Adrienne A. Wallace is marketing executive and culturalist versed in bridging technology, data, culture and consumer insights to develop symbiotic strategy and drive scale while increasing brand relevance, appeal, revenue, consumer and stockholder value. She has over 16 years of combined experience in advertising, CPG, media, AI, digital, and blockchain technology at world class organizations managing cumulative billions of dollars in marketing and operations budgets. Adrienne’s roles include Chief Marketing Officer at bowmo, Inc., a NYC based software and technology company serving the Human Capital & Recruiting industry. The company uses millions of pieces of candidate and job data within a machine learning based; artificial intelligence platform to deliver quicker candidate matches and service recruiters in enterprise and agencies. As one of the C- Suite leaders responsible for socializing the brand and its impact in the HRTech space, this has led her to evaluate the bias of coding, design and data science for artificial intelligence as an equalizer in the opportunity for people creating technologies to help minimize bias with resumes and Ad Tech while delivering a quicker candidate selection process and satisfactory client experience.
Adrienne also has senior level marketing experience at global companies like Time Warner, the world’s largest media company, Zinio, the first all- digital mobile agnostic media conversion and supply platform where she was VP of Global Brand Marketing, and Diageo PLC, the world’s largest liquor company. Before Zinio, she became the first black and youngest CEO and Executive Director of Girls Inc. in CT, a top 100 world-class nonprofit focused on the education, scholarship, STEM and social empowerment of Gen -Z girls ages 5-18 years old. There she brought the once reluctant legacy brand to an operating pivot to digital and introduced of use and integration with social media as well as digital fundraising increasing membership and funding such that 96 Girls Inc. affiliates in the United States and Canada adopted her marketing and management model.
As North American Lead over Creative Ideation, Branded Entertainment, Multicultural Marketing, Sponsorships and PR, she developed Diageo’s first Supplier Diversity program driving $18MM in marketing and advertising contracts to minority led and operated PR, celebrity talent, multicultural and creative agencies in the first year. She enjoys dancing regular workouts, cherishes time with friends and family, prefers reading over watching TV, a devoted art patron, and can be found attending polo matches throughout her summers in Connecticut. She is also an enthusiastic international traveler.
Adrienne is a 40 Under 40, MIN Digital, and two- time Time Warner President’s Award winner. She is a council participant in numerous industry associations and Advisory Boards in the U.S. and Canada including the ANA, CMO Council, Advertising Educational Foundation, IAB, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Minority Supplier Development Council, National Urban League, NGLCC, and National Association of Professional Women.’ An Alumnae of Drexel University, she holds a Bachelor of a Science Degree in International Area Studies with minors in Marketing and Sociology.
How did you get into the industry?
While I am right now in the “Technology space,” I feel like I have been here before managing to the functionality and branding of this category before everyone knew what to call it. I worked with Amazon early in my career; when I was at Time Warner and the buyer recommendations are clearly machine learning based. I knew that churning and tracking the data to suggest closely matched and affiliated products had other implications in a number of different industries. The Tech industry right now is strong in BtoB space services with SaaS, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) as the category of expertise that I market. Nevertheless, as a marketer having roots in the advertising, media, and CPG space, I was always interested and encouraged my teams to use the latest in CRM, social media and analytics and requested the best technology to choose. measure and report on consumer behaviors and predict success. That was always in devotion at BtoC companies like Time Warner that had subscription businesses, media and lots of employees to track.
While I was at Diageo North America, I was approached by one of the Founders of bowmo. They wanted management consulting and had heard from a Board Member of my former employer about my penchant for building new business units, Human Capital leadership, digital innovation, Technology and Culture; so I effectively got here a few years later once they got funding. I was being authentic to my passion which created whispers down the lane. I was actually doing management consulting in the blockchain space with a Taiwan based company when they came knocking again. I was better and more advanced in my knowledge and a reputation for driving results than when we first met.
Any emerging industry trends?
There are two things that come to mind. Collaboration of right and left- brain leaders is an imperative; by that I mean the creative as much as the technical categories of business. I also am noticing that “artificial intelligence” has become a buzzword for marketers, but as many as should or could understand it really do not. There is an absolute need for experts and a strong call for the CMO and CTO teams to work together as partners so that technology brands that sell artificial intelligence or have it as their core functionality (for the software and services that they produce). It is important that we not only have operations teams that understand the product, but also cross functional and marketing teams that understand how it is made and use it.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
The real challenge I see for Technology and AI specifically is the presence of bias. Programming and Data Science tends to be missing the full diversity and inclusion of all user and customer types. This is an effect of two thing: s cultural bias and the fact that not enough women and people of color are in the roles of data scientist, coders, programmers, analyst. The cultural insights, aptitude and not just technical skill of those that work in the field is being called to attention now. We need more diverse teams with more women and a significantly stronger representation of people of color. We need to be included in the creation and building process of our technologies. Things are moving fast, the world is multiethnic and the technology is not going back into a bottle to be buried. It needs to move along with a global and inclusive scope.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
As it relates to the use or artificial intelligence in Human Capital Advertising & Marketing, I hope that it will deliver a more efficient and innovative edge to these categories. Boolean search needs to go away in the recruiting space and has its place in marketing and advertising for sure. We are not looking to hire keywords but instead people based on skills match; SaaS for Human Capital and recruiting that drives a reduced dependency on legacy ATS systems is part of the vision. As it relates to Advertising and Marketing, I want to see AI that can help marketers and their companies choose the right vendors and agency partners as well as track influencers and competitors and plan media faster than ever before. We deserve in all cases to have AI quicken the pace of decision making, reading results and encourage human interaction without bias.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
The business has had significant swings in staff and leadership from when I first started. Of the original two founders, only one remains and that occurred within 9 months after my coming on as CMO in 2016. Technology startups are unpredictable without major funding, strategic planning, and research and marketing as linchpin functions. The HRTech industry in particular is growing at leaps and bounds so specialization with all the aforementioned is what will create competitive posture at companies like bowmo. In an environment where unemployment is at an all time low, any company selling recruiting services will like their possible clients have to embellish a brand and a culture that people want to work with. Full scale trade advertising investment beyond content marketing must be an operative move in the near future.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Key initiatives that I have driven are related to bringing women in the space. I started an ERG , “ bowmoBold” at the company that focused on recruiting intersectional women across the business and also encouraging them to support, refer and involve themselves in building the business by targeting women leaders at prospective client companies that could become strategic STEM partners in CSR projects as well as business partners. I’ve also tailored the industry association involvements as a CMO towards the strongest most analytical groups that provide for collaboration and access to my functional peers at best in class and Fortune 500 companies which can turned over as leads to the business development team where appropriate.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
The most difficult moment at bowmo was watching employees transition out because of profitability figures in the first year. When you dedicate more time into a business than you do with your own biological family, you want to see everyone flourish. The ebb and flow of technology startups do not guarantee that everyone will be there for the full ride. We all are subject to the consideration of how much we can give and the decisions that must be made as to which staff is crucial to maintain the business.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
An experience where the client has access to resolve any concerns with their service quickly quickly issues and is so delighted that the commit to the future by contract and even refer other clients in is ideal. On where clients embrace the integration of AI into their business process and report that their employees using the product and services are in fact happier more productive and efficient while increasing ROI is what I strive to have as the testimonial.
How do you motivate others?
I have made listening and being gracious a part of my professional branding and growth strategy. I celebrate my teams accomplishments and say thank you often. I tell the truth and celebrate the success of peer companies and competitors. I lead with the enthusiasm that there is enough for everyone to get their share of success and maintain an open door policy making all staff and teams feel free and welcomed to talk with and collaborate with me.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Show up every day as yourself because diversity is important and if you are passionate, then stay obsessed with the category you deliver and serve but also be open to new culture knowing that it does not mean people who look, act or contribute just like you. Every CMO must know how their business impacts transforms and grows culture. Also be a media agnostic and a student! I study artificial intelligence, developers, coders, and what the largest and innovative companies in the world are doing with it. Tracking IBM. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and service providers like Quantcast, Accenture, Delloitte and others that create and consult in the space is important to do. I personally use the trades but also Talkwalkers’s social listening and alert tools to know what these companies are doing in the areas of AI, digital and human capital branding. Finally maintain a strong digital and social presence. Get to the conferences, attend the awards ceremonies, go to the learning symposiums and meet and interact with your peers and thought leaders. Also do not be shy and participate and contribute in industry panels and the stage as a speaker in representation of yourself and your brand. It all makes a difference in growing your business and your career in general.
What do I do best?
I am especially good at reading culture and technology and making strategic decisions about what a business should do as a relates to marketing, human capital, and globalbranding.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I’ve become the best version of myself by being honest about not only what my capacity and capabilities are, but also about my own biases, knowledge and the places I’d like to go. I find that when I am leading teams and doing so as a servant leader, I perform best. I’m particularly good at representing corporations and brands as an executive influencer and thought leader to the industry at large. I really love going to different places in the world; interacting in different cultures and seeing how a brand product or service is utilized by people who are diverse and different from the consumer.
What are my aspirations?
I am a CMO who strives to make a difference in the world. It id important to me to be connected to brands and products that really have a pulse on humanity and that serve humanity in a way that they are responsible with the technology that they make and they dispense. I delight in my ability and think, and lead teams and it’s important for me to perform as a thought leader ; possibly Head of Marketing and Culture in an organization. I hope to be able to this mainly at a large global company, a global management consulting company or advertising agency that impacts numerous global companies.
My Biggest Success?
My greatest accomplishment to date really occurs every day. I embrace my diversity. I enter and proceed with competence and confidence . I’ve been able to stay the course. I’ve been able to sit in rooms when I’m the only black woman; sometimes the only female, especially in Technology and yet I have been able to have my strategies, thoughts, and innovations acknowledged as well as implemented for real change in organizations like Diageo, Girls Inc., and even Time Warner. Being such a business person allows me to stand in service and look for positive effect in my business and personal relationships as well.
My Most Challenging Moment?
The most challenging moments of my life both personally and professionally has been those where I’ve had to make a decision based on my immovable values and my projections for my future. It has sometimes meant firing people, leaving a company or ending an affiliation. I have had to choose. who it is that I would have and continue relationships with. I have a commitment to growth and sometimes realize that you cannot grow or contribute to everyone. I have standards that I’ve set for my performance, contribution and even mentoring and compensation in all of my relationships and so oftentimes, when you are honoring yourself, your creed, your values, and your goals you will find as I have, that you have to separate from certain people and organizations to maintain not only your goals but to protect your general well being.
I have one very simple mottol, and that is “choose your story.”
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I have an 89-year-old aunt , my mother’s oldest living sister of 12 siblings. It is her who serves as a role model for me. She is for me the definition of resilience and strength, and strong will in a woman.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Tahiti is at the top of my lis, but I have so many places I’d like to go! So in terms of my favorite places are destinations, I would say that I’m not even sure yet. I’m still traveling. I’m a constant traveler, constantly seeking, constantly discovering new cultures; their food and their language their music, their dances, their choices, histories and joys.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
Well tailored bespoke clothing that fits my body well is important to me. I won’t name drop but they are brands that are predominately non-American that I feel particularly comfortable in. But I also have we discovered an oldie but goodie, Halston and I love their dresses..
As it relates to products, I have favor for technology and fine home furnishings. I’m a fan of Apple product design but it’s the guts; the intelligent technology that I find myself to be most captivated by now. I am running comparisons between Alexa and Siri and that latter has proved superior by far because it is more inclusive in its data results
So to sum it up, beautiful attire, technology with the intangible and impactful innovations that are coming out of companies like Apple &Microsoft and beautiful architecture and furniture, but I don’t like anything in furniture found as mass retailers. I always trust Lillian August to be able to provide something amazing by design and functional I would furnish my home with.
My Current Passions?
My current passions are around technology, leveraging mass media and culture, and creating symbiotic relationships that deliver profitability and humanity to this changing planet. I don’t think any of these things are mutually exclusive and they are derived from strong, competent, merit based leaders ; particularly my peers in technology and marketing who not only are diverse in ethnicity and culture, but they embrace inclusion and equity as linchpins to their success. So my passion lives around being our best selves as professionals and human beings. I stand to be an influencer who not only promotes the service, product and confidences of my employer but also to inspire others to do their best work and live well.