‘Challenge convention’: Exceptional Women of the World featuring Cindy Gustafson, Mindshare

Cindy Gustafson, chief strategy officer of North American for Mindshare

Exceptional Women of the World is a podcast that highlights and celebrates the great achievements, lives and POV of amazing women throughout the world of advertising, marketing, digital, tech and creativity.

The path to strategy for Cindy Gustafson, chief strategy officer for North America at Mindshare, started in, on the surface, a most unlikely place: the New York Thruway.

As a toll attendant, she got short glimpses into the lives of literally millions of people — tiny micro-moments that built a relentless curiosity, something that she believes is an important foundation for anyone in advertising and marketing.

In looking back and knowing what she knows now, Gustafson, who led the launch of Mindshare’s creative media division — an invention studio — believes that being reliable is one of the most critical traits. Being on time, but also following through is what matters.

Bold in her opinions, Gustafson is a proponent of not being comfortable with convention, feeling as though that can be a roadblock to success and a crutch for moving business forward. But learning the rote and mundane parts of the job still matter, Gustafson believes, and should never be cast away for the sake of chasing the "shiny thing."

Original, energetic and armed with years of insight and experience, Gustafson is “radically honest both personally and professionally” and believes that being that way (and also a characteristic that people can emulate, even if it’s not 100% natural) creates a great deal of clarity and takes ambiguity out of the equation.

In the end, though, to Gustafson, it’s all about taking every part of her work, talent and point of view to continue to break convention, because originality is an important currency in marketing and can make all the difference to brands and those who work with them.

Listen to previous episodes of Exceptional Women of the World here. If you would like to nominate exceptional women to be part of the show, please complete this form: http://bit.ly/EWOWPitch.

Search The Drum Jobs

Explore the best jobs in Marketing and Media industries
View all open jobs

Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

All by Doug