CMO Spotlight Interview

CMO CLUB SPOTLIGHT: DEE MC LAUGHLIN OF FOREVER 21

This week, we‰Ûªre turning the spotlight onto Dee Mc Laughlin, VP of Global Marketing at Forever 21.

This week, we‰Ûªre turning the spotlight ontoåÊDee Mc Laughlin, VPåÊof Global Marketing atåÊForever 21.

1. What was your first (or favorite) job you‰Ûªve had? åÊ

Dee McLaughlin, VP of Global Marketing, Forever 21
Dee McLaughlin, VP of Global Marketing, Forever 21

My first job was sweeping up hair at a local hair salon at age 16. When I got promoted to shampooing I was thrilled! After that, I worked at a shoe store. I‰Ûªve always had jobs that were customer focused.

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

Being fearless has made me a better creative. Being agile has allowed me to move very quickly in our rapidly evolving marketing landscape. Being curious has sent me down many interesting paths in my life.

3. Name an ‰ÛÏinflection point‰Û experience that prepared you for your current position as a Head of Marketing.

I believe the foundation for realizing the life you want is to notice, create, and seize inflection points, instead of waiting for them to happen to you. My own career path is definitely not a straight line. At Virgin I started in e-com, and realized that I loved all the things that the marketing team was doing. So I put a proposal together on how I could help that team and asked to meet with the CMO.

The feeling that came with that sea change was exhilarating! I have come to realize that it is dangerous not to do what you love because if you don‰Ûªt have passion to drive your daily thinking, there will be others who will overtake and outrun you. There‰Ûªs an insightful book calledåÊBuilt to LaståÊbyåÊJim CollinsåÊthat sums this up nicely: ‰ÛÏLoving what you do is a competitive imperative, not simply a nice thing to have.‰Û

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

Beyond skills, I look for passion, teamwork and humility. People with these qualities stay on top of trends, keep morale and motivation high and take pride in the outcome of their team‰Ûªs work.

5. What technology are you looking forward to using or implementing for your brand in the next six months?

We are still more facile with data capture than data crunching. This year we are applying advanced analytics to gain a 360-degree view of our customers.

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

Give & Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our SuccessåÊbyåÊAdam Grant.

This Wharton professor will fundamentally change the way you think about success.

7. Name one Head of Marketing who impresses you today and tell us why.åÊ

Jonathan Mildenhall has transformedåÊAirbnb‰Ûªs image from startup to major player. I loved the brand‰Ûªs TV campaign with the copy that ‰ÛÏmankind, womankind, transkind, humankind‰Û are all part of Airbnb‰Ûªs community. So of-the-moment.

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

‰ÛÏGet comfortable being uncomfortable.‰ÛåÊI recognize it as a sign that I am growing andåÊlearning. I‰Ûªm a big believer in that all personal and professional growth is dependent upon pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone.