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CMO Next 2018: The Full List Of 50 Chief Marketers
Today Forbes launches CMO Next, an unprecedented and definitive list of 50 CMOs who are redefining the CMO role and who embody all that the role is becoming, can be and will be in the future. Through qualitative research tapping into the expertise of industry watchers as well as Forbes’ editorial industry knowledge , the list features 50 people who have reached the highest-level marketing position within a given company—CMO title or equivalent—and who are driving brand and business growth. The list highlights the individuals’ education, expertise, experience, mindset and mandate within organizations. The individuals hail from both new and emerging companies as well as legacy, established corporations. Not a ranking, the goal is to annually spotlight CMOs who serve as models of a new, emerging and disruptive chief marketer.
Matthew Anderson (Courtesy of the subject)
Matthew Anderson, CMO, Roku
Roku’s first-ever CMO, who joined in 2013, Matthew Anderson oversees global marketing and communications for the streaming-content company. Previously he was group director, strategy and corporate affairs, Europe and Asia, at News Corp., where he oversaw branding, marketing, channel packaging, programming, communications and corporate responsibility initiatives. Earlier in his career, he was CEO of Ogilvy PR’s Asian and European networks. All have crystallized his perspective that “marketing is enabled by engineering and fueled by data,” but that “you still need intuition, creative flare and guts to make the bold calls that take the brand ahead of competitors.” Leading up to its IPO, he’s led a “One Roku” approach to branding, corporate reputation and consumer marketing.
Ana Andjelic (Courtesy of the subject)
Ana Andjelic, chief brand officer, Rebecca Minkoff
On top of strategy roles with more than 10 brands—including Droga5, Spring Studios and Havas LuxHub—during the past decade, Ana Andjelic earned a sociology Ph.D. from Columbia University. The credential gives Andjelic unique insight into the impact of technological design, such as how the architecture of an app, website or physical store influences human behavior. Year one at fashion retailer Rebecca Minkoff, now carried in more than 900 stores worldwide, has seen the chief brand officer working closely with its head of design.
Sophie Bambuck (Courtesy of the subject)
Sophie Bambuck, CMO, Converse
With an M.B.A. from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, Sophie Bambuck gained key practical marketing experience during 10 years at Nike, where she honed her focus on brands grounded in “creativity, innovation and enablement—the consumer decides.” She equates her role to curator: The CMO must define and set the vision and empower each team member, or artist, to create pieces that work within that vision. Now moving beyond the Chuck Taylor, under her lead Converse is introducing new products for today’s consumer—building as much brand equity in the Star Chevron logo as in the iconic All Star. New awareness, purpose and brand positioning, through collaborations with, for example, the iconic Hello Kitty brand, now is the name of the game.
Jonathan Beamer (Courtesy of the subject)
Jonathan Beamer, CMO, Monster
He started his career as an engineer, and while few engineers become marketers, Jonathan Beamer now recognizes how critical engineers have become to marketing teams. Marketers must not only understand the human, the individual, who is the customer, but also be technologists in deciphering best tactics and platforms for brand engagement, he believes. He’s launched more mission-based messaging—expressing Monster’s commitment to helping improve job candidates’ lives through finding better, more fulfilling work—and is ramping up internal capabilities that can be scaled across the company’s global footprint to make marketing more efficient.
Ryan Bonnici (Courtesy of the subject)
Ryan Bonnici, CMO, G2 Crowd
He once was a flight attendant, and now he’s flying high as the CMO of a startup that helps companies find and rate software providers. London School of Economics student and University of Sydney grad Ryan Bonnici, whose career path includes stints at Salesforce, ExactTarget and HubSpot, took G2 Crowd’s marketing team from five to 25 in four months, and now is working to turn G2 Crowd, which has raised $45 million in funding, into a household name. Under his watch, the company has significantly grown website traffic and marketing-sourced revenue. A CMO, he says, is part marketer, part salesperson. “As the marketer, you must bring a holistic vision to the table,” he says. “As the salesperson, you need to get the business—every individual contributor, every manager and executive—to buy into that vision, to trust that vision.”
Joanne Bradford (Courtesy of the subject)
Joanne Bradford, CMO, SoFi
After logging time at Microsoft, Yahoo and Pinterest, longtime media executive Joanne Bradford joined financial-services company SoFi three years ago as COO and later CMO. She’s built a robust in-house agency to own its own data and story, as well as a media-buying team. In fact, the team negotiated the first overtime Super Bowl ad in history. The ad was created for just $10,000 and took only a few days to shoot. Since her arrival three years ago, brand awareness has jumped from 3% to 35%. The company counts more than 500,000 “members,” as it calls them.
Jeff Brooks (Courtesy of the subject)
Jeff Brooks, CMO, Casper
Longtime ad agency exec Jeff Brooks recently made the move to Casper as CMO, brought in to bring the already disruptive direct-to-consumer brand to the next level. Leading acquisition, retention, communications, analytics, content and marketing teams, as well as advertising, brand and digital marketing strategies for the boxed-mattress company, he is drawing on his experience as president and CMO of digital agency Huge to be a “critical evangelist of a brand’s purpose,” ensuring it is understood across the organization, where marketing is viewed as a key driver for growth. He’s bolstering marketing effectiveness, launched new creative campaigns, and brought innovation to experiential retail locations, for example, nap destination The Dreamery in New York.
Heidi Browning (Courtesy of the subject)
Heidi Browning, CMO and EVP, NHL
A pioneer in social media marketing, Heidi Browning was part of MySpace’s fleeting success prior to Facebook’s rise. Now her platform expertise is in play with the National Hockey League. The CMO of two years endeavors to shift a long-held marketing focus on the sport’s avid fans to a broader base. The linchpin of this strategy has been a friendlier tone, entertaining sports nuts and twits alike. Successes have included a “Hockey 101” video series with Snoop Dogg, social media accounts impersonating the storied Stanley Cup trophy and segments showcasing players’ off-the-ice personalities.
Herbie Calves (Courtesy of the subject)
Herbie Calves, CMO, Link AKC
American Kennel Club (AKC) tapped Herbie Calves to co-lead a modernization push for the canine advocacy organization founded in 1884. In short order Link AKC developed a standout smart collar. The device wowed at the January 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, winning a Best in Innovation Award in the wearable tech category, prior to its official launch and robust holiday season sales. The product under CMO Calves’ purview syncs to a smartphone app with a suite of features any dog owner would appreciate: GPS tracking, health and activity data, light and sound projections for safety in the dark and social sharing.
Jenny Campbell (Courtesy of the subject)
Jenny Campbell, Global CMO, Tinder
Jenny Campbell just joined online-dating app Tinder as CMO. She brings more than two decades of marketing experience, both on the client side, at Nike, and on the agency side, at 72andSunny and Wieden + Kennedy. She served as global director of Nike+, a stint that taught her how to create simple and compelling user experiences at scale—an aptitude she is bringing to her new post. Also former brand innovations lead for Nike Women’s, she sees the CMO as leading “the cultural POV of a brand”—in Tinder’s case, being a “positive tool for empowering our users.” As global CMO, she is charged with further building the brand in already mature U.S. and Europe markets, as well as positioning it for growth in new markets such as Asia.
Kelly Campbell (Courtesy of Austin Hargrave/Hulu)
Kelly Campbell, CMO, Hulu
A veteran of Google and Procter & Gamble—one of the few on this list—and Harvard M.B.A., Kelly Campbell is acutely aware of the need for CMOs to be accountable for delivering tangible business results like customer acquisition, experience and growth. She leads a team of more than 300 marketers and more than 700 so-called viewer experience advocates for the on-demand video service charged with growing its base of 20 million subscribers. Believing that she needs to “lead beyond the scope that any title can offer,” she strives to work cross-functionally and develop talent companywide. And in an effort to re-introduce viewers to Hulu, the company, under Campbell’s lead, unveiled a new campaign. “Better Ruins Everything”—based on the idea that once you’ve experienced a new, better way to do something—like watching TV on Hulu—there’s no going back.
Elisabeth Charles (Courtesy of the subject)
Elisabeth Charles, CMO, Rodan and Fields
After multiple roles with traditional, direct-to-consumer retailers (including Victoria’s Secret, Petco and Athleta), Elisabeth Charles’ latest endeavor involves a middleman. For years much of Rodan and Fields’ marketing has been delivered word-of-mouth via on-the-ground independent consultants. These days the skincare CMO is aiming to maintain that model while building brand awareness in additional channels. Those have included PR coverage in major media outlets, culture changes to foster employees who live the brand and outside investment to propel expansion into additional markets.
Mike Chi (Courtesy of the subject)
Mike Chi, CMO, Zola
A Brown University grad who later received his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, Mike Chi is bringing a robust background in retail to fast-growing online wedding-planning site Zola, which has raised $140 million in funding. A buyer at Old Navy in the early 2000s, he quickly learned the value of face-to-face interaction with customers, and that data can only tell part of people’s stories. He soon added stints at Gilt Groupe and Intermix to his résumé, gaining valuable integrated marketing and e-commerce experience. Overseeing a team of more than 20 people, with diverse skills and mindsets, he seeks to bridge the gap between analytics, authentic brand and consumer connection. Chi devised the launch of the company’s own paper save-the-dates and wedding invitations, a new business line, and under his leadership Zola unveiled its first TV ads—using data to optimize creative and media mix and generating significant awareness.
Jared Cluff (Courtesy of the subject)
Jared Cluff, CMO, Blue Apron
Coming off digital marketplace Fab.com’s 2010s flameout, Jared Cluff realized marketing success depends on a product that solves a real problem, in its own right luring return customers. The Northwestern University M.B.A. saw Blue Apron as a brand that could tick that box. Since joining the meal-kit startup in 2014 and rising to CMO, Cluff has advocated for referral, immersive or influencer lead generation as opposed to heavy-handed approaches such as 30-second video ads. He wants the product’s greatness to speak for itself, naturally becoming part of conversations and culture. To that end, the company has carried out collaborations with the likes of Airbnb, Top Chef, Michelle Obama and Chrissy Teigen.
Jill Cress (Courtesy of the subject)
Jill Cress, CMO, National Geographic Partners
Bringing global marketing experience from tenure at MasterCard, Jill Cress was tapped to orchestrate a massive overhaul of the 130-year-old brand, extending its global reach. She’s made it a priority to embrace technology and innovation even while preserving the foundational brand tenets. Her most recent campaign is “Planet or Plastic?” It successfully rallied a global community of 760 million people into action around the cause of reducing the amount of single-use plastics currently polluting oceans and environment through storytelling and science—going so far as to wrap the June cover of the print magazine in paper instead of plastic. She’s created technology-rich experiences around promotion for the Emmy-nominated scripted series Genius , as well as for the Darren Aronofsky-produced One Strange Rock .
Cyd Crouse (Courtesy of the subject)
Cyd Crouse, CMO, Muse
Infusing marketing with mission, brain-sensory headband-maker Muse prides itself for focusing less on making money and more on helping consumers improve their overall health and well-being. Such messaging is building customer trust across touchpoints. The startup’s newly minted CMO, Cyd Crouse, can relate to the stressed lifestyles of various users seeking mindfulness. The Oklahoma State University alum began her career in computer programming for a $4 billion (revenues) corporate prior to pursuing entrepreneurship (she cofounded Meditation Studio, an app acquired by her new employer).
David Dancer (Courtesy of the subject)
David Dancer, CMO, MedMen
David Dancer is no stranger to heavily regulated industries. The CMO for years worked in the banking industry before taking his post at cannabis company MedMen, even more heavily regulated. He also previously spent time at Teleflora, where he reinvigorated its e-commerce business. Overseeing advertising, media, partnerships and sponsorships and digital marketing, product development and marketing, retail marketing and an in-house agency, his priority is to have MedMen change the narrative around cannabis and position the brand as the top choice among cannabis users and consumers interested in cannabis.
Erick Dickens (Courtesy of the subject)
Erick Dickens, SVP and CMO, King’s Hawaiian
Following a career as a U.S. Army pilot, Erick Dickens brought sky-high ideas to a family-owned bread business. While crafting his team from scratch, the University of Arizona M.B.A. has put King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls in a Super Bowl commercial, on a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float and in a star-studded animated feature film hitting theaters this fall. The creative risks seem to be paying off, with 44% higher brand awareness than when he began as CMO five years ago.
Heidi Dorosin (Courtesy of the subject)
Heidi Dorosin, CMO, Madison Reed
After a decade with Clorox and refreshing its brand storytelling, in 2016 Heidi Dorosin moved to a company 100 years younger. Now the Harvard University M.B.A. is refreshing women’s styling routines as CMO of at-home hair-coloring company Madison Reed. With women taking on more roles and contending with male-dominated workplaces, Madison Reed wants to keep busy women feeling confident in their looks with a convenient, salon-grade, lasting, inexpensive locks treatment. That’s an innovative delight, Dorosin claims, which customers could not have previously imagined.
Melina Engel (Courtesy of the subject)
Melina Engel, CMO, SimpliSafe
Melina Engel was the first hire at the Sequoia Capital-backed home-security company. That was eight years ago. Since then, as CMO, she’s built a marketing team that has catapulted SimpliSafe to be the largest private tech company in Boston. She has firm perspectives on marketing leadership: To understand consumers, marketers need to pay attention to what people do, not what they say—because they’re such unreliable sources when it comes to themselves. And as a woman, particularly a woman of color, she has had to learn, through taking risks and having successes, to recognize the power and value of her marketing intuition, moving beyond pressure to justify decisions with evidence. She’s built a full-scale internal agency equipped to do anything and everything external agency partners would provide.
Jamie Gersch (Courtesy of the subject)
Jamie Gersch, CMO and SVP, Old Navy
Birthed in 1994, Old Navy apparel stores grew up alongside their Millennial contemporaries. It’s fitting then that the $7 billion (sales) retailer aligns with the generation’s mission-centric expectations. CMO Jamie Gersch is in charge of striking the balance between culturally relevant content, brand love and growth. Her team hit the mark with an International Women’s Day campaign earlier this year, generating its top-selling women’s graphic tee, 73% more social media responses than on Black Friday and floral installations at six New York City statues honoring females.
Aditi Gokhale (Courtesy of the subject)
Aditi Gokhale, CMO and SVP, Northwestern Mutual
Hired in 2017 as the first-ever CMO of 160-year-old Northwestern Mutual, Aditi Gokhale introduces a powerful perspective to the C-suite. After all, marketing is often a company’s first point of contact with any client. Starting with the website, the MIT Sloan graduate aims to break down anxieties about approaching financial planning—and a megacorp managing $1.8 trillion in life insurance. Taking a lesson from online dating, an algorithm that takes into account age, income, location and monetary goals is seeing a 95% success rate making matches in a pool of 4.5 million consumers and 6,400 advisors.
Vimla Gupta (Courtesy of the subject)
Vimla Gupta, CMO, Equinox
Her work at Bobbi Brown introduced her to influencers—“a dirty word at the time”—and the business-driving power they could have. That experience informs her work at Equinox and scaling the influencer program there as a business builder and an emotional connection to members and prospects. Meanwhile, her global marketing experience at Procter & Gamble shaped her view of the need to be nimble to effectively engage members with a premise of “fitness as lifestyle.” A CMO who is architecting Equinox’s digital transformation, she’s building an omnichannel experience and driving member experience across multiple touchpoints. She’s made social media the pathway to share content, partnered with Glossier to launch the Muse, a cardio barre-style offering for Millennial women, and bolstered the impact of Furthermore, a branded-content platform with clients such as Delta, American Express and Asics.
Kristina Heney (Courtesy of the subject)
Kristina Heney, CMO, Cirque du Soleil
She earned her M.B.A. from Fordham University, following undergraduate focus on international relations and East Asian studies. “I love exploring different people and diversity; it’s just always been my passion,” Kristina Heney says. That’s translated into her role as CMO of Cirque du Soleil, the largest theatrical producer in the world and the third biggest ticket seller in the world. Previously, she spent 15 years at MSG, leading all entertainment and ticket sales. Prior to that she was the licensing director at the NBA; she started as a secretary. Her challenge now: a creative company, to continually elevate and do the unexpected, stand out, while also using data and analytics to customize interactions with fans. She’s doing that through #cirqueway, a social driver to celebrate the extraordinary; performing in India for the first time in the company’s 35 years and selling out tickets in a matter of weeks; and partnering with a neurologist to see if Cirque du Soleil creates awe.
Alex Ho ( Courtesy of the subject)
Alex Ho, CMO, American Greetings
While the human desire to share well wishes will stand the test of time, a brand’s messaging will need rewriting in the span of 112 years. That’s what Alex Ho has done for card and personalized gift supplier American Greetings. In seven years on staff, nearing two as CMO, the chemical engineering major-turned-marketer has navigated the brick-and-mortar retailer’s transition to digital stronghold, including a 2015 Grand Effie Award for video.
Fara Howard (Courtesy of the subject)
Fara Howard, CMO, Amazon Fashion
For a retail behemoth that has met a scant few customers face-to-face, Amazon from the outset has obsessed over seeing through the eyes of its shoppers. Elite customer service at its clothing and accessories arm specifically means thinking like a device-wielding fashionista and the technological capabilities he or she desires. As Amazon Fashion CMO Fara Howard explains it, the thought process begins with the customer, then works backwards to convert those wants into realities. Fruits of this mentality in year one for the Gatorade, Vans and Dell alum include a first-ever try-before-you-buy program dubbed Prime Wardrobe and pop-up stores curated by admired fashion influencers, such as Calvin Klein.
Vasu Jakkal (Courtesy of the subject)
Vasu Jakkal, CMO, FireEye
Vasu Jakkal brings an electrical engineering education to bear on her role as CMO of cybersecurity company FireEye, as well as experience at Brocade and Intel. She views marketing as driving growth and winning customers’ hearts and minds. Under her watch, the company launched a simplified go-to-market strategy as well as a simplified product suite and subscription-based pricing models. That’s led to record growth, she says, tied, as well, to a new brand and visual identity. She also has made thought leadership a priority for the brand, attaining status as a top cybersecurity brand. This year the company reported a profitable year for the first time.
Jackson Jeyanayagam (Courtesy of the subject)
Jackson Jeyanayagam, CMO, Boxed
Whether free snacks at the office or towels at the gym, everyone loves perks. Recognizing that as well as partnership potential, Jackson Jeyanayagam has loaded Boxed memberships with exciting add-ons in his first year-and-a-half as CMO. One campaign included surprise Nintendo Switches for customers who ordered Kellogg’s Super Mario Brothers cereal. Beyond fun and games, the $100 million (revenues) bulk grocery deliverer prioritizes culture and community philanthropy. The admirable leadership stems in part from Jeyanayagam’s harrowing insider experience during Chipotle’s 2015 contamination crisis—a setback the chain is still suffering today.
Evan Jones (Courtesy of the subject)
Evan Jones, CMO, Fender
Starting his career at Nike, Evan Jones realized the marketing potential of like-minded communities, i.e., sports fans. Their niche interests feed off each other and off stars in the space. Applying this realization to 73-year-old guitar manufacturer Fender in an increasingly connected world, three-year CMO Jones’ priority is building lasting relationships and customer networks. That means telling narratives of music-making celebrities (the brand’s most powerful voices) down to first-time strummers and diverse adopters, such as the increasing number of woman taking up guitar.
Brad Kay ( Courtesy of the subject)
Brad Kay, chief brand officer, Convene
Nearing a decade in operation and ready to expand beyond the U.S., event- and workspace provider Convene hired its first chief brand officer in July 2018. Brad Kay is tasked with preserving the company’s carefully crafted culture and branding during growth. Its retention and appeal, after all, rest firmly on user experience—the way workers feel in the space, what they see, touch, smell and feel. This human-first focus carried the company to $55.5 million revenues in 2017.
Jay Livingston (Courtesy of the subject)
Jay Livingston, CMO, Bark
A stint seeking donations for the United Way in his early twenties made Jay Livingston realize that great marketing is always about the emotional connection, regardless of facts and figures. He’s brought that mindset to Bark as CMO, after managing acquisition marketing at Bank of America and angel investing in startups and growth companies, gaining exposure to cutting-edge marketing strategies and tactics. Now at the direct-to-consumer dog-treat-box subscription company, managing growth across subscription, e-commerce and retail businesses, he’s making authentic relationships with customers paramount, opting to keep almost all creative and data work in-house to that end.
Ed Macri (Courtesy of the subject)
Ed Macri, chief product and marketing officer, Wayfair
A former software developer, Ed Macri arrived at Wayfair’s predecessor in 2007 to head business intelligence. He gradually acquired teams to become chief product and marketing officer of the home goods website, and paired with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology M.B.A., now manages a mighty arsenal. Macri attributes much growth of the $5.2 billion (revenues) company to proprietary systems: an in-house ad agency, search engine marketing platform and army of software engineers that together limit spending, deliver fast feedback and design customized experiences for shoppers perusing some 10 million products from 10,000 suppliers .
Vineet Mehra (Courtesy of the subject)
Vineet Mehra, CMO, Ancestry
Global experience at Johnson & Johnson and Novartis—where, at the time, he was 29 and overseeing 300 people and more than 100 brands across 50 countries—shaped Vineet Mehra’s on-demand, agile-marketing mindset. Dubbing the CMO “part brand visionary, part performance technology evangelist,” he leads a marketing organization driving “social movements by building trust in an era of cynicism, creating diverse connections in a time of political tribalism and divisiveness.” Customer stories take center stage in Ancestry’s successful campaigns. Mehra claims to hold full accountability for the delivery of Ancestry’s worldwide revenue target. Under his marketing leadership, the company reported $1 billion in revenue in 2017, a 30% year-over-year gain, tied in part to partnerships with Pixar movie Coco and hit shows like Who Do You Think You Are?
Kinjil Mathur (Courtesy of the subject)
Kinjil Mathur, CMO, Squarespace
Kinjil Mathur is driving growth, innovation and social purpose at the 15-year-old website-building company. Previous experience as VP of digital marketing at Saks Fifth Avenue taught the CMO how to scale a business without sacrificing brand—in fact, the e-commerce business there grew from $200 million in revenue to $1 billion in five years. She also was CMO of Foursquare and early-stage startup Artspace, experiences that taught her the value of “a deep obsession with intrinsically knowing consumers’ motivations.” Last year, Squarespace secured the biggest partnership in its history with MSG and the Knicks. And reflective of her belief that business impact equals social impact, the company is an official sponsor of Pride across its three office locations. This year, her team led an Equal Pay Day campaign that galvanized feminist customers, including the likes of Gloria Steinem, to raise awareness and share experiences around issues of pay equity.
Andrew Mok (Courtesy of the subject)
Andrew Mok, CMO, Turo
Unlike the world’s 1 billion cars sitting idle 95% of the time, Andrew Mok hasn’t let his foot off the gas since joining the carsharing industry in 2012. The CMO’s growth mentality has propelled Turo’s presence from 2 cities to more than 5,500 across the U.S., U.K., Canada and Germany. As the University of California, Berkeley grad puts it, innovation should move so fast that last year’s ideas are laughable. Exemplifying such rapidity are three new product launches in the past six months alone: options for app-enabled entry, filtering by deluxe vehicles and owner-provided extras such as camping supplies.
Lindsay Nelson (Courtesy of the subject)
Lindsay Nelson, chief commercial officer, Vox Media
A self-described “intrapreneur,” Lindsay Nelson created one of the first branded-content studios at Slate. Now she’s at Vox Media, where she serves as chief commercial officer, overseeing end-to-end product development, marketing, creative, sales, business operations/analytics and customer experience. In 2016, she launched Concert, a publisher-led marketplace that grew into one of the largest premium inventory pools available to digital marketers, and scaled Vox Creative, Vox Media’s branded-entertainment practice, from five people to 40 people. It is now a multimillion-dollar, full-service creative and production studio responsible for award-winning campaigns and The Explainer Studio . Nelson also launched major activations like The Deep End at SXSW and repositioned Vox Media’s go-to-market strategy with a successful rebrand.
Nathaniel Ru (Courtesy of the subject)
Nathaniel Ru, cofounder and chief brand officer, Sweetgreen
Georgetown graduate Nathaniel Ru’s passion for music began with his first job, working at Geffen Records, and it made him realize music’s power in storytelling. He’s brought that belief to the healthy-foods chain he cofounded in 2007, Sweetgreen; the company has collaborated with musicians such as Kendrick Lamar and Blood Orange and has created the first food and music festival in Washington, D.C. called Sweetlife, hosting more than 20,000 fans annually. He also believes that companies need to prioritize social impact, something at the core of Sweetgreen’s DNA. He’s focused on driving traffic to restaurants via digital efforts, and, like Sweetlife, creating experiences that “connect culture to food.” His marketing mantra? “Building intimacy at scale.” The company collaborates with renowned chefs and recently brought healthier options to a corner store in an Los Angeles “food desert,” enabling access to locally sourced produce for community residents.
Jen Rubio (Courtesy of the subject)
Jen Rubio, cofounder and chief brand officer, Away
No stranger to the direct-to-consumer model—she previously served as head of social media at Warby Parker—Jen Rubio has deep understanding of how a great brand can change how people view products that were once an afterthought—like eyeglasses or luggage. Coupled with her deep understanding of and experience creating integrated consumer experiences at scale with new platforms and technologies, she’s made Away—a brand “guided by its community”—one of the hottest brands among younger consumers. Limited-edition collaborations with celebrities including Rashida Jones, Karlie Kloss and Dwyane Wade, and brands such as Star Wars and the NBA, as well as new retail locations, have cemented the brand’s awareness in its core community. And in a clear example of how purpose informs the marketing, the company is not selling luggage—it’s telling a broader travel narrative, she explains. Away recently closed a $50 million Series C fundraise and announced it had reached profitability in less than two years.
Jennifer Sey (Courtesy of the subject)
Jennifer Sey, CMO of global brands, Levi Strauss
Levi Strauss & Co. may be more than 150 years old, but it’s brand and marketing have never been more contemporary. An internationally competitive gymnast as a child, Jennifer Sey has been at Levi’s since 1999 after years at agencies and has since ascended through the ranks to head global marketing. And she’s clear on her mandate: to define the vision for the company’s brands. Under her watch, a key success: a significant comeback , reflected in five years of consecutive topline revenue growth and a third consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth. She’s lead award-winning campaigns, overseen the launch of Levi’s Stadium and made music a brand focus. She relaunched the women’s business in 2015 and by 2017 had achieved $1 billion in sales.
John Shea (Courtesy of the subject)
John Shea, CMO, Jimmy John’s
Sandwich-shop wars are only heating up, and Jimmy John’s has every intention of being a formidable competitor. The fast-growing sub chain in the spring welcomed former head of global marketing at Gatorade, John Shea, as CMO. At Gatorade, charged with reinvigorating brand growth, he launched the G Series and led deals with professional athletes including Peyton Manning, Usain Bolt and Michael Jordan. He believes that in an era of demands on agencies to evolve, it’s actually marketers who need to do so—producing “hundreds of pieces of content to connect with consumers.” To that end, at Jimmy John’s he’s built out a full production studio and design, video and social-media teams. To debut a new bread, the teams built a pop-up shop in the middle of a North Dakota wheat field.
Kellyn Smith Kenny (Courtesy of the subject)
Kellyn Smith Kenny, CMO, Hilton
Having led marketing at Uber, Capital One and Microsoft, Kellyn Smith Kenny boils down the CMO’s role to three priorities: growth, brand relevance and alignment around company purpose. Her advice to aspiring marketers? If you want to be a great marketer, have great customer instincts and know the numbers. With Hilton’s 14 global brands, awareness isn’t the issue; her mandate is to build even stronger direct relationships with Hilton’s guests. She joined only six months ago, but already has built centers of excellence in media, social and measurement and is relaunching key brand campaigns for Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton and Waldorf Astoria.
Leela Srinivasan (Courtesy of the subject)
Leela Srinivasan, CMO, SurveyMonkey
Describing herself as a “shameless customer groupie,” Tuck School graduate Leela Srinivasan views her job as putting customers in the spotlight, making heroes of them as you build rapport based on genuine interest. She previously cofounded LinkedIn Talent Solutions’ annual customer conference and The LinkedIn 100, a supergroup for talent acquisition; she believes that talent strategy, a diversity-and-inclusion focus, and positioning SurveyMonkey as an employer brand are of highest priority. Prior posts at OpenTable and Lever have led to her view that marketing and sales must be “joined at the hip.” Since joining four months ago, she’s created a unified marketing team and launched the Belonging & Inclusion template to help companies create a more inclusive culture.
Doug Sweeny (Courtesy of the subject)
Doug Sweeny, CMO, One Medical
With a mission to reinvent the traditional doctor’s office, One Medical has charged its new CMO with making its membership-based primary care network the most-loved brand in healthcare. That’s a tall order for Doug Sweeny, considering the often-dreaded and expensive experience of seeking diagnoses and treatments. It’s fitting then that the Nest, Google and Levi Strauss veteran adheres to the idea that “everything communicates.” He’s driving a detail- and individual-focused brand narrative to fuel business growth beyond its current nine U.S. markets.
Marissa Tarleton (Courtesy of the subject)
Marissa Tarleton, CMO, RetailMeNot
She managed accounts at Madison Avenue creative agencies, led marketing for Dell Inc.’s North America Consumer and Small Business organization, and now oversees consumer brand advertising, customer acquisition and retention, SEO, public relations, internal communications, business-to-business marketing and CRM for the online savings destination—which, by the way, is a pointed and important departure from its former online coupon site positioning, implemented under her watch. Marissa Tarleton has at her disposal a surplus of data and measurement tools, which she uses to “test and innovate,” and she has brought content creation and creative design completely in-house.
Kevin Thompson (Courtesy of the subject)
Kevin Thompson, CMO, Sotheby’s International Realty
Once a New York City public school teacher, the owner of a men’s specialty clothing store, and having worked for iconic luxury retail brands Gucci and Barney’s New York, Kevin Thompson has an eclectic background for a CMO. But it is that experience that informs his role now, working to honor the legacy of the storied Sotheby’s brand and auction house even as he seeks to modernize for a new generation of consumers and sales associates. He’s driven to continually create “firsts,” such as the release of an augmented-reality app and a first-of-its-kind partnership with Dow Jones Media Group to create a custom-publishing solution for its affiliates. In 2017, Sotheby’s International Realty-affiliated brokers and sales professionals achieved approximately $108 billion in global sales volume, the highest annual sales volume performance in the history of the brand.
Amanda Tolleson ( Courtesy of the subject)
Amanda Tolleson, chief customer officer, Birchbox
Amanda Tolleson’s first job—at a creative consultancy—illuminated the connection between brand-building and her degree in psychology. Both realms take into account motivations, lasting relationships and purpose. Topping that research with a Harvard University M.B.A. and experience in consumer insights, the new mom was poised to put such science toward the marketing strategy of her fourth employer, Birchbox, in 2016. As CMO of the cosmetic sample subscription service, she defined and championed Birchbox’s target subscriber—now numbering 1 million—and segued into the startup’s new No. 2 position, chief customer officer.
Tara Tresender (Courtesy of the subject)
Dara Treseder, CMO, GE Ventures and GE Business Innovations
Entrepreneurial innovation helps maintain General Electric’s status as multibillion-dollar brand and top employer 128 years after Thomas Edison began forming an electricity conglomerate. Such a mindset is both the charge and modus operandi for Dara Treseder. The Stanford University M.B.A arrived in 2017 after stints at Apple, Goldman Sachs and NeuBridges as CMO of GE Ventures. In this role, she provides marketing advice to a portfolio of 100-plus GE-invested companies, such as startup AiRXOS managing manned and unmanned air traffic. She’s also CMO for GE Business Innovations, licensing GE technology to develop partner businesses.
Alison Wagonfeld ( Courtesy of the subject)
Alison Wagonfeld, Vice President, Marketing and CMO, Google Cloud
Despite 20 years seasoning her marketing prowess at Quicken Loans, Greenlight.com and Emergence Capital Partners, Alison Wagonfeld felt some fear of the unknown when joining Google in 2016. The mom of three would be tasked with persuading businesses to adopt the innovative giant’s products of tomorrow. As CMO of Google Cloud, she has let this intangible nature drive storytelling: showing customers what problems Google Docs, Sheets, Calendar and Maps (among other services) can help solve, while also anticipating the creative solutions users from 150 countries would discover on their own.
Adam Weber ( Courtesy of the subject)
Adam Weber, CMO, EBTH
Branding a buy-and-sell marketplace, Adam Weber must please both sides of every transaction. The CMO has to keep sellers and buyers alike returning to EBTH.com (short for “Everything But The House”). So in his first year, he’s structuring the as-yet-private company’s strategy around customer service. As the Dollar Shave Club veteran sees it, the team once tasked with “cool advertising” today must think like the empowered, purpose-driven consumer. In EBTH’s case, that means storytelling: utilizing video, photography and sellers’ social media to bring out the engaging narrative of each unique home good for sale.
Peter Weingard (Courtesy of the subject)
Peter Weingard, VP of brand strategy and content innovation, West Elm
Peter Weingard joined furniture and housewares retailer West Elm in July, having served previously as CMO of New York Public Radio since 2015, where he guided a 94-year-old broadcaster’s evolution into one of the largest digital audio-streaming services in the U.S., relaunching the WNYC brand with a provocative ad campaign. At New York University, he wrote his graduate thesis, “Mapping the Message to the Mind: Advertising Imagery and Consumer Processing Styles,” published in the Journal of Advertising Research , which began his journey “exploring the intersection of data and creativity.” He described the role of the CMO as “the largest internal builders and users of enterprise technology, the data warriors, the growth hackers, the market analysts, as well as the brand builders and customer advocates.” He oversees data infrastructure and analysis, creative development, customer insights, content creation, new product development and audience and revenue growth.
Georgina Grant and Katherine Love assisted with this list.