This year’s most-requested topic for the Visionaries Podcast has been “Leadership Skills for Navigating the New Business Environment.” For such an important topic, we wanted to hear from leaders who model this well and learn how the role of mentorship has not only helped them but also changed the trajectory of their careers.
Antonio Lucio, EVP and Chief Marketing and Corporate Affairs Officer at HP Inc., and founder of 5S Diversity (former CMO of Facebook and Visa), and Nick Drake, VP of Marketing at Google, were invited to co-host this very special episode alongside Nadine Dietz, interviewing two of their mentees and recently named MTM’s Marketers to Watch: Lizette Williams, Global Head of Vertical Solutions Marketing at Meta and Chris Marino, Global Head of Media and Marketing Technology at Bloomberg Media.
These four Visionaries have dedicated countless hours to listening, learning, and observing the ever-changing landscape of their industry while honing the leadership skills required for these changes.
Antonio enjoyed a 40-year career in marketing before devoting 100% of his time to mentoring the next generation of marketing leaders. Nick was inspired by Antonio’s leadership skills when Antonio worked as CMO at Visa and has since become a people-centric leader himself. Lizette and Chris were among the first members of the Adweek Mentorship Exchange founded by Nadine Dietz and had the privilege of being mentored by Antonio and Nick and remain in touch to this day.
In this conversation, Antonio and Nick discuss the foundational principles of leadership and how the demands are changing. Lizette and Chris provide valuable perspectives from being mentored to becoming mentors themselves. Their collective insights offer a deeper understanding of new and much-needed leadership muscles, the importance of mentorship, and how confidence is a building block for greater impact and influence.
Understand What Has Changed
Antonio Lucio: First, the speed of change is rapid. It is no longer about the technical aspect of your craft. It’s your ability to manage change. Second, you need to understand what politics means. This is how an organization gets things done within its culture. It is neither negative nor positive; it is just the way it is. Third, it’s vital to build a strong internal network–strong partnership relationships–with the CFO, CEO, or head of product to get what needs to be done the right way. And most of all, leaders must know how to assume their power and know the impact and influence they have within an organization.
Nick Drake: There’s a shift in how people perceive marketing; they expect it to be contextual, personal, and relevant. Not only does this mean we need to have the right underlying marketing technology to support doing this at scale, but we also need to find new innovative ways to connect with our users, constantly testing and learning. Next, the demands on our teams have changed; we are meeting more consumers in more places than ever before, but not only that, our marketing is ‘always on’, requiring a shift in our team structure and operating models.
Strengthen Foundational Leadership Muscles
Shared by Antonio Lucio and Nick Drake
- Spend more time on the how and who than the what and why.
- Be both a student and a teacher.
- Have a test and learn mindset.
- Stay curious.
- See the big picture through tech and data.
- Tell masterful stories.
- Be a tenacious driver of growth.
- Encourage team members to be mentors.
- Model transparency, authenticity, and vulnerability.
- Be a champion for diversity and inclusion.
Build New Leadership Muscles
Lizette Williams: Many people are interested in understanding my journey and how I have navigated it authentically. I show up at work as my true self, and this makes it easier for others to do the same. When I started my career, I tried to emulate the best version of a white man, but it didn’t work out well for me. Once I stopped trying to be someone I’m not and started being true to myself as a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx, my career took off, and I could concentrate on growing the business. As a leader, I believe that emulating authenticity is one of the best things you can do to set an example for others. I approach every day as my authentic self and am transparent about it. I do my job exceptionally well, and I don’t have to pretend to be someone else.
Influence Through Educating
Chris Marino: One of the most fascinating aspects of the present time is the increasing prevalence of technology and data. We are at a turning point where you have the necessary groundwork to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Personally, I have been primarily focused on education, which accounts for 80% of my time. The question is not only about educating senior executives on industry changes, but also about educating your teams…I also embraced the concept of “outside-in” by spending time outside the office talking to other marketers, attending conferences, and participating in industry trade associations. These interactions and insights helped me gain credibility within my company, and they are some of the ways I have tried to bring an outside perspective to Bloomberg.
Lizette Williams: I’ve been mentored, and I believe in giving back. When I first started being mentored by Antonio, it was only about the hustle and how to get on the next rung. I wanted to know how to become a CMO. Even now, my mentees have the same aspirations, but I’ve noticed that the coaching has evolved. It’s not just about grinding and getting to the next level, but it’s more about EQ-based coaching. We cover navigating complex political situations at work, work-life balance, and balancing the emotional side while being aggressive with career aspirations.
Develop People Holistically
Chris Marino: The theme of career development is frequently discussed in the workplace, and often people view it solely in terms of promotions. However, I believe it’s important to shift our focus to the skills economy. While promotions are a measure of success, building a strong foundation of skills is what will lead to long-term success. Rather than seeking promotions, develop your skills, as this will help you advance to the next level. As a leader, I’m constantly thinking about how to help my teams achieve this. From joining a number of associations to develop professionally to bringing in agencies and partners to educate us as things change, I invest in my team members as full individuals, both professionally and personally.
Lead with Empathy
Lizette Williams: You have to show up with empathy. Outwardly, I represent my organization and navigate it, but internally, I have to be empathetic towards my colleagues and their experiences. I started my job four weeks before the murder of George Floyd and since then, the COVID pandemic, the Ukraine war, and now the Israel and Palestine war. As a leader, I have to be well-rounded, authentic, and empathetic towards my colleagues. I have to be aware of my colleagues’ mental health and provide them with the necessary breaks. The expectations are far different from what they were even ten years ago.
Notable Career Advice
Antonio Lucio: It pays to take risks early in your career.
Nick Drake: There is power in having a mentor or sponsor in your corner to help guide your career.
Lizette Williams: You lift as you climb. No matter where you are in your career, you can invest in others.
Chris Marino: Find jobs that are one-of-one so no matter how well you do, you stand out.
Meet the Visionaries
Antonio Lucio, Founder & Principal at 5S Diversity: Antonio Lucio is an experienced and successful Global Marketing and Communications Officer whose mission is to build brands that stand the test of time by focusing on the people who build those brands. These brands are anchored in purpose; have a meaningful impact on people’s lives; are built through strong emotional connections; behave with integrity and are constantly reinventing themselves to deliver their purpose. Antonio has demonstrated a history of building strong global brands. He is skilled in developing successful strategies that drive revenue; building high-performing teams and marketing ecosystems; infusing deep analytics into effective communication strategies and driving meaningful innovation throughout the customer journey. He is a recognized thought leader and global influencer in Marketing transformation and driving results through diversity. Most impactfully, Antonio is a coveted mentor, sponsor, teacher, and supporter of our marketing industry and everyone in it.
Chris Marino, Global Head of Media & Marketing Technology at Bloomberg Media: Chris is responsible for overseeing full-funnel media, content marketing and marketing technology to drive audience and revenue growth across Bloomberg’s consumer subscriptions, events and streaming businesses globally. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Chris started his career at American Express where he spent 9 years in marketing roles of increasing responsibility. Over that time, Chris led several digital marketing transformations including modernizing the company’s global social media strategy and redesigning the performance marketing function to drive sustainable growth. Chris was recently recognized by AdWeek as one of 50 executives transforming media, marketing and technology, Business Insider as a rising star of brand marketing and Brand Innovators as a 40 Under 40.
Lizette Williams, Global Head of Vertical Solutions Marketing at Meta: Lizette Williams serves as the Global Head of Vertical Solutions Marketing at Meta (formerly Facebook) where she leads a 20-person marketing organization tasked with developing the business marketing strategy across 8 industries including Consumer Packaged Goods, Retail, Gaming, and eCommerce. Lizette has worked in major marketing roles at McDonald’s, Kimberly-Clark Corporation and PepsiCo. In 2021 she was named “Advertising Woman of the Year” by the Chicago Advertising Federation. She is one of the foremost-awarded marketing executives in the field and was also inducted into the American Advertising Federation Advertising Hall of Achievement, the premier industry recognition for leaders under 40 who are making a significant impact in the industry and their communities. She has been listed as Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40,” Advertising Age “Women to Watch,” and Black Enterprise “Top Women Executives in Advertising and Marketing.”
Nick Drake VP of Marketing at Google: As Vice President of Platforms & Ecosystems Marketing, Nick oversees global marketing for some of Google’s key products and services, including Android, Developers, Partner Marketing, Chrome browser, Chrome OS, Education, Enterprise, and Google Play. Nick has more than 20 years of marketing and advertising experience on the agency side at TBWA/Chiat/Day and at major brands, including Adidas and Quicksilver. Before joining Google, Nick served in several leadership roles at T-Mobile as a member of its Senior Leadership team, including Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, and Executive Vice President of Marketing & Experience. Nick started his career as a professional rugby player and England Sevens representative.
Visionaries, founded by Nadine Dietz, 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.
Marketers That Matter® is a community of top marketing executives coming together to pioneer the future of marketing, sharing real-time experiences, and solving current challenges.
Our parent company, 24 Seven, specializes in helping you find exceptional marketing and creative talent for your teams.