1. What was your first job?
I got my first job when I was 15 – I was a short order cook at Friendly’s.
2. What are the 3 most important components for your personal and professional success?
a). Maintaining a relentless desire to win.
b). Remembering that when you stop learning and stop having fun it’s time to find something new to do.
c). And ALWAYS remembering that family is a priority.
3. Name an “inflection point” experience that prepared you for your current position.
I used to work for a CMO who could never provide constructive feedback or commit to making a decision. When giving her opinion, she would just say, “I don’t like that.” And every time someone presented options to her, her go-to response was, “I’ll get back to you.” Well, you can’t fix “I don’t like it” without knowing the “why” and she seldom got back to anyone – it took forever to get anything done when decisions couldn’t be made. It was a horrible experience and taught me what not to do.
Keeping that in mind while doing my job, I remember to always provide my team with actionable feedback that is timely – if not immediate.
4. What characteristics do you value most when hiring new marketing talent for your team?
I look for someone with a desire to break the 4-minute mile.
What do I mean by that? I often ask candidates: “If you have a goal to run a 4-minute mile, what do you do once you’ve accomplished it?” Most people say they’d celebrate. Once in a blue moon, I get someone who responds with something like, “then I’d try to run it in 3:59.” That is the person I want on my team.
5. You’re currently CMO for UCHealth, one of the largest hospital systems in the Rocky Mountain region. What challenges do you face working for a brand as large and multifaceted as this one?
Wow, what a complex question! I guess the long and short of it is getting the organization to move forward in a unified way. I say this because, while we are a very large system, we still operate as many small regional ones. Our current rebrand process is driven mostly by this plan to create more brand unification, but also to create a common goal and purpose that can unite our 20,000+ employees around one central idea.
6. Which book or podcast would you recommend to your fellow CMO Club members right now?
The Ways to New: 15 Paths to Disruptive Innovation by Jean-Marie Dru.
7. Name one Head of Marketing who impresses you today and why.
I don’t know if there is one particular person, but there are a few brands I really admire. John Lewis is amazing. Each year, they come up with an amazing and inspiring Holiday ad campaign that is focused on eliciting emotions rather than selling. What is more outstanding, though, is that they strive to outdo themselves from the previous year and that, each year, they always manage to do just that.
I’m also very impressed by what Under Armour has been able to do in such a short period of time.
8. Do you have a personal mantra, words of wisdom or favorite inspirational quote?
“Winning isn’t everything but wanting to is” – Vince Lombardi