Passionate. Humble. Relentless. These are a few of the words that come to mind (and have also been used to describe him) when it comes to Artsy CMO, Everette Taylor. Before taking on his latest CMO role at the young age of 30, Everette had already built up quite the life story to tell and perhaps this is what fuels his incredible storytelling skills. From being broke and homeless at age 17 to then launching several successful businesses of his own, Everette brings many diverse skills to the CMO role that are serving him well as he tackles the unchartered territory of expanding art accessibility for all.
Everette Taylor. You’ve likely heard his name before given he's everywhere. Not just one of the youngest CMOs, but the underdog, who has amassed 250 thousand followers on Twitter over the years from just being his unique self. “I think I tapped into something, especially within a certain group of people–the underdogs, the people that aren't supposed to be here, the people that don't fit into a certain model of what is expected. I was in a space in Silicon Valley and the tech world where there weren’t really people that look like me. I didn't have a Stanford MBA. I didn't go to boarding school. I came from the hood, ‘I got it out the mud,’ as we say in Virginia. I did whatever I had to [do] and hustled...to get to where I am.”
With all his skills geared up and ready to go, Everette humbly shares that becoming a CMO requires a completely different set of skills than just marketing. Leadership, which is “hard” and takes incredible discipline, patience and humility. Acknowledging that his CEO “took a risk” when hiring Everette, Everette shares openly some of the areas that he’s leaning into now. “Being in a CMO position, you're a leader. And so you feel this need to be perfect and look like nothing bad happens to you. But I think humanizing yourself, especially to your team…is so important. Like ‘hey, I had a rough week last week…hey, we didn't do well on this, but we're going to come together and acknowledge that.’ Humanizing yourself is so important in that. I think trying to live up to this perfect image really weighs on that mental health.”
So how does his CEO feel about him now? Clearly no regrets as Everette continues to drive incredible growth, both for Artsy, and his team.
Tune in and hear more about Everette’s journey up the ranks in the marketing world, why he feels like LeBron when it comes to career fulfillment, and how his personal experiences flash 2044 as his future big move to drive societal change. Jeff Bezos, get ready for that phone call.
The Underdog Tips for Success
Possess Chief Optimal Confidence
"I'm always coming up with new ideas and things that I'm passionate about or want to chase. I've been lucky in my career to actually be able to manifest those things and actually act on them. Whether [it’s] trying to be an entrepreneur or trying to pursue a marketing career–most people have dreams and ideas [but they] just don't go after them. A lot of people suffer from imposter syndrome, especially women and people of color and people that come from different backgrounds. That's something that they struggle with and I've never let that stop me from chasing myself. I have the chief optimal confidence in myself. Always."
Embrace the CEO-CMO Working Relationship
"Being successful or achieving success, doesn't make you…this cocky person. If I was the smartest person in the room, I probably shouldn't be there. I have so much to learn. When I took this role at Artsy, I was a 30 year old CMO, the only black executive at the company, [and] the youngest executive by far. And I knew that I was going there not only to make an impact, but also I still had a shit ton to learn. And that's why I love my CEO. That relationship between the CMOs and CEO is so important. He really took that chance and also is investing in me… I think that he would say that he was right about all the things that he believed in and he was also right on the things that I need to work on. I'm humble about that. I know that I bring a lot to the table, but I also know that there's so much that I need to improve on as a CMO, as a leader. And I appreciate that patience and I think he would say that he made the right decision and the right investment and it's paying off. And I appreciate him for that."
Build a Team Better Than You
"I think one mistake that a lot of young marketers specifically make is that they think that being the best marketer makes you the best CMO. It's not true. You are a great CMO if there's somebody on your team that's better at something than you. That's a great CMO. That's talent, recruitment, development of talent, the humility to know that there's someone that's an expert at something [and] is better than you and putting that faith in people. I used to think that being a CMO meant that you were the best at all these and that's not the case. There's so much else that goes into being a leader. The advice I would give people–understand that it's not about being the best at a particular skillset, but being the best leader. Really instilling confidence and great culture, bringing diversity, and being able to work and function well within a matrix organization. These are the things you just have to learn [and] can't read about this on the internet. Like…how to do Facebook ads."
"[Leadership] is extremely tough. There's a lot of politics that go along with it. There's a lot of egos and managing egos and managing your own ego. It's tough. It's something that I'm working towards every single day. But I'll say this–I'm in it for the right reasons. I care about my team. I care about my brand and my company. I just want to do right by my people and my customers. And I think if you have that mentality, that if you're genuinely doing it and have that type of selflessness, things will work out. You just have to continue to stay humble and have that mindset."
Take Good Care of Yourself and Your Team
"If you're not right mentally and emotionally, you're going to start to crumble and it's going to start to affect your work [and] your happiness. I've been my most creative when I'm in a good positive space. It's so important for C level execs and employees, in general, within a company to really invest in their mental health because it's going to take you so much further.
How to take care of your mental health:
- Number one: have a kick ass therapist. In the black community, mental health is something that is difficult. I grew up in a neighborhood where [people said] “what's wrong with you? Nothing's wrong, you're good. Don't worry about it.” Mental health wasn't really a thing. And I've always had that mentality when I was younger that I just had to push through.
- [Invest] your time into the things that you love. Really investing into the things that genuinely make you happy is important.
- Work on something you're passionate about. Life is too short, guys… and you really should be working on something that you love.
How to take care of your team’s mental health:
Force people to take vacation and take days off [and] don't take no for an answer. Even if they don't have anything or anywhere to go, just give them that break, allow them to unplug. One of the things that's so important as a leader is being able to identify burnout, to identify when people aren't right. And sometimes the signs are so subtle, but you have to have that communication."