Five Years Out, Marketing Stars Still Shine

Catching up with the 2012 class of ANA Rising Marketing Stars

By Emma Phipps

Courtney Buckley, Sloan White, Jason Hill, and Lisa Wang pose with the ANA's Bob Liodice on stage after accepting the ANA Rising Marketing Star Award in 2012. The ANA


In 2012, four young marketers took the stage at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference to accept the ANA Rising Marketing Star Award: Courtney Buckley of Allstate, Jason Hill of GE, Lisa Wang of State Street Global Advisors, and Sloan White of Capital One.

Presented annually at the Masters of Marketing, the ANA Rising Marketing Star Award recognizes exceptional marketers who are 30 years old or younger and have demonstrated leadership and results-driven marketing excellence.

Hailed by the senior executives who nominated them as young leaders making a difference for their organizations, Hill, now global head of media at BlackRock, Wang, now head of marketing and communications for Asia at PineBridge Investments, and White, now brand advertising manager at Capital One, continue to have an impact on our industry. (Buckley, who has taken a step back from professional services to raise a family, declined our request for an interview.)

At five years out, the ANA checked in with Hill, Wang, and White to see where they are now.


Q. Where have your successes taken you since winning the Rising Marketing Star Award?

Jason Hill: I joined BlackRock in June 2015 as global head of media. My team leads strategy, planning, buying, and innovation within the paid media space, including search and social, for all of our businesses and regions.

Since arriving, I've worked to standardize our media briefs and agency processes; migrate the vast majority of our spend to digital; launch an approach to media partnerships; and deploy more marketing and content "firsts" — a remit I learned well at GE. And the last year I spent at GE was hugely formative as well. I continued to lead content and media for all of the company's top non-U.S. markets, which took me to far-flung and exciting places, and eventually led to the fantastic opportunity to live and work in Hong Kong for much of 2014. It was great to get outside the HQ market to really understand the way a business, brand, and marketing organization operates on the other side of the world.

Lisa Wang: Since receiving ANA's Rising Marketing Star distinction, which was a humbling and unforgettable milestone in my career, I have progressed my career from overseeing the marketing function for Asia Pacific in just one product area, ETFs, to heading up all of State Street Global Advisors' asset management business in the region.

Over this time, my team grew from three people to 10. And today, SSGA Asia is the second largest asset manager in the region. I have also been featured in Campaign Asia's 40 Under 40 list and LinkedIn's 10 most viewed profiles in the marketing field three years running.

After seven years with the company, I recently made the very difficult decision to accept a new and exciting opportunity with another global firm.

Sloan White: I have had the opportunity to work on two other teams at Capital One, including our private label Saks Fifth Avenue credit card and SaksFirst Loyalty program, as well as a role in brand strategy focusing on our consumer credit card products. I am now back on the brand advertising team.


Q. How did being a Rising Star change or shape your career over the past five years?

J.H.: The ANA has always provided great opportunities for networking and relationship building within the industry. Many of the connections I made through attending the Masters of Marketing conference the year I was named a Rising Marketing Star — and at other events — have been helpful and inspiring people to know throughout my career.

L.W.: The award itself was such a momentous moment for me, but the ANA Masters of Marketing conference and the organization have really helped shape my career. With regular insights and news of exciting new developments in the marketing field delivered through ANA programs and events, I have been so inspired by seasoned — and up-and-coming — professionals around the world and from all industries.

S.W.: I was fortunate to meet other industry leaders via the ANA network and have cultivated some wonderful relationships. In 2014 I returned to the ANA Brand Masters Conference to sit on a panel with two other previous ANA Rising Marketing Stars, Courtney Buckley and Coley Holnback, to discuss millennials. The panel offered real-world advice and examples of effective ways to engage with the elusive millennial audience as consumers and employees.


Q. How can other young professionals fill or create leadership roles within their organizations? How can future Rising Marketing Stars stand out?

J.H.: I think the unstoppable and fast-changing nature of digital means that other "digital natives" can step into leadership roles perhaps sooner than they otherwise would have a decade ago. I think this force in our world and industry means age and tenure is less important. Senior leadership really values experience, drive, and an understanding of the platforms and technology shaping the business. Early or mid-career stars can really stand out, especially in industries or at companies that may be more established in their approaches.

L.W.: My biggest advice to young professionals is to be curious, hungry, and work toward a standard of excellence — then sprinkle in a good balance between being bold and being humble.

S.W.: I think it's important to offer your voice as both an associate and as a consumer. Volunteer your perspective, and recommendations, with every piece of advertising you touch. Also, do not be discouraged if your ideas aren't adopted immediately, because part of your job is to push the envelope and develop new ideas — you have to be patient. In addition, staying ahead of the curve is key, and it's best to be an early adopter of all new technology and social media channels.


Q. What would you look for in nominating a Rising Marketing Star in today's marketing landscape?

J.H.: Humility, creativity, strategic ability, and follow-through.

L.W.: What I've really come to cherish more than almost anything is the power of teamwork. I would look for an individual who is able to harness the power of the talent around them to reach a goal and knock it out of the park!

S.W.: Someone who can think outside the box and challenge convention with respect.


Q. Jason, in 2012 you discussed the importance of actively cultivating relationships with mentors. Have you become a mentor to others since receiving the Rising Marketing Star Award?

J.H.: I've thought a lot about the pros and cons of formal vs. informal mentorship and I think I come down on the side of informal. I have a number of relationships with people earlier and later in their careers than I am, and I tend to learn from all of them, and hopefully do my part to share experience or advice that they find useful as well. The best of these relationships feel like a conversation with your smartest friend, from which you come away with a dozen new ideas or things to try out in life and at work. Like any friendship, this requires mutual effort.


Q. Lisa, you talked about the importance of allowing yourself to make mistakes. In what ways can leaders empower their team members to make mistakes and take chances?

L.W.: Mistakes and learning from them make us who we are — whether they be functional/routine activities or lead to being innovators of our time. I strongly believe that managers and leaders need to create an environment where creativity and experimentation can thrive — of course within the bounds of reason, research, and risk excellence. We'll never be able to think outside of the box if we don't try something new.


Q. Sloan, you told young marketers to "absorb as much as possible." What are some key things you've taken in over the past five years?

S.W.: I've worked with some amazing people at Capital One, Saks Fifth Avenue, and an array of external agencies. I've learned that you have to intimately know your consumer and immerse yourself in who they are as people. I've also learned that you have to respect the people with whom you spend many hours, and investing in those relationships will take you far.


Winners of this year's ANA Rising Marketing Stars award will be announced at the 2017 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in October.