CMO Impact
Achieving Personal & Career Success

CMO Club Spotlight: Bob Braham of SGI

September 08, 2015


Bob Braham, CMO at SGI and Silicon Valley Chapter President

Bob Braham, CMO at SGI and Silicon Valley Chapter President

This week, we’re turning the spotlight onto Bob Braham, CMO at SGI and our Silicon Valley Chapter President. 

1. What was your first (or favorite) job you’ve had?

My father earned a degree in physics from Columbia then a PhD from Cal Tech. He was a very bright man. During my summers in high school, he wanted me to attend computer camp but I was a swimmer and opted to get my first job as a lifeguard instead. After 2 years, I became the pool manager. The position taught me a number of soft skills that I applied later in life as a leader in high tech. 25 years later, my dad indicated that I had made the right choice for myself.

2. What are the 3 most important components for your personal and professional success?

First is the ability to think in growth terms, seeing all the possibilities in situations and in people.

The second component is integrity. This means more than just being honest and adhering to rules. Integrity means having the courage to tell employees bad news or give corrective action.

That’s two instead of three . . . I didn’t say “following directions” was one of them.

3. Name an “inflection point” experience that prepared you for your current position as a CMO.

Several years ago at the CMO Club Summit, when I was a VP of Marketing for a well-known high tech company, I met Kim Feil who, at the time, was the CMO at Walgreen’s. Later, when I was at a career crossroads, Kim educated me on the role of the CMO and I became inspired to make that a career goal. Mentors, at all levels, are critical to success.

4. What characteristics do you value most when hiring new marketing talent for your team

Positive attitude, relentless drive, domain expertise

5. What piece of technology are you looking forward to using or implementing for your brand?

I have an idea for a business and as part of the offering, I’m looking forward to developing my first application. My 24-year-old daughter who works in the mobile apps industry is my business advisor!

6. Which book would you recommend to your fellow Heads of Marketing right now?

“Boys in the Boat”, which tells the story of the 1936 Olympic rowing team. It’s a great example of what an ordinary group can accomplish with teamwork, effort and, above all, trust. Not to mention exceptional leadership.

7. Name one CMO who impresses you today and tell us why. 

Jonathan Becher, who served as the CMO at SAP and currently runs their digital business. Jonathan is bright, driven, well connected and one of the most gracious people you will ever meet.

8. Do you have a personal mantra, words of wisdom or favorite inspirational quote?

Once in a while, even a blind squirrel finds a nut!

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