Michelle started her marketing career in consumer products at P&G and Clorox. Her favorite role was launching the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes brand. She then shifted to healthcare at McKesson, where she led a $1 billion+ marketing and retail services business unit.
For the last decade, she has had the startup bug. She’s worked at a number of early stage firms but the one that really took off was Astrum Solar. Astrum grew from a handful of people to a $40 million company during her time as CMO. The rapid growth earned it the #2 spot on Inc’s Fastest Growing Co. List in 2012. It was later acquired by Direct Energy. She also leverages her deep expertise across the full marketing stack as a consultant with not-for-profits and other mission-driven organizations.
AMADC: What motivated you to start mentoring?
MW: I wanted to pay it forward. I’ve been lucky to have great mentors. They’ve taught me so much and influenced professional decisions big and small, including my choice to get into marketing in the first place. Early on, I went the big company route so I took being surrounded by lots of other marketers for granted. More recently, as a startup CMO and advisor to small and mid-sized organizations, I’ve realized how rare it is to have such easy access to more experienced marketers and diverse perspectives on a regular basis.
AMADC: Why did you choose to do it with Marketing Mentors Network?
MW: This is my second go of it with AMADC. I really like the added structure and support they bring to mentoring. There is comfort in numbers. Both times they did a great job at matchmaking. They seem to ask the right questions and really listen to the answers when they are pairing people up. Plus, it’s fun to go through the program with a peer group. The networking events and group check-ins create additional momentum and an extra layer of accountability for all.
AMADC: What are you getting out of mentoring?
MW: I’ve built relationships that likely never would have happened without these introductions. In terms of the 1:1 mentoring, I feel like I am getting as much or more out of the program as I am giving. My protégé stretches me to think about marketing topics and business situations in new ways. And, her energy and passion are contagious. I’m excited about her successes, and she inspires and motivates me to look at my own work challenges and potential future career steps with new eyes.
AMADC: What advice do you have for new marketers/proteges in your field?
MW: Try to get the fundamentals down. At its core, marketing is about understanding customer needs and identifying opportunities to fill those needs efficiently. The fundamentals: analysis, then action, are the constants. What makes marketing so much fun is the continually changing business environment and the always evolving tool box you get to use to achieve your results. So, my advice is to make sure you are comfortable with the “whys” driving your work with any given strategy, tactic, channel, or technology. If you know the fundamentals of marketing, your options are almost limitless.