Advice From Chief Marketing Officers – For College Grads

Grab your cap and gown, it is graduation season!  As backyards begin to fill with college graduation party goers, new bright-eyed eager graduates are looking toward their future and planning their next steps.  The world is full of advice for these new graduates, everyone from commencement speakers to self-help book authors, and anyone with a Twitter account is quick to offer their bit of wisdom.

We thought we would look to some of the top Chief Marketing Officers of some of the most successful companies in the world to see what advice they have to give to the graduating class of 2021. Though most of you who are reading my article are not likely graduating at this point in your career, it is always great to get feedback and advice from our peers in the industry, so this is for you

CMO’s & Marketing Leaders Advice For 2021 College Grads

Michael Kotick: Director of Brand Marketing at Chipotle

Follow Leaders/Brands Who Value Certainty AND Clarity About What They Do. Find leaders and brands that have a high level of certainty about “what” to do AND a high level of clarity around “why” they do it. Both! Certainty helps keep things on-track, but adding the “why” (purpose and values) unlocks a creative secret sauce for teams to solve problems in new ways.

Make Your Vocation an Evocation. Find your thing early. It may be changing something big or finding fascination in something small, but creating a passion-driven platform for yourself early on in any role makes all the difference. Spoiler alert: you don’t need permission. Just do it.

Keep it Real. Get out of the marketing research charts and live it. Walk in the shoes of the audience you are trying to connect with and really experience the “feels” of what that person is thinking and feeling every day. True empathy for others creates some incredible ideas and creative ways to connect.


Kerry-Ann Betton Stimpson: CMO at JBBM Group

advice-for-2021-college-graduatesSTART HOW YOU WANT TO FINISH. It was the early days of (what I now know to be) Imposter Syndrome for me and, unfortunately, I approached every aspect of my program participation, including networking and relationship-building, with timidity and fear. I shudder to think of all the missed opportunities I (unknowingly) didn’t take advantage of, because I didn’t confidently sink my teeth into every aspect of the experience. The takeaway? Envision how and where you want to end, and take the early steps to head in that direction.


Mayur Gupta: Chief Marketing Officer at Gannett 



Don’t sweat too much about where you start | You’ll make many pivots — It’s more important that you wear a “learn it all” hat, wherever you start, you will make many pivots & you ll carve your own niche .. BUT, don’t push yourself to create that GPS right now; you ll change, the world will change & you ll find your core.

Have a belief system & a perspective from Day # 1 — Don’t worry about having it right or wrong, as long as it’s yours & it’s honest.. stand up for something so you don’t fall for anything.


Virginia Brailey: Chief Marketing Officer at Speed Dial


You will cross paths with challenging situations and challenging people – it is inevitable. Staying true to your values in the tough times can sometimes be hard but it will help you and it will help you lift others.




Sharon Harris: Chief Marketing Officer at Jelly Fish



If you are going to take a risk or embark on a new challenge, always know your capabilities and your value. Betting on yourself will always pay dividends no matter what others might think. You will win or you will learn. Everything you need is within you.




Jason Fournier: Champion of People, Builder, Connector & Global Marketing at Facebook

Champion of people, Builder, Connector & Global Marketing @ Facebook

Don’t underestimate the power of positivity, patience and persistence. These are words I’ve lived by over the years here at Facebook as we build the rocket ship as we fly it.

The only thing constant is change. If you remind yourself that everything happening around you is NOT happening “TO” you but “FOR” you – you realize none of it is personal and that the ambiguity change creates will most always create incremental growth opportunity.

Elizabeth Drori: Chief Marketing Officer at Sperry


Chart your own course. Often the best opportunities and step changes in your career result from your taking charge of your own development.






Orlando Baeza: CMO at Kajabi

marketing-advice-kajabiBet on YOU! — All day. Every day. Entry level or C-Suite. Nobody can believe in you more than you should believe in you. Plan the work and work the plan. You are capable of incredible things if you believe you can achieve it and willing to put in the work.

They won’t care if you don’t — If you don’t have conviction, passion, a POV, and show that you actually care, how do you expect anyone else to? Even moreso a reason to think about where you want to work and what you want to work on. Find alignment in the work with your purpose and what you’re here to do. And if you can’t, that’s probably the wrong work.

Finish Your Breakfast! – Good enough isn’t. So don’t leave things half-finished. Clean the plate. Follow thru. Don’t shy away from actualizing your potential and/or the potential of any project you get the chance to work on. Have a relentless spirit to finish what you’ve started — your purpose, the work, paying it forward, etc.


To read more advice from top marketing professionals, visit the thread that these quotes appear in on LinkedIn:

Final Words for 2021 Graduates

To all the 2021 graduates out there, on behalf of everyone here at FunnelAmplified, we congratulate you!  Your hard work and dedication is to be celebrated.  Please take the time to enjoy your accomplishment with your friends and family. We are celebrating with you. But then, it is time to get back to work! Put all that hard work and dedication that led you to achieve your degree and reach for new goals.  We’ll be cheering for you!

Comment Question: As a senior marketing professional, what advice do you have for new graduates?

Close Menu