Series - part 9 of 14

Here are the 10 GrowthMentors of March


Let’s give a big round of applause to these awesome people for agreeing to join GrowthMentor and help people on their growth journeys.

This post is part of the Mentor Batches series

1. Aleksandra Pinar

Describe yourself

Creative soul /analytical mind T-shaped product & growth specialist with a focus on Product Management (Backend, E-commerce, Internal Tools) , Growth, Data Product Analytics (ROI, LTV, SQL, R, AdTech, Attribution), Data Visualization (Tableau) & Performance Marketing (SEM, Affiliates, ASO, UAC) Core areas of expertise: Business Analysis – Design Thinking – User experience – Software Project management.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Growth mindset included development, empowerment, and openness. Its a coaching leadership style which contributes to business improvement, reinvention, and performance management.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Integration of data-driven UX with agile management.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

1. I faciliate design sprint where my team was able to create new feature for ecommerce partner. We were able to design and implement this feature within time and budget 2. I managed the implementation of the free delivery threshold test for Otto group. This test was a challenge because stakeholders from different countries were involved in it and the test result strongly influenced the financial results of the entire Otto group.

View Growthmentor Profile

2. Alex Mitchell

Describe yourself

I’m motivated by working to find product-market fit and then helping scale product and engineering teams to capitalize on that fit. I’ve worked in several different industries in product and analytics roles ranging from AdTech to Business Travel to SMB Self-Service Marketing Tools. I write frequently about Product on Medium and have published two books (Building Digital Products and Disrupting Yourself) to share what I’ve learned from my experiences and from others. I’m always looking to learn, always looking to get better, always looking to mentor.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset means the desire to keep learning, to keep improving, to keep trying new things. Individuals with a growth mindset know that failure is just part of the learning journey.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Product market fit.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Problem: Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors weren’t purchasing high list price college application advising packages like Seniors were on www.joinbullseye.com (EdTech) Solution: Introduced two subscription tiers ($49/$99/month) for these non-seniors that provide them access to advisors via chat so they could prepare for their college applications early on, increase our customer LTV, and make these students a very warm lead to convert to higher value packages when they approached senior year.

View Growthmentor Profile

3. Aurora Gomez

Describe yourself

Hey! I am Aurora, Growth Operations Director at Careem, the future Superapp of MENA region recently acquired by Uber. I have a finance background but my passion is growing businesses and building teams.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

There is always a better version! Starting with individuals: we can always be a better version of ourselves! It is also applied to the way we run our business: test and persist/iterate based on results… FAST!

I would love to mentor on Growth Strategies for expanding businesses and unlocking pockets of growth. I believe my background in Finance and Growth can be very useful to help others figure out how to achieve sustainable growth.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

When I started working in growth, we were not able to forecast our performance in advance. I came up with a model that allowed us to have a view at a city and daily level. That helped the company proactively put in place action plans when required to ensure we would hit our targets and it supported other teams to plan allocation of resources in advance.

View Growthmentor Profile

4. Brad Jenkins

Describe yourself

I’m a serial entrepreneur turned startup advisor. During the last 25 years, I started 7 companies, selling 4 of them. I have experience in bootstrapping as well as raising outside growth capital using both equity and debt. I’ve started businesses on my own as well as with Co-founders. Before becoming an entrepreneur I worked at a fast-growing tech startup that went public, and I also paid my way through college operating a couple of small businesses.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset is to focus the team on continual progress; progress is more about direction than about speed. Continual growth comes from trying something new, learning what works and doesn’t work (making mistakes), adapting (making adjustments) and trying again with the newly learned knowledge.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Advising the startup Founder on how to find, recruit, hire and retain top talent. I am good at building and nurturing cultures where co-workers can engage in meaningful work and can build meaningful relationships. I’m good at getting stakeholders collaborating and aligned to focus on the right objectives to achieve a shared vision.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Most of my best “out of the box” solutions have come from the re-application of an idea or lesson I learned from a past experience or by adapting something I had learned from others. A friend of mine likes to call it R&D; better known as “Ripoff and Duplicate”. I only share this as I’m not the most creative guy, but I am good at figuring out how to leverage what I know to solve problems. One of the best examples was figuring out how to deal with the loss of a very large customer due to that customer getting acquired and no longer needing our services. As such our payroll expenses were too large to support our revenue, plus we had a lot of overhead and expenses that we could no longer afford. Rather than cutting a significant portion of our staff we made a much smaller cut in staff and then pulled the remaining team together and explained the situation and how we needed to find additional ways to reduce expenses to survive with the remaining team. Essentially opening up our books and reviewing our profit and loss statement with all employees. The employees responded with a significant number of cost-cutting ideas that allowed us to survive without additional layoffs. Many of the cost-cutting ideas that the team came up with made such a positive impact on our bottom line that within a few months we had paid off all our debt and were able to hire back a couple of the employees we had to initially cut.

View Growthmentor Profile

5. Joanna Delaney

Describe yourself

I help Marketing and Growth teams at both Global Companies and Start-Up ventures optimize their digital and marketing activities to exceed their business goals.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Continuous learning and improvement. Test your idea, analyze the results, optimize, and repeat.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Facebook Ads. Improving ROAS, scaling spend.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I created a framework to ensure that the paid marketing activity we execute reaches the right person, at the right time with the right message. It doesn’t sound that out of the box, but it’s surprising how many companies lack this structure, reaching the wrong person with the wrong message, decreasing conversion rates and ROAS. This framework helped us exponentially increase our ROAS.

View Growthmentor Profile

6. Michele Robusto

Describe yourself

Hey there, I am Michele. I am a growth marketer with 10 years of experience across FinTech and eCommerce between Milan, London and Dubai. Having scaled up marketing teams from 1 to 30 ppl, my main areas of expertise are paid channels, affiliate marketing & loyalty.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Growth mindset essentially means striving for constant improvements in overall campaigns metrics (e.g. through A/B testing, conversion uplift studies, new channels, new product features) but also focussing on team and personal growth in terms of skillset, cohesion and morale.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Lead generation & lead to sales optimisation. Spent over $10M across the years on lead gen across all main paid channels.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

Implementation of new built-in-house attribution model based on the acquisition of quality sessions that helped us increasing new customer acquisition by 30% and reduce CAC by 33% in the space of 6 months at Namshi. Problem to solve was obviously marketing spend cost-efficiency and cutting out low quality traffic sources.

View Growthmentor Profile

7. Nikki Elbaz

Describe yourself

Dubbed “the Queen of Emails” by too many people to count – and “one of the most courageous copywriter you’ll ever meet” by the one person who really counts (my boss), I serve as Senior Email Copywriter for the Copyhackers Agency. Breaking best practices is my 5th love (sorry, husband and princesses come first) – and as co-founder of Unmassmarket, I teach SaaS marketers to grow beyond email templates so they can grow their companies (and careers).

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

Hustle, hustle, hustle. Just kidding. Growth mindset means you can’t stand status quo because you’re too curious. And that you solve problems better because you approach them with creativity. Sometimes you’re tired – because you’re human. But you love what you do and that motivates you to learn and collaborate and seek more.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Email marketing, of course! Email is so powerful – anyone can learn how, the ROI is great, and you own your list. It’s a natural way to connect to your audience, to build community within your team, and (of course) to drive growth. And especially if your activation model is lower touch – email is critical for onboarding and retention.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

I was writing outbound emails for a company that many customers initially deemed “too risky, can’t trust you.” Despite the company doing work that was on par or better than competitors, the competitors seemed much more trustworthy. Once the lead took the first step and talked to the company, they saw the value. But before that? Nope… they wanted to go with the competitor. So… how could I provide enough safety for the lead to feel no risk in starting the convo? Many cold sequences offer a fun gift card – coffee… cab rides… I’ve even optimized one that offered shoes! So I decided to offer a gift card for getting on the call… a gift card to the competitor. Now there was no risk to the lead – either they’d get on the call and get what they wanted from the client – or they’d get on the call and get what they wanted from the competitor. Plus: it positioned the client as confidently equal to the competitor. There was also little risk to the client – the outbound leads were handpicked. They wouldn’t “game the system” and get on the call just to get the free gift card. The best part of this all? We ended up optimizing the offer for the entire funnel based on this – not just for the cold sequence.

View Growthmentor Profile

8. Rachel Jenkins

Describe yourself

A dynamic and strategic senior marketing professional with close to 15 years of experience in the B2B tech industry. Deep expertise in and a passion for working with fast growing companies and leading marketing through the growth phase. A collaborative, data-driven and generalised marketer with solid stakeholder management and communication skills. Strong experience defining marketing strategy, building demand and optimising the marketing funnel, launching into new geo’s, driving marketing transformation and leading cross-functional teams toward a shared goal. Energised by working with great people to do great work in an innovative and collaborative environment.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset is really characterized by being agile, excited rather than daunted about Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) and always looking for the learning opportunity in every scenario – even the greatest of failures.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Hi, if I was to mentor a startup on one topic it would be building a demand generation funnel for growth. It requires a lot of detail, great tooling, solid marketing processes and an understanding of where you want to get to. Its vital to get this right to set your organisation up for the success and growth you want!

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

An out of the box solution that I came up with that was very successful globally was the gamification of the marketing to sales funnel. We were finding that our marketing programs were meeting MQL and pipeline targets, but pipeline was low and quickly disappearing. Leads volumes were low and weren’t qualified well. There was a significant disconnect between marketing results and pipeline. Marketing thought they were meeting target and yet the sales teams were disappointed as they weren’t getting their volume of leads. In order to solve the challenge, a marketing funnel deep dive was required, a correction of marketing measurement was implemented and a program to re-motivate the salesforce by way of training and education was needed.

Once the metrics were corrected, tools were in place and training complete, a game was created with each region competing against the other. Results were highly visible and as such so was participation. Without spending an extra dollar on marketing campaigns, the impact and ROI from marketing campaigns sky rocked and quality pipeline appeared… To be successful, you need to look at the entire scope of your funnel – measurement, people, technology and processes.

View Growthmentor Profile

9. Renato Skrgulja

Describe yourself

Biggest motivation is proving my elementary teacher wrong. She said “there will be nothing of you” after some guys planted firecrackers in my pocket to get me in trouble. This just showed she never liked me. Maybe because I was better in English than her even at 10. Maybe something else. So my passion is to build trusted environment. Such that you can call any team member at 2am to ask to do something and they wouldn’t hesitate for a second. That ownership will make any process work. And a good process will make us all do incredible work. Secondly, growth is crucial, mindset fits me not from the start of growth hacking but from the moment I started competing in basketball. Getting better every day, learning from mistakes is my bread and butter.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

In this terrible event of Kobe Bryant’s death I think that’s the person that represents it more than anyone for me at the moment. It’s about working hard to get where you want to go, it’s about taking failures as great learnings and it’s about getting better every single day. Not just as a player (technical marketeer) but also as a person (a manager people value) and family man (a leader, person everybody can count on).

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Paid Search. I’ve seen 200+ Google Ads accounts so far and there’s only one that I was impressed with that had good structure AND maintenance set up. I’m able to not only setup a structure appropriate for the business goals at the moment but also to make it easy to maintain and optimise. I’ve managed accounts from $1000 to $200,000 monthly budgets and through incremental testing improved performance from 2x to 20x.

Describe an out of the box solution to a complex problem that made you proud of yourself?

The problem that seemed most complex for me was at the start of my career, 2 months into my unpaid internship. My boss said “sure, go ahead and find some leads for our website builder SaaS in Croatia. We have a budget of $300”. Now…what I did was not one solution, not one hour, one day of work. It took a good week of reading and finding all possible ways I could do this (note this was 6 years ago). But after that week I had a concrete plan and a timeline. Build a landing page, create Facebook Ads, choose 3 target groups and see what happens. Unbounce, Hubspot, Neil Patel, Sean Ellis, Unsplash and Canva was all I needed. I learned the tools in a couple of days and got my Landing page, Copy, Creatives and Ads running end of the second week. Since it was a holiday season and Croatia has a lot of private accommodation I targeted the renters with a headline “Bad season? Get 2x more bookings with your own webpage”. I got some hate comments, felt bad for a second… But then leads started to come in and the cost per lead was around $4. Soon enough my next challenge was finding time to call them all 🙂 I thought for a millisecond “Wow am I good?” and then I realized “This thing works, all the things I read, this really works…”

View Growthmentor Profile

10. Yaroslav Stepanenko

Describe yourself

Ph.D., creative, entrepreneurial and customer-centric product marketing professional with 10+ years of experience in scaling products, features and services that improve customer experience and grow the commercial success. Global speaker on growth and product marketing strategies. Head of Growth at Setapp, and Co-founder at Growth Marketing Stage.

In your words, what does a growth mindset mean to you?

A growth mindset means constant learning.

If you could mentor a startup on one topic, what would it be?

Find and Measure Product<>Market Fit.

View Growthmentor Profile

Apply for the next Batch!

What we’re looking for in the next batch:

  • Performance marketers with experience scaling 6-7 figure ad spends (monthly).
  • Product managers with experience managing multi-disciplinary teams
  • Growth marketers with extraordinary track-records of success

 

Growth Mentors

Want to become a growth mentor?

Apply for the April batch
Learn More