If These CMOS Could Turn Back Time...

This Is What They'd Tell Themselves -- Plus, Which Up-and-Comers They're Keeping an Eye on

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Seasoned marketers weigh in on their biggest accomplishments before 40, the advice they'd give their younger selves, and which up-and-comers they're keeping an eye on.

Simon Lowden
Simon Lowden

SIMON LOWDEN
CMO, Pepsi Beverages North America

What advice would you give your younger self?

Work internationally as soon as you can in your career; global perspective is a hugely broadening experience both in terms of the work you do and the people/cultures you work with. ... And don't be afraid to fail -- just do it quickly and learn from it. When you are just starting out in your career, it is easy to fall into the trap of playing it safe, but innovation does not come from erring on the "safe side," and neither does personal growth.

Which under-40 up-and-comer are you watching, and why?

I count him as a friend, so it is not exactly an unbiased opinion, but I can't wait to see what Brett O'Brien accomplishes at Gatorade. Brett has a real instinct for getting to the heart of a brand and understanding the mind-set of its consumers.

Laurent Faracci
Laurent Faracci


LAURENT FARACCI
General manager-U.S. marketing, Reckitt Benckiser

What was your biggest accomplishment before you turned 40?

To leave France and dare to take up my first CMO role for RB, at age 32, in Germany -- a country where I didn't speak the language. [That] was tough at the beginning but helped me focus on nurturing my team and focus on facts and data to make judgments and decisions. ... Somehow, not being a native allows you to break the paradigm more easily, to be bolder and sharper on betting on emerging trends.

What advice would you give your younger self?

It all starts with your team. Select people that you believe can become better than you. Care for them. Support them. Coach them. Challenge them. Give them some air. Let them shine. Make it fun working with you.

Seth Farbman
Seth Farbman


SETH FARBMAN
CMO, Gap

What was your biggest accomplishment before you turned 40?

Creating the group that eventually became OgilvyEarth. ...The idea was hatched out of equal parts passion, necessity and ignorance. A few of us at Ogilvy-Mather-Advertising' class='directory_entry' title='Ad Age LookBook'>Ogilvy & Mather were experiencing ever-increasing requests by marketers for opinions on whether the "green movement" was real or just a fad. At the same time, we saw huge opportunity for Ogilvy to "go green" that would save the company money and improve employee morale, both needed at the time.

Which under-40 up-and-comer are you watching, and why?

I am keeping a close watch on Ben Goldhirsh. Ben started Reason Pictures and then Good Magazine soon after college, which has now been realigned under Good Inc. Ben is constantly challenging the conventions of the communications industry and the notion of what a company should be.

Eric Ryan
Eric Ryan


ERIC RYAN
Chief brand architect, Method

What advice would you give your younger self?

Enjoy the ride as much as possible, and take time to celebrate the little wins along the way. The journey is the greatest reward of building a business, but it's so easy to lose sight of that as you're chasing the next goal or milestone.

Which under-40 up-and-comer are you watching, and why?

Mike Del Ponte, the founder of Soma, who is in the process of launching a water-filtration company and set a record on Kickstarter by raising $100,000 in 10 days. Mike is demonstrating the important entrepreneur skill of being a "connector" by assembling an amazing group of people to fuel his launch and leveraging social and digital tools.


Barry Wolfish
Barry Wolfish

BARRY WOLFISH
CMO and senior VP-corporate strategy, Land O'Lakes

What was your biggest accomplishment before you turned 40?

Being named senior VP-marketing to lead marketing, marketing services and research and development for General Mills' Canadian subsidiary.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Embrace the nontraditional, nonlinear, broadening roles and avoid conventional career-pathing myopia. I was very fortunate to have roles offered to me at a few stages in my career that involved what at the time seemed like career risks, but were ultimately incredibly rich, horizon-expanding challenges that made me a stronger and more-capable general manager.

Roy Benin
Roy Benin

ROY BENIN
Chief consumer officer, Mars Chocolate North America

What was your biggest accomplishment before you turned 40?

Having the responsibility to lead a team of more than 100 people at age 32.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Follow your passion; make sure that you love your work. Invest in yourself. You have to grow yourself before you can grow your business and others. Listen more than you speak.

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