Female leadership has shown to drive performance at brands with women managers doing more to support their teams, according to a new report from McKinsey.
At a recent Brand Innovators event on Women in Marketing, female marketing leaders from brands across sectors talked about their own personal career paths, how they are helping the women in their departments and their tactics for success.
For Alicia Parker, Vice President, Brand and Consumer Marketing at the online bedding shop, Casper, her career has been building on itself every step along the way.
“Each role I have had has built into the next one,” said Parker. “I started out my career in strategy consulting and executive training and development where we were really focused on creating a strong foundation of creating strategies that drove business results. We were so heavily focused on working to understand how strategic investments maximized ROI and shareholder value. I think when you start as a generalist, working across many different industries and traveling globally, you see what is similar and what is different across each of those. So then, when you start to go deeper on the brand side, you have an ability to say, ‘You know what? Here is something that happened in this industry that I can now put into this category’ or ‘I learned this and it accelerated growth and now I am excited to try that.’”
Alyson Griffin, Head of Marketing at State Farm, shared how it’s ok to take a 360 with your career path if if means you are following your passions.
“I grew up in Silicon Valley, born and raised. My mom worked for Hewlett Packard for what would have been 43 years, so I was always in that tech space and that tech mindset. But when I was young, I wanted to be a pharmacist,” said Griffin. “I worked at a pharmacy when I was 15.5 years old and went to pharmacy school, a year-round program. I was all in on this decision and my parents were all in on this decision. It was funny, I vividly remember filling a prescription and counting pills and I just thought, “I can’t do this.” And I knew it, before I had the courage to tell my mom and dad that I couldn’t do it. It’s just one of those things when talking to college students too, where just because you have this track and this path doesn’t mean that it is set in stone forever. It was a pivot and a realization to me that I had to feel passionate about what I was going to do and that my support system would be there.”
Melissa Hughes, Senior Director, Brand Marketing at Founders Table shared her story of rising the ranks in the marketing industry at companies including: Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s, Henkel and L’Oreal.
“When you look at the marketing industry you see all types of people, but when you look at the leaders, as you go up, you see less and less women of color in this space,” said Hughes. “I think it's really important not only to be able to be you and bring your whole self to work every day, but also the balance of having people understand who you are. One of the biggest challenges throughout my career was this theory of what executive presence is supposed to sound or look like. My defining element is keeping true to who I am. I am a very bubbly person, bold in my decision making, and direct in my conversation. Sticking true to who I am and not trying to transform to the spaces that I'm in has been my way to continue to shine in the industry.”
Rachael Dillon, Executive Director, Global Communications and Influencer Relations at Aveda talked about the importance of women supporting her throughout her career to help her get to her current level.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work for a lot of fantastic women-run organizations and to be supported by so many amazing women throughout my career,” said Dillon. “I wouldn’t be here today without them. I had this amazing boss at Deliveroo who was very intense, and she was intense because she believed in us; she wanted us (our organization) to win. [What we once thought was not possible we achieved], and we pushed ourselves to be as creative as we possibly could.”