Mixing Board Mentors – Now Available
To support current and future leaders in comms and brand marketing functions, the Mixing Board expert community is launching our most significant new offering in our year-plus existence. The community is now providing practitioners a unique way to gain timely mentorship and insight from those who have walked in their shoes and deeply understand their role.
This is a product built by comms and brand marketing leaders for their fellow comms and brand marketing leaders. And it’s being provided by those with deep experience at places like Airbnb, American Express, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Netflix, the Obama White House, Oatly, Slack, Twitter, Virgin Group and so many more from Mixing Board’s nearly 200 members who have built and run communications teams, been CMOs for fast growing companies, or have specialized expertise including policy, content, social, community, and internal comms and culture.
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To complement this new offering and our flagship work in sourcing great senior level leaders for organizations through our community, Mixing Board is also launching support for those looking to find top fractional and consulting talent.
Comms is Having a Moment
Communications and related marketing roles inside of fast moving organizations have become some of the toughest, most complicated and important jobs inside of a business.
There has been a gap in expert support that goes far beyond “coaching” for a long time. Most Mixing Board members would have wanted to have something like this in their careers. I know I would have loved to have a mentor when I was the first person running comms at Twitter.
Yet, with all that has happened in the last three years, having someone you can turn to for perspective has become all the more essential. The pandemic. The social upheaval. The complete rework in how we work has led to comms and related functions being far more utilized in businesses as a strategic input rather than merely a tactical output. This is a good thing, but there’s no doubt that it’s become a far more difficult job, too.
While managing whatever new is happening inside and outside their company in a given day, comms leaders must now also be masters at internal communications, skilled at aligning executive teams around a shared story, and able to develop long-term proactive strategies that could include content, social, experiential, employer brand and so on. You also need to handle complicated social issues, manage policy developments, foster communities, make data work for you and weave what you do with growth efforts. Oh, and you still need to be great at media relations, too. But, now, with far fewer traditional, broach reaching outlets and thousands more new ones with niche impact.
And with today’s economic environment, it means that they may have to do more with less. The ability to hire around them may be constrained and younger talent will be thrust into bigger roles.
To meet this moment, Mixing Board is offering:
Mentor. Both current and rising comms and marketing leaders are paired with a Mixing Board member who serves as a dedicated mentor and advisor. Through planned sessions and quick guidance in between, mentors help mentees navigate both their day-to-day and the big things that come up along the way.
MentorX. This is the Mentor offering plus access to Mixing Board subject matter experts who provide advice as needs arise and evolve. This could range from topics including brand strategy, owned content, managing a team, org structure, international regions, crisis comms, exec comms, government affairs, investor relations, building community and so on.
Supergroup. Two or three complementary Mixing Board members are brought together to help an organization through a major moment or consider a strategic decision. These extra expert eyes could help as a company prepares for a big launch, considers a reorganization, enters a new market, attempts to fix a perception issue, plans a significant marketing campaign, prepares for a financial event and so on.
Talent Sourcing. Leveraging and incentivizing our community to find the best senior-level full-time, fractional and consultant talent.
Members interested in serving as mentors extends well beyond the following representative list of leaders:
Abenaa Hayes, DEI strategist; Amanda Atkins, former head of global internal comms + culture, Slack; Anna Ondaatje, former VP, global brand & franchise Strategy at Playboy Enterprises; Andrew Blotky, former director of global internal comms at Facebook; Brandon Borrman, former VP, global comms at Twitter, Brendan Lewis; EVP, global communications & public affairs at Oatly, Caroline Caswell; VP of marketing at Operator Collective; Carolyn Penner, chief of staff and head of comms at Royal; Cath Anderson, SVP of comms at Cityblock Health, Christine Choi; partner & head of brand, M13; Cody Keenan, former chief speechwriter for President Obama; Colin Crowell, former VP of public policy & philanthropy at Twitter; Eric Glass, chief marketing & communications officer at Ceridian; Heidi Hackemer, executive director of Oatly’s Climate/Culture Lab; Holly Clarke, former content strategy lead, Airbnb; Jessica Kleiman, former head of comms, Peloton; Kate Mason, founder, Hedgehog + Fox; Kelsey Grady, former head of global comms, Nextdoor; Ken Ross, former head of comms at Netflix; Laura Anderson, former chief communications officer at Intel; Marina Norville, former VP, corporate, financial & risk public relations at Amex; Noora Raj Brown, SVP of communications + brand marketing, goop; Sarah Kay, former head of global brand innovation at Nike; Shannon Brayton, former chief marketing officer at LinkedIn; Sushma Dwivedi, president of Ghetto Gastro; Suzanne Philion, head of communications, marketing, & public affairs at Waymo
Quick color on just a few of the above: Included are Ken Ross who ran communications at Netflix during the incredibly formative years of 2005-2011; Colin Crowell who built Twitter global public policy and philanthropy function and is one of the top tech policy experts out there; and, Amanda Atkins who was built Slack’s internal communications and culture function and, through this role, also served as an advisor to many organizations building their own program.
It Takes a Community
Nearly 200 of the top comms and brand marketing experts have come together during these weird and profoundly important times to learn from each other and take the leap of faith on a new model that could leverage their expertise in ways that’s far more optimal than succumbing to a litany of ‘pick your brain’ conversations. We appreciate every single Mixing Board member and we’re happy to create a structure for the best in the business to get paid for offering their expertise. (And, for more insight into the depth of member perspective, see these interviews.)
We also thank critical advisors along the way. Former head of comms of Box and Glossier and co-founder of Coalition Operators, Ashley Mayer, and my first hire at Twitter and now chief of staff & head of comms at royal.io, Carolyn Penner, helped inspire Mixing Board and are stalwart advisors. Lowercarbon partner, Clay Dumas, and former founder and CEO of Connections Media, Jonah Seiger, also provide essential input.
And we wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without the support of investors who provided the old-school version of pre-seed funding to use to get over the hump of proof-of-concept toward a defined product offering. These investors include Bloomberg Beta’s Roy Bahat who understands the power of the comms function unlike most any venture capitalist and angels, including Rebecca Reeve Henderson, who founded and sold a successful comms agency, and Jim Hock who is former business partner of mine and the former Chief of Staff to the Commerce Secretary in the Obama Administration.
More information about Mixing Board’s offerings and how the organization works are available on our new website that also launched today.
Image via Stable Diffusion
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