Women Trailblazers

A Survival Guide For Women Marketers From Women Marketers



Use your platform to make a real difference. “We knew that there are so many incredible women in technology and in these industries that are forces of nature and we decided, if they're not going to get a stage at CES, we will create one for them with the space that we have. We wanted the conversation to be vibrant and showcase the different voices.” - Listen to Leslie Berland, CMO and Head of People at Twitter

Trust your team and be mindful of your voice. “I’m conscious always that my voice probably has an oversized importance in many meetings and therefore I try hard to think twice before I speak. The greatest thing I can do is have the courage to say ‘yes’ when people I trust have an idea and there isn't yet a pathway forward.” - Listen to Linda Boff, CMO of GE

Be authentic and empathetic. “Some people judge being empathetic, nice and collaborative as a weakness. I've learned through my career that to be an effective leader you have to be authentically yourself.  I wouldn't be in this business as a chief marketing officer if I wasn't effective.” - Listen to Carla Hassan, Global Chief Brand Officer of Citi

Create Community and Sisterhood. “I hear it all the time: Women behave badly toward other women. We can control where we put our energy - it’s the same amount of effort. Make a conscious effort to support, empower and celebrate each other. Commit to sisterhood and all women will rise. Let’s make progress together.” - Read more from Gina Larkin, Transformational Leadership Coach 


Investing in team members makes everyone better. “I think this pace of change is a real challenge for everyone. If you look at core skill sets at all levels, everyone's grappling to stay up. We, as the leaders, have an obligation to make sure that we provide [education] and help people along so that we can all perform better.” - Listen to Deborah Wahl, CMO of Cadillac

CMO = Chief Motivational Officer . “I think that CMO stands for Chief Motivational Officer. I had a great mentor, Phil Kent, tell me, ‘Think of yourself as the chief motivational officer and really provide resources, support and focus for the team.’ I also think feedback is a gift and giving feedback in the moment, both constructive and praise, is vital.” - Listen to Pam Kaufman, President, Viacom/Nickelodeon Global Consumer Products

Know where you’re most needed and spend your time there. “When I start my day, I think, ‘Where am I needed to make the greatest impact?’ This is not necessarily the place where I want to spend my time, but is actually where my time is most needed. I've learned, as an executive, that it is about empowering people and letting them do their jobs.” - Listen to Mary Beech, CMO of Kate Spade NY

As a Leader, It’s Really NOT About You.  “After interviewing 50+ of the world’s top CMOs, I can attest that the #1 trait, in my mind, of an amazing leader is being just that…a leader.  A servant leader, to be exact. A term that is tossed around lightly, and yet, so significant in the actual culture and performance of a team, which is the true driver of growth.” - Nadine Dietz, Editor at Adweek 


You’re the only one managing your career. “Be very confident in yourself and put yourself out there for roles and positions - even if you feel like it's a stretch or you might not get it. I think it's really important for leadership to recognize that you're a person who is going to be 110% committed and really trying to grow in a way that is helpful to the business.”  - Coming soon Barbara Messing, CMO of Walmart

Write your own rules. “I got to where I am today by breaking the rules that made no sense and creating new ones that worked for me in my life, and at every life stage. I created the un-corporate rules that made sense to me, so I could run a company and raise a family. Being myself with no apologies and owning my strengths.”  - Read more from Shelley Zalis, Founder and CEO or The Female Quotient

Treat your career like a startup. “I always tell my mentees that we have to approach this like a startup. How are we going to get you that good valuation? How are we going to get you that exit that we're desiring? How do we bring everything we know to make you into the best product possible to help you get where you need to go?”  - Listen to Dara Treseder, CMO of GE Ventures (now CMO of Carbon)

Ask questions, learn and take risks.  “Tips? One is ask questions along the way. I think that's been a key to my success. Just be open to asking the provocative question too. Then maybe the second thing is taking some roles, especially earlier on, where you really learn the nuts and bolts is really important. I think it helps accelerate later.”  - Listen to Mary Beth Laughton, EVP Omni Sephora


Stop the mental gymnastics.  “When you go home at night and rehash the day and think, ‘did I sound dumb on this call?’ or, ‘did that person look at me funny?’, know that no one else is thinking about you. Have perspective and don't hold back your own success by doing these mental gymnastics where you're tearing yourself down.”  - Listen to Denise Karkos, CMO of TD Ameritrade

Don’t try to be something you're not.  “Find your skill set, know what you're good at, and don't try to be something that you're not. For a long time, I tried to downplay what a creative person I am when, quite frankly, it made all the difference in my career. Embrace that interesting thing about yourself because that's what's going make you stand out.”  - Listen to Kristin Patrick, former CMO of Brand Development for PepsiCo (now Head of Sugar23 Global)

Combat fear to create your dream job.  “Work should not feel like work and you have to find the courage to make change if you are unhappy.  Your skills can transfer.  You MUST believe in yourself and work like mad to live the life you dream of.  We ALL have the opportunity to do this but fear holds too many back.”  - Read more from Kristine Shine, Founder & CEO of Shine Talent

Go forward from here.  “Don’t do something today just because you did it yesterday and it worked. Do it because it's the right thing to do for today and tomorrow. Keep your mind open. I have a mantra that I live by personally: ‘We go forward from here.’ It's the future that matters, so face into it, enjoy it, and have a good time.”  - Listen to Lynne Biggar, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Visa


Find balance over time.  Balance is not something that you're going to hit on a daily basis and you may not hit it on a weekly basis. Balance is something that you strive for over your lifetime. So don't beat yourself up because you are not having a balanced day. Look holistically at your life and seek to have balance in the long run.”  - Listen to Meg Goldthwaite, CMO of NPR

Set boundaries.  “I have two kids and being both a mother and a professional are very important to my happiness. At 5pm, I leave the company and I go home [to my family] and I do not touch electronics for 3 hours, which is time for my family. Then when they go to bed, I normally reconnect and check my emails.”  - Listen to Barbara Martin Coppola, CDO of IKEA

Drop the guilt, but not the ball.  “I like to see myself as a proud working mom that juggles with my multiple roles in life. I don’t like the guilty feeling from the work-life balance, instead, I like the feeling of achievement as I juggle.  Only one ball is on my hand at any given time, and it is an art to keep them all together in the air.”  - Read more from Rosi Ajjam, SVP Global Retail Hair at Coty

Have a little swagger.  “Start having fun being a marketer again!  Have a little swagger.  Have joy in crafting a great strategy. And don’t forget to nurture your curiosity and generosity. Having an interest in a lot of things helps bring your full brain [to the table] and everyone benefits if we can share our generosity.”  - Listen to Dana Anderson, Chief Transformation Officer, MediaLink 


Get to know the essence of your brand.  “One of the things that I love to do and that I always do first [when I start with a new company] is get to know the essence of the brand and the filters that we build that brand around so that we can be more than one-dimensional. I think that's one of the biggest challenges a lot of brands have.”  - Listen to Robin Domeniconi, CEO of Threaded Tales

Consumers hold brands to higher standards.  “I’m excited to see such a significant shift towards authentic, purpose-driven marketing. I love that today’s consumers hold brands to a higher standard and want to support companies who are committed to balancing profits and principles 365 days a year.”  - Read more from Julie Channing, VP of Marketing at Allbirds

Today, we are woke!  “I love the realness people expect from brands, and the ability for almost anyone to call out brands whose messages are not in accordance with their company’s behavior, culture, and policies. Which makes marketing so much more today than finding audiences and selling them something.”  - Read more from Jackie Jantos, Former VP of Brand and Creative at Spotify

Relevancy is marketing’s biggest challenge.  “I recently heard that the human attention span is lower than that of a goldfish. You have to constantly put new things out in the world to stay relevant. We just had a culture summit with partners where we came up with 30 ideas that we will launch in the next 90 days. We all walked away inspired and invigorated.”  - Read more from Tressie Lieberman, VP of Digital & Off-Premise at Chipotle


Listen to your audience, even if they are 11 years old.  “An 11 year old super fan, who knows every rule by number in the book, but wasn't aware of all the programs that we’re doing that were geared toward avid fans because she’s a completely different generation. No matter how clever we think we are, we realized we're not reaching the right person.”  - Heidi Browning Pearson, CMO of NHL

Forecast the future but engage now.  “Younger consumers are growing up with creative tools at their disposal, they are more engaged civically, and they have higher expectations for products, brands and services. I am excited by the opportunity to create experiences, but also curious how they will transform marketing teams in the workforce.”  - Read more from Jodie Antypas, VP Consumer Insights & UX Research of EA

Let others tell your story for you.  “I have always been inspired by the creator ecosystem that has grown out of platforms like Instagram, YouTube, etc, which opened the door to an amazing community of dynamic storytellers. As a marketer, it’s always special to get to work with creators, and see the way a story comes to life through their eyes.” - Read more from Katrina Craigwell, Executive Director & Head of Marketing at Finn by Chase (now CMO of Chase Digital)

Back to the basics to connect with customers.  “I love that marketing is starting to turn back to the basics - building real relationships and honing in on customer experience. For years in eCommerce we have all been talking about "one to one" personalization via digital channels - but at the end of the day, you can't replicate a human interaction.”  - Read more from Stephanie Urban, Executive Director of Digital Marketing & eCommerce at Tarte Cosmetics