CMO Career Transitions: You're CMO, Now What?

Virtual Events
Thu, Jan 14, 2021, 8:30 AM (PST)

About this event

Listen to the full Virtual Roundtable [56:57]
Watch the Highlights Video [3:02]

For new CMOs, the enormity of the position and the vastness of responsibility is intimidating. Three senior marketers with highly successful careers recently told The CMO Club about their first days on the job, and the core values they embraced that led them to prosperity.

Our panel included: Christine Nashick, CMO & CEO at DHL Express, Syl Saller, Executive Coach, former Global CMO, Diageo, and Sherilyn Shackell, Founder and CEO of The Marketing Academy.

It’s Not About You. It’s About Everyone Else.

  • Syl Saller quickly realized as a new CMO that her ability to enable other people in her organization was where she could make the biggest positive impact in her company.
  • Sherilynn Shackell similarly recognized that people are “the growth engine” of the company.
  • Christine Nashick described the critical importance of people trusting that the CMO stands for growth and not their own personal agenda.

“Although I was responsible for commercial results, and brand growth, putting the emphasis on people and talent made the difference. When you're trying to work across 180 countries with 1,200 people, you realize pretty quickly, it is not about you. It's about everybody else.”

– Syl Saller, Executive Coach, former Global CMO, Diageo

Communication is Your Superpower as a CMO.

  • Panelists cited the need for the CMO to be a “fantastic communicator.”
  • That ability to communicate is the foundation of credibility and impact in the boardroom and across the rest of the business
  • Sherilyn Shackell described how the CMO’s seat at the table in the boardroom today is especially valuable in the midst of the unpredictability of the pandemic, and the need for senior marketing executives who can clearly communicate new opportunities through the lens of the customer.

“We have better communicators than any other function in the board suite. The CMO understands what communication is at a visceral level. And communications is one of the biggest leadership superpowers. Being a fantastic communicator really can add value, credibility to the impact and influence that you can make in the boardroom. ”

– Sherilyn Shackell, Founder & CEO at The Marketing Academy

Continue to learn. The CMO is much more than a single role.

  • Sherilynn Shackell stressed the importance of being flexible and adaptable as a CMO - especially in the past year.
  • Christine Nashick described how the different roles she held inside and outside of marketing made her aware of the needs of the business rather than the needs of just marketing.
  • Panelists advocated for finding mentors outside of marketing -- cross-company mentoring -- to get a full grasp of the business’ needs.

“One big reason I got there was just always being open to learning. I’m not your typical marketer who just knows marketing. And I think marketing has truly evolved to needing to be a general manager. I want to continue to learn, be challenged, and add value.”

– Christine Nashick, CMO & CEO at DHL Express



  • Jon Suarez-Davis

    Jon Suarez-Davis


    SVP, Marketing Strategy & Innovation

  • Sherilyn Shackell

    Sherilyn Shackell

    The Marketing Academy

    Founder and CEO