Meet the Next Gen Builder: Sarah Franklin, Lattice CEO

Join Francois Ajenstat, host of the Next Gen Builders podcast, as he discovers how Lattice’s Sarah Franklin took her career to the next level.

May 30, 2024
Brynn Haynam
Brynn Haynam
Sr. Director, Brand Marketing
Next Gen Builders Episode 1 "IC to the C-suite" featuring Sarah Franklin, CEO of Lattice

Early in her career, Sarah Franklin wanted more than anything to climb the corporate ladder and shatter the glass ceiling. But it wasn’t until she embraced doing what she loved that her career took off.

“When you do that, all of the money, success, everything will follow,” Sarah says. “Most importantly…you'll be happy in your job and that is something that money cannot buy.”

Sarah, now CEO at people management platform Lattice, shares her hard-won lessons in the inaugural episode of our new podcast Next Gen Builders, now available on all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Hosted by product executive Francois Ajenstat, Next Gen Builders is a master class in innovation. The podcast explores topics such as product-led growth, venture capital investment trends, and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence—from the perspective of industry-leading builders who’ve found success.

From individual contributor to c-suite

In this first episode, Sarah reflects on a career trajectory that started with a chemical engineering degree and took her to the upper echelons of the tech industry, and the insights she’s learned along the way. She shares her secret for turning detractors into followers, the advice she’d give her younger self, and how she leans into her goals even when people say “no.”

“The most dangerous thing that you can ever do to me is tell me ‘no,’” Sarah says. “If you tell me ‘no,’ I'm like, O.K., game on, game on. You use that as motivation.”

And she talks about that pivotal “no” moment that took her career to the next level.

Becoming a trailblazer

Before coming up with the famous Trailblazer campaign that would catapult her career, Sarah left the Salesforce job she loved in search of a bigger title and pay. Despite finding both, she realized she wasn’t fulfilled and returned to the company, putting aside her ambitions for the opportunity to work on her passion: Trailhead, a platform for Salesforce administrators.

Though the Trailblazers campaign may seem like an instant success now, Sarah’s initial work was met with less-than-enthusiastic reactions, including from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. She shares the story of the “manifesto” she fired off to Marc in hopes of turning things around—a move that eventually resulted in a major brand overhaul and became the catalyst for her career growth. Before moving to Lattice, she would become Salesforce’s president and chief marketing officer.

There have been hurdles along the way.

When it comes to the “oh sh*t moments” Francois asks all our guests about, Sarah acknowledges she’s “had too many of these to count.” But she says it’s what comes after those moments that matter most.

“What you do in the face of failure is just what you do in the face of fear: You’re honest, with it. You accept it. You're accountable for it,” she reflects. “I think accountability is the most important thing ever. You say, ‘I did this wrong. I will do this differently next time. I apologize.’ And people then either have a choice to move on or move away and you have to respect that choice.”

Tune in to Sarah’s story

Listen to our first Next Gen Builders episode to learn more about how Sarah made her way to the c-suite—including the risks she took early on and the pitfalls she faced along the way.

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About the Author
Brynn Haynam
Brynn Haynam
Sr. Director, Brand Marketing
Brynn Haynam is a brand builder who's always had a passion for the intersection of art and data, and for building world-class creative teams. Before Amplitude, Brynn built and led a brand team at Medallia and helped grow the business from startup to a publicly traded company.