When Dara Treseder, CMO at Autodesk, requested to be on Visionaries with Carla Hassan, Global CMO at JP Morgan Chase, Carla, without hesitation, jumped on the opportunity. They first met at a dinner in NYC at the beginning of Dara’s career. Dara recounts Carla’s kindness and bonding over their shared experiences as immigrant leaders. Carla shared, “When you are one of the few, you sit together, because you understand each other’s experiences.” Their episode on Visionaries is equally as heartfelt as it is inspiring. It’s a testament of what happens when leaders truly see one another as friends, and why setting a clear vision for the future is bookended by people and potential.
Stay grounded in your roots.
Carla Hassan: I’m an Arab immigrant, and when you’re the first in a lot of cases, or one of the very few, you stick together because you understand each other’s experiences and what people are going through. Arabs are kind of an invisible group because we pass for being white, and we are often misunderstood because people expect us to be something different. I think it’s the same thing for folks who are immigrants or folks who look different than everybody else. When you find people that are connected to you in one way, shape or form, you hold on to that.
“I’m an Arab immigrant, and when you’re the first in a lot of cases, or one of the very few, you stick together because you understand each other’s experiences and what people are going through… When you find people that are connected to you in one way, shape or form, you hold on to that.”— Carla Hassan, Global CMO at JP Morgan Chaser
Dara Treseder: I was born and raised in Nigeria and actually lived in Nigeria for most of my life until I came to the U.S. for college. So many people contributed to get me to get me here. I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of giants and have a huge sense of responsibility for what I do. So, for me, it’s never been about me. It’s always been about impact and how I can be an example to others, because I remember when I was coming up in my career, there weren’t a lot of Black women that I could look to and say, ‘OK, I can rise.’
Focus on growth with your customer at the center.
Carla Hassan: Currently, my main focus is on finding ways to drive business growth while still connecting and engaging with our consumers. One of the biggest challenges we face is knowing when to jump on the latest trends and when to recognize that they are just passing fads. We also need to figure out how to protect our brands and the company while still driving innovation and when to disrupt the status quo. These are all important issues that we must consider. My main goal is to steer the organization in a way that will continue to drive growth but do it in a way that is guided by data, science, and humanity.
Dara Treseder: As a company, we’re striving to drive growth while keeping our customers’ needs at the forefront. It’s not enough to simply focus on growth without considering the impact it has on our customers. That’s why we’re dedicated to transforming how our customers experience Autodesk and improving their outcomes. Our team is focused on gathering insights and data that can help us better serve our customers and highlight the great work they’re doing. However, it’s important to acknowledge that our customers are dealing with a lot of uncertainty, whether it’s related to the geopolitical environment or the potential impact of AI. As their trusted partner, we’re committed to helping them navigate both the uncertainty and potential that comes with modern technology. It’s all part of our journey towards growth and success.
“It’s important to acknowledge that our customers are dealing with a lot of uncertainty, whether it’s related to the geopolitical environment or the potential impact of AI. As their trusted partner, we’re committed to helping them navigate both the uncertainty and potential that comes with modern technology. “— Dara Treseder, CMO at Autodeskr
Know the difference between uncertainty and potential.
Dara Treseder: As leaders, we are trying to balance uncertainty and potential, but we are also trying to balance motivating our teams. How do you motivate a global team that isn’t coming into the office every day of the week and under the stressors of everyday life post-pandemic? How do you keep people motivated when they’ve been running for so long?
The one thing that stood out to me from our recent MTM Forum on this topic was how important it is to model to our teams who we want to be, where we want to go, and how to create an environment where our teams can thrive. With the evolution of AI, things are accelerating at a breakneck pace. And so, it’s critical that we cast vision and create that positive environment for our teams where we can navigate all of those three things.
Get the foundation right and never lose sight.
Carla Hassan: One of my roles as a CMO is to help the org see growth potential and how innovation can drive that growth in a responsible way. Any opportunity I get, I set that vision and my expectation of how we are going to get there. There are three things in marketing that stand the test of time:
- Marketers exist to drive business growth.
- Marketers are the change agent with the customer/client at the center.
- Marketers own creativity and data.
When it comes to the future, I consider myself a business leader first, who happens to have a functional hat of marketing. None of us can make decisions without building relationships across function: finance, risk, product, technology, and more. Understand what makes those functions and their leaders tick. Think about the jobs that need to be done that are basic stakes all the time, then layer on the new things you should be thinking about as it relates to new innovation.
Remember that it’s about your people and taking your team with you. You could have the best ideas, but if the people don’t believe in it, it’s never going to get done.
Break out of the box.
Dara Treseder: One of the things that we enjoy doing is sharing the stories of our customers and how they use our Autodesk platform to design and create various things, including movies. Our Moxion platform is used to integrate pre- and post-production and visual effects processes seamlessly for different movies, including Barbie. It was an exhilarating experience to be part of such a cultural moment that went beyond just the movie itself. It was a rallying cry for women, proving that we are more than the box people put us in, or even the box we put ourselves in. We can achieve so much more than we think, and it was such a motivational and empowering message. It was an honor to work on a project by Greta Gerwig, the first woman to really break through when it comes to the box office.
In addition to sharing the insights above, Dara and Carla shared these 6 noteworthy tips for building a future-driven career:
- Be unapologetically you.
- Understand you’re not for everyone.
- Find your personal board of directors.
- Treat people how they want to be treated, not how you want to be treated.
- Chase opportunities that create other opportunities.
- Give yourself some grace.
Meet the Visionaries
Dara Treseder, CMO, Autodesk: Dara Treseder is Chief Marketing Officer at Autodesk. Dara sets the strategy and goals to build the brand and market the product portfolio. She oversees the worldwide marketing, brand, communications, demand generation, digital e-commerce, and education business teams. A veteran Chief Marketing Officer, Dara was previously the Global Head of Marketing, Communications & Membership at Peloton, the CMO of Carbon, and the CMO of GE Business Innovations & GE Ventures. Earlier in her career, she led marketing and growth efforts at Apple and Goldman Sachs. Dara has been recognized by Forbes as the World’s Most Influential CMO, by Adweek as a “Brand Genius,” by Business Insider as one of the “Top 25 most innovative CMOs in the world,” and by Inc. Magazine as one of the “30 Inspirational Women to Watch in Tech.”
Carla Hassan, Global CMO at JP Morgan Chase: Carla Hassan has the responsibility for firmwide marketing, which includes advertising, media, sponsorships, market research and customer insights for the Chase, J.P. Morgan and corporate brands. Most recently, she was the Chief Marketing Officer of Citi, leading the marketing organization to build distinctive, impactful campaigns that differentiated the brand, accelerated digital capabilities and fueled the firm’s continued growth. Prior to joining Citi, Carla was Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer of Toys “R” Us, and before that, Senior Vice President, Brand Management for PepsiCo’s Global Beverage Group. During her 13 year tenure at PepsiCo, she held a number of strategic marketing leadership roles for Quaker and Gatorade in the US, and was Chief Marketing Officer for the company’s Middle East & Africa business based out of Dubai. Carla held several marketing roles at The Kellogg Company at the beginning of her career. Carla serves on the board of the AdCouncil, the Association of National Advertisers, and is a 2020 NYWICI Matrix award winner.
Visionaries, hosted by Nadine Dietz, airs every week and is brought to you in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Each week, two new visionaries share their game plan and how that impacts today’s teams, talent, and hybrid work environment.
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