by Kenzie Lee
March 23, 2022
We had the opportunity to interview Sarah Harkness, the Co-Founder and Director of RevOps at Cattle Dog Digital. In this post we dive into Sarah’s background, the founding story, her passions and Project Lotus, and views on Cattle Dog Digital’s culture.
Tech Background & Big Moves
Sarah Harkness began her tech career at Salesforce in 2008, climbing the ranks in the corporate sales organisation for four years. After seeing an emerging opportunity in marketing automation she took a risk and joined Marketo in 2012 to build the corporate sales team. At Marketo, Sarah led the NZ country efforts, overachieving her KPIs. Under challenging circumstances, she left the company to reevaluate her career. Sarah then spent time in South Australia, where she’d met her now husband and business partner Luke Orell. She then moved back to Sydney and started working at Salesforce again. Salesforce call these returning alumni, ‘Boomerangs,’ of which she has been twice! After returning to corporate sales in a strategic position she then joined Dropbox, GitLab and led an international startup in sales at GeoOp.
Reflecting on Previous Experiences
Having been a woman in the IT industry for over 15 years, it meant that unfortunately Sarah, like many women in the industry, “had to develop a few different sets of skins.” Sarah says that she’s had amazing mentors, but has also had some terrible experiences which has helped shape her view on what it takes to drive growth for success. Thankfully, Sarah’s amazing business partners, family and friends have been able to be a voice for change and lighthouse for Sarah along the way.
One thing that stands out to Sarah about belief is that, “even when you don’t believe you can, there is always a way.” Sarah no longer works alone, as she leverages the collective to grow and strive for success.
Cattle Dog Digital Founding Team
Sarah joined the Cattle Dog Digital family as a founding member along with Nashir Uddin, and Luke Orell. The three set a standard of values, which hold true today, and started growing the business rapidly. Sarah’s experience working within other companies shaped her ideas on what not to do and what not to be like, especially in terms of values. In her previous roles, she learnt a lot on how to use partners to scale a business. She used these strategies with Cattle Dog Digital, building a network of like-minded partners and customers who believe in doing good.
Passions & Project Lotus
Sarah is passionate about giving women opportunities to navigate and create a career and platform for themselves in the IT industry. Sarah has a daughter and wants her to be just as excited about the opportunities for the future as Sarah was. Undoubtably there are challenges women still face in regards to equality, gender parity and even discrimination. Sarah expresses that at its worst (and as a survivor of) the tech industry is still fraught with innuendo, harassment and it’s not a straightforward journey. Sarah is most passionate about eradicating this in our industry and ending harassment at work. Through creating success at and for Cattle Dog Digital, she founded Project Lotus. This non-profit organisation is focussed on raising awareness about protocols which companies can implement and adhere to, that provide safe places for people to do their best work.
The Real Cattle Dog Digital
We asked Sarah, “What makes Cattle Dog Digital different from other consulting businesses?” There’s a lot that Sarah loves to bark about in the Cattle Dog kennel! Sarah passionately shared that the Cattle Dog Digital team is not like the other dogs out there. She believes that the team is dedicated to being a customer’s loyal companion along their journey through navigating digital transformation and adapting technology to their customer lifecycle with RevOps at its core. Sarah admits that this honesty and transparency is what makes the Cattle Dog team who they are. Everyone on the team shares this perspective and wants to help customers work through their pain. As well, Sarah expresses that the team is a collective of, “super smart pedigree pups, helping clients grow and optimise to success.”
Another key difference that Sarah also pointed out brings its own set of authenticity. Cattle Dog Digital is a business that brings family to the core of its operations. The Cattle Dog Digital team cares and respects one another, their business partners, and client relationships as they would for their personal family. After all, Sarah recognises that everyone is only human, so Cattle Dog Digital aims to be real with all stakeholders. Sarah says that, “the fourth wall has come down… if your kid decided to pop into a zoom, that’s our normal!”
An Inspirational Leader
Sarah runs RevOps for Cattle Dog Digital. She is responsible for the revenue, marketing and partners within the business and is an active founder on the board.
Sarah is a leader and an inspiration at Cattle Dog Digital. She is a big believer in providing opportunities for people to extend themselves and stretch their legs. Sarah sees potential in all team members and aims to invest in possibilities. She believes that, “everyone on the team is an individual, not a number.” Sarah aims to help each team member grow, improve their skills and enjoy their experience at Cattle Dog Digital. She nurtures the team and their abilities to drive for a great corporate culture where everyone feels happy, safe, and has the space to thrive. As well as building the ecosystem of Cattle Dog, Sarah is running extremely fast to grow the business by extending the partner and client network!
Moving the Business Forward
Looking ahead, Sarah has a lot of plans in the works! Continued positive growth is one of Sarah’s top priorities, as she excitedly shares that the team is working to finalise some great partnerships and joint ventures. Sarah is excited to be working and collaborating with customers and partners on a number of strategic RevOps initiatives including partnering with Women In Revenue and Saltire, to drive continued sustainable growth across the business.