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Meet Lizette Williams, Global Head of Vertical Solutions Marketing at Meta. Lizette is known for her authentic and empathetic leadership style and in her words, “a combination of substance and swag.” She leads a 20-person marketing team, developing the business marketing strategy across eight industries, including CPG, Retail, Gaming, and e-commerce. She has worked in major marketing roles at McDonald’s, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and PepsiCo and is one of the foremost-awarded marketing executives in the field. Keep reading to learn why she’s got her eye on the creator economy and how she leads by truly living and supporting the whole human experience.

Listen to Lizette’s recent episode on the Visionaries Podcast: “The New Muscles of Leadership

About Lizette

Every marketer should read… “Marcus Collins, “For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be” – hands down one of the best marketing books I have read this year!

What gives me energy outside of work… “Spending time with my 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter. They are hilarious, walking epitomes of Gen Z and keep me on my toes!

Future of Marketing

Q: What trends in culture are you observing that the industry should be paying attention to?

My favorite trend in culture right now is the rise and popularity of the creator economy. Since 2020, the creator economy has grown by 34MM new creators in the US alone. Those creators are incredibly diverse and more attuned to advancing social causes online and are redefining the future of work. They are culture creators shaping the future by dimensionalizing what is dope, how we show up for social issues, and how we think about work. The creator economy has democratized access to monetizing creativity–and I’m here for that. I think we will see tremendous shifts in culture due to the rise of the creator economy. We already are. 

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

I’m most excited about AI–the future of AI and the unlock it will have on what it means to drive marketing in this new world. From generative AI-powered ads to redefining how brands converse with their consumers, I think it will completely shift our industry.

Q: What’s a widely accepted “marketing truth” you wish marketers could do away with?

One “marketing truth” the industry should do away with is the concept of brand versus performance marketing, pitting relevance and reach as two distinct things. I think these two concepts cannot only co-exist but can be mutually beneficial for one another in a single campaign. Building resilient brands that sustain growth over time requires strong brand marketing (relevance) and strong performance marketing (reach), but those two things work together in unison.

Career and Leadership Advice

Q: What personal life experience has prepared you to be successful in your career?

Being an Afro-Latina from the South Bronx has been a defining factor in my success. Many people will point to their degrees and work experience as traditional definitions of success. However, my point of difference is having a combination of substance and swag.  

Substance consists of what people think makes me successful, such as experience, training, and education. True, I can’t articulate certain points or run the organization without that formalized training, but what really drives the difference, and my secret sauce, is the swag. That comes from my lived experiences of being a Black Latina and culturally understanding people who look like me: people of color who drive culture forward and have a finger on the pulse of what’s dope.  

There’s this narrative often communicated that we have to emulate white male culture to be successful, and that’s absolutely not true. We can look to the core values of our ancestors. My grandmother cleaned houses in Puerto Rico. I rest on the back of a woman who came to the US with five kids and lived in the barrio in New York City, in the projects, to get her kids ahead. That grit and resilience are my unique points of difference, and they can only come from my ancestry. 

Q: Since starting your role at Meta, you have led your team through several global, national, and economic challenges. What are some ways you’ve been supporting your team’s morale?

My time at Meta has seen the most significant leadership growth of my career, especially in patience, empathy, resilience, and courage. But major world events meant I had to step up even more.

Shortly after I joined Meta in May of 2020, with the pandemic in full effect, George Floyd was murdered. Then there was the January 6 insurrection, the Ukraine crisis, and, most recently, events in Israel/ Palestine.

Given that my first global role happened alongside unprecedented events, my leadership has had a significantly bigger scope. In prior roles, I had been at the forefront of what was happening, but I’ve moved into this place where I’m putting my team in the driver’s seat and coaching from the sidelines. This season has also stretched me to be an even more authentic and empathetic leader towards my colleagues. I must be aware of their mental health and meet them where they are. Leadership is about truly living and supporting the whole human experience.

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, click here.