10 B2B Women CMOs to Keynote Your Next Event


January 9, 2018

by Carla Johnson

CES received a backlash when it announced the roster of keynotes that was barren of female representation.

Kristin Lemkau, CMO JPMorgan Chase responded with a list of 22 “amazing women innovators in tech and media who would slay any keynote anywhere. And she came up with this list in less time than it took her to drink a cup of coffee.

Twitter CMO Leslie Berland also offered up a list of women speakers and HP CMO Antonio Lucio, long a walk-the-talk proponent of diversity, said that in an interview with AdAge that, “In this day and age, it’s very disappointing to see CES does not have any women or people of color as keynote speakers. As an industry, we must do better and represent the customers and communities we serve. Given the remarkable buying power of women and minorities represent, it’s incredible to not reflect them in a material way in the program.”

CES isn’t the only event guilty of a stale, male and often pale agenda lineup. As a keynote speaker, I’m often told I’m the only woman on the agenda because they couldn’t find other executive women to consider.

The chicken or the egg?

But I found an interesting perspective from Women Talk Design and the flip side of the lack of female headliners. In fact, the organization came about because of the exact scenario I’ve described above. However, they dug into the situation and found out that when asked to speak, most men say yes but many women say no. They chalk much of it up to the confidence vs competence dilemma. “A woman’s confidence and success is directly connected to the support she receives from people around her,” was the feedback from a panel hosted by Entelo, WTD reported.

It creates a vicious circle – women don’t put themselves forward because they don’t feel don’t feel confident to speak on stage surrounded by men. So event organizers can’t find them and end up have few, if any, women on the agenda.

This is not a dilemma that finger pointing will solve.

It’s a situation that requires two things.

First, for women to summon the courage, make way on their schedule and push their way to the front of the crowd. If we expect women to make up a greater population of speakers, then, women, it’s time to make yourself heard, known and distinctive.

Second, for event organizers to roll up their sleeves and look harder for women speakers.

For these reasons, I’m dedicating the second Tuesday blog of every month to highlighting 10 amazing woman speakers who event organizers can look at to keynote their next event – starting with today’s list of CMOs.

The movers, the shakers and glass ceiling breakers

I asked Kathy Button Bell, CMO of Emerson, to tell me what her time on the stage has meant to her career and how she got there. Here’s what she shared:

Public speaking is important to a woman’s career as it builds her personal brand demonstrating confidence, distinction and making her known. Too few woman volunteer to take the stage. Men proactively and energetically go after speaking engagements to become known, become an “in demand” keynote and/or subsequently sell their books. Rinse and repeat. It appears men have a better process and a purpose before they even raise their hand.

When it comes to event planners, some aren’t willing to do the extra work to actively find great women speakers. You have to work harder, just like in the corporate world if you are looking for a great business leader. The men are better known.  Speaker planners have to look harder for the women.

It appears women don’t feel as comfortable proactively promoting themselves due to their sensitivity to the appearance of self-promotion as being “unseemly” or inappropriately “showy.” Many women also want a guarantee of success and don’t want the potentially high margin for public failure. Just as girls dropping out of high school STEM classes to guarantee A’s when science or math will likely deliver a B.

The first part is the desire and ability to put one’s self out there. Secondly, one has to deal with the response of the probably male-dominated audience. Women perceive their vulnerability on stage as much higher than it actually is, then overestimate any negative response as more than it is. 

I have a clipping on my desk: “Anxiety is 90 percent personal perception and ten percent reality.”

Speaking has had a wonderful impact on my career. I have been lucky enough to have jobs since my early 20s with many opportunities to present in large and small meetings and with the media. Frequently that was with all-male audiences and that toughened me up. I was lucky enough to spend all those years getting “tough-love” practice and improving my results.

We need to have women’s voices from every industry. Our perspectives and insights are valuable and represent a large part of the working population. One way to get more women on stage in the future is for talented women to step up now. We have to be the courageous ones who show that it’s not just possible and worthwhile, but extremely valuable to our personal careers and in elevating the voice of professional women.

My advice for women is to look for every opportunity to speak. Use meetings as practice. Volunteer to give presentations within your company, volunteer to talk at not-for-profit events, school meetings or associations. It takes years to figure out your own style and to deliver a performance that’s 100% authentic. It takes time, practice, and finding great role models with whom to align yourself.

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With that, here are 10 women CMOs who will rock your next event as a keynote:

1. Kathy Button Bell, CMO, Emerson

As CMO since 1999, Kathy is responsible for global marketing and corporate branding for Emerson, a $15 billion diversified global technology and engineering leader. She oversees all corporate communications, market research and professional marketing programs. Kathy launched Emerson’s global brand strategy, creating its first-ever global advertising campaign and television commercials. She later broadened its integrated campaign into multiple languages and expanded into today’s digital/social marketing strategies. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

2. Toni Clayton-Hine, SVP & CMO, Xerox

For the last five years, Toni has overseen global marketing and value proposition for channel partner operations at the $11 billion technology company. She’s responsible for overall marketing strategy, brand management and increasing the awareness, consideration and demand for the company to deliver profitable growth. In 2017, she oversaw the launch of Set the Page Free, which highlights the ways Xerox helps clients straddle the real-life and virtual worlds while innovating toward the future of work. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

3. Jill Kouri, CMO the Americas, JLL

Serving as a member of the firm’s Americas Executive Committee and Global Marketing Leadership Team, Jill is instrumental in evolving and changing the way the way the $4 billion firm develops, builds and markets the brand around the world. She oversees all aspects of the company’s marketing and communications programs that include business development, branding, public relations and internal communications. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

4. Christine Feuell, Global Vice President, Marketing, Adient

Christine leads global marketing for Adient, a $20 billion automotive seating company originally known as Johnson Controls Automotive Experience. She’s created the new marketing group and leads all functions globally, including marketing strategy, brand strategy, product and portfolio management, digital marketing, demand generation, and market and customer intelligence. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

5. Eileen Zicchino, Global Head of Strategic Marketing, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Eileen is a veteran of the financial industry, having previously served for a decade as the Managing Director and CMO of JPMorgan Chase Treasury Services. She broke the mold of CMO tenure by ensuring that her team consistently – and creatively – communicated the success of the marketing department to the right sets of internal ears. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

6.  Maggie Chan Jones, CMO, SAP

Named one of Forbes top 50 most influential CMOs, Maggie oversees the development of marketing strategy across the globe. She champions SAP’s mission to help its customers, partners and employees to Run Simple. She’s spent her career in B2B and is passionate about technology, women in leadership and mentoring early talent. Visit her LinkedIn profile.


7. Linda Boff, CMO, GE

Linda took over marketing for the centurion-plus company and spent her first 12 months fostering an agile, startup mentality aimed at giving the American industrial giant a cutting edge. She oversees all brand marketing activities, leads the company’s digital industrial marketing strategy, and has intensified commercial and customer impact. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

8.  Karen Walker, Senior Vice President and CMO, Cisco

Karen is responsible for the company’s Marketing and Communications, and Government and Community relations groups. Her team inspires people to prefer, choose and advocate for Cisco. Since she joined the company, she has championed marketing’s role as an accountable business function and taken an integrated marketing and communications approach from brand to demand, using digital and social media to engage customers and partners on their purchase journey. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

9. Dana O’Brien, CMO, Deloitte

As the first chief marketing officer for the firm, Dana reimagined marketing when she combined independent functions into a centralized, agile, data-driven model. She’s responsible for amplifying the firm’s growth strategy, focusing on aligning brand execution with business strategy, creating fewer campaigns with great impact. She uses insights, analytics and innovation to define and deliver the best customer experience that leads to lower costs, a stronger pipeline and happier customers. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

10. Kristin Lemaku, Chief Marketing and Chief Communications Officer, JP Morgan Chase

Kristin is responsible for brand, advertising, media, sponsorships, marketing and market research firmwide. She also leads communications for the Chase-branded businesses. She is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit focused on preventing the causes of gun violence, and is a member of the Leadership Council for the Robin Hood Foundation. Visit her LinkedIn profile.

What CMOs have I missed that you’d like to see take the stage at an up-coming event?

Check out the entire series

January – 10 B2B CMOs to Keynote Your Next Event

February – 10 Women in Technology to Keynote Your Next Event

March – 10 Women in HR to Keynote Your Next Event

About Carla

Carla Johnson Innovation Creativity Speaker Author

Carla Johnson helps leaders who are often paralyzed by traditional thinking. They suffer from slow growth, an eroding competitive advantage, low employee engagement, and depleted investor confidence. Their teams lack purpose and progress and constantly battle a resistance to change and new ideas.

As the world’s leading innovation architect, Carla’s spent 20 years helping leaders shatter limits and discover undiscovered possibilities. Through years of research, she’s developed a simple, scalable 5-step process that teaches people how to consistently produce inspired ideas that lead to uncommon outcomes.