Global Chief Marketing Officer of AccuWeather, Inc. and General Manager of AccuWeather Network, John Dokes, has had quite the extensive, upward mobile career.
From Marketing Manager at Marvel Entertainment, to VH1, MTV Networks, and Viacom, and back to Marvel where he steadily climbed the ranks to Senior Vice President, integrating sales and marketing, publishing, and digital media of the entertainment company, he is no stranger to the corporate ladder. Dokes continues to make career strides, while acquiring the skills to take him even higher than he already is (if such a places exists).
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Dokes to find out how he got to where he is now and where he plans to go next.
BE: What can you attribute to your career success thus far?
Dokes: I don’t think it’s one factor. I think being at the right places at the right time in some cases has been a key.
One of the things that’s a cornerstone of how I try to operate comes from a quote by John H. Johnson that’s something to the effect of, ” If you’re trying to achieve something that’s a large project, set a series of attainable goals and try not to bite off more than you can chew.” When I think about phases when I’ve gotten myself into a situation that I needed to move forward, whether with my career or with projects, it was really about breaking down the project in smaller pieces and focusing on how to move things forward without getting frustrated or side-tracked.
What do you know right now that you wish you would’ve known when starting your career pursuit?
You’re going to get better. You’re not going to be the same person that you are right now.
Part of that is really understanding that you will continue to find ways to educate yourself whether it’s through formal training or through your experiences; people that you know or mentors you have in your life; or things that you do on your own to initiate additional areas of expertise. It’s really about not being comfortable with where you are now, but continuing to focus on how you can grow as a person and expand your education.
What is worst decision you’ve made as a professional?
I think sometimes you can learn from bad decisions or mistakes. But, I would say when comparing my mindset now to when I was younger, that it was easier to get caught up in a complaining mentality. That is a mistake in general.
There are always things that can go wrong or bad things that can potentially happen. The important thing is to try to focus on solutions and to not get caught up in being part of the chorus of complaints. Really focus on how you can solve the problem. If you’re in a situation you can’t solve, how can you get out of that situation? In the past I probably stayed in a situation longer than I should have, understanding for a while that it was not working for me.
What inspired you to transition your career out of entertainment and into AccuWeather?
I’ve always tried to create new circumstances that were a little bit different than what I had before—even within entertainment. I just look at things from a different angle and try to figure out ways to do something that can expand my experience and not have me pigeon-holed.
When I worked in the comics industry with Marvel in the 90s, getting stuck as “a comic book person” could’ve been easy, but I always try to figure out how to add a different element to my title. So, while at Marvel, I gravitated toward the digital part of the company, because I thought that was a way to expand my experience.
What’s next for you?
I always try to figure out how can I continue to live to my potential and what’s going to challenge me next. I haven’t identified a specific thing.
I came on board at AccuWeather as CMO, and I’ve expanded my role to include GM of the AccuWeather Network. That’s a step that I’m digging into now. I’m enjoying that process.
I’m still looking for the next thing that’s going to challenge me after this, but right now, I want to make sure I get this done and in the right way.
What advice would you offer to someone eager to take their career to the next level?
Continue to tap into your network. Identify people that can give you different perspective, additional insights, and also be your advocates and mentors.