Pro Tips: 23 Industry Execs Share Their Secrets to Success

And mistakes they made along the way

Twenty-three industry executives share how they navigated various points in their careers.
Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Getty Images

Every career is filled with opportunities and pitfalls. It’s how one deals with adversity andsuccess along the way that can mean the difference between moving up the ladder, making an impact or crashing and burning. Adweek reached out to leading industry executives who shared how they did it, navigating various points in their careers from mistakes to pivotal moments to the best advice they received on the path to success.

Adweek: What’s the best advice you got? 

Ricardo Marques
VP of Marketing, Budweiser

I have to go back to a meeting we had with our CEO [Carlos Brito] a few years ago. What he said was, “Dreaming big or small takes the same amount of effort, so why not dream big?” This was very simple but very cool because it allows us to not only think about your personal career but how you approach any given project, be it a Super Bowl brief or an innovation. That type of thinking when you have a large group of people at the table gets people focused on the right stuff, which is possibilities. All of a sudden people start asking what if we did it and how do we approach this differently. It is truly energizing and super simple as well, which I like, and applicable to anything from your personal life to business challenges. 

Lara Cohen
Global Head of Partner Solutions, Twitter

Our former CEO here Dick Costolo [told us to] assume your colleagues have the best intentions. It really resonated with me because I came from a traditional media background. I worked in New York media for a really long time before coming to Twitter. It was almost currency at magazines to be super cynical and almost cool to hate on everything. When I came to tech, I quickly learned it was a much different mindset here. There’s always something to learn and being the smartest person in the room is not necessarily always the best way to be. You should be striving to continue to learn every day on the job, and the best people to learn from are your colleagues. When you see the best in them and they see the best in you it creates an almost healthier, more open work environment.

Keith Cartwright
Executive Creative Director, 72andSunny

My greatest advice came from my father, who told me that being a great leader requires great humility. He’s a pastor, so humility was the dish he was serving. Humility at its core is about compassion for the people, for the work and for clients. Anytime you have a win, you find humility in who got you there, and when you lose you find humility by learning through your mistakes. Both, as he described, are gifts.

Tamara Mellon
Co-founder, Jimmy Choo; Founder, Tamara Mellon

Never stop working, even if it’s not exactly what you want to be doing. It’s always better to do something than nothing. You never know who you’re going to meet at one job, and what opportunities that can lead to or what ideas it may spark.

Bridget Russo
CMO, Modern Meadow (former CMO, Shinola)

I’d say two things. One would be: Whatever you think you’re worth, ask for more. I think, as women especially—and speaking for myself—I sometimes question: Can I ask for that? I don’t know. Generally speaking, men feel more confident when it comes to asking, even when they don’t have the chops. The other is: Don’t kick the darkness. That was when I was working with Bono [at his fair-trade fashion brand Edun]. Often, when you’re working in the social-impact or environmental space, it’s easy to position yourself as better-than. And he was especially keen, and rightly so, to say there’s no reason to present a new idea by putting down another idea. And I strongly believe that.

This story first appeared in the August 6, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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