How this Quaker Oats Brand Manager became CMO of the NFL, Virgin Mobile and Major League Soccer.
Howard Handler has led marketing for some of the most iconic, upstart and institutional brands in the United States.
Starting his career at Quaker Oats as a brand manager, Howard led marketing of the company behind Saturday Night Live, was VP of Marketing at MTV and EMI, was the first marketing leader of the NFL (not officially titled CMO but essentially holding he same responsibilities).
He was CMO of Virgin Mobile when they went public, and has returned to the world of sports as CMO of Major League Soccer. He’s taken his expertise and scaled it across the Food, TV, Music, Telecomm and Sports industry.
Here are the three things I learned from the interview:
- Great work creates great opportunities. Howard’s opportunities came to him because he consistently did great work. His friend from camp, Eric, sought him out to join him as VP of Marketing for his new TV company, even though Howard didn’t have any TV experience. Then he got a call to join MTV because of his great work with Eric. He then was hired by his old boss at MTV when she moved to the NFL. Great work begets great opportunities.
- Build your Self-Awareness to make better decisions. Howard has a high degree of self-awareness. He understands his personal level of risk tolerance and knew he would fit best in entrepreneurial environments, without necessarily starting something himself. His advice to people thinking of making a change in their career is to understand what your personal risk tolerance is like.
- Trust is the first step to working well with others. When Howard was young, he was very aggressive and brash. Over his career, he was often brought in as a change agent. He learned that you need to build a certain foundation of trust with your peers and managers before being able to make sweeping changes to an organization.
Hope you enjoy listening.
Daniel Rodic is the Co-Founder of Exact Media, which is transforming the world of direct mail by enabling brands owned by companies like P&G, PepsiCo, Unilever and L’Oréal to distribute samples and coupons using the excess space in eCommerce parcels that have already been shipped to consumer.
Daniel was named Top 30 Under 30 by Marketing Magazine, and represented Canada at the G20 Entrepreneurs Summit in Moscow and Beijing. Daniel served on the Leadership Council for the United Nations Media for Social Impact Summit and he is a 2016 finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.