3 Impressive Women Paving the Way in Marketing - Carney

3 Impressive Women Paving the Way in Marketing

As young women in marketing, we are sponges. Trying to soak up as much as possible from those who succeeded before us. Our curiosity grows like a wildfire. How have women advanced to CMO and VP status? What moves can we make to reach executive position, or better yet, become a founder of our own company?

Our desire to know more led us to the decision to stop wondering and start doing.

If you read the first edition of the Marketing’s Leading Ladies project then you know where we’re going with this.

We asked three amazing women what they’ve done to grow as leaders in marketing:

Here’s what they had to say👇

Q1: What drew you to the marketing field? Do you think any childhood experiences led you to your success?

Laurel Hess President of Rally Marketing

I sort of wound up in marketing by sheer luck and happenstance.

I graduated college in 2006, just before the recession hit. I didn’t get an internship in college because I was too busy…studying…and it wasn’t required for my degree. I graduated in Broadcast Production but knew that I didn’t want to go into that field.

I was really adrift and eventually had to move back to my hometown of Dallas, TX. I was willing to do anything that involved writing and being creative. My childhood friend’s father worked in the same building as the Dallas branch of Weber Shandwick, an international PR firm. He was able to help me secure a paid internship and the rest was history.  

Nneka Carrie Ude Director of Strategic Planning at Geometry Global

As a kid, I was an introvert. My mother would joke that you could put me in a room and forget that I was even there. That’s how quiet I was. But behind the silence was a lively imagination.

I would use my mother’s Mead Notebooks to write and illustrate my own short stories. Painting & drawing was akin to playing with my Cabbage Patch dolls. Later on in High School, I wrote and illustrated a comic strip in the senior yearbook.

In college, I led marketing and promotional efforts for a number of student organizations. The creative side of me was always in my blood. Applying a little color and culture to things has always been what I do and what I love. So when I think about what drew me into to marketing, it was the creative angle. Being able to tell a story and paint a picture using not just colors, but numbers, shared experiences, inanimate objects, etc.

The funny thing is, I didn’t grow up to be a creative. I grew up to be a strategist who thinks like a creative. That’s what sets me apart.

Jaymie Tarshis Founder of Jaymie Tarshis Consulting

I was originally drawn to the field of marketing while studying in college. I was intrigued by the variety of tasks and different ways to leverage marketing tactics and strategies to grow a business. I knew it would be a field that I would never get bored with as it’s constantly changing and evolving, at least in the digital space.

I do think some of my childhood experiences contributed to my initial interest in marketing too. Growing up, my mom owned a sewing and alterations business but she always struggled with the ability to grow her company and attract new customers. When I found out that marketing was the piece of the puzzle that could have potentially saved her business, I made it my mission in life to help as many business owners as possible make sense of online marketing so they could always have a way to consistently bring in new customers and clients in the door.

Q2: How do you stay on top of the ever-changing digital world of marketing?

Laurel Hess President of Rally Marketing

I read constantly – I read everything. If I am working on something and it’s challenging me for more than 30 minutes, I immediately go to Google because I know I’m not the first person to ever have had that problem. Google is lyfe.

Nneka Carrie Ude Director of Strategic Planning at Geometry Global

My curiosity lies in tech – AI, VR, Blockchain, Voice Recognition Technologies, etc. I’m a fan of anything that has the power to make marketing more intuitive and empower people to use tech to solve bigger, more sophisticated problems.

I’m a fan of thinking through the possibilities and asking ‘what if’ style questions and seeing where the answers lead. Over the last few years, I’ve embedded myself in Chicago’s tech scene; actively attending panels, conferences, and events that keep me exposed to a vast array of solutions emerging across industries.

I keep myself plugged into the advertising and tech trade publications like Fast Company (the issue with Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital is A-MAZ-ING), Wired, TechCrunch, StreetFight, theDrum, Adweek, Mashable, Moguldom, and upstarts like The Plug (hey, Sherrell). I even write and aggregate stories around new technologies and digital solution, created by founders of color, via my own platform, (Welcome to) THE PATH.

Also, staying on top of what’s new and emerging in the digital/tech world is easy when you surround yourself with people who are equally as curious and passionate as you are. My “tribe” includes women and men who are purveyors of ideas. They also share my voracious appetite for all things business, people, and tech.

Jaymie Tarshis Founder of Jaymie Tarshis Consulting

I think it’s extremely important as a digital marketer to never get comfortable, always be learning and always be testing new strategies and techniques. I follow a variety of websites and influencers in my space to stay up to date with the latest trends and I also subscribe to various newsletters (including the Daily Carnage, of course) to make sure that I don’t miss out on important news and updates in my field.

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Q3: What experience do you think every marketer should have?

Laurel Hess President of Rally Marketing

Obsessive tendencies. Seriously. The best marketers I have ever known are all a little obsessive whether it’s about a process, data, the outcome, the design –  anything. All of the good ones are a little “extra” when it comes to the finer details.

Nneka Carrie Ude Director of Strategic Planning at Geometry Global

That’s easy, travel. Not for pleasure, but for culture. Marketers, agency side or client side, are by definition meant to be idea people. Ideas require inspiration, exposure, and perspective.

Nowadays, great ideas also need to be sourced from experiences that overlap the nuances of global culture. Regardless of what’s happening in Washington, we can’t stop the world from becoming more connected and diverse. So understanding the attributes that unite us is becoming more and more important.

Traveling for culture for me means tapping into your inner Anthony Bourdain and exploring the road less traveled. Take the train. Find and dine at the neighborhood mom & pop restaurant. Order a latte and sit & observe people at a local coffee shop. Find a way to communicate with the person next to you and learn more about the world through their eyes.

Be safe, of course. But also be curious.

Jaymie Tarshis Founder of Jaymie Tarshis Consulting

Every marketer should have the experience of trying something new and then failing. It’s the fastest way to learn and improve on your skills, as well as gain important feedback from your target market.

Q4: Define a great leader or some traits you think great leaders possess?

Laurel Hess President of Rally Marketing

I learned a lot from my former boss and mentor, Jennifer Cooke. She is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Arena and Champions Square. She had many “Jenn-isms” but among my favorite were:

  1. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.
  2. The difference between good and great is attention to detail.
  3. Over-communicate and read your emails out loud before you send them (I still do this).

Jennifer held her own among an entire director team of men. She always had our backs even when we did something wrong or incorrect. Jennifer showed me that the best leaders don’t just delegate from an ivory tower – they get their hands dirty.

When we were opening Champions Square and regularly working past 9 PM Jennifer was right there with us. She never asked us to do things that she wouldn’t do herself. There was a tremendous mutual respect in our department and she really knew how to draw out the best in people.

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Nneka Carrie Ude Director of Strategic Planning at Geometry Global

I don’t know her (although one day I will), but Sheryl Sandburg stands out to me for three reasons. First, she’s both a mentor and an “employee.” I don’t think many people of her experience and caliber would be able to join the reigns of a startup like Facebook, under a young, visionary yet inexperienced, CEO like Mark Zuckerberg, as graceful as she has. There seems to be no ego, just focus – and I respect that.

Second, she taught me, and the rest of the world how to Lean In. I’ll admit that I’m still learning how to do this effectively; however, that book changed my perspective. She was honest and real. She acknowledged the challenges women of color face when trying to lean in and engage in a meaningful way. Everyone creds the #MeToo movement with giving women a platform to engage (#TaranaBurke), but in the business world, Sheryl definitely helped build the runway.

Third, she practices what she preaches. I recently heard Jeanne Reidy, SVP of Engagement for tech incubator 1871, speak about her first encounter with Sandburg after networking her way into a job with the business icon. It’s the classic story of a young, ambitious 20-something, whose tenacity helps her land her dream job, and as soon as she gets in the room in front of the boss, she’s overcome with doubt. In that very moment, Sandburg affirms her and reminds Jeanne that she fought to be in the room and therefore she deserves to be there. That’s a leader.

Jaymie Tarshis Founder of Jaymie Tarshis Consulting

In my opinion, all great leaders must have a few qualities. The first is a vision. If a leader doesn’t have a confident and clear idea of where they are going and what goals they are trying to achieve, it’s impossible to gauge success as well as get other team members on board and excited.

The second trait is humility. Many people struggle with this and mistake this for weakness but I believe a leader should possess the ability to admit when they are wrong and delegate tasks that they know are outside of their zone of genius.

The third trait is passion, simply because passion is contagious. When a leader is passionate about their work, it’s much easier for the rest of the team to adopt that same energy and feel inspired about the work that they do.

Q5: What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organization?

Laurel Hess President of Rally Marketing

I have found that listening intently as provided me with the most value when it comes to enhancing my career.

I don’t seek to be the loudest. I don’t feel the need to put my voice into the fray. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have anything to say. It just means that I’m considering my options on how to approach something. I have learned that, as a woman, the louder I get, the more dismissed I am.

Being a loud woman is akin to being emotional. Therefore, in meetings, I am much more contemplative. I can see it worry some of my business partners who expect a President and CEO to speak up and be commanding. But I have found that silence can be just as effective if not more so.

When I have time to listen and consider everything, I can provide a much more sound opinion that is carefully thought out, devoid of emotion and therefore greater respected. This doesn’t mean I don’t get ever emotional or reactive. I do. It’s a balancing act. And, real talk, no one is going to be your cheerleader. You have to be your own damn cheerleader.

If you do something positive/good, don’t expect people to notice or clap you on the back. You need to make sure that they know what you have done. If I land a big client, you better believe that I’m touting that at my next partner meeting. Because no one else will.

Nneka Carrie Ude Director of Strategic Planning at Geometry Global

Speak up and share your ideas with confidence. You will often find that the loudest man in the room, isn’t as smart or insightful as you. He’s just more confident and people are attracted to confidence.

Go after what you want, not what people want you to have. Most of us are of a generation where we don’t fit into a nicely defined box. We have passions and skills that span our day jobs. And we are finding ourselves trying to find a “perfect” role that allows us to thrive. There is no perfect role. You have to make it by identifying and carving out your niche and owning it.

Build coalitions and identify your advocates early. Don’t skip this. I did for years and I sincerely regret it. At work and in life, you are only as good as your network. Leverage it. Ever wonder why the well-spoken guy with lackluster ideas was promoted before you? Well, he had advocates that advocated for him.

Jaymie Tarshis Founder of Jaymie Tarshis Consulting

All women can benefit from having a mentor or role model that they can turn to for support and guidance. There is an immense amount of value in learning from the women who have already achieved success in high-level positions and I believe great things can happen when women go out of their way to empower other women.

Q6: Can you tell us about one of your biggest failures and what you learned from it.

Laurel Hess President of Rally Marketing

Oh, no. This is where my arrogance comes in. Failure doesn’t often occur to me. How do we define failure? What I consider a failure may be different than what you consider it to be.

I think failure, in this regard, is a state of mind. So if you don’t ever go there, you don’t ever fail. I know that seems like an oversimplification, but it never occurs to me that something won’t work out.

Everything is a learning experience. So if you learn from everything, you never fail. It also doesn’t hurt that I can see the bright side of just about anything. It annoys everyone.

Nneka Carrie Ude Director of Strategic Planning at Geometry Global

I don’t see things as failures but rather opportunities to learn and grow.

I’ve outgrown beating myself up for bombing a presentation in front of agency C-Suite leadership, or worse yet, the client. I no longer worry about my career not accelerating as fast as other women I admire, like Bozoma St. John or Sadira Furlow.

My greatest enemy is fear and the paralysis it causes. That’s the only thing I believe can constitute as a failure, e.g. allowing your fabricated fears to guide your decisions or lack thereof.

How am I overcoming fear? I’m challenging myself to step into it. If something, an idea, a project, an opportunity makes me want to puke and pass out at the same time, then I know it’s EXACTLY what I need to be doing. I made a commitment to myself, an affirmation actually, that I will never have to say “I wish I would have…”

There’s no wishing here. Just doing.

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Jaymie Tarshis Founder of Jaymie Tarshis Consulting

A couple of years ago I decided to niche down from offering a handful of digital marketing services to just Facebook Ad Management and Consulting. The very first client that I ended up signing on I failed to get any results for and I was forced to give their money back in the process. I immediately blamed myself, assuming it was my skills (or lack thereof) and felt completely ashamed.

Luckily, one of my peers reminded me that failing is a huge part of working in marketing so I took that advice to heart and decided to learn from my mistake instead of letting it define me. Today, I’m known as the go-to Facebook Ads person in my field but looking back now, I realize that my biggest failure would have been not getting back up and trying again.

That’s a wrap! One of the biggest takeaways from these three wonderful, successful ladies involves failing. Let each mistake, blunder, and failure become your greatest opportunity by learning from it.

Keep an eye out for next month’s edition. You’re going to hear from Shama Hyder, Laura Early, Leilani Williams, and Cassie Gonzalez!


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