“EXCELLENCE IS MY LOVE LANGUAGE" - Catherine Hernandez-Blades - EMMY Winner, PR News Hall of Famer, Forbes Top 50 Most Influential Global CMO's, and 3X Fortune 500 CMO named to Latino Leaders’ Latina 100
March 30, 2023
Today's Best of Episode features Catherine Hernandez-Blades. Catherine is an award-winning CMO and PR News Hall of Famer who is currently the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at SAIC. With over 25 years of experience in senior marketing and communication roles at Fortune 500 companies, Catherine likes to position herself at the nexus of purpose and profit, and she’s passionate about the social impact that corporations can make in the world.
In this episode, you’ll hear from Catherine on:
- (00:02:52) Her early ambitions. Catherine talks about her childhood dream of becoming a reporter and recalls how, as a young girl growing up in Louisiana, she would wear a little fedora hat with PRESS written on it and ‘interview’ people in her neighborhood with a fake microphone.
- (00:06:44) The secret to her success. For Catherine, success comes down to caring about your people and giving them the tools they need to thrive. She credits Jon Jones, her former boss at Raytheon, with helping her become a better leader by showing her how to build connections and create a sense of inclusivity and belonging at work.
- (00:18:20) Social impact. We discuss the role that Catherine played in the creation of My Special Aflac Duck, a social robot designed to facilitate communication and provide comfort to children undergoing cancer treatment. As Aflac’s former Chief ESG and Communications Officer, Catherine explains that consumers always reward companies for doing the right thing, and she adds that, as a result of the program, 15% of Americans were more likely to buy an Aflac policy.
- (00:42:42) Accountability. We talk about the similarities between the Blue Angel Debrief and the way that Catherine prefers to provide feedback to her team. Above all, she reminds managers and leaders to be kind, and she encourages employees to embrace the empowering effect of holding themselves accountable.
- (00:51:39) Paying it forward. Catherine refers to the work she does with college students and explains why it’s important for women who have climbed the corporate ladder to share their knowledge and experience and give others the tools and coaching they need to succeed.