Always Be Learning: My Top Moments and Takeaways from Summit

Tim Clevenger, VP,
Brand, Creative and B2C Strategy
and Integrated Marketing,
Cambia Health Solutions

I remember the chilly fall day in September 1975 when I walked into Mrs. Moore’s fifth grade class for the first time. I was new in town and new to the school. I wondered what I would learn, who I would meet, and about the experience.

It was magical.

I felt it again when I walked into the conference room last week, joining a packed audience at the Future CMO Club’s Marketing and Mentoring Summit.

What would I learn? Who would I meet? What would the experience be like?

The participants were some of the most amazing marketing leaders from across the country. And our summit speakers were equally amazing. “One of the key roles of the CMO is to remove the barriers that keep your teams from doing their jobs. You run a lot of interference. And, in doing so, your teams are more able to get their work done well,” shared Lee Applbaum, CMO at Patron. He was part of a two-person panel including Sydney Seiger, CMO at TXU Energy. And this was just the beginning.

Our keynote speaker was Roy Spence of GSD&M. He said our goal should be to have a purpose because, “when you have a purpose, you will never have a job.” He showcased some amazing work and then left the room with a simple charge: “Do good…at your job, with your family, and with your community. Do good. And be happy.” So simple. And so difficult.

We spent the rest of the first day in breakout sessions ranging from learning how to prove marketing’s value and understanding the rise of individualism to learning how to win the hearts and minds of consumers and position marketing as the growth engine for business. “No more friends-only customers,” shared Adrian Parker, VP of Marketing at Patron. “Be in love with your customers and make sure they know it. Don’t just give them experiences. Give them memories.”

My co-presenter, Dawn Fitzgerald of Sysco

The following day was spent in a roundtable discussion about what it takes to be a marketing leader and how to hire, retain, develop and lead high-performing teams. The bottom line: To be a great marketing leader who develops successful teams takes a personal investment in every member of each team. All team members need to know how much you care about them and that you are invested in their successes, just like you want your boss to do for you.

The summit schedule was a whirlwind, but it was so worthwhile. As a wrap-up to our sessions, we each shared one word that encapsulated our time together. Energized. Inspired. Curious. Excited. Amazed. Refueled. Smarter. Incredible.

The list went on and on.

I learned so much. I learned that being a good leader means being a good human being. I think Roy Spence put it so eloquently: “It’s not difficult. When someone does something nice for you, do something nice for someone else.”

I met some amazing people. I had an amazing experience.

It was magical…just like that time I walked into Mrs. Moore’s fifth-grade classroom and was ready to learn.


This article originally appeared on Linkedin Pulse. Read it, here.