Forbes CMO Leadership Talk: Andrea Sullivan, Interbrand

andrea sullivan
By Thomas Barta
Last updated: August 18, 2017

In this Forbes interview with Andrea Sullivan, Global CMO of Interbrand, several key insights into successful CMO leadership were discussed:

  • The Role of a CMO: CMOs play a crucial role in driving sales, talent acquisition, and building a legacy for their companies. They are responsible for bringing customers and companies closer together and must continuously adapt and innovate.
  • Defining Leadership Experience: One of Sullivan’s most defining leadership experiences was during the financial crisis, where she and her team created their own world within the organization to drive growth and innovation. Leadership in uncertain times requires clear objectives and the conviction to maintain accountability.
  • Getting Things Done: Sullivan believes that reporting lines are inconsequential when it comes to driving change and accountability. Leaders should focus on eliminating obstacles and engaging with individuals based on their strengths and capabilities.
  • Evolution of Leadership: Sullivan mentioned the need to evolve as a leader, particularly in terms of delegating and creating greater scale. She emphasized the importance of seeking help, focusing on personal well-being, and balancing work and life.
  • Future Leadership Challenges: One of Sullivan’s future leadership challenges is driving organic growth. This involves bringing employees closer to customers and culture, connecting with talent through the company’s purpose, and continuously adapting to industry accelerations.
  • Being a Role Model: Sullivan strives to build a nurturing culture within her team, listens to their needs, and encourages collaboration and innovation. She connects experienced leaders with emerging talent and promotes taking a stand for one’s beliefs.
  • Confidence in Leadership: Rather than focusing on confidence, Sullivan values curiosity, connection, and contagious enthusiasm for her work.
  • Personal Dream: Sullivan’s dream is to live to be 100 years old and witness the positive impacts of technology on humanity, including better connectivity, understanding of different perspectives, and the emergence of new job titles and experiences.
  • Leadership Advice: Sullivan’s key leadership advice is to be generous and act with the best interests of others in mind. Building a culture of shared progress and fulfillment leads to joy and sparks joy in those around you.

Andrea Sullivan’s leadership approach centers around adaptability, innovation, nurturing culture, and a focus on the well-being of both individuals and the organization.