The Impacts of Age & Gender as a Partnerships Pro

Cass Polzin
Cass Polzin8 Apr, 2021

This article is part of our Women in Partnerships series, highlighting female professionals in the partnerships space. To learn more about the series and the Women in Partnerships group, check out the series intro.

Today, Tori Piccin joins us to discuss how being a younger woman in marketing and partnerships impacts her career, advice for other professionals, and more.

Meet Tori

Tori Piccin heads up partner marketing at Clearbanc, the world’s largest eCommerce & SaaS investor having deployed $1.6B into 4,000+ companies to date, where she’s been since September. Partner marketing at Clearbanc involves developing a variety of campaigns and initiatives, but the common element is working with many groups of people both internally, and outside of the organization. In her role, Tori connects the dots between partners, Clearbanc, external parties, and internal stakeholders to ensure the efforts are seamless.

Before she was making big splashes in partnerships, Tori’s career began in public relations, specifically in the luxury sector, before moving on to head up Marketing & PR at an award-winning creative agency. Eventually, she found herself leading marketing efforts for Saks Fifth Avenue in Canada, headquartered at the flagship location in Toronto. During her years there, Tori shared that she had the privilege of working with some of the biggest names in luxury fashion & beauty while designing strategic partnership programs with like-minded companies such as AMEX Centurion and Air Canada.

Elements of partnerships were involved in all of her roles leading up to formally entering the industry. From finding the right partnerships and brands to align with to developing collaborative go-to-market strategies, it all relates.

The Impacts of Age & Gender

Tori shared that she’s previously been judged on her age before her intelligence. “Age has always been a factor, but I’ve never understood why. If someone is threatened by young, intelligent people or innovation in the workforce it’s easy to lose respect for them. There have definitely been times though where I’ve had to remind myself that I’m here for a reason, and I’m deserving of this seat at the table.”

While there have been times of adversity, Tori shared that being a woman has helped her excel in her career. “It’s never been something I’ve felt to be a roadblock. In fact, I’d say it’s a bonus, especially in my career path.”

While she worked with some female leaders who haven’t understood the importance of being a mentor, Tori is also lucky to have had a great female mentor early on in her career. “My director at Saks and I immediately clicked. We were both hand-selected to run marketing for Canada by the previous MD. I’ve learned more from Kiki Okutsu (who now heads up VIP Client Relations at Louis Vuitton) than anyone else in my career. She is a mentor in a truly organic way — never trying to sit me down and give a pep talk. Whenever I’m managing a team or working with someone who’s newer to the company, I always channel Kiki in many ways. Everyone needs a mentor, but it doesn’t need to be written in stone that I’m your mentor.”

Advice for Other Industry Professionals

On the general workplace side of things, Tori shared two key pieces of advice. “First, treat every coworker like they’re a client. No matter how great you are at what you do, if you can’t maintain strong relationships, there’s someone else to replace you.”

“Second, strive to always be the expert in the room. Always stay up-to-date. Be on top of internal news as much as external. It goes a long way to be the person in the room that people turn to when they’re looking for validation.”

Tori also shared advice specifically for women in all professions. “There have been moments in my career where there were great female mentors. There were also times when I’ve seen female leaders who didn’t quite understand the impact they have in shaping the next generation. I think it’s important to acknowledge that even if you don’t see it, people are looking up to you.”

The Importance of Groups Like Women in Partnerships

Tori subscribes to lots of similar communities because she wants to be as in the know as possible. “You never know what you’re going to learn from people. Networking has a negative connotation sometimes. Whereas when you build these communities and unite ideas, it’s like a new wave of networking. You get to share each other’s stories and something that inspires me, I could bring to my company and I could talk to them about.”

It’s so important to have a community where you share experiences with like-minded professionals and get advice specific to the situation you’re going through. That’s why we’ve created a Women in Partnerships group, specifically for women in the industry.

Partnership Leaders enables personal and professional development for professionals in partnerships. Learn more about the benefits of Partnership Leaders.

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