Diva Tech Talk interviewed Susan Emerick, Global Marketing Executive at IBM (www.ibm.com), educator and author. Susan’s expertise highlights how far the technology industry has come in empowering clients to transform their businesses and develop competitive advantage using advanced analytics and cognitive computing. Her book: THE MOST POWERFUL BRAND ON EARTH guides marketing professionals, navigating digital and social media. Susan credits her bucolic Midwestern upbringing, as one of five children, in a “country” environment for starting her interest in tech. “Science was actually something that inspired me, concepts of nature and patterns and how you apply those patterns to life.” Her first technology immersion was during two Michigan State University internships at General Motors (www.gm.com), in Flint, Michigan. Then after graduation, with a marketing/advertising degree, she migrated to Syracuse, New York where she worked on large brands including megabrand Snapple (www.snapple.com ). She then moved back to Campbell-Ewald (www.c-e.com), where she worked on direct response projects, developing customized consumer applications, for Planters Peanuts (www.planters.com ), Johnson and Johnson (www.jnj.com ), and GMAC (now Ally Financial: www.ally.com). In these experiences, “there was a thread of technology through how you are reaching customers directly, in personalized ways.” Susan then moved to Comerica Bank to work in the direct marketing department, responsible for the merger of the brands of Comerica and Manufacturers Bank. Susan then moved to Gale Research, (www.gale.com ) the largest publisher for school and university libraries when Gale was moving textbooks to CD-ROM. From there Susan jumped to being the Brand Manager for Thomas, The Tank Engine and Friends (™) for Handleman Company. Susan was then recruited by IBM (www.ibm.com) to apply direct response expertise and data management practices to build their integrated marketing communications practice. At IBM, Susan loved “the ability to always experiment and evolve with emerging technology,” that the company gave her. One of her favorite projects was building IBM’s global Web presence, “and seeing how to take that global Web presence and localize it across the globe, into different languages, to be able to connect with customers and really help them to understand very complex technologies and break it down into meaningful experiences.” Another key project that Susan worked on was building IBM’s social media listening practice and influencer marketing practice. Throughout her robust career, Susan has relied on many of her personal strengths including curiosity, not being afraid of change, open-mindedness and the ability to collaborate, well, with multi-disciplinary teams. “Women are always in a position of having to prove their strengths, and pushing boundaries. Modeling the way with professionalism, with poise and gratitude, always helps you get that step ahead,” she said. As a self-described technology pioneer, Susan believes in The Rule of The Internet: “One – Nine – Ninety.” The rule states that one percent of people will be true innovative leaders spearheading engagement, nine percent are following those leaders, and 90% are slow adopters and skeptical. “I will always either be in the 1%, as I experiment, or in the 9%, emulating leaders I respect,” Susan said. Her top three leadership lessons for women and girls include: No one knows your passion better than you. Lead by example and model the way. Leadership is not a title; it is earned through trust, respect and inspiring a team. Balancing her career, her extended family, and her professional development, Susan feels blessed by her husband, Mark (“a true partner”). Principles of always aligning her professional passions and her ethics have helped her achieve balance, supplemented by a very strong work ethic. In addition to her IBM career, and her book, Susan is an adjunct professor at West Virginia University for the Reed School of Media, where she developed a graduate course in data-oriented social media optimization and is also a guest lecturer for the Carnegie Mellon University. She also serves on boards for many professional marketing, social media and marketing measurement associations. Susan’s core belief, succinctly, is: “Everything you need is inside of you. Find your purpose; find your passion. Let it lead you.” Contact Susan Emerick at her personal email: [email protected]
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