I’m sure you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what a CMO does so I’ll keep the info to myself so you can read it in Elizabeth’s one on one.
Elizabeth and I met at a chapter meeting for our sorority (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Tau Eta Zeta Chapter). She came in with her son David and lit up the room with her bright eyes and beautiful smile. (No, she’s not my woman crush…she’s just that beautiful).
Her spirit is just as amazing as her personality. Elizabeth is genuine and humble and she exudes what a true woman is with pride and intelligence.
She’s passionate about a few things: family (of course), her company, her sorority, and her philanthropic efforts for the March of Dimes and Prematurity Awareness. (just a few things)
Elizabeth juggles a great deal everyday, but you wouldn’t hear her complain about it because she’s a strong-willed sista!
You can definitely learn a few things from Mrs. Elizabeth Kemp Caulder!
What is your current occupation?
I am the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Media Star Promotions, a Maryland-based, experiential entertainment marketing agency.
What is that exactly?
A CMO is a corporate executive responsible for marketing activities in an organization. My primary focus is to help my company establish and maintain competitive advantage and increase sales through the effective implementation of my marketing plan. As the CMO, I am also considered to be the Chief Influence Officer of the firm. In my role, I am responsible not only for shaping the public perception of my agency but also for bringing the company together as one voice.
Did you attend school for this career? Which school and what was your major?
I studied at the State University of New York at Oswego’s Graduate School of Business for an MBA with a Marketing Management concentration.
Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Actually, when I was an undergraduate, I had planned to go to Law School. I had taken my LSAT and had performed extremely well; but prior to applying to Law Schools, I was offered the opportunity to get my MBA for free. You can’t beat free! I had originally planned to finish my Master’s and then go on to Law School, but I was so sick of being a broke student that I took a break from school and began my career in marketing. It turned out to be a pretty good choice!
What is the most challenging part of your job?
I would say that the most difficult part of my job is convincing a client not to do something that they may really have heart for. From time to time, clients can get stuck on an idea they personally like. They can become attached to the concept and maniacally committed to bringing it to life. This can be a good thing or, when the trend on which the idea is based is not relevant to the client’s target market, it can be a very bad thing. In the latter case, it can be extremely challenging to convince the client that their consumer base is not likely to share the same enthusiasm for the idea. Being gracefully blunt is a very thin tightrope, but somehow I have been able to help our clients to avoid some pretty wasteful investments.
Do you ever get stuck or uninspired? If so, how do you recover from that?
My job affords me the luxury to work with diverse, creative personalities from both internal teams and external partners. With so much diversity of thought and perspective, it is really difficult to become uninspired. In order to make sure that I am able to refresh my perspective, I attend a number of trend analysis and consumer insight seminars and conferences to collaborate with a wider group of marketers and futurists.
We’re hiring promotional tour team members. Visit the Media Star Promotions career page to apply.http://mediastarpromo.com/company/careers.html
Is your industry a male-dominated industry? What are your thoughts on that?
Yes, my industry is definitely male-dominated. Women in business continue to make strides; however, we still have a long way to go. It is wonderful to see women increasingly holding positions and working in fields that have been traditionally occupied by men. Nonetheless, I think that our percentages of these roles should be more correlative with the population percentages in this country… and don’t get me started on compensation! It is simply ridiculous that in this day and age equal pay is still a major, unresolved issue! When we look specifically at women of color in business, we have even further to go. I must say that I am proud to see executives like Ursula Burns, Indra Nooyi, and Rosalind Brewer breaking molds, leading major organizations and paving the way for the next generation of businesswomen of color.
What was your first major project? How did it turn out? What did you learn from that experience?
My first major project was running, at the time, the largest national marketing program in the country. The program spanned 53 full-time markets and included a 45-event date, hip-hop tour. It was a massive undertaking and an amazing success. The experience taught me the same lessons I think we learn throughout our lives—you can do anything you put your mind to and hard work and dedication will always prevail!
What are your hobbies?
My absolute favorite thing to do when I have free time is to read. The funny thing is that between, family, career, and community projects, I don’t have very much free time. When I’m travelling, I do make sure to log some great reading time during taxi, takeoff and landing; but I typically spend most flights working. I have recently mastered the art of reading on the treadmill, which now guarantees me some time for leisure reading!
How do you juggle family and career?
My career is important to me, but my family comes first. I waited until my career was pretty well established before starting a family. This decision allowed me to dedicate myself unencumbered to my career, demonstrating not only my commitment; but, more importantly, the value that I can bring to my organization and our clients. My job can be demanding, and at times it is difficult to strike the right work-life balance. My husband is an amazing, supportive partner and an active parent. Not only does he keep me centered, but he also takes the lead with family responsibilities when during times when my workload requires a shift in focus away from the home. (He really is my better half, but don’t tell him I said that! I can see his head growing in size already!) Additionally, I am blessed to work with a fantastic team at a family-friendly company; and I have earned the luxury to cut out early when I need to and the flexibility to work remotely when necessary as well.
What is the biggest misconception about women in your field of work?
I think that one of the misconceptions about women in my industry is that we are suitable as creatives but not as leaders. To the contrary, I work closely with a number of amazing women leaders, both internally and externally; and we are disproving this myth with each day and each successful project!
What is your primary goal in regards to your career? (Management, ownership, etc.)
My primary goal is to continue to be a good steward of my clients’ investment in marketing services. I want to ensure that our strategic plans and flawless execution keeps them loyal to my agency by yielding the results that make their brands, and as a result, my firm, more successful year over year.
Do you have any community service projects or non-profit programs that you work for/on/with?
Personally, for the last 20 years I have had the honor to be a member of the international service organization, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, where I currently belong to the Baltimore chapter, Tau Eta Zeta. Within the organization, I serve as the Coordinator for both March of Dimes and Prematurity Awareness Initiatives for the State of Maryland, and I am also esteemed to sit on the Board of the Sharon K. Harvey Memorial Foundation.
Professionally, my organization regularly works local service projects with a number of partners (Habitat For Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Santa’s Little Helpers, Friendship Outreach Center, MD SPCA, etc.) in order to do our part to support those in need in the greater Baltimore community,
What makes you most proud? (anything)
My proudest moments typically involve anything to do with the early life milestones of my two little boys. Those dudes never cease to amaze me. I am also known to get that mommy-esque gleam in my eye when one of my team members overcomes a hurdle or attains a new professional achievement.
What is you biggest pet peeve?
Excuses. Nuff said.
What would be your advice to anyone who wanted to do what you do?
Work hard, take the initiative, build relationships, maintain integrity and don’t ever quit.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The Seven P’s. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance!
Ok, when you’re alone in your car, what’s the song that you totally lose your mind to?
So… I am a HUGE hip hop head. I just love the art form, perhaps a bit too much for the people close to me! I have been known to lecture my young nieces and nephews about the history and evolution of the genre, comparative analysis of lyrical abilities of the greats, et cetera, et cetera! Biggie, 2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Rakim, KRS-One, Slick Rick… I could go on and on and on! It is so hard to pick one song, since there are so many that will get me all riled up all for different reasons, when I am different moods or experiencing different situations. I do love Special Ed’s “I Got It Made”. I rap every line; every time. As soon as I hear it, the song will be stuck in my head forEVER, but I don’t mind. I really think that song would be a major hit if it was just dropped today!
One thing people wouldn’t know about you but you don’t mind sharing is…
I can assemble and disassemble an M-16 A1 and I am a great shot! I actually attended United States Marine Corps OCS in Quantico, VA, and I am proud to say that I am also married to a former Marine! Semper Fidelis!
If you could pick a theme song while walking down the street, what would that song be and why?
India Irie’s “Video”. It’s an upbeat and happy tune that gets me singing and can brighten even the darkest of days. I love the empowering message in the lyrics that I believe applies to us all– especially women. Nowadays, it seems that people are too focused on things that are really not that important, and so many of us don’t really recognize our worth. To me, that song says: Be yourself! God created you to be exactly the way you are, which means that you are perfect!
Biggest regret is…
Regrets are like unicorns… I don’t believe in either!
How can people reach you? (website, social media, email, etc.)
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
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