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| 13 minutes read

CMO Series EP120 - Emily Rogers of Norton Rose Fulbright on Instilling a Growth Mindset in Legal Marketing

In the changing landscape of legal marketing and business development, the importance of a growth mindset cannot be overstated. 

This episode of the CMO Series Podcast brings you a conversation with Emily Rogers, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at Norton Rose Fulbright US, as she shares her unique journey to becoming a CMBDO. Emily sits down with Will Eke to discuss the transformative power of cultivating a growth mindset, as well as a strong team culture, and its far-reaching impact on retention and the overall success of the firm.

Emily and Will explore: 

  • Emily’s journey to her current role as CMO at Norton Rose
  • The moment Emily realized the importance of a growth mindset
  • How this approach translates to the team and how to go about instilling that in the firm’s culture 
  • Key activities and programs that help drive a growth mindset
  • The impact on recruitment and employee retention, and across the wider firm
  • Managing a multigenerational workforce and the challenges to building a great team culture
  • Advice for marketing and BD leaders looking to instill a growth mindset within their team


Will: Welcome to another edition of the Passle CMO Series podcast. My name is Will Eke and you have definitely heard my dulcet tones before. Today, we are going to be talking about a really interesting topic. The journey to CMO is often indirect and many of the greatest leaders have taken a road less traveled and often bring a unique set of skills and attributes that then equip them for success in that role. Someone who brings a whole new perspective and approach to that role is Emily Rogers. I'm really excited to welcome Emily. She's the Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer in the US for Norton Rose Fulbright. She's joining today to share some brilliant benefits of instilling a growth mindset in a legal marketing career and the power of how to cultivate a strong team culture and the impact on retention for the wider firm. Welcome today, Emily. I'm really excited to have you on.

Emily: Thank you for having me.

Will: Brilliant. It's been quite a long time in the making. So I'm really, really happy that you're here. We're gonna be talking about instilling a growth mindset within legal marketing, a really interesting topic that we definitely haven't covered before. So I'm sure our listeners are gonna love this. I'm gonna start right at the beginning. Can you sort of tell us a bit about your journey and how you ended up in your current role as CMO in the US at Norton Rose?

Emily:  Yeah. So, I went to school for communication design. So I actually started my career as a graphic designer.  I joined the firm Chadbourne & Parke back in 2011 as a graphic designer. And I've kind of, you know, I've been at the same firm, we combined with Norton Rose Fulbright in 2017 and I've been lucky to have a lot of opportunities to grow. You can kind of see that from my path. I have had a growth mindset without realizing it from the very beginning. So I started as a designer, kind of moved up, and was able to just kind of take on more and more things. At Chadbourne, we had a very lean team. So if someone was going to be out in one group, usually we had to cover. So that's kind of how I learned a lot of the different things that we were working on. It's how I learned interaction. That's how I learned about the website and just kind of taking on new things. I really am analytical. I like Google Analytics, campaigns, et cetera. And that is what led me to where I am today.

Will: Thanks a lot. I'm not going to assume that people know what we're talking about in terms of growth mindset, but maybe you could explain a bit about it. And at what point in your career did you really, you've already mentioned it, how you really understand how important it was gonna be for you?

Emily: So growth mindset is the mindset of believing that you can continuously learn and become more and more intelligent. Whereas a fixed mindset, which is the other type of mindset is someone who kind of just believes that there is a limited capacity for intelligence. And once you've reached it, you've reached it, et cetera. So, I would say, without being really corny and getting into being like a self-help guru. I think the importance of it is just kind of exploring new opportunities and understanding the world around you. I don't think that a growth mindset is important only at work. I think that it's important in life. It's something that I try to instill in my three kids and it's something that's important to me. So I like to do different things with work just to kind of keep up to date, keep trying new things out. I believe that you spend so much of your time working and throughout your life that why not continuously be challenged? I can't imagine just kind of going to work and punching in, punching out, and doing the same thing every day. So, I think it's important that you kind of know what your colleagues are doing. You understand how you participate in the greater good of the place where you work and try new things out.

Will: It's interesting that you mention your Children as well. We were talking before we jumped on about, there is a book called You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed and I've been reading that with my kids as well and he talks e exactly to that point that, you know, you're not born with all these skills you can always grow and build upon them. So it's interesting that you sort of, you know, you touch upon that and then translate that into adults in the current team. I mean, how do you instill that in the team and how can it grow? Can it grow outside the team as well into the culture of the firm?

Emily: Yeah. One, I think that everyone who works with me and on the team, I think we all have kind of a growth mindset. So I think it's just kind of encouraging people to try new things. We don't talk about it ever. I don't want to be a person that's super obnoxious, like, “Let's have a growth mindset. Yay.” But, you know, we did a summer challenge that I thought was really fun where each week we tried a new thing. So, one week, we did the Google Draw challenge with artificial intelligence, where it tells you what to draw. And AI has to like, guess it et cetera. I'm not sure exactly the technology behind it. I'm not an AI guru, but it was just fun, like, you know, we had 35 people screenshotting their drawings and sharing them with the team. So it's just kind of like making sure you're using both sides of your brain. In all of our team meetings, we talk about things that maybe don't impact everyone on the team, just to talk about the things that are going on with the group. So, if there is a new privacy law that requires us to change something in the way that we handle content, we talk about it with everybody so that everyone is kind of well-versed in it and can discuss it. We changed our approach to social media earlier this year. We had a lot of meetings about it just so that everyone kind of understood the way the algorithms work, why we do certain things, levels of engagement, et cetera, like what we're going for. So I think context is really important, and not only in the kind of growth mindset, but also in the fact that everyone works better together when we understand the things around us, and why we do certain things.

Will: That sort of leads me on to,to the next question. And you've touched upon it already. Do you have you got any sort of key initiatives or programs that you've instilled to help drive that sort of growth?  You don't like to call a growth mindset with them, but is there anything that you've built that then automatically does that for people in the team?

Emily: Summer challenge for sure was one thing that we did that I think we're going to do again. I'm gonna try to do a Winter challenge. You know, there are a lot of things at the firm. We have an innovation challenge running right now where different people - and this was not led by my department - it's led by a different group, but anyone at the firm could submit an idea that would, you know, generate income for the firm in some way that was innovative and that's going throughout the year. There are just a lot of different opportunities and I think that, and one initiative that I have is just kind of changing the verbiage that we use where we talk about things as opportunities rather than like just demands that the firm has. You want to make sure that you are encouraging people to participate in things and look at it that way. These are all different ways to grow professionally and personally. And I think the more that the firm can encourage things like that, the better, and Norton Rose Fulbright, in my opinion, does a really great job of encouraging these things. We have a ‘Celebrating Success Award’ series that we do. It is just fun. It is for the whole firm. And people are nominated for these different awards. The award that they are given is a gift certificate to a restaurant nearby so they can go and have a nice night out on the firm, but they're also gifted with an arts and crafts project that one of the partners created. So we host arts and crafts nights and this is led by my team and myself in the different offices where partners come together and paint lovely little ceramics that then we gift to different people at the firm and it's just like a really fun way for all of us to come together and do something. We have a Norton Rose Fulbright Got Talent during this awards ceremony, where last time we featured two of our partners who are in a band together. The next one I cannot share what we're gonna be featuring because it's always a surprise for everyone, but it's pretty exciting. And so things like this, I think, are just really kind of fun for everyone, but also encourage you to kind of bring your best self to work and celebrate that.

Will: Amazing. And it sounds like, of course, we're often told in many law firms, you know, there is sometimes a silo between the attorneys and business services. So it sounds like those activities are really, you know, getting people together, to work cohesively. Really sounds awesome. There are two things that this can also impact, I suppose. And the first one is recruitment of, you know, new people into the firm into your team. The second is employee retention within the team. What sort of impact have you seen with what we're talking about here? 

Emily: I think that all firms, you know, we were not, we were not different from anyone else, suffered a lot with retention over the last few years. And, in the last year, we've seen just a dramatic change. We have almost a full team right now. We have one open position at the moment, and I don't know that I've ever seen a full team at the firm, so I think that's pretty exciting. I told everyone we're gonna have a party when we have a full team. I think that it's, you know, when it comes to recruiting, we try to get a lot of people involved. I don't like for just one person to be interviewing any potential hires. I like for, you know, if it's a business development hire, we have someone either from the communications team or the events team or the design team interview the person too because it's a lot about fit and it's a lot about kind of understanding how you're going to work with other people. And so I like for us to really make the investment and time, in the beginning, to make sure we're making the right hire. I like to meet just about everyone who comes through the door if I can, as you know, scheduling this podcast was not easy. So sometimes I'm, my schedule is a little too hectic for me to get to meet everyone, but I do meet with them as soon as they have started. I think it's really important just to kind of make the investment in time for recruiting and that helps with retention because you're making the right hires. And I think right now we have such a wonderful team and I truly just adore everyone that I work with and I think that they are so great. So I'm just really excited.

Will: It sounds like you've built a great team as well, Emily. I guess coming, you know, coming with that everyone's different. Right. So, I imagine people have sometimes had to adopt this sort of mindset or change it. We talked already that you, you know, you're not born with it and it's great to teach to kids, but most teams are built with generational differences. Have there been any sort of challenges to building a great team that you can pick on in regards to culture and embedding the the growth mindset within that?

Emily: Yeah. So it's a really interesting time in the workplace. There are currently five generations working and I do think that there are some challenges, the same as there are outside of the workplace when it comes to just generational differences and understandings. And I think that society at large has changed so much about what's important to people all in good ways. But I think that the way that we have seen the best impact is just kind of like understanding each other as people and that has kind of gotten everyone. I think on the same page about just being excited about the different opportunities at work.  We have a Teams channel called ‘No Work Found Here’ and we post stuff about our lives there. You're not allowed to post work stuff there. So it's really interesting you know, when the Taylor Swift tickets came out, people were posting of who was going, what tickets they got. Talk about movies, we talk about books, we talk about kid things. And I think that kind of having that insight into a person your coworker at as a human being and what they're doing outside of work really encourages everyone to kind of just be understanding and, you know, we only see such a small piece of people at work and there's so much else going on in their lives that it's just kind of nice to have that and to share that with each other. And I think that that has really helped overcome any differences that we have. I mean, we, of course, there are still differences when it comes to getting, you know, buy-in on different ideas, etcetera. But I think that it just kind of helps and encourages everyone to get along and to be friends.

Will: What would be your one piece of advice for your peers and other firms if they're, if they're looking to try and do something like you guys have achieved with your team and build a growth mindset, how would you advise them?

Emily: It's top-down. I think it's really important that the leaders in the team feel passionately about it. I don't think you can expect your team to do it and not be doing it yourself. And so, I think it's really important that I get involved with different things. I think sometimes people think I'm in the weeds on some stuff, but I don't ever want for my team to feel like I'm not in it with them and that I wouldn't go to bat for any of them. And so I think that when we do things like the summer challenge, everyone is kind of a little bit, maybe, hopefully, more into it because I'm excited about it. And so, I think that's really the most important thing is that the leader of the team feels passionately about it.

Will: Brilliant. I'm gonna start with a few quick-fire questions. What is your favorite business and non-business book?

Emily:  So my favorite business book, I guess that we will call it a business book, is 10% Happier by Dan Harris, because that is when I learned that multitasking is actually not possible. My favorite non-business book is The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner. I love the nonlinear kind of stream of consciousness of it. 

Will: There we go. I'm certainly not gonna argue that multitasking is impossible. What was your first job?

Emily:  Technically, my first job was probably babysitting, but the first job that I got a paycheck for was teaching swimming lessons. 

Will: Very, very noble. What makes you happy at work?

Emily: What makes me happy at work. I would say the feeling of accomplishment when you finish a large project that has been like long in the making.

Will: what are you listening to at the moment? Could be music, podcast, audiobook. What are you digging at the moment?

Emily:  I am for some reason really into Post Malone's new album, Austin. And my kids have had the Barbie soundtrack on repeat. So I'm also very well versed in that. 

Will: Yes, I also know the Ken song very, very well. My youngest keeps singing that as well. Where is your favorite place to visit and why?

Emily:  I don't know that I have a favorite place to visit. I have a very large family and we live all across the country, so I would say I love visiting all of them in all of their different locations.

Will: Keeping everyone happy there. Brilliant. Thanks, Emily. I'm gonna wrap it up here. That's been unbelievably interesting. And thank you so much for giving us your time because you, as you've already alluded to. I know you're a very, very busy lady. So thank you so much for jumping on, and have a good rest of the week.

Emily: Thank you.


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