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IDEAS. STRATEGY. TACTICS. INNOVATION. INSPIRATION.

Kristin Patrick - Making the Leap - CMO to CEO

This week's MasterClass with Kristin Patrick explored how to be a CEO with the heart of a CMO, and how to make the leap from CMO to CEO. From talking about ZAlphas to exploring phygital spaces, she offers a candid view of her life in the C-suite.


Kristin is a forward-thinking executive, who has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Claire’s since March 2021. Building on the fashion brand’s more than 50 years of leadership as a global creator and influencer of youth culture, Kristin plays a vital role in taking the brand into the future. As a driving force for the brand’s evolution, Kristin has spearheaded a new brand platform and creative, while also introducing new experiences that connect on a deeper level with the brand’s Gen Zalpha (Z and Alpha) customers and their phygital worlds. In the course of her career, Kristin has been responsible for repositioning brands across lifestyle industries, including entertainment, beauty, fashion and CPG. She most recently served as the global CMO of PepsiCo, responsible for delivering the company’s long-term global growth strategy and expansion plans across the entire billion-dollar portfolio of brands.


Key Takeaways:

  • Find out what Phygital means.

  • Learn what ZAlphas are interested in.

  • Understand how Kristin navigates the C-Suite.




The role of the CMO is about making physical and emotional connections between brands and the people that we want to buy our products.

Ultimately, what we want to do is set up the brand to drive sales. Obviously, this is no small task, right? We walk this tightrope as a Chief Marketing Officer, between the consumer outside of the company and then of course, you always have the inside of the company that you're marketing to and all of the shareholders. And you're doing this during a time of web3, quiet quitting, this wobbly economy, and you're trying to balance all of these things. So in addition to balancing the internal needs of the company, the shareholders, everything happening in the world, you have the consumers, obviously. And the consumer really wants you to be authentic and to listen to them and involve them in the decision-making. And really, driving brands and responding to business fluctuations, it puts you in the position of having to pivot and to pivot quickly.


There are so many more ways to reach consumers than ever. And oftentimes, budgets are cut in half. And so you're trying to balance all of this. Couple that with a recent Deloitte survey, CMOs are the shortest tenured people in the C Suite. So of course, I had to pick a career where there's all of this pressure and need to deliver, deliver quickly, and sort of balance all of these needs. And then of course, yo