Interview with Melinda Welsh, JP Morgan Chase

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 Melinda Welsh, the CMO and Head of Consumer Lending, Chase Auto for JP Morgan Chase, a leading global financial services firm.

How do you define your leadership:

People-focused, compassionate, empathetic and encouraging: that is how I want to be treated as well! But, at the same time, I want my team to constantly push the envelope, question, be curious and not accept the status quo. Bring new ideas and fresh perspectives and I will support them. And work really hard! 

How has your leadership changed?

I have learned that having the strongest talent possible – people who are better at their particular disciplines than you are –  is the key to being a good leader. You don’t need to know how to do everyone’s job, and there certainly aren’t enough hours in the day to do them all! Find amazing leaders to work with you and trust them and their abilities. And in that talent pool – make sure you have a wide diversity of thought and backgrounds so there isn’t “group think.”

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning?

I was an English and Journalism major in college, and wanted to be a journalist. I would have never imagined being in banking, much less leading a business. But the solid communication background I had has taken me quite far in a number of areas I never would have considered.  I have learned over the years that saying “yes” to new experiences is key. Don’t be too worried about the path you think you should be on, and instead be open to possibilities.

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

More and more, Chief Marketing Officers are either specifically being called Chief Revenue Officers, or are expected to act in that capacity. All marketing, and most communication, should tie back to results in the company, and marketers need to have specific responsibilities for growing the business. I think some people still think of marketing as branding in the sense of creative and assets. But, it’s so much more than that these days! We are expected to produce reports that prove ROI, and have clear responsibilities that tie into the bottom line.

What do you think young women entering marketing comms should know?

Take business classes! You have to have a solid foundation in finance to be a good marketer. I didn’t have this, and have been playing catch up for a while. Build  great relationships with finance professionals in your firm and work together to ensure your marketing pays back. Also, a solid understanding of how marketers can use data and analytics is absolutely necessary. While a solid communication background is critical, having a strong financial and data background in addition will put you ahead of most.

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

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