How to work remotely like a boss

An interview with the remote-working VP of Marketing at HootSuite.

How to work remotely like a boss

Dee Anna McPherson is the VP of Marketing at HootSuite, a title she also held at the Yammer where her growth strategy helped lead to a 1.2 billion acquisition by Microsoft.


McPherson manages Hootsuite’s global brand (and a 90-plus-person team) from her home in the Bay Area.

She shared with PowerToFly some of her favorite things about remote work, why she developed a ruthless approach to time management, and her advice on staying ahead of social media trends.

Can you tell us a little more about your role at Hootsuite?

I lead marketing at Hootsuite, the most widely used platform for managing social media. Hootsuite is used by 11 million people and our customers include 744 of the Fortune 1000. I have a team of over 90 people around the world. Most of the team is based in Vancouver, but I am based in the Bay Area.


How do you juggle being on the executive team of such a fast-growing company and working remotely?

There are a few advantages to working remotely. First, you can really get [things] done with fewer distractions. I also find that the physical distance helps me gain perspective when thinking about challenges or opportunities in the business. As an introvert, spending time alone is very energizing. To maintain strong connections with my team and colleagues, I practically live on Google Hangouts and certainly rack up the frequent-flier miles.


Do you have any favorite apps/tools to stay organized?

I love Yammer because I can see what’s happening in every corner of the organization and spend an hour weighing in on various projects and providing encouragement and feedback to the team. It’s like a digital water cooler that lets me stay connected when I am away. I also recently started using a product called Hexigo for email prioritization, which has been fantastic.


What are your strategies for managing a remote team?

It’s important to create a strong rhythm to your business. I have weekly 1:1s with my direct reports, weekly open office hours, a monthly all-hands meeting, quarterly planning meetings and quarterly business reviews. Using an Enterprise Social Network such as Yammer and encouraging the team to “work out loud” keeps everyone informed and aligned.


Any tips for staying balanced in your work and home life?

Simplify, simplify, simplify. I’m part of the “sandwich generation” raising a young child and helping look after an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s Disease. So, I don’t have much time for anything other than family, work and close friends. I am ruthless in how I prioritize my time. Since I travel a lot, I have a specific travel wardrobe that I pack each time so I don’t have to think about it. At home we use an app called Cozi to manage our family calendar.


Any predictions about the future of social networking? Do you have advice for companies who want to stay on the cutting edge?

We’ll continue to see the rise of specialized social networks and visual content, and social commerce will become mainstream. For businesses, social media will shift from being something that is managed by a social media team to a core skill set that is used in every department. Invest in training and education for employees to help modernize their skills sets.


Power to Fly is a company connecting accomplished women with remote-work jobs that actually lead to work-life balance!


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