Member interview with Karla Burke

Q&A with Karla Burke

Karla is an award winning global marketing leader with a decade of combined start-up and corporate experience in technology, software and IT industries. She specialises in building and leading marketing functions that are optimised to achieve ambitious business growth targets.

What’s your golden rule?
Be authentic. This is true in life, business and marketing. The most success people I know are the ones that are their true authentic selves. They may not be perfect, but actually those flaws make them more endearing and cause people to gravitate towards them.

Who has been your biggest influence?
My dad. From a young age he has instilled the mantra in me to “be yourself”. This has been a real winner for me. In the past I have been tempted to conform just to fit in, and it has always been a deeply unsatisfying experience that often backfired. So now I embrace my quirkinesses in everything I do and that has helped me in my personal life, my career and the output of my work. 

What is your most hated business expression?
Gosh, I have so many. Working in the corporate world I was exposed to these all the time:

”Let’s take this conversation offline”

“We need to be more agile”

“I’ll circle back to you on that”

“I don’t have the bandwidth to support”

How can marketers be braver?
Personally I think a lot of marketers struggle with and almost fear being metrics driven.  Perhaps because they don’t know how or it’s not what they’re used to. But either way it scares them that suddenly the businesses they are in want to see measurable impact on the work they are doing and not simply vanity metrics that don’t really tell you anything.

So instead many marketers shy away from this which results in their businesses cutting budgets and reducing headcount. But the beautiful thing is if more marketers stepped up to the challenge and started to properly measure what they are doing and understanding how what they do influences the bottom line, not only would they be able to tell a much more compelling story to their business partners which in turn could lead to more funding, but it will enable them to continually optimise what they’re doing to perform even better.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Putting myself forward for a promotion into a role that scared the living daylights out of me. It was an enormous step up with much bigger responsibilities that if I succeeded would mean great things for me but if I failed could be a career ender! Luckily for me, I worked hard and made a big success of it and that risk has helped me to get to where I am today.

Which leader do you admire most and why?
This is a controversial one but for me it’s Elon Musk. I have huge admiration for what he’s achieved so far. I love how he sets his mind on something and manages to inspire enough people to make it happen, even when the odds are stacked up against them. While I’m not sure I would personally want to be lead by him as I think some of his leadership choices are questionable, I truly admire him as a person and believe we need more people like him to shake up the status quo and fix the serious problems we face today as a human species. 

What’s your favourite word?

Tell us a secret
I love mischief and get a really big kick out of playing small pranks on people I am close to. I would never do anything to harm anyone, it’s always very low impact things, but I can feel the excitement and anticipation bubble up inside of me as I wait for them to discover whatever it is I have done. I guess I’m still a kid in many ways!

Connect with Karla on Linked In