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The Career Advice That Propelled a Former Silicon Valley Exec to the Top

In the fast-paced world of Silicon Valley, where the next billion-dollar idea could emerge from any cubicle, standing out from the crowd is essential for ambitious professionals. Erin Renzas, a former marketing executive at financial technology giants like Square (now Block Inc.) and the $40 billion company Checkout.com, knows this all too well. Her meteoric rise to the top of the tech industry was fueled by a simple but powerful piece of advice she received early in her career.

“The best piece of advice that I ever got came from one of my mentors at Square,” Renzas told Newsweek. “In the world of work, it is so easy to get distracted by all of the noise! This includes the little requests and the daily bits of admin that have to be done. There is a saying that urgent work is never the most important work.”

The advice, which Renzas now shares with others seeking career success, is deceptively simple: “Find the metric the company cares about and move it. Maniacally.”

Renzas explained: “So, stop focusing on the noise, the drama, the politics, the arguments about which team is responsible for what, and instead, find the metric the company cares about and get moving. Maniacally.”

This focus on what really matters to executives and the bottom line stands in stark contrast to the temptation many feel to get bogged down in corporate politics or gossip. Renzas acknowledged, “Much of the professional frustration I had experienced in the past was due to my time being diverted to things that didn’t matter.”

Her advice resonated deeply when she shared it in a viral video on TikTok earlier this month.”I was the chief marketing officer of a $40 billion tech business by the time I was 35,” she said in the clip, which has garnered nearly 500,000 views. “Here is the number one piece of career advice I ever got. Find the metric that the business cares about and move it. Don’t worry about the politics, size and remit of your team. Stop getting involved in all of the drama at work because that can always happen.”

Although some spectators took it for granted that the parameter in question was always turnover, Renzas clarified, “Those in technology know that this is not true.” She explained, “You never know what will resonate with people, but I think that what this video speaks to is that when it comes to work, people want to be impactful and they want to understand how to do work that matters and be recognized for that.”

Now running his own marketing consultancy, EBB Strategic, and writing his first book, Renzas remains committed to sharing the professional insights gleaned from his successful career in Silicon Valley. As she said, “TikTok is a repository of notes to my earlier self.”

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