Keeping it real: Advice for women (and men) looking to progress into board and senior executive roles – Anne Godfrey, Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Marketing

Anne Godfrey

Anne Godfrey was appointed Chief Executive of CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing) in August 2012. Specialising in change management within the not-for-profit space, she has a proven track record of delivering challenging targets, alongside harnessing the skills, knowledge and passion of members, staff and external stakeholders. Prior to this, Anne’s career in academic and professional publishing included senior sales, marketing and product development roles for publishers such as Prentice Hall and Thomson Reuters.

Anne Godfrey

Anne Godfrey

“…Building connections with everyone you work with across a business is one of the greatest challenges anyone taking up a leadership role faces… Also, living up to your own and others’ expectations is a tangible and sometimes uncomfortable element of leading. This involves highlighting your strengths, while lessening your weaknesses. But, most importantly, it’s about being real…” 

About CIM and the role of Chief Executive

As Chief Executive of CIM, I lead a team of 192 staff based on a seven acre campus in Berkshire. Working with my senior management team, we support an international community of professional marketers and the organisations that employ them.

Marketing has always played a critical role in delivering business growth. By keeping the voice of the consumer at the heart of an organisation, marketers use insight to deliver strategy and implement change. From product management to digital, brand to integrated comms – effective marketers add real value and ROI.

CIM has 35,000 members spread across 120 countries. They range from consultants to marketing executives, CMOs and CEOs, and work in the private, public and third sector. As a leading training provider, CIM works with businesses of all sizes around the world to develop their marketing skills, knowledge and performance. In partnership with our 160 strong study centre network we deliver professional marketing qualifications.

At CIM, we take a broad view of diversity, which we believe is not only the right thing to do but which also delivers value to the bottom line. We believe in a diverse and inclusive organisational culture – one which respects the individuality and equality of our employees and members. We strive for a variety of views and opinions across our network, and on our advisory boards and have a number of policies in place to encourage marketers from all backgrounds to engage with their professional body. Our annual Salary Survey specifically looks at diversity in the workplace within the marketing industry and we will report back on the results later this year.

Greatest challenges (and opportunities) for women in leadership roles today

There has never been a better time to be a female leader. Or to aspire to being one. Recognise your strengths, continue to learn throughout your career and, most importantly, don’t assume people will automatically see how great you are. Building connections with everyone you meet is essential to success. These relationships need to be built over time and will take long-term attention to grow and maintain. Also, living up to yours and others’ expectations is a tangible and sometimes uncomfortable element of leading. This involves highlighting your strengths, while lessening your weaknesses. But, most importantly, it’s about being real.

Gaining the necessary experience to progress to board and senior executive roles

I’d give the same advice to women as I’d give to men, and that is to take both your personal and professional development seriously. Ultimately, you are in charge of your own career. It is your job to manage and invest time in your own performance and career development plan. And getting exposure to more than one function in an organisation, and understanding what they do and how they work will support this. And sometimes be a little bit loud!

Networking and building alliances of any kind helps career progression. It allows you to share information, improve your skills and raise your profile with like-minded individuals in your field.

The future for CIM

After a challenging few years CIM has just celebrated another successful year with a new brand position and visual identity that better suits our role in the 21st century. We are now focusing on growing, looking at how we can adapt and keep ahead of the curve, as well as what we need to prioritise to ensure that we continue to remain relevant to our members and the wider marketing community.

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