MBA Alumnus Lands Job as VP of Marketing
Chris Moody prioritized core values such as diversity, developing relationships and teamwork throughout his career, all of which he found at Stax, a privately held startup valued at more than $1 billion.
By Jess Clarke
Early in his marketing career, Chris Moody decided not to specialize too narrowly in his field. In such a fluid industry, niche positions can disappear when trends shift.
That’s helped him stay relevant and flexible — and advance to vice president of brand marketing at Stax, a payment platform for businesses and one of the country’s fastest-growing companies.
“I didn’t want to be a one-trick dinosaur,” says Moody, who earned a Jenkins MBA from Poole College of Management in 2007.
I didn’t want to be a one-trick dinosaur. If you only do one thing, the industry will change, and the one thing you’re good at will completely go away…Generalist beats specialist most of the time in marketing.
Dodging dinosaur extinction in his career led to Moody’s position at a company that has achieved status as a unicorn — a privately held startup valued at more than $1 billion. Three months after Moody started at Stax, headlines this March announced the company had become a unicorn.
What’s unusual about Stax among highly successful startups in general is that it’s led by a woman of color, CEO Suneera Madhani, who founded the company in 2014 with her brother.
“Stax is unique even among the unicorn businesses…They don’t have to be companies led and dominated by older white dudes,” Moody says. “At Stax, we’re making sure we have diversity of thought, diversity of opinions and diversity across every walk of life.”
Despite the unicorn achievement, “We’re trying to stick to our core values,” Moody says. “That’s the part about my job I like the most. It’s not just looking at the numbers. It’s looking at them the right way and sticking to our values.”
One of those values is everyone working together as equals toward a common goal.
Stax abiding by its core values allows Moody to stay faithful to his.
“You can lead with empathy, building strong relationships and helping folks grow in their career while making sure you’re getting the work done…I call it relentless prioritization,” says Moody, who manages 11 full-time employees. “Everyone has the ability to make an impact.”
Moody’s MBA education has boosted his ability to make an impact in his career.
He cites the many group projects in Jenkins’ program that taught teamwork skills, the network he built and the hands-on experiences as particularly helpful.
“The real-world application, applying what you learned in specific situations, was invaluable,” says Moody, who has had marketing roles with Bandwidth, Gartner, GE Digital, Oracle, Red Hat, TOPO and other companies.
“At Jenkins, there were lots of projects that connected you to real brands and real challenges…versus just doing case studies and business reports.”
With a focus on supply chain as an MBA student, Moody worked with Bechtel and IBM through Poole’s Supply Chain Resource Cooperative and had an internship at SAS.
He benefited from the student diversity in his MBA classes. “That’s the best environment to really see what it’s like being in management because there are tons of different thought processes and experiences,” Moody says. He earned his undergraduate business degree at Poole College in 2005.
Among Moody’s most important takeaways from the MBA program? Skills in salary negotiation and interviewing, “some of the things you will literally use every time you switch jobs or move into a different role,” he notes.
When he moved into his role at Stax, he joined a company whose revenue has doubled each year. That opens up options for staff.
“There are infinite growth opportunities to help people find the right path for their career, which is not always the case with some companies,” says Moody, who works remotely in Raleigh, N.C., with frequent trips to Stax headquarters in Orlando, Fla.
Helping his team members find their right career paths motivates him in his work.
“I want to keep growing personally and professionally myself and find ways to help others grow in their careers. That’s an intrinsic motivator for me,” Moody says. “To watch marketing professionals do amazing things is extremely rewarding.”