We had the good fortune of connecting with Marissa (Reese) Wood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marissa (Reese), do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
My favorite saying is, “Do the right thing, all the time.” I like this saying because it focuses on short-term actions with long-term impact. I’m certainly not saying, “Don’t have a glass of wine” or “Don’t eat the extra piece of cake.” For me, this quote means that I can and should be encouraged to act in a way that is consistent with certain standards. When I take the long view of the impact of actions, rather than seeing each choice as an isolated choice, I’m true to myself and more wholehearted.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Marissa “Reese” Wood has more than twenty-five years of successful experience in both the technology industry and working with charitable organizations. Most recently, Reese has joined deepwatch as their VP of Product Strategy. Her role prior to deepwatch was serving as VP of Firefox Products for Mozilla. Previously, while Reese was president of an organization named Tabernus, it was named as one of Deloitte and Touche’s top 50 Fastest growing technical companies in Colorado. The company was later acquired for more than 15x valuation.
Reese’s impact on the technology market in Denver has been proven by her leadership efforts assisting in 1) the launch of one of Colorado’s most successful IPOs; company valuations that increased by more than 500% with her on the leadership team; and, 2) companies yielding annual growth of more than 60%, and the ongoing sustainability of various programs that Reese helped launched.
Her work experience has led her to serve clients representing a variety of industries including technology, communications, financial services, utility, retail, healthcare, insurance, mining, and cybersecurity. Reese has worked successfully with some of the best known Fortune 500 including Hewlett Packard, Seagate, IBM, Dell, Maxtor, Sony, Oracle, Newmont Mining, and others. Reese’s continued success also includes running her own consulting company, cybersecurity consulting, and managing entire program implementations for many large cross-organizational systems.
The charity organizations and boards that Reese has served on include IDEAS Worldwide, In the Looking Glass, Colorado Edge Soccer, Coaches Aid/ASBN, the Denver Rescue Mission, and others.
Reese’s LinkedIn profile says it best. “I’m a visionary executive who delivers the strategy and road maps that align enterprise goals, investments and capabilities with emerging markets and customer needs for high-tech companies. With the proven ability to develop and communicate clear direction and goals across functions, I partner with engineering, business and external stakeholders to sustain focus and achieve milestones.” In her own voice, “I hope that reads incredibly professional, but in everyday words, “I’m someone who has worked her ass off”. Some things I’m humbly proud of are coming from a small (formerly) mining community, working three jobs to put myself through college, double majoring, and navigating my way into the complicated world of high tech. At the time of my college graduation, I was only the second person in my family to graduate with a four-year degree. It was not easy. I remember asking my dad to buy me a mop for Christmas one year. He chastised me a little, not believing that a $10 mop could really impact my budget so severely. What he didn’t realize is that I was living on a $25 per week grocery budget and a $10 mop meant that I didn’t eat a few ramen meals that week. At that point in time a normal week for me looked like up at 5:30am for a workout, a 6:30am drive to work, 7am-3pm work day, 4-9pm school OR 4-9pm second job, 9pm -midnight study, third job on Saturday, and study all day Sunday. The beauty in this part of my story is that I learned perseverance.
When I started in the high tech industry, it was 80% men and only 20% women. I was fortunate to be surrounded by a large group of people who were incredibly supportive and helped me steer through adversity. However, that didn’t prevent me from experiencing all of the stereotypical challenges such as sexual harassment, being perceived as less smart, misogyny, greed, the ‘no girls allowed’ clubs, and sometimes soulless decisions. Through it all, I have learned that if you can persevere, hold true to your values, work hard, and focus on always learning the latest / greatest thing, your work will pay off. You get what you give and I’ve given a lot. And never forget to give back.
I cannot emphasize enough how strongly I feel about two things which are giving back to the world and giving back to yourself. Blessed people bless people and (not to sound like Spiderman!) but there is a great responsibility with success – find a way to help others succeed. However you do this, do it with both gratitude and a sincere heart. Give back to yourself too. Paraphrasing Brene Brown, “every whole hearted person has a creative outlet.” Paint, play music, carve wood, but just do something to give back to yourself.
One of the questions I was asked for this interview is, “what do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?” My simple reply was, “I don’t need the world to know about me. I’m just trying to be a good person and when someone needs my help, they get it.” However, when I told my friends that was my answer, they said I should share the following: “Reese’s greatest happiness is being loved by her sons.” “Don’t ask Reese to do something and then be surprised by how hard she works to get it done. Also, get in her way at your own risk.” “Reese has the ability to see the potential in any situation and the determination to bring it to fruition. She has an amazing wicked sense of humor that brings joy to all those around her while she is making us all feel good about working hard.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh Colorado! So many beautiful and amazing things to see in my home state. If my best friend had a week to spend with me doing all the things I love, it would be a week of outdoor activities and just as much relaxation. I’m a big fan of snowboarding and we would spend a couple of days at my favorite resorts like Vail and Beaver Creek. After hitting the incredible slopes during the day, we would enjoy a fun evening listening to great music at The Red Lion Inn in downtown Vail. Many locals and lots of tourists frequent this fun ‘sing-a-long’ bar and restaurant. I love it. We would spend an evening enjoying a concert at the best venue in the world, Red Rocks Amphitheatre followed by enjoying a day in Colorado Springs at all the tourist sites that I love such as Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods. The day would end with dinner at the Broadmoor. Some of my favorite hidden restaurant gems that are a ‘must eat at’ during our trip are the Butterhorn Bakery in Frisco — to die for! — Casa Blanca, a small family owned Mexican restaurant in Leadville (tell the owners I sent you – they are my brother in law’s family!), New Terrain Brewing Company in Golden, Malone’s and the Das Meyer Bakery in Arvada. A must stop in our week long trip would be Mount Princeton in Buena Vista (pronounced BUE-knee by locals). Love the food, the hot springs, and the town. There are such kind and happy people, everywhere you look. And, of course, we would have to do some hiking or cross country skiing in the winter or white water rafting in the summer.
We would then journey to what I believe is the most beautiful place in the state, Ouray. It has amazing ice climbing and hiking. After a day of those adventures, we would make the short drive to Pagosa Springs and yes, hot springs it is again! Heading back to Golden and then making a day trip up to Boulder, we would spend a day at the Pearl Street Mall and make a side trip to the Celestial Tea factory. This factory trip is both surprisingly insightful and incredibly enjoyable. I love the story of the company and how it has stayed so true to its roots, even with it’s incredible growth. Ending our week, we would make the drive up to Estes Park and take in both the town and Rocky Mountain National Park. I love to just drive around the park, find a cool trail, jump out, do a hike, and repeat. We always end our days with a trip to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and a fun ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout! These are some of (but not limited to) the most amazing people in my life. So big thanks to these folks for making me who I am: Deana Horchner and Jody Welsch – you have showed me what it truly means to be wholly loved for who I am; Joe Hildebrand – for being a true friend, mentor, and active listener – all the time; Mike Miller and Brad Heykoop – your partnership, belief, encouragement, and friendship has changed my entire life; Tiffany Herron, Natha Robertson, and Randy Starr – the very best friends I could ask for, continually challenging, hearing, and supporting me; Matthew Roberts – lifelong “yin to my yang” – always bringing things into a beautiful light in a new way; Shaun Wood – you made me whole and I love you madly; and my amazing sons, Zachary and Joshua Morris – for being my living heart outside of my body. I never knew I could love and want to protect anyone so fiercely until you boys were born. You make me so proud and reflect all that is good in me. You have all helped shape me into who I am and I’m so grateful for each of you. Thank you. I love you more than you could possibly know.
When not working or volunteering, Reese can be found enjoying all of the outdoor activities that the great Rocky Mountains have to offer alongside her husband and twin 16-year old boys.