1) You’ve had an impressive career, congratulations! Was there a particular career path that you followed?
I’d really like to say that I had a planned trajectory, but I didn’t. I focused on having jobs I liked, were challenged and inspired by; working with brands and products I believed in, and with smart people. I focused on doing a great job and didn’t spend time on how to climb the ladder.
I came out of college with an international relations degree, and it was difficult to market the liberal art skills I acquired, so I entered a bank training program and became a commercial lender. What I discovered I loved was how to grow a business. After being a lender for 4 years, I realized the job was not going to change much, so I decided to go back and get my MBA.
While I was in graduate school, I decided on brand management and worked for Clorox, a classic CPG (consumer packaged goods) company. Conveniently, Clorox is near Silicon Valley and after several years in Brand I moved to the startup world. This was truly an incredible learning experience; I joined a start up where I was employee 27, we went public, and filed Chapter 11 (collapsed) – all in 3.5 years. And during all of this, no one left the company due to the incredible culture that the company had built.
I then decided to start a company with my colleague. The company was called Rocketcash, and within two years Coca-Cola bought the company. We launched the first Sprite.com with a big online under the cap promotion (which has since morphed into “My Coke Rewards” with almost 20mm members). I eventually moved to Atlanta to start building the Coca-Cola interactive marketing team, pushing the company to a digital mindset. I spent six years in North America and three years as the Global Head of Digital Marketing. I never thought I would stay for nine years, but the work was continuously challenging and rewarding.
Coming to ESPN as CMO was a great next job after leaving the number one brand in the world (Coca-Cola) to lead marketing for the ESPN, the world-wide leader in sport. I am once again challenged, inspired, making an impact, and working with great products and very smart people.
2) What have been the two most interesting projects you’ve worked on?
Coca-Cola was the first brand that Facebook worked with and it was exciting to be an early adopter of social as a marketing tactic.The Coca-Cola Facebook page was started by two big Coca-Colas fans, and then when the page jumped to over 1mm fans Facebook made us take over the page, but Dusty and Michael remained administrators. Now the Coca-Cola page is one of the largest brand pages with over 35 million active fans. One of the keys to Coke’s success was a Fan’s First focus.
Working on our new WatchESPN product that allows Fans to watch live ESPN TV on their tablet, mobile phone or computer means delivering for sports fans their dream come true. How many times do you find yourself unable to tear yourself away from a game, but you have to go somewhere? ESPN is transforming this behavior; you can now watch a game ornSports Center and never miss a