I very am excited to announce that this week I started my new role as CMO of The Weather Group where I will oversee marketing activities for the company’s portfolio of television and OTT/digital platforms, including The Weather Channel and Local Now.
For the past six months I’ve talked with so many of you about career planning, managing through transitions and leadership. So I thought it might be helpful to share my thought process as I considered this role.
It’s starts with the people
If you’ve watched any of my Careers in 20/20 series, one of the consistent themes that emerges is marketing and media are a people business. No matter how great a job looks on paper, if the people you’re working with and for don’t align with your values and purpose, your experience probably won’t be great.
My new boss, Tom O’Brien, president of The Weather Group, is someone I’ve known, respected and liked for a long time. Equally important, I was very impressed with, and really liked, all the people I met with throughout the interview process.
To me this is the most important thing: you need to like the people.
There is a hill to climb
The best jobs are the ones where there is group of passionate, committed people united in their efforts to meet a challenge and overcome significant obstacles. Stewardship type roles, as I’ve shared before, are much less interesting to me. In short, I get charged up when there is a hill to climb. I think the challenges facing media companies in the current environment, especially those that don’t have the scale and resources of the global players in the space, are self-evident to anyone who knows the business.
A more entrepreneurial, nimble environment
I’m enormously proud of my experience working for two of the biggest, most successful companies in the industry: Disney/ESPN and Charter. But after close to 20 years at big Fortune 100 corporations managing large teams, I was looking for a change. I wanted something smaller, more nimble, a place more willing to take risks.
In 2018 Byron Allen’s Allen Media/Entertainment Studios purchased The Weather Group. He is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the industry and has infused the company with renewed energy, passion and commitment to try new things. The mentality and spirit of the place are different from where I’ve been and exactly what I was looking for.
Expanding the jungle gym
In a previous post I talked about my preference for the jungle gym, versus a ladder, as a metaphor for career development and advancement. The chance to be the CMO of a top 10 cable network, plus overseeing marketing for an emerging streaming service like Local Now, presented a wonderful opportunity to return to a more consumer focused role. My time at Charter focused on building a state of the art, end to end B2B marketing operation. It was an amazing ride but running marketing for consumer brands like The Weather Channel and Local Now gives me a chance to build on what I know while at the same time expand my own personal career jungle gym with new experiences.
Navigating a career transition is not a solitary journey. I’m enormously grateful for the outreach, support, advice and encouragement of so many friends, both old and new, and former colleagues. I was incredibly fortunate and humbled to have other options besides this one, especially during such challenging times. With millions looking for work, including many people I know and respect, I take nothing for granted as the good fortune of “right place/right time” is an essential part of the process.
My feeling is that the ultimate measure of one’s success is the extent to which you are able to help others, so I will continue to do whatever I can to be a resource for those currently looking for their next opportunity. I also plan to continue to maintain a regular publishing schedule here at For What It’s Worth, including my Careers in 20/20 series.
Now it’s on to the next chapter, time to take the hill.