The Secret Lives of Board Members in the Marketing Industry

Many aspects of this industry are somewhat too much shrouded in mystery, from the ins and outs of third-party cookies to exactly what marketers do when they sit on a company’s board of directors. So, for Corporate Governance Month, we’ve decided to raise the curtain on this last one and ask marketers what it’s really like to serve on the board of directors of a company or organization. organization, as well as who is on these boards and who is not.

So what does a marketer do after they join a board of directors? Lots of things, but MakeLoveNotPorn founder and CEO Cindy Gallop, who sits on the boards of We Are Rosie and the liquor brand Pomp and Whimsy, told Marketing Brew that, as a whole, being a member of ‘advice involves providing strategic direction, expertise and support to the business. benefit… while holding it accountable for “objective standards of integrity and ethics” throughout.

Armin Molavi, Fractional Marketing Strategist at AMolavi Consulting, is a member of the advisory board of travel company Elude. Board members often serve as a sounding board for founders, providing objective outside opinion that can be difficult to obtain from inside employees.

“Some of the conversations I have with the CEOs / Founders I work with are about validating strategies / approaches, providing an unbiased view on important decisions, and sometimes even suggesting slowing things down,” we said. he said, adding that other components of the role involve making relevant presentations, as well as helping to find agency partners or new hires.

Gallop, who founded the U.S. arm of creative agency BBH earlier in his career, said he was asked to bring his marketing expertise to the Pomp and Whimsy board after meeting the founder , Dr Nicola Nice, at an alumni event. According to Gallop, she thought she would fit well, as the two women are “endemic feminists with a huge belief in the enormous business and financial potential of innovation through the female lens.”

Read on for more pros, cons and “did you know?” »On everything related to board membership.

Answers have been edited slightly for length and clarity.

Armin Molavi

Current role: Fractional marketing strategist at AMolavi Consulting

Boards of Directors: Member of the advisory board of travel company Elude, former member of the board of directors of We Are Rosie and many others throughout his career

Molavi is originally from the hospitality industry, with past marketing positions at Hilton and agencies with hotel clients. “I was on the board of a failed company, and even that was a great learning experience,” he said.

History of Board-igin: “Both roles came my way through referrals and presentations. Quite recently, I was also contacted by an executive search firm for another potential seat (still under discussion).

About time commitment: “It really depends on the commitment and where the company is in the process. A large board of directors is going to be extremely diverse and loaded with masters of their craft, so the business evolves through development, launch, etc … my involvement as a marketing strategist comes and goes.

The Compensation Conversation: “Without giving details, most of my involvement on the board has involved equity. I really enjoy working with very young companies and focusing only on companies where I align with their vision. Equity is a great way for them to ask for my help without affecting precious cash resources. “

Job / day table balance: “Day job” is such a fun term for me now. I became self-employed full time about 18 months ago so I don’t even know what I would call my day job. I think like everything you care about, you find time for your roles on the board. The founders of Elude are so smart, passionate and dedicated to the business that I love spending time with them.

Cindy Galop

Current role: Founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn

Boards of Directors: Advisor to the board of directors of Awkward Essentials, sexual technology company Handi, We Are Rosie, and liquor brand Pomp and Whimsy

Cindy Gallop is an icon of the marketing industry in her own right – she started the US arm of advertising firm BBH and has been a staunch supporter of #MeToo for the advertising field – so it’s no surprise that she sits on many boards and wants to be on them. much more.

On marketers and boards: “A huge mistake that Silicon Valley boards make is to look down on marketing. They think marketing is a complement. This is usually the only position or team that they are willing to hire women in because it is kind of “soft and mellow”. They don’t understand that marketing is something you design in the product.

Representation, please: “Women are sorely missed from our presence on boards of directors. A lot of the bright women in my network are not invited to sit on boards and really want to be invited. I and a lot of other women — especially, by the way, women of color — can’t sit on these boards where we could make a huge contribution. And these tips make a fortune for directors, especially when they go public. What white male administrators do in those comfortable positions that white men recommend other white men to …

Who gets paid: “I have many women in my network who want to be invited to sit on boards, but the type of boards they are invited to sit on are nonprofits. Often times when you sit on a nonprofit board, not only do you get unpaid, but the other way around: you are asked to help fund the nonprofit board seat. lucrative. So not all board seats are created equal.

Evening the scales: “In terms of balance, I am rigorous in establishing exactly the degree of involvement that they seek before I agree to sit on a board of directors. What I’m doing right now is totally doable, as it’s usually a quarterly board meeting. This is ongoing advice that usually adds up to a few hours each quarter overall, helping to promote and participate in events etc. It’s very easily balanced in my case with my full-time role.

[Author’s note: Gallop added that a number of “wonderful organizations” have sprung up to address the DE&I issues she brought up, such as The Board List and Him for Her.]

Jackie Cooper

Current role: Global Chief Brand Officer of Edelman

Boards of Directors: Member of the Board of Directors of Jamie Oliver Holdings and the GROW Children’s Nature Program

Cooper told us that being a board member has made her a better agency consultant because she has “internal business experience beyond communications” which is increasingly important. for the customers.

This is how we get the board: “On Jamie Oliver’s Board of Directors, [I was] presented and recommended by his American lawyer, who is a friend and colleague.

Twenty-five hours a day: “I work four days a week for Edelman, so I have Fridays to work on additional projects, which gives me great flexibility. Jamie’s board role is the most formal, with regular board meetings every two months, structured goals, and specific areas of expertise for NEDs. [non-executive directors]. If time encroaches on Edelman’s time, I’ll make it up. I learn so much from being on boards that it really helps me in my “day” job. It’s great to be close to the engine of an organization and help make it work, rather than one step away as an agency.

Compensation, 64: “A paid position means the role is more responsible and I am very aware of the business value, as well as being an addition to the management team. I know people who have seen board roles as part of their professional journey and have been appointed through a headhunter, for a fee. Others have taken on roles in organizations where there is mutual interest, or it is a project of passion. I’ve always done both.

The balance: “You have to learn a new rhythm as a counselor because your presence is somewhat sporadic. It has been an interesting learning for me as a person who values ​​control. If a crisis hits the company you are advising you will obviously need to get involved, which can conflict with your day-to-day work priority. Many years ago, I was also advised to set expectations up front so that you and the management of the company are clear where your role begins and ends and that you bring value.

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