Not many people know what they want to be in high school, let alone set out a plan and execute on it. But not many people have the drive, determination and foresight of Sofia Maravich.
Today, as a senior director of client success at Nativo, she leads her team by caring deeply, listening intently and acting decisively.
We spoke with her to learn more about what led to her early successes — and how she in turn is shaping the client success department at Nativo.
Let’s go back to the beginning. Why did you want to get into client success?
I was fortunate enough to have two experiences in high school that made me want to pursue a client service role in advertising. The first was competing in a marketing competition through Bayer Corporation. The competition involved developing a marketing plan for the launch of a Bayer product in Italy. As soon as I started working on it, I quickly realized I loved every aspect of it.
Concurrently, I was introduced to a female VP of client service at a national ad agency in Pittsburgh (my hometown). She gave me extremely helpful advice on how to pursue a career in the field and suggested I follow the account management (client success) path.
How have you grown since joining Nativo?
I was hired in 2014 as the fourth account manager. Six months in to the role, I met with our SVP of strategy to share a long-term goal of mine: to eventually oversee the entire client success team. I knew this opportunity would eventually present itself as the company grew and that my goal could be reached. He gave me great advice on the steps I’d need to take and the qualities that someone in this role would need to possess.
I proceeded to follow every piece of that advice, and I was fully supported by my supervisor and the members of the sales team — specifically, a senior vice president. She constantly gave me industry advice and encouraged me to advance. I was also fully supported and backed by our CRO. His support allowed me to eventually lead the full team, and his feedback and guidance were instrumental.
You’ve experienced a tremendous amount of growth in an industry known for gender imbalance. Is there something about the Nativo culture that has set you up for success?
The culture at Nativo reflects and rewards those who raise their hand and go above and beyond to better their own output, team, company, clients and more. Simply put, it comes down to an individual’s contributions, performance and work ethic, with disregard to gender.
What’s unique about Nativo’s company culture?
The people who work here are innovative, smart, hard-working and fun. We come from many diverse backgrounds and past professional experiences, yet we all work collaboratively toward the same goals. We learn from one another, support one another and enjoy working with one another.
Talk to us about your leadership style and the influences that have shaped it.
I recently read “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott (I highly recommend it for anyone in a leadership role) and I realized that the style she describes in the book is reflective of my style: care personally, challenge directly.
First and foremost, I sincerely care about my team members as people. I want them to be happy and feel appreciated, and I recognize the value they bring to their specific roles and the company.
I’m also a huge proponent of feedback. I set the precedent that our dynamic will include feedback. This way, there are no surprises. I also encourage this dynamic to work both ways. If there are areas of improvement for myself or the larger group, I want my team to feel comfortable communicating this information. Ultimately, I want to serve as a resource to my team and empower them to succeed.
We come from many diverse backgrounds and past professional experiences, yet we all work collaboratively toward the same goals.”
Outside of your leadership and approach to feedback, what else makes your team excel?
Our team is a group of personable, caring, intelligent, productive and strategic individuals. We excel because we all share the same passion for executing great campaigns for our clients, which makes them want to work with us again.
What are you looking for in new hires to complement your current team?
The best client success managers often possess great communication skills, an ability to readily learn new material, and they can effectively execute against a variety of tasks.
They also have a balance of hard skills and soft skills, backed by a strong work ethic and adaptability. The hard skills we look for include advertising industry experience, a strong understanding of digital media and an ability to absorb new information quickly.