Employee Spotlight: Head of Acquisition Dainora Žalpytė
We decided to have a short interview with our superstar employee, Dainora Žalpytė. She started at Atlas VPN as an Influencer Marketing Team Lead and moved up to Head of User Acquisition within a span of one year.
She shines brightly due to her intelligence, creativity, and positive mindset, which has helped Atlas VPN reach new heights.
That is why we decided to pick her brain with some questions. Don’t worry, it’s not a dry, business-only interview. We included casual, day-to-day questions to lighten up the conversation.
Hopefully, our readers will enjoy learning from someone who has been pivotal in the growth of Atlas VPN.
Could you give a short bio of yourself?
Since high school, I have been pretty determined to become a journalist. While studying, I started working as a TV journalist for a national broadcaster, but then I switched to the PR industry. That was a radical change, but I will always be proud of my journalism degree as it gave me a solid foundation and skills I can use in everyday life, such as public speaking, research, and reporting.
Moving forward a few years ahead, while graduating with my management master’s degree, the whole influencer marketing thing started booming. PewDiePie, Kardashians, and other people-celebrities changed the definition of “famous” and the whole marketing industry as well. I was fast to jump on that train 6 years ago and started working as an influencer marketing manager at a gaming company. Then, after three years, I joined the Atlas VPN team—honestly, I couldn’t be happier about this decision.
At the same time, I am a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences, where I share my findings and knowledge with the younger generation.
What led you to work in the marketing field in general?
When I started my first job in marketing, I didn’t have any educational background in marketing to support me. Yet, influencer advertising was a field to which I felt attracted. The enthusiasm and wide-open eyes led me to learn everything there is to know about the industry. I’d like to encourage anyone who feels they are not the best fit for their current job—if you are truly interested in one or another field, you can get there. All of us have more than enough access to online educational resources, so strong determination is the only quality one needs.
What does your day-to-day work look like?
As a Head of User Acquisition, I spend my mornings checking the key metrics of the previous day—conversion rates, sales, ROAS, etc. Then I have check-ins with my team where we discuss upcoming plans. Of course, a lot of problem-solving is involved at this stage. Then, I have my alone time to think about scaling strategies and unlocking new channels. There are also periods where we brainstorm new ideas, run tests, and experiment with different marketing approaches.
What’s the one thing you’ve accomplished in your career that you’re most proud of?
It is definitely the team. Building a well-functioning team from scratch is challenging, but it’s one of the most critical tasks for every manager. I am very excited to see the whole process of junior managers taking their very first steps in the marketing field, turning into experts in their niche who can take full ownership of million-dollar tasks and ideas’
On top of that, I’m proud that our team’s revenue grew by, on average, 124% for the last three quarters in a row.
Could you name a role model who has inspired you in your career?
I don’t have one. I took something from every manager I had in various roles I worked in throughout my career. I was always thinking, “What would I do in his/her shoes? Is it the right thing to behave like this? How could he/she handle the situation differently?” I was always evaluating it in my mind, and that’s how I created the image of the manager I would like to be.
What are the top traits that you look for in an employee? How do you determine if they have those traits? Is it an intuitive or logical process?
I always look for persistent, flexible, ambitious, and passionate people. It’s difficult to determine these traits during a job interview, so in many cases, you just have to trust your gut. People are full of surprises, but I have found that being very clear about your expectations helps avoid mismatches.
Could you share the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
“Show up fully” is the advice that comes to mind now. That means don’t dwell on the past, don’t daydream about the future, but concentrate on the present moment. Just be engaged 100% in what you do, or don’t do it at all.
Let’s move on to some lighter questions. Do you have a process for turning a bad day into a good one? If so, what’s it like?
Yes, it’s a combination of a warm shower, comfort food, and a long walk in nature. It should be done in this exact order, and it always works! Also, it is a good thought exercise to ask yourself, “Is this day really that bad?” spoiler alert—usually, it is not.
Could you tell us an interesting story or a fact that most people don’t know about you?
During my last year in high school, I decided to work at a restaurant as a bartender. It was a fancy restaurant, so every detail had to be perfect. I was personally unable to master coffee making. Even though I attended several workshops, I couldn’t handle the way the coffee machine works. It may seem simple to onlookers, but the actual process is quite complex. It was the third day for me as a bartender when a very famous local food critic came and ordered a coffee to finish his meal. I was trying so hard, but obviously not hard enough—he brought the coffee back after the first sip and wrote a review highlighting that it was the worst coffee of his life, so he would never recommend anyone visiting this place. Guess what? The restaurant closed down in 6 months.
There are two takeaways I got from this experience—you have to admit you can’t be good at everything, and you always need your team to back you up in critical situations.
Thank you for taking the time, Dainora.