The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Chief Officer Awards were announced March 17, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person May 10.
Next is Chief Marketing Officer finalist in the Private Company category Ellen Walsh, who’s a partner, chief marketing officer and chief of staff for Attain Partners. Here, she talks about taking professional risks, career advice, key achievements and more.
What’s the biggest professional risk you’ve ever taken?
In 2009, I was at a stable job that I enjoyed with a clear path for growth and upward mobility. My kids were young at the time and life was busy, but when Greg Baroni offered me the CMO role as he was founding Attain, I knew I had to take it.
I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for Greg, and the mission of the company he was building really resonated with me ⏤ to change the world by disrupting the status quo and improving lives.
Designing a brand and creating a company culture from the ground up was incredibly exciting to me and that was a challenge I was ready to take on. The basis of my decision rested on the fact that I believed in the people, the mission, and the vision to build a values driven, next generation, built-to-last consultancy. I’m glad that I took the leap ⏤ I’ve learned an enormous amount over the past 14 years and everyday am grateful for the opportunity.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
In today’s fast-changing world, the ability to learn and adapt quickly is more critical than ever. Success isn’t linear. Don’t be afraid to take risks, try new things and embrace the inevitable failure along the way. Make continuous learning a habit and encourage your team members to maintain a growth mindset.
And, build a diverse network along the way ⏤ seek out mentors and collaborators who challenge you in the best ways possible and expose you to new ideas, knowledge and skills.
What key achievements did you have in 2022/2023?
The past few years have certainly been a whirlwind! Since first operating under the Attain Partners banner in March 2021, we’ve launched a new brand identity and website. I’m thrilled that we’re seeing our hard work pay off.
In 2022, we were proud to be named the Salesforce.org Partner of the Year-Education, a Salesforce Summit Partner, and a NVTC Tech100 honoree. We’re hiring top talent, winning strategic new business, and giving back in meaningful ways to the communities in which we live and work.
I’ve also truly enjoyed expanding the brands and companies that I’m supporting, establishing the foundations for Attain Sports and Entertainment and Attain Capital Partners. On the sports front, we’ve welcomed three baseball teams ⏤ the Bowie Baysox, the Frederick Keys, and a yet to be named Atlantic League Professional Baseball team based in Frederick, Maryland ⏤ plus the Loudoun United FC, a soccer club based in Leesburg, Virginia.
Additionally, since its founding in late 2021, through Attain Capital Partners we have partnered with four firms delivering high-value solutions and services to business, government, and education clients ⏤ Safal Partners, Cardinality.ai, Infotek Consulting and Regent Education.
The Attain brand continues to grow and it is so rewarding!