Margaret Molloy, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Business Development, Siegel+Gale
What does life on a working farm have to do with developing high-performing teams and award-winning brand strategies? On the surface…nothing. But if you ask Margaret Molloy, you’ll get such a thoughtful and well-reasoned response that you’ll wonder why we don’t take more of our advertising cues from our farming friends.
And while It is a long way from rural Ireland to Madison Avenue, the CMO and Head of Brand Development at Siegel+Gale has made it all look pretty seamless.
As a child, what was your dream job?
I wanted to be a teacher. Growing up in rural Ireland, teachers are respected members of the community, and they also have significant influence and impact. Although that dream of teaching children isn’t what I do, that desire to have influence and impact is constant. A big part of what successful marketers do is teaching. As a marketing leader, I impart knowledge via thought leadership programs and events to educate people about the role of brands.
What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
For better or worse, my first jobs were pro-bono. Growing up on a dairy farm my duties ranged from helping herd the cattle to saving the hay. While I wasn’t necessarily a natural at it, I learned the importance of community building and witnessed first-hand the need to rely on others. In an agrarian community, you can achieve more as a collective. I’ve applied these life lessons throughout my career.
The thing that made you excited about the industry on day one and still keeps you excited today is:
I’m excited about connecting marketing to growth and business strategy. That quest for tying marketing to business discipline was reinforced during my time at Harvard Business School. Today, I continue to ensure I hold marketing accountable to the business agenda. Marketing has always been a business discipline.
How would you explain what you do every day to a child?
At Siegel+Gale, we help leaders tell stories using words and pictures, so we can make what they’re selling more popular.
Describe a key pivot or defining moment in your career that ultimately landed you where you are:
A defining moment in my career was the decision as a fresh college graduate to accept a job with Enterprise Ireland—the government agency responsible for the growth of Irish industry abroad—and move to the United States. Coming to America presented me with opportunities and possibilities that were not even on my radar growing up in Ireland.
The core of the Enterprise Ireland job was promoting Irish-owned businesses, and that made me realize that I’m incredibly mission-driven, so any employer that I contribute to, I have to believe in their mission.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found yourself doing for work?
As head ofthe global marketing and business development team, I am always motivating the team to get out of our comfort zones. Recently, we convened for a two-day offsite, and our team-building activity consisted of making pizzas from scratch. I’m probably the worst chef I know, but I rolled up my sleeves, kneaded the sticky dough and got messy with the rest of my team. The experience was humbling and dare I say, fun. Now, as for how the pizza tasted…
Finally, the quality that makes you successful in this business is:
I’m a consummate connector. I take great pride in my ability to connect people, to forge mutually beneficial relationships. It’s about having the vision to see the points of connection and being intentional in making those connections. Connecting people is an art form that has always been needed, but with our busy lives, has never been more necessary. It’s vital that we connect with intention and meaning. Sporadic acts of connecting, on the other hand, are fleeting.