I Want to Become a Chief Marketing Officer like Bozoma Saint John. What Steps Can I Take to Turn My Dreams into a Reality?

Your Corporate Black Girl

Dear Nikki, 

I have corporate DREAMS of one day becoming a CMO. I look up to trailblazers like Bozoma St John, Jerri DeVard, and Michelle Obama and hope to one day be like these amazing black women! However, I am only a college sophomore. What steps can I start taking now to help my corporate dream turn into a reality one day?


Arlington, TX, USA


What is it about these women that makes you want to emulate their careers?  Is it their space in the limelight? Is it the actual work they're doing?  These women are all in very different industries, although they carry the same title that you're seeking.  The one thing these women all have in common - that you don't see - is all the hard work they've put in becoming who you want to be like.  

Pick one of these ladies that you admire most and research her journey. See what she had to do to become the CMO of any one of these major companies. Mimic what you see. The key to doing this is putting in the work.

Do you know what industry you want to work in? If so, I would seek internships at companies you like and learn as much as you can now. This, along with the credentials of your degree, will look appealing once you've graduated. It's all about resume building and tailoring your resume to your audience.

Companies like to see a level of experience within the field, position, industry etc when hiring but I think it's important for you to really learn, from the ground up and put the sweat equity in. You can learn so much from larger companies and how they think, how they run their business and what's important in marketing - since that's your area of interest.


Here are 3 basic steps you can take now to jumpstart your career:

Networking is crucial in any industry, no matter what your ultimate goal is. Start growing your network with key people and game changers in marketing NOW. You can do this by doing some research on where marketing events take place. Talk to your professors, see about marketing groups locally etc etc etc.

Take marketing classes, both in school and in any other form. You'll need to be a master of this craft, so educate yourself in all aspects of marketing. Luckily, there are so many tools at your fingertips, you don't need to solely rely on a degree or a formal education to learn about marketing. 

Get a mentor. You'll want to learn the corporate structure and how to play the corporate game - the only way to get this, is from someone seasoned in the field who can save you time by teaching you shortcuts and lessons they've learned along the way. Mentors can be tricky to find but you'll want to find someone naturally, someone you can trust and this person doesn't have to be gender specific. It does need to be someone who doesn't sugar coat the vital ingredients to making it in marketing and is willing to pour information into you. This person should want to look after your career and success. *note: you should bring something to the table too. Don't be greedy and only take from them without having something of value to offer them, like being a free intern!


Remember, the keys to your success will be in the background of the glitz and glamour. These women you've named have all put in the work. The rest is up to you!


"Work, work, work, work" - Rihanna 🤓😎

Nikki Davis

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Your curly girl manager, just trying to live her happiest life! 

Wife, new mom, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. with 11 years industry experience, 6 years of management experience. Manager a team of men in a male dominant industry, while being the only woman on the team. DIY fashion blogger, a self taught seamstress. Owner/Creator of a monthly subscription service, SewConscious.com

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