Skip to main content

We are recognizing Connie Chan Wang in the 2024 Marketers To Watch Series for her innovative work and exemplary leadership as the SVP of Marketing at Headspace.

Throughout Connie’s career, she has led purpose-driven teams and organizations, telling brand stories that win hearts and minds and building them for scale. She started her career in education and nonprofit work before moving to Silicon Valley, where she spent 5 years at Yahoo! and nearly 11 years at LinkedIn. In her current role at Headspace, where she leads a team of world-class marketers to provide every person access to lifelong mental health support and redefine the future of mental health, she has a unique perspective on where marketing and mental health intersect.

Curious about the marketing leader behind Headspace marketing? Keep reading to learn Connie’s perspectives on the future of marketing, the innovative work she’s been leading, her best career advice, and more.

What gives me joy outside of work

My kiddos! I am inspired by and learn from them every day. My 9-year-old son has a wicked sense of humor, a passion for sports, and a deep loyalty to family and friends. My 6-year-old daughter is a boss who can charm just about anyone and makes every day “the best day ever.” 

Every marketer should read...

Fiction, in all its forms. As marketers, it is critical we understand our customers deeply and are able to craft stories and messages that resonate with them at the deepest level. Fiction has been proven to help in both of these areas – develop empathy and spark creativity.

Future of Marketing

Q: What’s one thing coming down the marketing pike you are most excited about?

Like so many of us, I am really excited about the power of GenAI to transform the marketing industry. A few areas that excite me most:  

  • Enabling more efficiency and productivity. From drafting copy to synthesizing data, I’ve been blown away by the time GenAI has already saved our teams. 
  • Empowering more creativity and innovation. Freeing up time on rote and mundane tasks will allow us to lean into human empathy and connection alongside GenAI to understand our customers better, brainstorm breakthrough ideas, predict future trends, and more. 
  • Transforming the way brands connect with customers. In time, we will be able to personalize and communicate 1:1 with customers at an unprecedented scale. 

Q: What widely accepted “marketing truth” do you wish the industry would evolve? 

Brand vs Demand. It is so important to invest across both. We need to invest in Brand to create the foundation and drive emotional connection, and we need to invest in Demand to drive immediate sales, revenue, and growth. It’s time we stop pitting them against each other and instead show how necessarily intertwined they must be to build powerful brands and businesses. 

Q: What’s a prediction you have for Brand Marketing over the next few years?

The exponential rise of upstart brands. Upstarts will disrupt industries in bigger and faster ways as it becomes even cheaper and faster to go to market and reach mass audiences at scale in personalized ways. More than ever, brands will have to stay on top of customer trends, be nimble, and adapt to customer needs and wants while staying true to the core of the brand’s promise and values. No easy feat! 

Brand Marketing at Headspace

Q: What’s something exciting you’re currently working on at Headspace?  

Mental health journeys are not linear. Some days, a few deep breaths are all it takes to get us through a tough moment, while on other days, we desperately need someone to guide us through our emotions and experiences. That’s why earlier this year, we launched Headspace Mental Health Coaching directly to consumers to help people with everything from managing everyday stress and building healthier relationships to getting more sleep and improving emotional resilience. This is not new for us as Headspace (through our merger with Ginger) has been providing mental health coaching through employers and health plans for the past nine years, with studies showing improvements in symptoms of everyday anxiety and depression. By bringing these services to consumers, we’re democratizing access to a lower-cost, accessible, and proven level of care. Later this year, we’ll launch therapy directly to consumers, too, so we can meet people in their moments of need with the right level of care, whether that’s meditation and mindfulness, coaching, or therapy.  

Introducing Headspace Mental Health Coaching
Introducing Headspace Mental Health Coaching

Q: What’s the most pressing business challenge you’ve faced within the last year at Headspace, and what have you done to try to solve it?

In 2021, Headspace (meditation and mindfulness) merged with Ginger (tele-mental health) to create the most comprehensive mental health solution on the market for consumers, employers, and health plans. A merger of equals is always challenging, from varying cultures and processes to different brands and GTM motions.  

Here’s how we’ve tried to solve it:

  • Meet people where they are. These transformative and messy moments are not for everyone, so it was important to have honest conversations with every person on the team to set clear expectations and help them understand if this was for them. 
  • Build bridges across teams. Once we had folks who were in it to win it, we focused on building bridges and connections across teams and building a new shared culture for our combined company. 
  • Tackling the most important challenges first. We couldn’t integrate everything at once, so we had to take on the most impactful integrations first. For example, while rebranding our entire suite of services to Headspace was no easy feat, it has been absolutely game-changing for us internally to operate as one Headspace. Externally, we are on a journey to expand the definition of Headspace into the full continuum of mental health services beyond meditation and mindfulness to coaching, therapy, and psychiatry. 

Mental Health, Leadership, and Career Advice

Q: Why is it critical for marketing leaders to be having conversations around mental health with their peers and customers?

In Headspace’s 6th annual Workforce State of Mind report, we found that 89% of company leaders talk about their own mental health in the workforce, up from 35% in 2020. This is game-changing because all leaders, including marketing leaders, model what matters. When we show up with authenticity and transparency, we create space for our teams, peers, and customers to share their stories which creates connections and builds community. These conversations also inspire employers to do more to support employee mental health, from changing workplace culture to bringing in innovative mental health solutions that meet employees and their families in moments of need. 

Q: What leadership muscle is most important for marketers to exercise?

Curiosity. Full stop. Everything is changing around us – how our teams work, how our customers buy, how technology is transforming the industry. It has never been more important for leaders to approach it all with a beginner’s mind—one of our company values—to enable our teams to do their best work, to serve our customers better, and to leverage technology in our organizations as a force for good.

Q: What’s the most game-changing career advice youve received?

“Take the professor, not the class.” This advice came from a dear mentor of mine, Meg Garlinghouse, whose father imparted it to her when she was in college. When making a decision, optimize for the people you will work with (i.e., your boss, your colleagues) versus the subject matter (i.e., the company, the job title). This advice has guided me in many personal and professional decisions over the years, and it has yet to lead me astray! 

Marketers to Watch is a recognition series to spotlight highly innovative and forward-thinking marketing leaders in the community. If you have someone you’d like to nominate for the series, apply here.