Anheuser-Busch InBev and marketing industry leaders are remembering Jodi Harris, who played a vital role building a culture of creativity inside the brewer, most recently as global VP of marketing culture and capabilities. Harris, who was also known as a champion of broader industry causes, died on May 2 from lung cancer. She was 46.
Harris began her 15-year marketing career in market research roles before later taking jobs in consumer planning at Ann Taylor and Diageo. She joined AB InBev in 2011 in a global innovation and insights role.
Harris first took on the marketing culture role in 2018 and has been credited with spearheading initiatives that put a focus on creative output, including an internal awards program, which has included categories such as the “Creative Behavior Award,” which is “open to anyone in the marketing department who ... knocked down barriers to creativity,” as Harris explained to Ad Age in 2019.
“When you believe in the people around you and you’re going to invest in them and their capabilities, then the world is yours,” Harris said in a 2021 interview with alistdaily.com.
Her work is reflected in the brewer being named Cannes Lions 2022 Creative Marketer of the Year.
Marcel Marcondes, former U.S. CMO at the brewer who recently took the global CMO job, recalled meeting Jodi in 2014, when the company wanted to put marketing “at the cockpit.”
“That’s when we started to refer to one another as co-pilots. Jodi embraced that mission with passion, as she loved her work and she had genuine joy in setting people up for success, helping them find their superpowers. Always with that big smile,” Marcondes said in a statement to Ad Age. She was “always ambitious but also humble, always aiming to get better. She created a marketing culture that would always put people first, working with creativity, innovation and ‘Big Dreams,'” he said, referring to the company’s mantra.
He added: “Over the years our marketing has significantly changed. Our company has changed. AB InBev received multiple recognitions for its brand building, creativity, and innovation capabilities, including being recently recognized as the Creative Marketer of the Year by Cannes Lions. Jodi showed us how to put marketing in the cockpit. Now, she’s onto her next flight.”