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Women Of The C-Suite: “Never sacrifice your integrity — not even once” With Lisa Marino, CEO of RockYou Media

“Never sacrifice your integrity — not even once — it’s the only thing you take with you in your career.”


“Never sacrifice your integrity — not even once — it’s the only thing you take with you in your career.”


I had the pleasure to interview Lisa Marino, the CEO of social gaming company, RockYou Media

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I started my career as an investment banker and this pivot to digital media and publishing has been complete serendipity. My passion is fixing broken business models and industries using math and my investment banking background has been invaluable in my current endeavor to build a better, more resilient and profitable media company.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This mistake is funny 20 years later but definitely not at the time! When I was a third year investment banking analyst positioning myself for promotion, we were doing a buy-side deal and simultaneously working on a sell-side assignment for two competitors in the technology space. I broke two horrible rules in a 5 minute span:

I sent the wrong financial model to each of the competitors, which was compounded by the fact that I used REAL company names vs code names. It was a disaster because both competitors were publicly traded companies. Fortunately, I had an understanding boss because I could have easily been fired on the spot. Instead, I was still promoted and learned a really valuable lesson.

It’s important to always follow the rules, pay attention to details and don’t take shortcuts.

What you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

RockYou Media’s adaptability and resourcefulness sets it apart from other digital media companies. We’ve been around 12 years and have evolved three different media models over the course of that time, all while remaining profitable. It’s so hard to do and most people would give up, but you can’t because teams, families and our audience depend on us to succeed.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are a pretty acquisitive company and are always on the lookout for deals that would compliment our growing roster of brands. Our goal is to fix a very broken media industry one deal at a time so consumers can continue to enjoy the content and brands they know and love.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

As I tell my favorite mentee, my daughter: work hard, be smart, and above all, suck it up. Leading and building a company is very, very hard and not for the faint of heart.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

  • As a leader, it’s not about you — it’s about all those you serve as a leader. For me, it’s the families we help feed worldwide every month.
  • Never sacrifice your integrity — not even once — it’s the only thing you take with you in your career.
  • Be clear on vision and goals.
  • Listen because no one has all the answers.
  • Be accountable so you can hold others to the same standard.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My husband. We have worked together three times over the last 20 years, including when I started at RockYou. He holds me accountable as a leader more than anyone despite him no longer being at the company.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Quality education access to all despite economic situation, race, gender. I grew up a poor Hispanic whose parents barely graduated high school let alone went to college. I did not know what a quality education looked like or how to evaluate and measure the schooling I was being given. I didn’t even really know I was smart until much later in life. Despite my educational pedigree, I had horrible confidence issues until my late 30’s and I questioned my qualifications.

Given the above, I’m passionate about fixing the public school systems. Despite having so many teachers who truly care about their students, the current state public education is in dire need of improvement and community support.

My hope is for my next chapter after RockYou, is working to create change in the education system. It’s so critical to our future.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“We are playing chess not checkers”

It has so many valuable connotations and applications to life in that one phrase.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Originally published at medium.com

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