Interview with Amanda Harrell, Invicro LLC

For this year’s International Women’s Day, our team at Slice is proud to celebrate women across the marketing and communications industry through an interview series. Follow along throughout the week leading up to International Women’s Day to read about these inspiring women and their stories.

This interview is with Amanda Harrell, the Vice President, Global Marketing for Invicro LLC, a global research partner to the pharmaceutical, biotech, and contract research organizations.

How do you define your leadership? 

I believe the main ingredient in ideal leadership is the skill to listen. If you’re a skilled listener, then you will have the ability to understand what motivates individuals to be their best. Leadership is also a willingness to challenge the status quo, a desire to empower an entrepreneurial environment without the fear of failure, and a spirit of integrity that guides the development of individuals and helps them advance their careers. Most importantly, an ideal leader inspires by example. 

How has your leadership changed over the years you’ve been working? 

Early on in my leadership career, I practiced the methodology that not everyone is motivated by the same thing. In order to know what motivates an individual, you need to listen, observe and communicate.  As I evolved in my leadership, I soon discovered that motivation is more than a salary or a title; individuals want to be valued, challenged, and to know that they are contributing to the growth of the company. If you practice this process, you will soon learn what motivates an individual to do better and be better — and when you have a motivated team, you will get positive results. 

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey? 

Mid-career, I had taken over a marketing department with a strong recommendation to terminate a specific individual due to his lack of productivity.  On day one of taking the position, I sat down with each person on the team and asked, “what do you enjoy and dislike about your what you do and what would you improve?”  I soon uncovered the at-risk employee wanted to be challenged and have more open communication with his manager. After working closely with this individual and giving him the guidance and support he desired, he turned things around and became one of the leading marketers within his group. He saw a purpose in his work, felt valued, and was willing to take on more responsibilities. It was the open communication and invested time and attention that made all the difference.

What role do you think marketing communications should play in the future of your organization or industry?  

Marketing is such a misunderstood discipline in most organizations.  I believe it should be the heart of the company’s engine that keeps the organization moving forward. When done right, marketing should know the customers’ needs and pain points, as well as demographics and loyalty rate, and have a solid understanding of the competitive landscape.  This all leads to defining new opportunities, understanding the market, and ultimately communicating and effectively delivering your product and/or service to the right targeted audience. Marketing should be perceived as a strategic business partner that thinks two steps ahead, rather than a department that reacts to business strategies and executes. 

What do you think young women entering the marketing communications field should know?  What advice do you have for them? 

For any young women entering any career, I would say be assertive, think big and make sure your voice is heard. Present ideas (tons of ideas!) and even if your exact idea isn’t used, you will often find bits and pieces of your concepts could be used and turned into that “breakthrough” marketing initiative.  Ask plenty of questions: it’s okay to do so, especially in marketing — in fact, I would say questions are expected since you must be inquisitive to understand the customer base, the market, the competitors and the offering. Knowledge is everything, especially as a marketer!  

Interested in more? Check out the full interview series here.

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