CommonSense Blog

Meet our Star PreCommerce Moderator: Rackspace CMO, Carla Sublett

By Aaron Strout | Mar 10, 2017

From speaker videos to event photos our recap page of W2O at SXSW has it all!

Each year, leading up to and following our live events in Austin, we host a series of blog interviews with the speakers from our PreCommerce Summit and Movers & Shapers talks. To kick things off this year, I interviewed Carla Pineyro Sublett who is moderating our fireside chat with data.world CEO, Brett Hurt and Google’s Head of Brand Measurement and Analytics, Mike Clarke.

According to Carla’s bio, she is the SVP and CMO of Rackspace, a cloud services company, offering cloud management on the world’s leading public and private clouds. She has responsibility for all facets of marketing globally  from brand to demand generation. Prior to Rackspace, Carla was an executive at Dell where she ran marketing for Latin America and the Caribbean. Carla also has extensive sales experience and has worked across all customer types from consumers to Global enterprises.

Now onto the questions:

  • Aaron – What led you down the path of marketing in B2B Tech?
  • Carla – It picked me! I grew up in sales at Dell, doing or leading just about every type of sales role across the consumer to large enterprise spectrum. It culminated with my leading inside sales for the Americas, where I built a strong partnership with my marketing counterpart. Together we built a robust demand generation machine that caught the attention of our CMO, Karen Quintos. She recruited me to marketing, despite my trying to convince her otherwise. She challenged me and said: You are a marketer; you just don’t know it yet. She took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to lead marketing for Dell for Latin America. In effect, it was a divisional CMO job – running every aspect of marketing for the region. She docked me under one of her strongest marketers who really put me through the paces. It was a crash course. In the end, it was an amazing learning experience and I discovered a strength that I didn’t even know that I had. All these years later, I am the CMO of Rackspace and I have a crew of amazing marketers/phone-a-friends to thank for it.
  • Aaron – How do you define innovation? 
  • Carla – Creative ideas that improve or solve.
  • Aaron – What are you or your organization doing to drive innovation?
  • Carla – It is something that I am trying to drive right now. We are stealing an idea from our developer brethren and standing up a marketing hack-a-thon – where we bring together cross-functional marketers to solve for challenges and bring new ideas forward. When I was in architecture school, this was called en charrette – we were given a design problem to solve inside of a 24 hour period and we had to work on teams to come up with the answer. It was tough but made for bonding and drove great creativity.
  • Who is someone in your industry (or outside) that you admire?
  • Currently I am so inspired by and full of admiration for my class of Henry Crown Fellows. They are an amazing group of diverse leaders, setting out to leave the world a better place.
  • Where do you see your industry being in 3 years? 5? 10?
  • Given the pace of change in marketing, I don’t know that I could even process what it could look like 10 years from now. Part of me wonders if we have gone too far down the path of technology and forgotten that marketing, in the end, is really about enabling relationships. I want to drive a back to basics, low tech movement that takes the best from old school and leverages the intelligence of new school.
  • What book(s) are you reading right now? What is one of the key take aways/themes?
  • Word of Mouth Marketing, by Andy Sernovitz. My main take away is that we as marketers like to over complicate our plans. There is something to be said for a simple play.
  • For fun: you are stranded on a desert island and can only listen to one album into perpetuity. What is that album and why?
  • How do I answer this? Shall I be clever? Christopher Cross.  Try hard to be cool? Chance the Rapper’s, Coloring Book. Or honest? My idea of torture is listening to one album, given how eclectic my music taste is. Thank goodness for Spotify. For what it is worth, I am on a Tom Mish radio kick. However, I could never pick just 1 love when it comes to music.

Great answers and who knew you liked such cool music! Thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. We are looking forward to an awesome session with you, Brett and Mike!