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The Experience in the Room – Joanne McLaughlin, Esri Ireland.

Our Experience in the Room series continues with Joanne McLaughlin, Head of Marketing for Esri Ireland and a past participant of the IMI Senior Executive Programme. She shares her story of how instrumental the programme was to her both personally and professionally.  



What is your career background?

My passion is marketing. Understanding why & how customers buy is something that has always amazed and excited me.  I’m a graduate of Business & Marketing from Dublin City University and have Post-Graduate Diplomas in Geographic Information Systems, Strategic Marketing Management and Digital Marketing.

I’ve worked in B2B marketing for the last 18 years primarily in the technology space and been part of the Esri Ireland team as Head of Marketing since 2006.  With just shy of 10,000 employees scattered throughout the globe, Esri is the largest billion-dollar privately held software company that you’ve probably not heard of! We are a software and services organisation, specialising in the application of geographic information systems or “GIS”.

My role at Esri Ireland includes all aspects of strategic marketing planning, execution & insights, integrated digital marketing communications, customer advocacy, campaign & marketing information systems management.  I’m a member of both the Leadership & Management Teams.

Prior to joining Esri Ireland I had marketing roles in Forensic Technology Europe Ltd, Horizon Open Systems/Sun Microsystems, IBEC and SmithKline Beecham. Most recently I’ve completed the IMI’s Senior Executive Programme, (December 2015).

Why did you choose the Senior Executive Programme?

I’d been to the IMI previously for the IMI Diploma in Strategic Marketing Management so I had a fair idea of their approach. The practical application of implementing what you’ve learned in your business, really appealed to me. Likewise some of my colleagues from Esri Ireland had participated in previous years and recommended it as a natural next step in my own professional development.

What were the highlights?

The calibre of guest speakers and business thought leaders on the SEP were superb, combining both theory & practical and laying the foundation for change which you can implement once the programme ends.

Furthermore I’d probably underestimated the value from networking with my fellow peers on the programme. Within the room the group varied in terms of personalities, company sizes and disciplines which led to many a lively debate and added to the whole experience.

What were the challenges?

Nowadays we’re all hyper-connected and you feel the need to constantly check emails and phone calls when you’re out of the office.  An initial challenge for me was actually being “in the moment”. It’s not often you get to stand back from your role and your organisation and examine what you need to stop, start or do differently.  So I promised myself I’d take full advantage. For me it wasn’t so much balancing the demands of the programme but more about blending it into my work /life schedule.

What impact has the programme had on your career?

The Senior Executive Programme encourages you to examine your leadership style.  It gives you the tools and frameworks to shape your organisational climate so you can identify future leaders and help nurture them early on in their career.

Since completing the programme in December I’ve participated in an Esri Ireland initiative which focuses on organisational climate and the impact it has on helping to drive up organisational performance through leadership development and behaviour coaching.

What impact has the programme had on your organisation?

I think going through the programme has helped me develop as a leader but also helped me gain insights into what’s important to other leaders in our organisation and support them accordingly.

I have more of a  holistic view of different business challenges and opportunities –for example I’m leading a cross functional team from Esri Ireland; our vision is to work towards making the shortlist in the SME category of a “Great Place to Work” for 2017. It’s been proven that organisations that build trust and create a rewarding cycle of personal contribution and appreciation create workplace cultures that deliver outstanding business performance.  There’s a lot of effort involved in making the shortlist but we’re excited about the opportunity this represents.

What is your advice to people planning further study?

In relation to the Senior Executive Programme it is high energy & intensive and it’s also a great way to widen your professional network.  You need to be organised and willing to attend every module. Preparing your Reflective Paper after each module, gives you a blueprint that you can use in your organisation. When you’re juggling the demands of work, the programme and your personal life, it’s important to make time for your own self-care and “do nothing” time.

Martin Fellenz, a speaker we had on the very first day posed the question “Does this behaviour serve my goals?” This simple mantra is one that I use often. It helps you create new leadership behaviours and identify the ones that are no longer useful.

Participating on the Senior Executive Programme was most definitely worth it from both a personal and professional perspective.



Our Experience in the Room series continues with Joanne McLaughlin, Head of Marketing for Esri Ireland.

Joanne is a past participant of the IMI Senior Executive Programme.

She shares her story of how instrumental the programme was to her both personally and professionally.


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