Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA at POSSIBLE: Bozoma Saint John with Winston Duke

Bozoma Saint John, the Hall of Fame inducted marketer took part in a fireside chat with the Black Panther actor Winston Duke to talk about how she has taken ‘unexpected left turns’ to further her career which has seen her take positions at Pepsico, Beats Music, Apple Music, Uber and Netflix.

“I’ll tell you a secret. With every move I made, nobody said ” That’s a great idea’. I left Pepsico to go work for a small start-up called Beats By Dre. Within four months we sold to Apple. I knew I had to move to grow. I used to get caught up in the questions about whether people would approve of my moves. Intuition has played a huge part in my career moves. You can see it, you can feel something but all logic tells you to go the other way”

I am sensitive about the decisions I’ve made, I am sensitive about the campaigns I’ve made. Trying to suppress feelings about these things can hurt your intuition. You need to feel the pain of things, the grief when things don’t go well. Senior executives don’t talk about this enough. The average life span of a CMO is 24 months and because of that, we need to be able to work through the grief when we don’t succeed.”

I don’t hide any parts of my identity in any of the corporate environments I’ve been in. I bring my femininity to it, I bring my blackness to it, I bring my Africaness to it, I bring my widowhood to it. I have to make decisions through those identities and I hope my teams do too. This allows us to make better decisions as business leaders”