For this year’s International Women’s Day, our team at Slice is proud to celebrate women across the marketing and communications industry through an interview series. Follow along throughout the week leading up to International Women’s Day to read about these inspiring women and their stories.
The first interview of this series if with Kelly Waltrich, the Chief Marketing Officer of Orion Advisor Solutions, a technology solution for financial advisors and firms.
How do you define your leadership?
For me, being a leader is about encouraging the members of my team to be the best versions of themselves, both professionally and personally. When people are motivated, ambitious, and excited about their jobs and the role they play in the success of our company, and in turn our clients’ lives, the more willing they are to give me 110% everyday. At the end of the day, I want to work with people who love what they do, who love their team, and who love the challenge of continually improving for the benefit of themselves, each other, our company, and the clients we serve.
How has your leadership changed over the years you’ve been working?
As the years have passed, I’ve become a more empathetic and compassionate leader. For me, leadership has evolved beyond the workplace to take into account what’s going on in the lives of my team members, to understand how that affects the way they approach their jobs, what motivates them and how they measure success in their role and ultimately in their lives.
Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?
When I came to Orion, it was on the heels of building a strong marketing team from the ground up at my previous company. I wanted to replicate that success at Orion, but I quickly came to the realization that every business, despite surface similarities, is very different. Different demands, different clients, different challenges, and a different hiring climate made it impossible for me to approach building the Orion marketing team in the same way.
And I’ve found that’s a bigger lesson that also applies to developing individuals’ strengths, building marketing campaigns, and generating revenue. Just because something worked once doesn’t mean it will again: leadership requires not only persistence, but flexibility and awareness.
What role do you think marketing communications should play in the future of your organization or industry?
Long gone are the days when marketers were responsible solely for making things pretty. Today, marketing communications is uniquely positioned to drive the overall strategy of an organization.
Think about core marketing functions: ownership of brand. Ownership of voice. Ownership of creating opportunities for revenue growth. Ownership of the actionable efforts behind launching new products. Ownership of audience — demographics, challenges, hesitations, motivations.
There’s no better engine for the growth and overall success of an organization than a well-run marketing and communications team.
What do you think young women entering the marketing communications field should know? What advice do you have for them?
What I don’t think a lot of people realize is that to be successful in marketing communications, you need to be equal parts creative and analytical. There was a time when most of what marketing did was subjective and qualitative. But in my opinion, in order to provide real strategic value, you have to be able to measure and prove the impact of your efforts.
So because marketing requires professionals to be a little bit of everything, you can’t ever stop learning. Resist complacency by immersing yourself in your industry, absorbing new ideas, taking risks, and continually disrupting your own thinking.
Finally, all marketers — but especially young women — need to have a strong voice. Develop it. Use it to relentlessly drive your business forward.