip side. Who do you think’s got the worst job in B2, tech marketing or the job you would not want to do?

Elise Miller (04:59):
I think any role where you’re relying a lot more on other people to get context. So maybe some of the deeper operational roles wouldn’t quite be for me. I think you are just so reliant on other teams to provide the context to what you do, it would make my world in particular a little bit more challenging.

Barrie Seppings (05:22):
Question four, control, alt, delete. What’s the one career move or moment you wish you could go back and undo? Or can you recall a moment in your career where was really clear to you that you’d just learned a valuable lesson?

Elise Miller (05:36):
I feel like I have no regrets both in my professional and my personal lives. I think every single thing that has happened for a reason and I’ve learned a valuable skill or some knowledge along the way that I can apply in some other role in the future. So I think it’s just about extracting the right elements from any experience and then thinking about ways that you can apply it to something else.

Barrie Seppings (06:00):
Do you feel like you’ve come to that realization more lately or you just feel like you were always born with that approach to things?

Elise Miller (06:06):
Oh, gosh. Was I born with it? I mean, I suspect so. I think it’s about enthusiasm, positivity, glass half full type of thinking. I think for me, you may not enjoy what you’re doing at present. I think the challenge is how do you then take the elements of it that you think would be valuable or something that you are learning along the way that would benefit you in the future and how do you position in a great way? One of my first jobs in marketing was actually working as part of a telemarketing team.

I think you could probably argue that it’s closer to sales than marketing, but I learned a huge amount from it. So how do you interact with customers? What types of questions do they ask you? And how do I apply then to a marketing world, maybe in a demand generation role or maybe in an ABM role or even in an operational role. So I think it’s ust about experiencing.

Barrie Seppings (07:02):
All right, question five, shout out. Elise, who have you learned from the most in your career, even perhaps if it was what not to do?

Elise Miller (07:11):
I’ve been very lucky in roles that I’ve worked in to be really close to sales. So in general, I’ve learned a lot on both ends, what to do and what not to do. I do think it’s quite easy to maybe judge somebody else, whether it’s positively or negatively when you’re looking at things from the outside perspectives and it seems easy or sometimes easier or harder from the sidelines. But I think looking and observing their interactions, thinking about the way they’re positioning things, identifying gaps in knowledge or maybe opportunities to improve something. I think this is where I learned the most.

I think my greatest inspiration just in the way I want to show up in my role, in any of my future roles would be my current boss actually, Kirsten Cox, who’s the VP of Marketing at ServiceNow. She is an absolute superstar. She inspires and encourages me every day. I’ve never come across a leader that can take a very complex situation and we do operate in an extremely complex environment, and break it down into very simple ideas or very simple process of systems.

Barrie Seppings (08:28):
Question six, the only constant in marketing. These cliches. The rate of change, I’d say is celebrated, maybe even fetishized in tech and in marketing. But humans we know psychologically actually hate change. How do you convince yourself to continually lean into change and to continually turn up and learn about new stuff? How do you not get exhausted by that?

Elise Miller (08:56):
I have a great quote actually on that, I believe it came from Churchill some time ago and he said, “To improve is to change and to be perfect is to change often.” And I think it’s really true. So for me the trick is to identify what really needs to change and why it needs to change and then focus my efforts on that. I think it’s impossible and actually counterproductive to change everything at once. So how do you identify what needs to embed and normalize versus other things that actually need to change for a reason? So I see it as multiple swim lanes or currents running in different speeds. So leave those that need time to settle in order to create more stability and then change others.

Barrie Seppings (09:39):
Oh, that’s amazing. I’m going to steal that. I think our listeners are going to steal some of that as well. That’s a great way to approach it. It can just feel overwhelming sometimes and feels like everything’s changing, but you are looking at a lens through which you’re trying to control which bits change for you. That’s a very mature approach.

Elise Miller (09:53):
Absolutely. I think this is an overused quote, but change is a constant, but how do you focus on those things that actually need to embed? I think that’s the real trick. So where have you just changed something and you need to give it a little bit more time to see the results of it.

Barrie Seppings (10:11):
Question seven, here’s to your health. What do you like to do to stay physically and mentally healthy in a job like yours? Long hours, you do travel, it’s a real drain. You’re always on. How do you take care of Elise?

Elise Miller (10:28):
I have a few tips I try to follow. So the first one would be a combination of office and homeworking. I’m a huge advocate of that and I think it’s a very personal choice. I think it’s great to be at the office and I try to prioritize days in the office when I have fewer meetings so I can actually spend more time interacting with people about all kinds of things, both work and non-work. The other one would be, and this could be both at home and at the office, just moving around, switching desks. So places you sit. For those that work with me, they’ll find me working in my kitchen sometimes, I move into my office, I sit in the living room, I switch to a different desk or a different seat. I think it just clears your mind, helps you to look at things in a different way. So fresh seat, fresh perspective type of situation.

Maybe another one would be box breathing. This is something that I am learning, so quite a recent discovery for me, but this consists of breathing exercises and they’re particularly good when you have received maybe a stressful email or you know that you’ve got an important meeting coming up or you’re a little bit anxious about a presentation, for example. So you take a breath, three seconds in, hold for three seconds, three seconds out and then you repeat and essentially it really helps to recenter in distress. If you can increase it, you can go up to four seconds. I’m finding that three seconds works best for me.

Barrie Seppings (11:59):
What do you do for recreation? What’s Elise outside the office doing?

Elise Miller (12:02):
I have recently discovered pickleball. Pickleball is an American sport, I believe. It is a combination of tennis, badminton and squash, I would say. So it’s played on a very similar court to tennis, but slightly smaller. It’s quite easy to get into. It is athletic but not too demanding. So I would highly recommend it. They are extremely popular in the US, but they’re coming to the UK really quickly. So there’s probably one next to where you live.

Barrie Seppings (12:40):
Does it rouse the competitive spirit in you or are you a bit happy-go-lucky when you’re playing pickleball?

Elise Miller (12:47):
Oh, gosh, I’m definitely competitive. The downside of that is unfortunately I’m not very good. So the two often collide.

Barrie Seppings (12:56):
All right, question eight, unique snowflakes. In marketing in most areas, every market or industry or territory tends to think that they are different, they’re a little bit special. But in your experience, which one really is? Who have you found to be a little bit different from the others?

Elise Miller (13:15):
Having worked in both global and local roles, I’ve done marketing both across EMEA in APAC, some Japan work as well as the US. I can honestly say that they’re all different. I think in the same way that [00:13:30] one person is different from another. So how do you compare a whole nation or a whole country when we’re all really unique? So I think the question is when it really matters and depending on what you’re doing.

Barrie Seppings (13:41):
Bowen, question nine, green with envy. What’s the campaign or event or launch or idea that you’ve seen or that you remember that you really wish that you’d done?

Elise Miller (13:53):
Even though my role is specifically ABM right now, I do try to dabble in ideas or suggestions for other teams and other functions. I think that’s really the joy of working somewhere which is a place like ServiceNow where you can be innovative, you can see a gap and maybe solve an issue.

One that I’ve always wanted to try would be an immersive post-event experience, choose your own adventure style thing. So I don’t know if you remember, this was an old commercial on YouTube where Hunter shoots a bear. So it was for Tipex I believe it was quite a few years ago. So taking a very similar approach but designing a whole strategy around it. So immersing somebody who maybe couldn’t attend an amazing event in Las Vegas or Florida and really take them there and take them on the journey and let choose their own path. I think it’s a real gap. If you think about it, you’ve got maybe thousands of people coming to a live event, but you’ve got probably millions of people that have missed out. So if you’ve got a company that can really put together something that is immersive, innovative, experiential, being on demand, I think that was a huge amount of opportunities there.

Barrie Seppings (15:16):
Question 10, that really gets my goat. Elise, what’s the one thing in this industry that’s gone on for far too long and you think needs fixing?

Elise Miller (15:25):
I think turn off programs. I think marketers by nature are very enthusiastic folk and they love solving problems. Longer term I think we’re creating a lot of issues for ourselves and having numerous solutions addressing the same problems across multiple teams. So I think my response would be how do we maybe stop finding a solution for every single gap that exists across our business and actually look at existing streams of activity and how do we bring them together in a more integrated and more cohesive way? I’m talking much bigger than just having an email follow up to a live event, which brings two things together, but I think much, much wider business challenges and much bigger marketing opportunities.

Barrie Seppings (16:19):
It’s like we’re just doing too many things and none of them knit together or we’re prioritizing tactics and activities or the evidence of being busy rather than slowing down and thinking about more integrated stuff. Is that the area that you’re talking about?

Elise Miller (16:32):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And it could span anything from marketing to a customer to how we consider operations across the business. So in a lot of businesses you’d have different operations teams supporting different sides of the business. So how do you maybe bring together sales and marketing operations into one team and actually look at it in a lot more of a cohesive way?

Barrie Seppings (16:56):
Question 11, truth serum. What’s the one question you’d ask an agency if you knew they’d tell you the truth?

Elise Miller (17:06):
I have actually asked this question previously, but I’m not sure whether the answers I’ve received have been wholly truthful. But the question I’d ask would be what would make everyone at your agency want to work on our accounts? I’m a huge believer that happy people do their best work. It’s almost subconscious I think. So having come from an agency myself, I want an environment where people are really thriving, they’re throwing themselves into work with us. I think you’ll get the best ideas, the best output and just really happy environment to work with. So yeah, I think that would be my question, I’d get really competitive about it. How do I make sure that people at the agency are jumping the bits to go work on your account because it is just a fantastic environment, really friendly team. You’re achieving things together, recognizing each other. Yeah, that would be it.

Barrie Seppings (18:01):
Would you say that having been agency side has made you a better marketer or a better operator inside a client organization?

Elise Miller (18:08):
I’d like to think so. I think just having exposure to the way agencies work, to the kind of pressure that you’re experiencing. I remember being agency side, receiving lots of briefs that were really vague, sometimes too brief, not feeling empowered to ask the right questions or really push to get the right answer. Those were the things that really frustrated me because they stopped me from doing my best work. I felt like I didn’t have all the information to make those decisions. Or at least sympathy or understanding why I couldn’t get that intel. So I’d like to think that it gave me more empathy for the kind of work that agencies do and a little bit of experience of how to work with them better.

I remember this really silly anecdote, but I was working at an agency, this was many years ago, for a large enterprise company and we were trying to put together a number of marketing assets, let’s just say, some banners and a few infographics and some e-books, and part of the process was to share them with the brand team. And I remember getting a response back from the brand team, it was an empty email with the attachment that we sent and on the attachment were all of the banners and the visuals was just yes and no against them, but no rationale for why one was yes, and the other was no. And I remember sitting there thinking, what am I supposed to do with that? How do I progress from there? So I think giving context and just trying to explain. If you position things in the best way, if you’re open, you give more information, even sometimes if you don’t have the answers but you explain why you don’t have them, I think it just creates a much more trusting and positive relationship.

Barrie Seppings (20:06):
Question 12, better together. How do you make the call between continuing to collaborate with someone versus either stepping back and letting them do their thing?

Elise Miller (20:19):
I think by default, my response is collaboration is usually the answer, and this is for multiple reasons. I think it achieves a number of things simultaneously. So you’re not just trying to come up with a stronger solution, but you also learn something new along the way. And I think that most importantly probably you bring other people on the journey with you and have an advocate right from the start for whatever it is that you’re working on. Doing it by yourself, I think you are creating a situation where I think sometimes there’s natural human rejection or allergic reaction to something that they haven’t been part of or haven’t been involved in. Even if the solution that you would’ve ended up with would’ve been exactly the same. So I think trying to find opportunities to collaborate with somebody. At least ask for feedback. Sometimes even if you cannot take this feedback on board or you can only take a small part of it on board, but explaining what you’re trying to achieve, coming to a problem statement together, coming up with solutions, I think it can only be better when you’re dealing with somebody else.

Barrie Seppings (21:24):
Question 13, change your mind. What’s a long held belief about marketing that you no longer hold, and it might be something that you were trained up on when you first entered the industry? And what caused you to change your mind?

Elise Miller (21:41):
I think I’m quite passionate about this one. So I think the belief that I hear a lot about is that a particular type of marketing is better or gets better results than another. I feel like it goes in a few phases. Sometimes people say brand is king, put all of your effort into brand. Then we’ll shift to generating new leads or generating more leads or targeting prospects or it could be about content syndication. And the next thing I hear a lot about ABM being the answer to a lot of problems. It does annoy me quite a bit. I think you cannot look at marketing or a particular type of marketing, a particular stream in a silo. You really need the whole mix to work together.

And this also goes for results. I’ve seen a lot of companies measure results based on the particular type of marketing that they do and what it does, it creates competition across these types or across teams even. You might say, “Well, ABM is helping to accelerate X much business. But content syndication is doing more so therefore we should do more content syndication than ABM.” And I passionately feel that it’s just naturally the wrong way of looking at it. I think you really need to focus on how do we make marketing show up as a single team or as one team, one effort, one outcome so that you are recognizing that each type or each stream brings a different point of success and a different piece of that puzzle and you need the whole lot to make them successful.

Barrie Seppings (23:17):
But the challenge therefore is how do you maintain the specialization? You’re running an ABM team, you’re in that specialization.

Elise Miller (23:24):

Barrie Seppings (23:26):
That risks that segregation, doesn’t it?

Elise Miller (23:28):
I don’t think so. I think you can still use a lot of specialists because specialists come in all kinds of different forms and sizes. So you can say that a brand team is also a specialist in what they do. Digital team are also specialists, events team specializes in events. So there’s no one size fits all, there’s no generalist so to speak. I think everyone has their own unique value that they bring to the party.

This is where collaboration comes in because it’s about how do you then put your strategy together in the way that leverages the best out of these teams and you focus them in a way that tells the best story. So it’s all about, even within an ABM account, they’re not just exposed to ABM, they are exposed to brand, they’re seeing our PR and AR, they are part of our comms, they’re hopefully involved in our advocacy, they have a lot of digital surround that they’re getting, and ABM is just looking to leverage where are the gaps and how do we string those things together to make it valuable for the customer and get the most out of the investments that we’ve made?

Barrie Seppings (24:37):
Question 14, put your money where your mouth is. In terms of effectiveness and ROI, and I know we are allergic to that sometimes. Which tactics or approaches are you pulling back on? What are you doubling down on? What are your favorites at the moment?

Elise Miller (24:52):
This is a tough one. I think the current focus is about identifying the primary goal of each swim lane and how does that fit into the overall picture rather than saying one is better than the other, because I think you do need them all and you don’t want to measure them against each other because I think that’s where the issues are coming in.

My personal favorite at the moment is using, and I’m not sure if it’s a tactic, but using some of the psychometrics, particularly to approach executive audiences. So when you’re looking at ABM, you’re thinking about ABM one-to-one, market of one, and then you’re trying to identify a unique individual that maybe we haven’t met before and haven’t engaged with, but we need to meet. Or maybe we’re already secured a meeting, we’re going to be meeting them in a couple of weeks. So how do we use some psychometric profiling and analysis, a little bit maybe of social listening, some detective skills to identify what really makes that person tick. Do they like big picture thinking? Are they a detailed person? Should we be visionary or more practical? And how do we help our sales teams to position themselves in the best way to win that deal?

Barrie Seppings (26:12):
Yeah, I could see you as Detective Miller in a scandi noir drama just working out what’s going on.

Elise Miller (26:17):
100%. 100%. Oh, yes. Poirot used to be one of my favorites.

Barrie Seppings (26:23):
Question 15, overhyped and underrated. What buzzword or concept do you think gets too much airplay in our industry right now?

Elise Miller (26:35):
Thought leadership, 100%. I think much of what we call thought leadership, based on what I’ve seen, is not actually thought leadership. I think by definition, thought leadership is about leading a thought in something. You’re essentially starting a conversation. You’re maybe being a little bit controversial or seeing that things in different way. What I’m seeing as thought leadership currently from I think across the B2B and technology space is an opinion piece by somebody that is maybe the same or really similar to another idea that’s been done before. So we throw this concept around a lot and I’d love to see us come back a little bit more and being honest with ourselves what thought leadership really means and how do we maybe push ourselves to be a little bit more controversial. Start a conversation in a different way, maybe see how we can reposition an existing topic. Or come up with something that’s completely new that people would love to learn a little bit more about.

I think sometimes I think particularly I’ve seen large enterprises not do this particularly well. I can see a lot more freedom and maybe opportunities to be a bit more controversial within smaller companies. Which is a shame. I really think we should hone in on the scale a bit more.

Barrie Seppings (27:58):
Question 16, the supermodel question. It’s about a time Linda Evangelista said that she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. Apparently she regrets saying that, but it’s what she’s most famous for. Elise, what do you get out of bed for? And by that I mean what’s your motivation? What gets you up and going every day?

Elise Miller (28:18):
I’d like to know when Linda said it because I feel like she was lowballing quite a bit. Being part of the ABM team, I think I probably use the same statement, but I’d say that we wouldn’t get out of it for less than a million. And this would refer to some of the largest deals that we get to work on and we love working on. I think being in a fortunate position of account-based marketing, there are two things that drive me the most. The first one obviously is going to be progressing and closing business and working together with sales and customers. And the second one being human factor of recognition for the work that we do. So sometimes it’s not necessarily just about the win, it’s not just about the deal, but it’s about working with customers, solving a problem for them, and seeing a real delight in that partnership and in that collaboration.

Barrie Seppings (29:16):
It feels like your sales upbringing is really informing a lot of what you do day to day?

Elise Miller (29:20):
Yeah, I’d love to think so. I think working with customers, you really get to hear a different side of the story. We’re not just selling a product, we’re really helping them change their organization in some way and hearing how it impacts on people within the organization who actually get to use the platform. I think it’s a really humbling thing.

Barrie Seppings (29:41):
Yeah. And are you seeing stories of people whose careers are getting impacted by the decisions they make to go with solutions like yours?

Elise Miller (29:49):
Oh, 100%. 100%. I think ServiceNow is, I mean I always say I’m super fortunate to work with it because I feel like we’re really disrupting the market. And I say we have a great training system and accreditation system. And actually in the few years, I can see a lot of people being certified with ServiceNow, getting some really great jobs as part of it, getting promotions within the company, learning something new and really leading the way on gen AI and some of these other really key topics.

Barrie Seppings (30:22):
Yeah, yeah, that’s a nice feeling to be able to do beyond just we’re going to help a company make a ton more money, right? You’re actually going to help people. Yeah, that’s lovely.

Question 17, this ain’t happening, man. What’s the most unexpected or unusual situation or place you’ve found yourself in thanks to work?

Elise Miller (30:44):
So ServiceNow does a huge amount of volunteering. We’re really encouraged to look into volunteering opportunities where it’s as individuals, as teams. So I think my most unusual situation was when we were volunteering for an animal charity and the task was to identify different animals on the screen based on some black and white photos of them in the wild. They were typically in Africa. So you might see maybe one picture be an ear or it might be a tail or something else. And then using your detective skills to then identify what animal could it be, and not just whether it’s a deer or bear, what kind of bear is it? I just never thought that being in technology, being in marketing, that would be the sort of thing that I’d be doing, but I absolutely loved it.

Barrie Seppings (31:39):
Question 18, home alone. Elise, what was the pandemic and lockdown experience like for you? And how has that changed the way you work or the way you approach work?

Elise Miller (31:50):
Being a partial introvert and that general glass half full kind of person, the pandemic was actually a good time for me for self-reflection. I think I learned to appreciate some of the little things in life a lot more, maybe a walk in the park, a walk with a dog, even if it’s a short time, just how to prioritize life as well. I used to be quite work oriented, so what it means is I would work, I would check my emails first thing when I’d wake up in the morning, I’d check them in the evening, I’d check them over the weekend. I would do work over the weekends. I still do a little bit of that, but I try to prioritize my personal well-being and just my personal life because I think that comes first, particularly at the weekends. So you will very rarely catch me responding to emails or doing work on the weekends if I can help it.

Barrie Seppings (32:45):
And is that something you try to encourage as a culture in your team and the people that you are responsible for?

Elise Miller (32:54):
Absolutely. I think I have an appendix to my signature which says something like, we work flexibly. So just because I’m emailing you now and it suits me, it doesn’t mean that I’m expecting a response right there and then. And I think having a European team and having worked in global roles, I think there’s real appreciation for people work in different ways. Some people may have a habit of waking up in the morning, they want to go to the gym, they’ve got kids and they have to drop them off at school and they really cherish that time and it’s important to them. So I think it is less about when you do work, but more about the outputs that you deliver and your enjoyment of it.

Barrie Seppings (33:32):
And do you think it’s your responsibility to really actively model that so that your team can see that you do it too?

Elise Miller (33:38):
I try my best. I have to say, some people in my team really beat me to it, so I think we encourage each other.

Barrie Seppings (33:45):
Question 19, all of me.

Barrie Seppings (33:49):
Plenty of businesses, they love the sloganeering and they all say they want their staff to bring their whole self to work. Is that true for you and in ServiceNow? And how different is Elise in work mode compared to when you’re at home?

Elise Miller (34:05):
I think the question is which self do you bring into work and when? So for me, the choice is more situational rather than if I’m at the office or if I’m out with my friends, for example. I’m lucky to work for a company that encourages everyone to be authentic. So creating belonging is actually one of our core values. So I’d say I’m always authentic, but which self I bring to work will depend on any given day and the situation that I’m in, which might vary. Whether it’s an important meeting with somebody really senior within the company, whether I’m at the office with cross-functional teams and we’re collaborating or working on something together or whether it’s a stressful environment. Maybe I’m dealing with customers or with sales. So I’m still me, I think I’m just me on a different day. So it’s a different sense of self.

Barrie Seppings (35:01):
That’s a lovely idea to have different versions of you that are all still true, but you can use them in different situations. I think it gives you a lot more flexibility.

Elise Miller (35:09):
100%. I think it’s quite healthy to think of it that way. So they’re all you, but they’re all you on a different day.

Barrie Seppings (35:18):
Question 20, secret weapon. Elise Miller, do you have a secret weapon? And will you tell me what it is?

Elise Miller (35:26):
My answer was going to be great volumizing hair mousse. Does that count?

Barrie Seppings (35:31):
It does count. It totally counts.

Elise Miller (35:33):
I always think great hair, great day. What’s yours?

Barrie Seppings (35:38):
My secret weapon is, yeah, I tend to get people to underestimate me because I’m a little casual and a little jokey and a little loose sometimes, but it’s a little bit of an act sometimes. And I’m afforded that because I’m the creative in business situations. And so that lets me ask the idiot questions or the naive questions. So I do use that a little bit, that naiveté, and just a childlike enthusiasm or curiosity.

Elise Miller (36:14):
I love it. Well, there goes your slightly different sense of self, I think.

Barrie Seppings (36:18):
Those answers were from Elise Miller. She’s the Director of ABM for the EMEA region for ServiceNow. And before she left, Elise also told me about her favorite movie of all time

Elise Miller (36:31):
The Blind Side. If you haven’t seen it, you must. It is a great film about drive, about humility, kindness, love, humor. It’s just the best. So if you haven’t seen it, I’d really encourage you to watch it. It’s a super heartwarming film to watch on a Sunday evening.

Barrie Seppings (36:54):
Well, before we unplug for this episode, just let me tell you that Splendid Group is the pure play B2B tech agency where I work. I’m the executive creative director. Splendid has been fully remote for all nine years of its operations and we’ve got people spread right around the globe, but we do not have any offices. So if you’re currently working in an agency where they’re asking you to come in and you would like to not do that anymore, visit us at SplendidGroup.com. We are currently hiring, we’re going through a growth phase. And if you like the idea of running your own schedule and deciding where and when you work to a large degree, we’d love to have a chat.

You have been listening to Plugged In, Switched On. I am Barrie Seppings, and this was a podcast about the conversations that matter in B2B tech marketing. Hit subscribe in your odd dashboard and you will hear us again automatically next month. Thank you for having us in your ears. Plugged In, Switched On is generated by Splendid Group. Thanks to our executive producer, Ruth Holt, our sound engineer and our CEO, Tim Sands.

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