I love what I do. I especially love it when fellow marketing leaders take the time to share their business wisdoms, energy, passions, and personal learnings—because it lights a fire in me. For all the marketing leaders out there who also love what they do, relish a good challenge, and who appreciate the bond we all share as we venture into a new decade—enjoy some favorite 2019 takeaways from my time with these 6 incredible chief marketers. By the way, this was not an easy task given my original list had 16 CMOs and executives. Perhaps a second blog is in order!
1. Alex Chang, San Francisco 49ers, CMO
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I had coffee with Alex in Palo Alto, we hit it off sharing many things in common personally and professionally—maybe with the exception that he’s a San Francisco 49ers fan and I’m a Seattle Seahawks 12th! Our chat was centered around data and AI for brand and digital marketing, Alex is one of the most impressive sports and entertainment marketers, and an influencer in the sports industry. I admire Alex for following his true passion for sports, for taking risks, trying new things, and making it at the top of the marketing food chain. Alex was named Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under Forty” list, SBJ’s Power Player list, and marketing awards from top organizations including Cannes Lions, Effles, CLIOs, and Business Marketing Association.
2. Elissa Fink, Recent Tableau CMO
I got to know Elissa through our CMO roadshow across multiple cities. Elissa was on the panel that I had the privilege to moderate. She spent 12 years as Chief Marketer building Tableau to what it is today, which was recently acquired by Salesforce for $15.7B. She’s a data geek at heart, and everything she does she does with data to inform decisions—even if you only start with a small sample. She tells it like it is while inspiring you to do more (plus she injects humor all at the same time). Elissa puts her energy in advising tech companies, serves as a board member, and volunteers. She also is a lecturer at the University of Washington.
3. Edwin Wong, Vox Media, SVP of Insights and Innovation
I met Edwin when he was at BuzzFeed at a digital marketing conference, and we hit it off on the topic of AI’s impact on digital media. We continued our conversation weeks later and resumed the chat via an Adweek webinar with his colleague. Edwin has a track record for driving innovations in digital media for ad effectiveness, advertising sales insights, and data partnerships at Vox Media, BuzzFeed, Pinterest, and Yahoo. I admire Edwin because he is a change agent who’s passionate about diversity and doing his part to make a positive difference, leaving things better than they were before. Edwin is Co-Chair at Nielsen’s EAC APAAC Board of Advisors and part of Asia Society.
4. Christy Marble, Visier, CMO
I’ve had the pleasure to work for Christy in a former life, and she is one of the most genuine leaders I know. This year, Christy was part of our CMO roadshow “Data Night” where she shared many pearls of wisdom about marketing data analytics, leadership, and about bringing your authentic self to work. Christy leads with her heart, puts people first, and she does not compromise her values or what she stands for. I admire Christy for fighting for what is right, for coaching the next generation of leaders, men and women, and for her growth mindset pushing the boundaries for personal and professional growth. Christy currently serves as CMO at Visier. Formerly, she was CMO at SAP Concur, and held multiple marketing executive roles at Vertafore and Sallie Mae.
5. Denise Persson, Snowflake, CMO
I had the pleasure of getting to know Denise through our partnership with Snowflake and our joint-CMO roadshow to multiple cities. Denise has had a track record for driving business growth, building high performing teams, and transforming companies to becoming market leaders in their category. It is no accident that Snowflake is one of the hottest tech companies today. She’s a visionary with a clear path to get there while having her eyes on the end-results—don’t get in her way! Prior to Snowflake, Denise was CMO at Apigee and ON24, and she currently spends time on the board of multiple companies.
6. Morri Chowaiki, The Shark Group (Shark Tank), Storyteller and Sales Chief
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I had the pleasure to co-run a Shark Tank-like panel with Morri where we had five start-ups pitch their companies from intelligent cars to eCommerce businesses. Morri is a great storyteller, a serial entrepreneur, and plays a key role today for Daymond John’s business inside and outside the famous TV show. Morri’s energy is infectious. His background story is inspiring and filled with advice on taking risks, getting creative, loving what you do, and surrounding yourself with people who bring you good energy. Morri started his tenure at the Shark Group by first appearing on the show to pitch his Hanukkah Tree Topper!
Inspiration can come from many places, and when you connect with people in a meaningful way and they inspire you to do more, to press forward, and to share that good energy --- it leaves an indelible and inspiring mark! I’m charged up for 2020!
From these six powerhouse leaders, my takeaways are this: take risks, love what you do, make a positive difference, be authentic, inject humor (lots of it), and surround yourself with good energy – oh, and don’t forget to use data, even if it’s a small sample!
Thank you to Morri, Denise, Christy, Edwin, Elissa and Alex for spending meaningful time with me, and look forward to many more engaging and inspiring conversations!
Happy Holidays and Cheers to the New Year!
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