I was invited twice now to host a series of roundtable discussions with some of the top CMOs in the country at The Millennium Alliance, and the experience gave me a greater appreciation for high-level conversations and peer-to-peer communication in more ways than I could have imagined.
The Millennium Alliance is a leading technology, business, and educational advisory firm located in New York. When I attended, the event covered everything from big data to people-based marketing, loyalty programs, real-time TV measurement, and more. Attendees were broken into three categories: delegates, thought leaders, and sponsors. The delegates were all C-level executives from Fortune 1000 companies—CMOs from organizations such as ESPN, Bloomberg, Variety, Old Navy, CNN, Sports Illustrated and Adidas, to name a few. The roundtable sessions were optimized for the highest level of discussion, with only 10-15 delegates in each group.
Here are some of the important business takeaways I learned from top executives, based on my experience moderating these C-suite roundtables:
Smart Executives Continuously Seek Education
What stood out during our roundtable discussions was how transparent and open to learning everyone was. I wasn’t expecting senior executives to listen so intently to everyone in the room. The conversation never died. The executives would bring up problems or questions they had surrounding a topic, and others would chime in with answers, or, in some cases, shared that they had the same questions. Everyone was there to learn, not to judge or critique.
By participating in these discussions, I learned that you have to keep learning in your executive role in order to continue evolving as a leader. The executives who attended these roundtable discussions were smart enough to understand that they have to stay ahead of the curve, and the best way to do that is to hear from their peers. For me, I was honored to have the opportunity to join in on their educational conversation.
Cynthia Johnson is the director of Brand Development at American Addiction Centers, previously managing partner at RankLab (acquired by AAC Holdings, Inc. 2015)
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