These are words I’ve heard used to describe Ann Torry–today’s #RealLifeWonderWoman. She works as the VP of Marketing for BirdDogHR in Des Moines, Iowa, and recently won a national award that celebrates women in STEM fields. Ann has over 20 years of experience in B2B marketing and is a terrific example of a woman who teaches, trains and builds other women up for success.
KR: You’ve had a big year and earned a spot on the top women leaders in SaaS. Congratulations! Can you share with our readers what SaaS is and why it is such an honor to be recognized?
AT: Thank you! SaaS stands for Software as a Service. SaaS is the process of delivering software to end users using the internet. Simply put, in order to use SaaS software, a person or a company only needs a computer or mobile device and a connection to the internet.
The software industry is definitely an extension of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). It’s widely known that STEM-oriented industries are more heavily dominated by men. In 2017 Crunchbase, a leading destination for company insights, reported that only 17% of tech startups were founded by women. This number has not grown since 2012. Women are successful in technology, according to the SaaS Report’s Top 50 Women in SaaS. We just need more women to know that and to encourage each other to go for it.
KR: Please tell us about what brings you joy and fulfillment.
AT: Keeping the first things first, I think of my family. My husband and I have two adult sons and are lucky enough to live in an area where we see and spend time with them and much of our extended family. Now as our sons are starting their adult lives, our family is growing and we have the next generation to enjoy.
Next, I am genuinely passionate about marketing. From big picture thinking to details in storytelling and reporting results, I enjoy the art and science of setting strategy. Marketing, storytelling and lifelong learning — it’s that great combination that fuels my fire for marketing and creating results.
KR: What are some of your hobbies?
AT: Traveling, bicycling and a return to my great love of music and piano playing.
KR: We all have inner superpowers. What are some of yours?
AT: This is a fun one! I would say that my superpower is setting and striving to reach lofty goals. This came from encouragement from my parents. Throughout my career I have continued to set personal and professional goals that might be out of my comfort zone, but allow me to learn and grow.
Another superpower is being open-minded. In everything that I am exposed to; world views, family dynamics, marketing, ways to grow a business, I think being open-minded and collaborative are key.
KR: Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
AT: I have always had a great role model in my life of a woman who could put it all (and keep it all) together — my Mom. She raised a family, ran a household, volunteered, worked outside of the home and most of all made everyone that she encountered feel important and valued. She set the bar high for a what a woman can achieve.
KR: If you could have one super-human power, what would it be?
AT: It would be tempting to go with telepathy or time travel, but one that is close to my heart right now is healing. We see so much suffering on a daily basis. It would give me such great joy if I could personally offer respite to those with physical and mental challenges.
KR: Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
AT: First, always be brave enough to take the next step. If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one else will. Also, focus on strengths not weaknesses. These tips sound simple to follow but they are not.