7 Questions with Chelsea Marti
Name: Chelsea Marti
Current title: Global Director Social & Content Marketing
Current organisation: Cognizant
12+ years of marketing experience in the tech industry focused on digital, social, growth, and content marketing in fast-moving global environments from startup to multinational Fortune 500 across B2C, B2B, and B2B2C. My history of success as a Senior Marketing Technology Executive is directly related to my proficiency in business development, global marketing, and social media expertise. I'm a proven successful internal and external client and stakeholder interface partner, frequently selected to lead projects for executives. In 2011, one of a few marketers selected for a global rotation to expand cutting-edge social media strategy and tactics across the world for Intuit.
Companies I’ve made a positive impact at include Cognizant, Sprinklr, Automatic Data Processing (ADP), Intuit, Inc., Maples Communication, and the U.S. Department of Energy — my ability to deliver isn't limited by industry or company type.
With a passion for delivering exemplary results, I'm an acknowledged achiever, exceeding organization expectations and goals repeatedly, while producing unparalleled results for all involved.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
The most challenging thing in my role leading social media at the Fortune 500 and startup level has been influencing business leaders to understand how social media isn't "something an intern can do" or "something your kid showed you over the weekend" but rather a significant business driver across marketing, sales, recruiting, and customer care. It has to be prioritized, resourced, and taken seriously vs. be treated as an afterthought to be the competitive advantage it can be for your firm. Neglect prioritization and resourcing at your own peril—social media can also be the bane of your firm's existence if not approached properly.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I became the first social media manager for Intuit in 2008. At the time, social media was new to Fortune 500s. I dove in and was eager to tie social media's business value to customer care and customer experience—something that's very important to Intuit. I was lucky to have landed here first because the firm cared obsessively about their customers, which made doing social media well a priority. After time, I developed a 'particular set of skills' firms valued as they embarked on their digital transformations across marketing, sales, and customer care, and was able to bring my skills to companies in need increasingly, over time.
I was raised in nature, and from an early age had to make my own fun in the woods—believe it or not, I think this pioneering nature from my childhood and my natural curiosity for things, people and, and places have evolved into a pioneering work spirit. I am unafraid of questioning the 'way it's always been' and can easily see opportunities where many people just see fear. It's sort of like arriving upon a rotted out old shed in the woods as a child that most people would love to plow down. I see a safe play area for local kids with little else to keep them busy, and a safe haven for passersby. It's all in how you see challenges and opportunities.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I'm an early to rise, early to bed type M-F. Most days, I prioritize a workout—I am an avid runner and have completed 10+ half marathons and one full marathon. It's important for me to get out into nature several times a week, even if it's for a short walk or hike. I've got calls or heads-down work to fill most of my days from around 8A - 2P, and I use time in between to work on strategic thinking and internal thought leadership. I make it a priority to cook healthy meals during the week. On weekends, it's all about adventure, getting out, and taking a break from screens when I'm able. During COVID times, we've taken a LOT of walks around our new city, Pittsburgh, with our dog Izzy...it's a great way to sightsee and explore while being safe.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Call it my good old Protestant work ethic, but I've been naive that hard work would pay off in the eyes of senior leadership—that they'd somehow recognize that my commitment to work and results means I should be awarded more leadership opportunities or promotions. This is absolutely not the case. I wish I'd taken this seriously much earlier in my career: you are literally your own advocate and your ONLY advocate. You must self-promote to grow your career. I know. Feels 'ugh' but it's true, and if this can help someone more junior than me, it's the right thing to be honest about right now.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Tao te Ching. Simplicity, patience, and compassion are what Lao Tzu said are our greatest treasures. Simplicity is hard but do the work to tell your story simply. And patience and compassion, which often feel like the opposite of the Modern American workplace, will always be my core values. It's important to me to hold strong on being a force for good in the world despite our capitalist ventures. To me, it's not an 'either, or' and I remain steadfast in these leadership principles.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
It's important to show junior team members what it means to lead to you and let them decide what leadership style they'll evolve to embrace. It's important to mentor and sponsor and after 12+ years in tech, mentoring and sponsoring women and people of color became more and more of a priority for me over time—being able to provide people that might not get access to leadership insights and information is something I've personally tried hard to do in the large enterprise environment.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
There's not one simple story. There's a trend: when I have mentored, bossed, led, or worked with someone that lets me know later that something I taught them, gave them, or showed them helped them to thrive or evolve in their job, role, career, it's very meaningful. Call me a servant leader I guess, but, when I am able to help others succeed and thrive, I'm most fulfilled.