1. Tell us about your career path since graduating from Fuqua. What were the significant stepping stones that led to your current position as chief marketing officer of Crunchyroll, a streaming platform with the largest anime collection in the world?
Prior to Fuqua, I did digital marketing both on the agency and client side and knew I would always return. Immediately after Fuqua, I was a management consultant at L.E.K. Consulting, and this was a great accelerant in my career. Even from the days of prepping for case interviews, I was learning how to break down a problem, map them to workstreams, make decisions on imperfect data, and work with leaders across all functional areas. After that, I worked at several late-stage start-ups including Zipcar, Techstyle Fashion Group, and Laurel & Wolf – all three businesses challenged an existing model of a traditional service and challenged the historical consumer purchasing patterns. I think having a blend of large company and start-up experience helped me value working at a growth venture within a large company, which is the best of both worlds, and a good description of how Crunchyroll lives within the Sony ecosystem.
2. How has your Fuqua education and network influenced or shaped your career path?
Getting a general management MBA and leadership training has enabled me to pivot between marketing, strategy, and operations roles. Every job after consulting came through a connection or my candidacy was accelerated because of a connection. Building a strong professional network is powerful - and helping others build their own networks is equally as important.
3. Crunchyroll has attributed its success to a distinctive strategy that differs from other streaming companies. As the CMO, how have you employed marketing strategies and business models to aid the company in achieving its goals?
Crunchyroll is an entertainment company that tries to super-serve one of the highest avidity fandoms on the planet - anime fans! We say our model is to be everything to someone, and we offer streaming but also films, home entertainment, e-commerce, merchandise, games and more to offer anime to fans when they want, where they want, and how they want. Linking these lines of business is a key innovation, and it also uses anime as a means to connect a diverse global audience, and do good for the world as an area of focus.
4. Crunchyroll recently hosted the seventh Crunchyroll Anime Awards ceremony in Tokyo, Japan, featuring a presentation of the best of anime. What was unique about managing the messaging and positioning strategies for such an event?
The Anime Awards was a great event! And the design opportunity there was sharing with the creator community in Japan just how powerful their stories are to fans around the world. Through the Anime Awards, we shared how transformational the characters, the artwork, the music, and the storytelling can be in people’s lives.
5. How would you describe your leadership style? How did your time at Fuqua influence the way in which you lead?
During my first days at Fuqua, possibly even during orientation, we did a session on Level 5 leadership that has always stayed with me. Especially the line “Level 5 leadership is the intersection of extreme humility and extreme professional will.” That has very much shaped me to have fierce ambition but to be ambitious for my businesses and brands and not for myself. It taught me the value of active listening, productive empathy, and hopeful candor.
6. How do you support and inspire up-and-coming leaders in your company?
They actually inspire me! Every day I come to work and see creativity and collaboration through all levels of Crunchyroll, and that energizes me constantly. I think the best way to support the next crop of leaders is to give them the space and decision-making authority to drive results while hanging out in the background, being supportive, and trying to orchestrate an environment that maximizes their chances of success. Provide a net so that any risks taken or mistakes made land gently.
7. What words of advice would you offer to others pursuing similar career paths?
Listen more than you talk. Ask more questions than make statements. Find work that brings you joy and lets you pursue your passions both inside and outside of work.