Summer of CATFOA (Conversations About the Future of Advertising) concludes when Jen Faucon joins Tim Brunelle on Wednesday, August 16th at Amsterdam Bar & Grill in St Paul. Jen is the Chief Customer Success Officer at Codelattice, a global digital solutions provider with expertise in cybersecurity, cloud computing, AI and digital marketing. MIMA talked pre-event with Jen to dive into her background and distill why her globe-trotting experience lends itself to a holistic approach most needed by marketers now and in the future.
MIMA: Sounds like you traveled and lived all over the world for your career, how did that happen and what were some stand-out experiences from your time in Asia and the Middle East?
Jen: When I joined MRM//McCann, McCann Worldgroup offered a four to six-month overseas transfer for up-and-coming execs. I was sent to Sydney for 6 months, and shortly after was transferred to Singapore. What was supposed to be six months ended up being 6 years! I was the Client Services Director for Asia Pacific regional clients before being promoted to Managing Director of the South East Asia region. MRM//McCann had the faith in my ability to build teams and grow the business, so the opportunities kept presenting themselves.
I returned to the U.S. for a short time when I was offered a chance to go to Dubai, which I agreed to do. My role was to build this growing Dubai small team and ensure they were connected to the larger global organization.
Then I moved agencies to BBDO Proximity in Singapore where I ran the Visa digital business across the APCEMEA region.
The key to these career moves was a willingness to say yes and an ability to adjust to communications and business culture differences. Culture changes are probably the most difficult to get used to. There are huge differences between the countries in Asia Pacific and the Middle East. I was extremely lucky to be treated well and to work with great clients like Visa and General Motors. I was a part of big groundbreaking changes for these companies.
MIMA: Describe your career in marketing and how that led you to your current role with Codelattice
Jen: I graduated from Tufts University with a degree in English where I also directed theater. I originally wanted to pursue TV production. I fell into direct marketing at Ogilvy & Mather Direct. I was lucky to have great mentors early on in my career. I grew to love client services and measurable marketing. I also worked in very entrepreneurial environments, building offices from the ground up while gaining strategic and entrepreneurial thinking along the way.
MIMA: You work at Codelattice now – a company comprised of employees from all over the world – what’s a Chief Customer Success Officer do and what is it like working remotely with all your co-workers?
Jen: The guys who founded Codelattice are connected with my former colleagues in Dubai. They were interested in building the US market and one of our mutual connections suggested me for the role. We have been working together for a couple of years. I joined formally in January.
As we started working on the company vision was that we had similar ideals for how technology can drive marketing and how it provides a competitive advantage for clients.
The Chief Customer Success Officer is a new addition to the C suite. What I do is ensure the clients and our client’s customers have an amazing experience with Codelattice and our technical solutions.
Working remotely with your colleagues required regular and transparent communication, rigorous working processes and an excellent sense of humor.
MIMA: How did working abroad affect your outlook on life and the work you do now?
Jen: Working globally connects you personally to every world event. World news becomes more relevant. Personally, it also destroyed the biases I may have had about other countries and cultures.
MIMA: There is a lot of negative press about the status of women in the tech field, especially the way they are treated in the workplace, and with career advancement. What’s been your experience and what ways have you navigated that world to create a successful outcome?
Jen: I can’t stress enough the importance of finding mentors. In my case, I was lucky to have a number of female mentors throughout my career at Ogilvy and MRM//McCann. That provided me with a solid foundation.
It can feel isolating to be the only woman in a tech organization. Finding mentors both within your organization, and outside of your organization will provide perspective and support.
Also, connect with the larger network of women in tech – follow them on Twitter, watch their webinars and attend their presentations at events. There are incredible women in blockchain like Cristina Dolan, who was our Chairperson at SendItLater. She is a leader in the field.
We need to create our own spaces and build our own opportunities.
MIMA: I had the opportunity to write an article on blockchain’s possible uses in the logistics industries and became fascinated with the technology. Tell me how you first encountered that technology, how you are involved with it now and how you see blockchain as part of the future of advertising or daily life for that matter
Jen: I first encountered Bitcoin and Blockchain when I was working at MIT start-up, SendItLater. We created an international eGifting eCommerce platform and developed patents around offering Bitcoin as a gift. Cristina Dolan was instrumental in our development of these initiatives and continues to be a strong advocate for how Bitcoin and Blockchain can transform emerging markets.
Technology has the opportunity to develop new markets and ensure transparency and fairness. I am a huge proponent of the use of blockchain to deal with fraud, to secure transactions and to protect identities.
In advertising, where an estimated 45% of display advertising is fraudulent, using blockchain technology could eliminate these issues and establish a more transparent and secure advertising future.
MIMA: AR/ VR is another avenue in tech that you are involved in – tell me a little bit more about the future of advertising using those technologies?
Jen: AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and, now, Mixed Reality provide unique experiences for our customers, both in the B2C and B2B space. When I lived in Dubai, I spoke frequently about AR and VR and how these technologies can create 3D experiences across emerging markets. VR immerses customers in a virtual experience. AR layers experience onto the real world. Mixed Reality is a blend of the two. These technologies are not only entertaining but are shaping how industries are training their workforce (i.e. healthcare, military) and how educators are providing real-world experiences for students.
MIMA: What do you enjoy doing outside your day job?
Jen: Anything related to music and outdoors. I see a lot of concerts and I enjoy hiking and camping. You’ll find me at a lot of music festivals. I also am a piano player. I was in a band and I love the creative process of being part of a music team.
MIMA: If you were to start over in your career and you couldn’t pick marketing – what would you do?
Jen: That’s easy – I dreamed of being a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. Still do.
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Written by MIMA Volunteer and Marketing Committee Chair, Gina Micek