Velo3D Employee Spotlight: Renette Youssef – Chief Marketing Officer

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Interviews

Building a brand, a high-functioning marketing team, helping take a company public, and a quick trip to the New York Stock Exchange may sound like a lot, but it’s all part of the job for Velo3D Chief Marketing Officer, Renette Youssef.

We recently chatted with Renette to talk about her role as Velo3D CMO, including her fascinating journey from SaaS marketing to the fast-paced world of additive manufacturing.

Tell our readers a little bit about your background.

I went to university in Australia and was the first person in my family to graduate. I did a degree in communications, which also included professional writing, public relations, and I did a sub major in marketing.

Was it always your plan to use your skills in the tech industry?

Not really. My first job was a marketing assistant in tech. That was by accident. I just applied for as many entry-level marketing jobs that I could to get my foot in the door. I’ve now been working in tech for 20+ years. I’ve worked in Australia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and now the US.

How long have you been at Velo3D and what brought you to the company?

October will be two years at Velo3D. I got approached by an executive recruiter in San Francisco who had previously placed me at a tech company. He calls me and pitches the position, and I literally told him he was crazy. What do I know about manufacturing? What do I know about hardware? I didn’t think it was a good fit.

Then he talked to me about how [Velo3D CEO Benny Buller] wanted someone with a background in SaaS because he wanted to take the company in a different direction. That got me excited. The prospect of repositioning and learning about the hurdles and challenges that Benny was facing made me much more interested in the role.

Then I met Benny, and I have to say, 30 minutes before the call I was still doing research. I went downstairs to my husband and said, “Oh my god, I want to cancel [the meeting]”. It just didn’t sound like a good fit.

My husband says take the call; you never know. I took the call, and when I went back downstairs to tell him about it, I was just jumping off the wall. The role sounded exciting, and I remember saying to Benny at the end of the interview that I was much more interested that I thought I’d be. His response was: “Because you understand it now. When you understand something, it becomes interesting.” That stuck with me ever since.

You mentioned working in the tech industry prior to joining Velo3D. Which tech sectors did you work in, and did you have a favorite?

I’ve worked in a bunch. I’ve done data science. I’ve done education. And I’ve done purchase to pay and procurement. Those are the three big ones, and I would have to say that data science was my favorite because AI and machine learning fascinate me

What about your role at Velo3D – can you tell me a little bit about your day-to-day?

My day-to-day is a lot of working with my team, unblocking things, reviewing campaigns, and ensuring we are on message and that the team are performing the best they can. I also work with the sales leaders to make sure we have the right number of qualified leads in the funnel and that our funnel is optimized to meet our commercial goals.

Another major part of my role is being our brand advocate or brand custodian. Making sure that we always present ourselves in a manner that’s in keeping with our values.

Looking ahead a little, what would you say is your primary focus in the next 6-12 months?

Our sites are firmly set on growth in Europe, Japan, and Australia. How do we do what we’re doing in the US with the same number of people but do so effectively in these new territories? Even though we’ve established a lot of credibility in the US, we need to approach these new countries differently. It’s a lot of researching and planning and figuring out the best way to tailor our campaigns and messages to these new markets in a way that will resonate and meet their unique needs.

How would you describe the culture at Velo3D?

Very interesting! There are no egos but there are so many smart people. And people who are patient. I didn’t know additive when I joined but nobody stuck their nose up when I would sit in executive meetings and share my input. Everyone was so welcoming to new opinions and thoughts. People here will do anything for their teammates. We’re all rallying around the same goals. We have this open culture where people genuinely care about each other, and everyone wants to get the job done without any egos.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work?

A big part is just seeing what everybody’s doing, producing, and achieving. I also really believe in Velo3D’s mission and vision to disrupt the industry and become the number one AM provider. I really want to help make that a reality.

I’m also motivated by the challenges we’re facing in new markets. It’s my next big project. When I joined my main focus was to put a marketing structure and strategy in place. Then it was focusing on the brand and the SPAC. The next big thing is how do we become a global company?

What in your opinion differentiates Velo3D from other additive manufacturing solutions?

I love that we are disrupting additive. We’re delivering on the promise of additive. We are this new kid on the block. The new guard ruffling the feathers of the old guard. We’re setting the standard for what additive is, which is getting customers the parts that they want without having to redesign for additive.

What has been your favorite project so far?

The SPAC, De-SPAC, and working with Benny and [Velo3D CFO Bill McCombe) on the value proposition, meeting all the investors, and pitching. I had just started, and it was just three of us. We didn’t have the team we have now. And then the process of going public and of course the actual day at the New York Stock Exchange—that was amazing, and it was all in my first 6 months!

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

That I’ve traveled to more than 35 countries and some of them I’ve been to four or five times. When I lived in Denmark and presented my passport at customs, they thought I’d put it in the wash because it was so worn out and there were no pages left to stamp.

What do you like to do for fun? Any interesting hobbies?

I enjoy hanging out with my husband Brian and our fur baby Henry. I also travel a lot and compete in fitness competitions. I’m nationally qualified, which means I can compete on a national stage and even turn pro if I wanted to.

When I’m not doing fitness it’s a lot of going out to new restaurants and cooking big meals at home and entertaining. I love French fine dining because it’s a lot like theater. I also love to cook things that take a long time, like slow roasts, things you can nurture for hours.

That’s all our questions—thanks for chatting with us, Renette!

You’re welcome!

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About the Author

Amir Iliaifar

Sr. Content Marketing Manager

Amir Iliaifar is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Velo3D where he oversees the production and distribution of Velo3D’s global digital content marketing initiatives. Prior to joining the company, Amir worked for a leading professional drone manufacturer, several SaaS companies, and as an automotive tech journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Digital Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.