January 3, 2024

Careers in AI: Advice from Boomerang Employees and Why They Returned to Persado


careers in AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) and particularly Generative AI (GenAI) has made countless headlines recently. Given that, it’s no wonder that more professionals are interested in AI careers. Persado is proud to nurture hundreds of careers in AI, from Engineering and Customer Success, to Sales and Marketing (check out our current openings). The majority of Persadoans are fully remote with team members spread across the US and Europe. Despite the distance, Persado provides an inclusive and engaging environment for our diverse team. Nearly 50% of the Persado team are women in AI

Persado has several boomerang employees that left for other opportunities and have subsequently rejoined the Persado team.  We sat down with a few boomerangs to hear about their experience. 

What advice do boomerang employees have for those seeking careers in AI? What inspired them to return to Persado? 

Most career paths aren’t completely linear. “Boomeranging” back to a former company has been on the rise recently across various industries. According to data from Visier, in early 2022, 28% of new hires were boomerang employees. Boomerang employees bring a different perspective to Persado and on the industry as a whole. Since leaving Persado, they’ve gained new experience and knowledge, and they bring that with them when they rejoin the team. 

Let’s get to know some of our boomerang employees.

Mallory Doppmann (Santa Barbara, California) 

Title: Strategic Account Manager 

Bio: Mallory grew up in San Diego. She relocated to Santa Barbara for college, fell in love with the central California coast and never left. She has taught yoga, trekked some of the highest mountains, and worked at an adventure travel company. Mallory spent the last handful of years in SaaS sales for the healthcare industry. 

What inspired you to return to Persado?

I initially came to Persado as a Sales and Business Development Manager in the healthcare vertical. I was responsible for the success of Persado’s PerScribed product. My role included sourcing industry thought leaders for our successful webinar series, multiple conference appearances, and owning a full sales cycle. Before returning to Persado, I was a National Account Executive selling AI automation for the revenue cycle in healthcare, pharma, and life sciences. When I left Persado to join an early stage startup with a previous colleague in a niche market within healthcare, it was a hard decision. In almost all of my farewell communications, I used phrases similar to “I look forward to the future possibility of working together again.” Some part of me knew that one day I’d return to Persado. Others had done so before and it is part of the Persado culture. I returned because I am extremely passionate about words, language, data, and AI. I had a sense that my work at Persado was not yet done. 

What advice do you have for people seeking careers in AI? 

It’s important to understand that while “AI” has become ubiquitous, any AI model still requires training along with trial and error. This means that automation or results aren’t always possible with a flip of the switch. Understanding where the potential employer is in their AI journey is a critical piece of information when evaluating where your skills would be most beneficial.

Tell us about your proudest accomplishment.

Not to be too sappy, but my kids are certainly my proudest accomplishment. They push me to be a better person, inspire my hope for the future, and remind me to not take myself too seriously! When it comes to professional accomplishments, I’m most proud of being awarded Rookie of the Year three months after being hired. 

Any predictions for what’s next in AI?

Right now a lot of AI still requires a human in the loop. I think we will soon start to see more bot-to-bot automation as AI models become more sophisticated. The possibilities for AI in the future are endless. 

Evan Haedicke (New York, New York) 

Title: VP of Customer Success 

Bio: Evan has professional experience in management consulting, data analytics and intelligence, and solutions consulting for large enterprises. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Outside of work, Evan is a former soccer player turned triathlete, enjoys Broadway shows, and is an avid foodie. He and his family especially love Asian food. 

What inspired you to return to Persado?

Before leaving Persado and returning as the VP of Customer Success, I led the Solutions Consulting team. I was inspired to return for various reasons. First, I love the intellectual capacity and curiosity of Persado’s people and our action-oriented approach to problem solving. Also, GenAI is a super exciting space to be in. Additionally, I came back because I was excited about Persado’s new industry-first products. Dynamic Motivation and Essential Motivation, both released in 2023, are built for rapid scale which matches the pace of the GenAI landscape. I see a tremendous opportunity to partner with our leadership team to guide the commercial strategy and vision of these innovative products. 

What advice do you have for people seeking careers in AI?

Don’t be afraid to make a change when you know something is not working. 

Tell us about your proudest accomplishment.

I am proud to have guided many Persadoans on their career paths. As a result, several of my Persado colleagues have been promoted and others have become first time people managers.  

Any predictions for what’s next in AI?

AI will continue to become embedded in our day-to-day lives. In other words, it will be something that we ultimately rely on more heavily to do things that we won’t think twice about today.

Madhavi Katikaneni (San Francisco, California) 

Title: Director, Customer Success

Bio: Madhavi has over ten years of experience at startups with innovative technology – ranging from virtual reality to using machine learning for digitizing data. She has worked in account management and customer success teams at a variety of companies, such as Linden Lab and Contentful. Madhavi earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in International Studies from American University. In her spare time she enjoys writing, traveling, and spending time with family.

What inspired you to return to Persado? 

I was inspired by the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of AI. Persado has a unique position in the Generative AI landscape thanks to its specialized knowledge base and 10+ years of proven experience identifying language and emotions that motivate people to act. I saw a huge opportunity to support and guide our customers to unlock the full power of AI in a meaningful and measurable way. 

The opportunity to work with an intelligent, committed and collaborative group of people provided another reason to come back. I’ve always been impressed by the supportive environment created by everyone at Persado. I know that my voice and my work will be appreciated.

What advice do you have for people seeking careers in AI? 

Take the time to understand the power and pitfalls of AI and how it can be best applied to a given industry.

Tell us about your proudest accomplishment. 

Raising my daughter (ongoing). As far as my greatest professional accomplishment goes, I’m very proud to have built and grown a successful customer success team by 2.5x, growing it from five to twelve people.

Charlie Sison (New York, New York) 

Title: Customer Success Director 

Bio: Charlie graduated from Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. Charlie has built his marketing career at companies such as Publishers Clearing House, Oracle, Persado, Optimove, and Persado again. In his free time he enjoys traveling, eating too much, and reading in the park with his two Jack Russels.

What inspired you to return to Persado? 

I decided to return to Persado because of the mentorship and growth opportunities as well as for the accessibility and collaboration between cross-functional teams. At Persado, I feel valued and recognized for the work that I do. Also, the evolution of Persado’s product, the Motivation AI Platform, made me eager to rejoin the team. 

What advice do you have for people seeking careers in AI? 

AI is something that virtually all companies say they have or use. My advice would be to really understand how AI is being used by your prospective employer, and be sure you believe in it. 

Tell us about your proudest accomplishment. 

I don’t think I’ve achieved that yet! Stay tuned. 

Ruben Tamminga (Boise, Idaho) 

Title: Chief Revenue Officer (CRO)

Bio: Ruben hails from the Netherlands. He was born and raised there. Twelve years ago, he completed his business graduate degree at the Arizona State University Thunderbird School of Global Management. Since then, Ruben has dedicated his career to working in software sales in the fields of martech and fintech. He has gained valuable experience at companies such as Responsys, Optimizely, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Backbase, and, of course, Persado. 

As CRO, Ruben’s goal is to drive revenue growth and optimize the company’s overall new business acquisition efforts. It is his responsibility to align sales, partnerships, business development, go-to-market, and forecasting to achieve the organization’s financial objectives in its pursuit and onboarding of new customers with the right product-market fit for Persado.

What inspired you to return to Persado? 

After four years at Persado and being promoted to VP Sales, I was determined to step away from my managerial role and dive back into direct sales. During the subsequent years, I achieved significant success by closing complex multimillion-dollar deals with banks and credit unions. However, I couldn’t ignore the growing gap between my previous company’s vision and the industry’s reality. This disconnect manifested as a substantial disparity between what the company I was with sold, what the market truly demanded, what was promised, and what was actually delivered.

At Persado, prioritizing client value and ROI had always been the bedrock of our services. This commitment led me to return to Persado, where I could influence the overall direction of our go-to-market strategy. I have become focused on being pragmatic about the audience we want to reach, what we offer, how we package it, and how we deliver our services. It’s incredibly important to focus on delivering real ROI to our customers instead of abstract concepts.

What advice do you have for people seeking careers in AI? 

My advice is to not seek a career in AI! Instead, focus on finding an industry you can relate to, and my guess is that it will have some involvement with AI–if not now, then soon. Avoid being busy, instead obsess over outcomes. Be introspective about what you can and cannot influence. 

Tell us about your proudest career accomplishment.

I am most proud of achieving the top salesperson recognition in my previous sales roles at Persado and Backbase, all while nurturing lasting relationships built on trust, respect, and empathy with my clients. I maintain these relationships today.

Any predictions for what’s next in AI? 

Fasten your seatbelts. Making predictions is a futile endeavor. 

Persado’s people-first culture  

At Persado, people are our most important asset. Out of all of our core values, people always come first. While many boomerangs are excited to return thanks to our latest products and the rapid growth of the Generative AI landscape, many are motivated to rejoin the team because of the opportunity to collaborate with smart and hard-working colleagues. The potential for career growth additionally inspires boomerang employees to return. Persado welcomes employees of all backgrounds and perspectives. The Persado team is thrilled to have these and more boomerang employees back on the team after a short hiatus.  

Times are rapidly changing for businesses across the industry and the globe. Persado is no exception. Our focus on people has and will remain strong. We recognize that people are curious by nature and moving to a different company is often a difficult decision, and also an opportunity to learn and grow. When a valued alum returns to Persado, we welcome them back with open arms along with the new experiences and perspectives they have gained. 

Allison Lee, Chief People Officer at Persado

It’s the people at Persado that make Motivation AI–a specialized class of enterprise Generative AI proven to inspire customer engagement and increase conversions–a true game changer for marketing and e-commerce leaders. Interested in careers at Persado? See our latest job opportunities.