18 Trailblazers Share Bold Advice You Need to Hear Right Now 

Headshot of Heide Palermo

It can feel daunting to get out of your comfort zone, try new things, and make the bold plays to reach new heights in your career. We have spoken to 50+ trailblazing women from across the industry who have reached the CMO level and beyond by being confident, taking risks and making their own rules.

Here, we share some of the best and boldest pieces of advice for women to help kickstart the new year with a bang. For more tips from top women leaders, be sure to explore the Survival Guide for Women Marketers and advice on combatting stigmas and stereotypes.

For the Self-Doubter

“I always tell my kids that confidence is 90% of being successful in anything, and I think that applies at work as well. Believe in yourself, your ability to do the job, and to overdeliver. I also think it’s important to play to your strengths and to focus on what you do better than anyone else.” Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer, WWE

“People need to believe in themselves, forgive themselves for not being perfect and do what you love–it sounds trite, but it really does make a difference.” Aimée Lapic, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, GoPro

“Don’t be afraid to take the head of the table if you are the leader.” Nadine Karp McHugh, President, SeeHer

For the Timid One

“If you are facing a tough challenge that scares you, and you’re not sure if you can do it…then take it on. The worst that can happen is that you’ll fail. And if that happens, you’ll have learned some invaluable lessons and gained some courage–both of which will serve you well in the future!” Singleton Beato, Chief Diversity and Engagement Officer, McCann

“I want to live a life without regret and that requires the bravery to jump, even when you’re not sure the net is there. I hope we can all do that. Ask for the raise. Go for the stretch job (even if you don’t have all the experience just yet). Push past the fear of not having “enough” experience/time/worth to achieve the next step in your career RIGHT NOW.” Bozoma Saint John, CMO, Netflix

“Dare to be different! As a young girl my father would always encourage me to not only be comfortable being different but also actively seek opportunities to forge my own path and do things on my terms. This advice has served me well and given me the confidence to trust my instincts and hear my own voice louder than any others. You can courageously take the road less traveled and that is so freeing.” Dalana Brand, VP of People Experience and Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Twitter

For the One Who Puts Work First

“I encourage women and men to have a defined personal brand and be consistent in how you deliver it. It’s so important to constantly sharpen your skills and to find ways to differentiate yourself from others. …By finding ways to share your voice and point of view, you’ll further strengthen that skill set which will ultimately help your personal brand.” Alicia Tillman, Global CMO, SAP

“You need a brand.” I realized I’d been focusing entirely on my creative work and not at all on my career. So, I learned to be more of a participant in the industry, to work the room a little more instead of waiting for good things to come to me. I’d advise every creative to do the same.’ Margaret Johnson, Chief Creative Officer at Goodby Silverstein & Partners

For the Hesitant One

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions or communicate your ideas. Sometimes in certain rooms, there may be feelings of hesitancy but push through that and step forward. Nothing is more important than having confidence in your abilities and acting as if you belong, because you do.” Jill Gregory, CMO, NASCAR

@heidefaith heide.palermo@adweek.com Heide is the senior director of brand community at Adweek and Editor of the Inside the Brand series, including the CMO Moves and Gen ZEOs podcasts, Innovators, Challengers, and Women Trailblazers. She also leads Adweek's Innovators Council.
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