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Seeking the Holy Grail: Achieving Satisfaction, Balance and Grace as a Corporate Marketer

Updated: Mar 16, 2018



After 30 years as a corporate marketer, I decided earlier this year to do something different. I wasn’t exactly sure what that was, but I felt a higher calling. I had had a successful career leading divisional marketing teams for two leading corporations. It was fulfilling developing strategy and directing teams and agencies to execute on plans that drove revenue, built brands and created client loyalty. But after decades, I wasn’t feeling the same excitement and sense of accomplishment that I had earlier in my career. I felt that I had already “been there, done that and bought the t-shirt”. After much deliberation, I decided to leave my job and find a career that suited me better.


Soon after I left, I quickly hung up a shingle as a marketing consultant. It’s been interesting and fulfilling helping smaller organizations that know they need a marketing strategy but have no idea how to go about developing and executing on one. There’s lots of low-hanging fruit and it’s refreshing to know that a marketing project for a company that has done little marketing can make a significant impact. And in a time of increasing specialization within corporate marketing, it has felt great to know that being a marketing generalist who can wear all the hats is actually a good thing. Still, I felt there was something more that I was called to do.

I had total confidence in these people. I was surprised that they had little idea that others viewed them as fully competent experts.

With further introspection, I realized that I got the most satisfaction from helping friends and co-workers to feel more confident, to reach their goals, to be more satisfied with themselves in their lives and careers. I liked being the cheerleader who helps people to see that they are so much more capable, wonderful, intelligent, lovable, etc. than they give themselves credit for. So often, I’d look across the table at an incredibly talented marketer who was telling me about doubts and fears about being able to perform in his or her job.


I had total confidence in these people. I was surprised that they had little idea that others viewed them as fully competent experts and that all they needed to do was step into the role that people were prepared to accept them in. I was happy to help them strategize on how to get stuff done, and I was thrilled to be the first to say “woot-woot” when they achieved their goals.


When I left my job, my boss hosted a farewell party for me. I was touched that several people thanked me for coaching and mentoring them and said they believed they wouldn’t be where they were in the careers without my encouragement and support. Wow! That felt good!

What a life-changing revelation it’s been to realize that I’ve always been a coach and now I'm being formally trained as one.

A few weeks later over coffee, the very generous David Siegel, CEO of Investopedia, mentioned that his wife had become a Certified Professional Coach after graduating from iPEC, one of the top coaching schools in the country. After Lara Siegel shared with me what a great experience she'd had at iPEC (the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching), I investigated and soon was enrolled.


What a life-changing revelation it’s been to realize that I’ve always been a coach and now I’m being formally trained as one. The rigorous iPEC program prepared me to earn a certification in a vocation that I’ve instinctively always been drawn to.

As a coach who knows corporate, I want to continue to help marketers find happiness and satisfaction in their careers.

After decades as a marketing leader at two global companies, I know the pride of seeing the company’s ads on television or the logo on the arena floor during the NBA playoffs. At big companies, there are countless opportunities for learning new skills, taking on new challenges and internal advancement, which can be exciting and rewarding. I also know the obstacles that stem from the sheer size of corporate organizations – inscrutable political dynamics, scant exposure to decision makers in far-off head offices, and mismatched expectations that can make it difficult to demonstrate your talents – just to name a few. Having learned how to navigate these waters myself, often the hard way, I relished helping many marketers navigate murky corporate waters and sail into career success. As a coach who knows corporate, I want to continue to help marketers find happiness and satisfaction in their careers.

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© 2018 Terry B. McDougall