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| 3 minutes read

LMA 2022: The not-so-secrets for success in the C-Suite

At the LMA 2022 there was a lot of great content flying around, but a panel covering success at C-Suite level stood out.  The panel included veteran CMO Bob Robertson (Jackson Lewis) and newish CMO's Katie Munroe (Zuckerman Spaeder) and Justin Portaz (Jenner & Block) which meant that the advice given certainly resonated with a room full of aspiring CMO's.

4 main areas were covered under the umbrella of 'setting yourself up for success'  and they included Defining Your Value, Understanding Firm Culture, Cultivating Consensus and Accessing & Harnessing Resources.

 Before that, however, some generic practical advice was given: Imposter syndrome is a real thing, especially if new to the role. CMO's have an amazing opportunity to take the time to get to know the whole business, understand their team's weaknesses and help put them in positions to succeed. Katie met with everyone across her firm when she took the role. 

This one-on-one time and asking frank questions can help unearth some underlying issues and build trust which you will need a little further down the line. So

  • The "two ears, one mouth: analogy has always stood Justin Portaz extremely well. 
  • This is a people and relationship business: See your team as teachers

#1 Define Your Value:

Bob used the example of a CMO who was incredibly good at crisis communications at a firm that went through a lot of crises. Their strength was clear for everyone to see and it fit the firm they were with. 

You can't be the go-to person for everything, that's where your understanding of the firm and your own strengths in your team will allow you to lead and delegate effectively.

  • Create new ideas
  • Think about what you can add if inheriting a team
  • Value your previous achievements
  • Bring stability
  • Unify the team
  • Deliver value

#2 Understanding Firm Culture:

Those interviews and deep cultural knowledge enable you to not only change and mould the firm for everyone's benefit, but it also educates you as to how to get things done, who has the subtle power in the business. 

  • Remember that you can build your own culture within the team and it isn't just about the firm's culture but you bringing your unique flair as well. Justin highlighted the huge social turmoil over the past 24 months with the BLM movement amidst the backdrop of covid-19 and successive lockdowns. Your role as a leader and opening yourself up to be vulnerable and to have a distinct voice can be immeasurably important to your team and the wider business. 
  • Moreover, look at yourself and your goals: where do you want to go? How can you use the firm and the culture to get there?

#3 Cultivating Consensus:

Culture is a "two way street." You need to bring people along with you. Acting as a leader rather than a 'boss' is massive and there are subtle ways of bringing people along for the ride:

  • Flattery really does work and should be used
  • Bring proven anecdotes and examples to back up your plans and intuitions.
  • Ask for advice and not feedback

#4 Accessing & Harvesting Resources:

  • Grow the team and fear inertia. You need to keep moving forward.
  • Get partners to invest and help drive the vision
  • Report on and feedback on successes. You are selling a vision to your team and the wider business. 

The final part of the talk saw Bob, Katie and Justin giving some very practical advice around effective management and collaboration with other departments.  Here are the salient points:

Effective Management is to think and act proactively. Driving engagement and keeping people on board are key. The way to enable that is:

  • The way to enable that is through communication, motivation and empowering your team. It's hard to achieve all that over zoom and so face to face meetings are important where possible.
  • Be fair, feedback is a gift.
  • Bring a human element and create a safe space for the team.
  • Skill building, collaboration within the team and trust are so important but equally so with attorneys and other departments. Look to connect on the same project and build bridges. Note down little things like anniversaries, life events as they matter.


This was an excellent talk and there was so much to cover, but two final points we wanted to make after listening to this and a number of other sessions throughout the week. 

Firstly, get comfortable with not knowing the answers. It's a process and you are just getting started.

Secondly, a point that the wonderful Carolyn Manning (CMO at Mintz) stressed earlier in the week, be really focused on what your job is: To put the firm and the experts therein in the best positions to create new (and strengthen existing) relationships with clients to bring in revenue. The ultimate barometer of success for any Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer is to drive new revenue for the firm - those CMOs who can link their activity to revenue generation will never be without a job. 


e2e, marketing, professional services, marketing strategy