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Earlier this year, Jessica Hekmatjah was promoted to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at BPM LLP, one of the 50 largest public accounting and advisory firms in the United States. As of today, Jessica is the fourth and youngest marketing professional within the Allinial Global community to hold the title of CMO/CGO—thereby joining a rarefied circle of accounting marketing professionals who are part of the C-suite.

Jessica was gracious enough to set aside some time for a conversation about her path to becoming a CMO, and I am thrilled to share her keen insights and recommendations. One of the most frequently asked questions among the Allinial Global marketing professionals is, “How do I get a seat at the table?” Here are three practical tips that emerged from our conversation.

  1. Years of Saying Yes. No project was too big or too small for Jessica on her journey to becoming CMO. From clearing dishes during events and creating meeting agendas to moderating the firm’s Board of Directors Retreat and leading BPM’s Women’s Initiative Now! Program, Jessica consistently raised her hand when firm leaders were looking for help—regardless of any direct or indirect ties to marketing. As she built her personal brand and earned credibility among the firm’s stakeholders, she established herself as someone who would deliver results no matter the challenge. As entertainment powerhouse Shonda Rhimes explains in her book Year of Yes, you can transform your life if you actively embrace discomfort and refuse to turn down learning opportunities. And to paraphrase another accounting marketing icon, Chris Perrino of Barnes Dennig, there are very few cars on the highway of going the extra mile.
  2. Thinking Like an Owner. While honing your craft and delivering results within your specialty, you’ll also have to think about growth strategies from a firm-wide perspective. Instead of focusing only on growing one or two industries, ask yourself: What does the firm’s overall growth strategy look like? How can we transform the firm in the next five years? How can you leverage your passion for creativity and apply it for the growth of the firm? Are there services your firm should be offering based on market demand? As marketer-turned-CEO Eric Majchrzak shared during the 2021 Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) Summit, promotion is quite an important P in the 4 Ps of marketing. Getting a seat at the table requires asking smart, thoughtful, strategic questions and providing recommendations and solutions that differentiate both yourself and the firm. This type of business acumen is precisely the reason why Jessica is part of BPM’s Business Combinations Task Force, Management Committee, Inclusion Now! Program, and other strategic initiatives.
  3. Surrounding Yourself with Like-Minded Peers. Jessica is a member of two AAM committees, and starting next month she will also be an AAM board member. In January 2022, she’ll join the Allinial Global BD/Marketing Committee. Jessica is also part of The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Dallas/Fort Worth’s Programs Committee and currently co-chairs the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Leadership Development Group. She explains that joining peer groups in the profession and in the community is an excellent way to meet people and grow. Jessica schedules at least one peer call or meeting a month—over coffee or lunch—to stay motivated and connected.

How do you stay motivated and connected? If you’d like to learn from fellow Allinial Global growth professionals, contact Rosa Chun to join a thriving community of business developers and marketers who inspire and motivate each other by pursuing excellence every day.

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