Chief Marketing Officer, Wisconsin, 54 | G/Que No. 13

What is your idea of a perfect day at work?

Get email out of the way. Meet with my staff (informally, by walking around). Scheduled meetings are kept to a minimum. Then, I work on larger, strategic issues like planning and visionary projects while my staff executes marketing plans. As a team, we win in the marketplace.

Which aspect of your work do you most despise?

Dealing with drama and people issues. As a manager of people and processes, I would prefer to work with processes since people always come with baggage and feelings. Can’t work with ’em, but certainly can’t work without ’em…

What is your greatest career regret?

Not stepping off onto the entrepreneurial tightrope earlier in my career when I had more energy and a who-cares-if-I-fail attitude.

When and where were you happiest working?

When I worked for a small but quickly-growing (3-time Inc. 500) financial publishing company. I had what I would call a perfect work-life balance. I was in senior management, was surrounded by family, had a blast at work, made good money, etc.

Which skill would you most like to have?

Persuasive and compelling public speaking and storytelling skills.

What do you consider your greatest career achievement?

The climb up the professional ladder from bottom-rung, hands-on tactical worker bee to strategic visionary in the C-suite.

What do you value most in a boss?

Empowerment. I want a boss who trusts me to do what I was hired to do–even if I make a mistake–and not micromanage or second-guess my work.

What made the biggest difference in your career?

Reading. I’m continually shocked when I interview candidates for jobs how little reading the younger generations do. Study. Continually learn. Stay on top of trends and best practices. There’s a world of information at your command. Take advantage of it!

If you were to die and start over what would you do for a living?

Something entrepreneurial. I would start early to create value from an idea. To solve a problem and relieve a pain point. To have my own business is the greatest expression of what to do for a living.

What is your most treasured experience working?

Anything related to travel and being at a destination or participating in an experience as part of my job. I remember, on several occasions, doing my work in a cool place like London or Kitty Hawk, NC, and singing to myself, “I get paid for doin’ this.”

Which professional quality do you most admire in men?

Humility. I can’t stand cockiness in anyone, especially a leader who thinks they know it all.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?

First find a market; then find something to sell them.

What book most shaped your career?

The E-myth, by Michael Gerber.

What do you value most in colleagues?

Collaboration and teamwork. Busting down silos and working together toward a common vision.

What’s the most overrated requirement for your job?

A college degree. While I have one, and wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world, I don’t believe it’s necessary to do my job effectively.

What is your most marked characteristic at work?

Getting it done. Got an assignment no one else wants? I’ll make it happen. Tight deadline? I’ll turn it around. Unclear objective? I’ll make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

What do you most appreciate about your work?

Being creative. Marketing is the fun stuff. It’s not accounting, insurance, or HR. It’s challenging, competitive, and always evolving.

Which professional quality do you most admire in women?

The same as men. Humility. I appreciate leaders who surround themselves with good people and who work together to support a mission-based focus.

How would you like to retire?

I don’t see myself retiring, not because I’m a workaholic, but because I think I’d be bored. I would like to go out as a consultant.

What is your current state of mind?

Hopeful and optimistic. I don’t feel “old” or past my usefulness. I like my current job and appreciate all that I’ve been blessed with.

What motivates you?

Seeing the impact that my work has on other people; knowing that in some small way, I can make a difference in someone’s life.
This is part of the G/Que series on The Lean Career which explores how everyday people all over the world work. Pictures are respondent’s view on work.