The CMO Files: Connie Connelly O’Brien, Tungsten Network
on March 22 2017
Name: Connie Connelly O’Brien
Organisation: Tungsten Network
Job title: CMO
Location: NYC (remote)
- Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey. My father worked for General Motors (Cadillac) so we moved around a lot. We moved from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey to Weston, Massachusetts to Birmingham, Michigan. This was our last stop – a suburb of Detroit.
- What was your first job?
An Assistant Market Research Analyst at Jordan McGrath Case & Taylor, Inc
- What was the first product you got really excited about?
I can still remember when I got my first Palm Pilot –I felt like my organisational skills went from OK to excellent in a matter of minutes. I thought, “now this is life changing!”
- Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I have been very lucky to work with amazing people. From every job I have had, I have gathered my own ‘Board of Directors’ that I use on an on-going basis.
- What has been your greatest achievement?
When I worked at AXA Equitable, innovation was a big focus. I was a serial Innovation Award winner.
- What has been your biggest mistake?
I look at every opportunity as a learning experience. I don’t believe in mistakes.
- What is your greatest strength?
Creative problem solving.
- What is your biggest weakness?
- What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
There are two areas I come back to over and over again. One is the role of the brand and the need for consistency. The other is that IT and Marketing need to be linked at the hip in order to get the best efficiencies from the Martech tools.
- Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
There is something about the question: “what are we trying to solve for?” that makes me roll my eyes. Maybe it is the way it is used – sometimes as a stop gap to try and change direction as opposed to being straight forward.
- What makes you stressed?
People who blame other people.
- What do you do to relax?
Spend time with my husband, David, son, Charlie and our dog Navy. They are my centre. And watching Carpool Karaoke.
- What is your favourite song?
I do not have a favourite song. My taste in music is eclectic. Right now I am listening to a lot of Joshua Bell.
- Which book taught you most?
Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. It isn’t because it is seen as feminist work but because it talks about the importance of women carving out their own space for creativity.
- Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
Not really, but I do like the Boston Red Sox.
- Which country would you like to work in?
- Which company do you think has the best marketing?
I don’t think I could name one company as I think every company struggles with consistency. There are two campaigns that I love – one is the Apple launch of the iPod with the “shadow” campaign; the other is the VW commercial called “Darth Vader.” Both commercials do a good job of connecting emotionally with their target audience.
- What do you love most about your job?
I really love building journeys – with it comes creativity, problem solving and collaboration. This job hits all these points for me.
- What is your favourite book?
Oh – I can only pick one? I don’t think I can do it.
- What keeps you awake at night?
It differs depending on workload but generally speaking – the state of politics in the US.