This month we asked our VIP CMO Panel about their experience with mentors. We learned who their most impactful mentors were and how they impacted their careers.
“Who is someone that has been a mentor to you and how did they impact you?”
“Peter Gray was the Advertising Manager for Procter & Gamble Latin America. He was chain Smoking Brit that knew more about advertising that anyone I ever met. He taught me all I know about how to “surprise and delight” while still selling Detergent!”
“The person who has shaped me and has inspired me the most is Gordon Henderson. He was the first person who encouraged me to be brilliant at some things and rubbish at others, whereas before I had always been told I needed to be good at everything, which meant I was just average in many areas. This was truly motivating and has guided how I recruit people today. I’d rather work with a bunch of people each brilliant at one thing than all of them just good at many things.”
“I am a bad mentee.. once I was given a chance and we both, mentor and mentee, agreed best was to spend our time doing something else. Where I learn the most is when I make mistakes, errors are my best mentor as they force me to learn, overcome them and become better.”
“After a three year journey with a previous CEO, he remains a close friend and a mentor. He has a grand ability to listen to my questions, my insights and my thought processes and then offer a perspective that may not compliment mine. Yet he is careful to never give the answer while at the same time never lead me down the wrong path. Because he took the time to know my strengths, my character and my core values when working for him, our conversations are at a deeper, richer level than other mentors.”
Barb Martino (currently Chief Revenue Officer, Active International), my first true mentor. It would be impossible to really articulate the impact Barb had on me both as a marketer and a person, but fair to say I wouldn’t be anywhere near the person I hopefully am today without her guidance and support. In the seven years we worked together at Grey Advertising and eventually started G-Whiz Youth & Entertainment Marketing together (a partner company of Grey), she brought out the best in me and helped me in ways I am not sure to this day she fully understands. She provided enough rope to climb and not too much to choke myself out when I failed. She recognized something in me that I had not yet recognized in myself and put me in situations where I could discover for myself the kind of person and leader I wanted to become. I will be forever grateful for her coming into my life.
“When I reflect on my career, there are two people who had and continue to have the biggest impact on me professionally. The first is Phil Parrotta. Phil was the Head of Brand at a previous firm where I worked in NYC. He is now an entrepreneur and founder of Swoup, a personal savings app. Phil challenged me in ways that I appreciate more today than at the time. He always gave me honest and direct feedback while providing me with guidance and support to advance my career. In addition to his marketing expertise, Phil is also one of the most fashionable men I know. I will never forget the day he said, “Nice shoes.” Yes that matters…he does not compliment easily.
The second is Piers Currie, the Group Head of Brand at a previous firm where I worked and now a Partner at Warhorse Partners, a consultancy firm. Other than anything and everything about closed end funds and unit investment trusts, Piers taught me to keep things simple when marketing and challenged me to take my creativity to the next level. He is one of the most brilliant marketers I know and has the most profound ideas and I evolved tremendously working with him.
Under Phil and Piers’ leadership and guidance, I’ve learned a great deal about branding as well as marketing. It is exciting to see both Phil and Piers move onto new entrepreneurial adventures-I know they will enjoy tremendous success. I’m fortunate to have such creative, profound mentors in my life and will forever cherish my time working with them. They continue to play a massive role in my career evolution and professional development and challenge me to be a better marketer and leader.
While these two amazing mentors stand out to me, it truly takes a village. That said, there are many industry friends including many CMOs in The CMO Club that provide a range of career support and guidance.”
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