Dalia Asterbadi

Dalia Asterbadi

Founder and CEO
Toronto, Canada
Dalia Asterbadi
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Dalia Asterbadi is a relentless problem solver. She has not been short of experience and achievement and began to prove her merit as early as when she was 8 years old, when she submitted her first marketing plan, managed a non--profit event at 12, led a team of marketers in one of Canada’s best managed companies at 24 and was a Director at a Publicly traded company at 25. All before founding her first company with her sisters in the green space of Software as a Service (SaaS) when they would refer to it as ‘rental software’ leading to its global market share of non--profit customers for communication and membership management. A systems engineer by trade, Dalia transitioned into sales and marketing, where she was a pioneer in technology--driven marketing communications and sales analytics. Dalia’s unique leadership and skills in the high--tech industry lead her to be recognized by different associations to consult and strategize on ROI, customer retention, and customer segmentation. Dalia has published several papers on dynamic customer segmentation, funnel response and is the author of several books including a contribution to “Making it in High Heels” and her latest “The 31 Immutable Plays of Prospecting: The Truth Behind a Winning Culture and Bridging the Gap between Sales and Marketing”. Today, Dalia is working on a new company, realSociable, focused on social insight for deeper engagement with customers. She calls this new value--driven approach the next phase of sales and marketing automation – Perpetual Prospecting. She is helping companies achieve greater sales capacity without process by simply becoming intuitive to engagement opportunities provided by her platform and breaking down the methods and innate characteristics of modern--era business. She claims its getting back to basics with new skills and selling the NEW old fashioned way. Customers who have worked with Dalia include HP, Vodafone, Microsoft, Cisco, Salesforce.com and more including wealth management organizations. Dalia is an inspiring entrepreneur who defies odds in a male--driven industry and has many thoughts on changing this status quo – rather than focusing on issues, she collaborates with organizations such as Camp Enterprise to provide a gateway for young people to develop interest in technology and entrepreneurship. She is a long-time volunteer of Rotary International. **Below are the words of a colleague, Laura James, who's daughter decided to study engineering. Beautiful and hope it can inspire you! "1. Engineers have to work with teams - which is frustrating so they learn to cope with disagreement and conflict easier than others - if they change to any other career, they can quickly rise the ranks and lead a team as they are used to doing it. 2. Engineers learn logic and critical thought processes (i.e. math & feedback loop) in tandem with creative soft skills (imagination). 3. Engineers know more about the world... not because they studied about it, per se, but because they use language that most of us do not understand (without a science / math background). i.e. they can watch a show about pyramids and understand the minutia of what is being shared. Thereby seeming more intelligent than others, even though they can tend to be at a loss when it comes to some basic life skills that many others have (i.e. communication or the arts or pop culture). 4. Engineers have to get past a lot of drab bullshit in order to get to the good stuff - not just in university, but in every project etc. - they learn patience and how to have vision for the final product --- not only can they see the rainbow at the end of the down pore, they can see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, whiles others are stuck complaining about the rain. 5. Engineers skills are all easily transferable to virtually any field. They are invaluable and instantly demand a higher pay scale, which earns them more respect -- moving them more organically but quickly up the ranks -- thereby learning faster and adapting to new challenges. 6. Engineers are lonely in their intelligence so they stick together and support each other. They know stuff that 90% of the population doesn't know so they have a sub-culture of their own and they support one another. They have a deep respect for the work that others have achieved because they know how difficult it was for them to achieve in their pursuits. 7. Engineers are geeks. They don't want to know surface stuff... they want the details... they need to know it all or it makes them crazy. This is a valuable trait for any employer... knowing they can leave someone to a task (even if its' to fix the coffee machine) and have them dig in and get all the facts and then come up with a useful solution. 8. Engineers aren't naturals at business, per se, but they are instantly respected which is half the battle. 9. Engineers have a right of passage... the ring. Another bonding mechanism that helps them stay true to each other. 10. Engineers make money early in their career, thereby allowing them to pursue personal dreams or have leverage in another job for higher pay etc."
  • I am willing to serve as a sponsor or coach for an engineering club or team.
  • I am willing to be contacted about potential job shadowing by interested students.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Dalia Asterbadi


Thank you for the question, and the kind words.

You are almost at a wonderful milestone with graduating.  I love how you want to build robots and be in business - in fact, there are so many incredible female founders & CEO's who are pioneering wearable technology and other 'connected things'.  My suggestion is to consider drilling down to some of the roles in both robotics and business you want to get into- as it may help compliment a balance.

I personally did Systems Engineering and minored in Business & Economics.  For me my passion was large-scale system design, neural networking/AI technology complimented with operational modelling and economics, specifically micro-economics.  What this did for me is give me a wider spectrum of domain knowledge that I was able to reflect on as I started my career.

My father, who is my mentor and also an engineer amongst being one of the pioneers in software over 50 years ago, always said a wise thing when I was in your position many years ago.  He said it really doesn't matter what you study, just make sure it is something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone and there is passion for the challenge.  

Engineering is a challenging, yet rewarding discipline that gives you the opportunity to expand your way of thinking, develop logic and other problem solving skills, and because it's demanding on your focus and commitment it gives you the platform to develop a skill set early in life that will help you persevere, remain dedicated, and have a creative approach to solving problems.  These are the characteristics you need to carve your path in the Robotics & Leadership roles you aspire to accomplish.

Based on the universities you are considering, there may be joint programs or have different names for certain programs.  I would recommend you consider the following degrees:
Systems Engineering or Systems Design Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Software Engineering (where an embedded specialization is available)
Mechatronics Engineering
Computing & Electrical Engineering

Hope this helps, and feel free to reach out again if you have any questions or want to discuss in detail.

Enjoy the journey, Shereen!

Best Regards,

Hi Morgan,
My apologies for the delayed response.  I hope this has not placed a deficit on your decision making. First of all, Kudos on your recent graduation and beginning a career.  I can see your concern, and also want to emphasize your first 5 years is imperative when it comes to building your unique differentiation in the marketplace.

The important thing that I am reading here is you need to see if you are generally interested in the industry, the culture and the possibilities it will provide for you in the future.  You also have to honestly ask yourself is this an industry with a sales process and market landscape that fits with a marketing mix I am comfortable developing and possibly disrupting, or will this be a hindrance to your ability to execute the key skills you have acquired over the years.

If I were in your position, I would ask for more then a conviction to grow or budget, when they say do whatever it takes, try to assess the 'scorecard' by which this will be measured.  I have developed some key tools that help me position the true influence I can bring to an early stage or high growth organization.

I think there is some positive opportunity for you and since this is the path less travelled, you can find a sweet spot for yourself, and you just have to make sure it aligns with what your passion is and what you are comfortable holding yourself accountable to.

I will be publishing my book, which is exactly the tools and approach to developing a pragmatic approach to aligning sales and marketing with focus on results - you can get a preview here www.playsofprospecting.com 

I am more than happy to setup a skype call if you like, you can reach me at asterradalia or on twitter @d_asterra, we can try to carve out 30 minutes if you like and help you position a framework and some methods of evaluating Pros vs Cons. (I am an engineer girl afterall! And everything has a feedback and forecast in some ways :) )

Hope this helps, and enjoy it - you are in a beautiful place and a pivotal moment in your life, so don't put too much pressure on yourself, just try to focus on what matters and how it can carve a path in the long term.

Best, and Good Luck

Hi Olivia,

Thank you for your note! I am thrilled to hear the conviction and the will to pursue your passion and your dreams.  Nobody has the power over your learning and pursuit. 

Funny you ask about my transition, it was really driven out of a need to change a function and I slowly made influence and stride.  I also became more aware of the metrics and the motivations in sales and marketing and began to focus on making small yet noticeable changes. As an engineer who was focused on analytics and feedback, I saw a huge gap in sales and marketing tactics and took on small projects until it was recognized - this created a demand for my skills and the rest is history!  

I studied systems engineering - I knew I wanted to be in the tech industry, and remain to be.  Think of where you want to be and use that to help connect your interests with your future goals. As an example, Chemical Engineering transitioning into Pharmaceutical sales or Environmental Engineering transitioning to a founder of new sustainable 'green' products.  Although I will say, it is not always coupled, and you may have the benefit of cross integrating your engineering background into a new industry and influence the future!  

Here are two thoughts I will leave with you;
1. Discipline - Engineering is an academic path that requires hard work dedication and vigor to persevere.  When you apply this at a young age, you don't realize this in school, but your ability to manage complex situations as you transition in your career becomes better and easier.

2. Passion - There is no substitute for passion and that is the ingredient for a relentless pursuit.  Believe in yourself and make sure your passion helps you along the way.

Kudos to you for starting the process as a freshman, I am certain you will have an incredible journey!  Feel free to get in touch and get ready, it will be a fast, bumpy and a super awesome ride! :)

I look forward to hearing about your progress in the near future.

Hi Ashley,

Thank you for reaching out and connecting!  The question re: why I pursued engineering is a loaded, yet great question.  First of all, I believe mathematics and science are the fundamentals behind any discipline, even something as non obvious such as Law, literature etc.  In high school, I enjoyed math very much, and had good influence through mentors who had engineering backgrounds so I saw it as a solid and challenging academic fit for me.  I was really young before attending university and I knew it was imperative to find a discipline that challenged me - and also left the doors open such as business, law or medicine. Since I was young, I knew my ability to pick something was less constructive, yet I was aware that it would impact me for the rest of life.

Here is my Motto that may help: If you can do something well, with what you like - Imagine what you can do with what you love!"

Now here is what is amazing and so much fun, Ashley!  Engineering was a great foundation and gave me a boost in the field of interest I had in Technology.  As I transitioned from technical roles to business, the skills I had were prevalent or practice at all in the sales and marketing domain.  So the relentless problem solver that I am, something Engineering taught me!,  I was able to do some amazing things with technology-driven marketing techniques and because these skills were so rare - it catapulted my career and allowed me to work with amazing companies not only to influence their growth, it also gave me an accelerated path to management not to mention a great income. (for my age, at the time, I was likely making 3x the average person was in that field)  When you know the basic principles and can build a discipline of hard work, logic and system design - anything is possible!

Hope this helps you and if you ever want to connect one-on-one, I would be very happy to do so.  It may not be for everyone, and it is not the only path that can lead you to creativity, growth and passion, it is the path I took and thankful for.

Speak soon,