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What it’s like working as chief marketing officer at a global brand

Tara McRae, 44, is from Massachusetts, USA. She is the chief marketing officer at Clarks.

This is my second stint with Clarks, I worked for the company for four years from 2016 to 2020, and have been back as chief marketing officer (CMO) since January 2021.

My passion for shoes and iconic global brands is why I am at Clarks.

I have been obsessed with sneakers and shoes as well as technology since I was a kid and was lucky enough to spend time in my career at the likes of Bose and PUMA which eventually led me to Clarks, a global iconic British shoemaker.

My job day-to-day

Every single day is different. That is one of my favorite parts of the job. I have my hands in so many different aspects of the brand. I could never get bored.

I am the type of person who likes to work on high-level strategy, roll up my sleeves and dig into the details of planning and executing. No day is the same. And I get to work in and around shoes every single day. How fun is that?!

What a chief marketing officer does

A chief marketing officer develops and drives the marketing strategy and plans for the branc globally, while partnering with functions like product, merchandising, digital, technology and sales, to push the brand forward and ensure relevancy with the consumer. 

The things I love about the job include my team, the brand, and the pace at which we are moving right now. 

Misconceptions around marketing

I am sure there are a ton, but I think the more relevant piece is that what marketing is across brand, industry, or company tends to be similar but how it gets activated and what the teams are accountable for differ depending on what type of product, service, or idea you are marketing.

That is what makes this field so exciting and ripe for super data-driven people or uber-creative people.  

My advice

Gain as much experience in as many different functions that are in and around marketing early in your career. Some of the best experience that prepped me best for this role was outside of core marketing (in business strategy and e-commerce).

To my younger self, I would say don’t sweat the little stuff so much.

And finally…

I am a firm believer that representation matters. I try to inspire young women and members of the LGBTQ+ community and to ensure I dedicate a lot of time mentoring (formal and informal).

Over the years, I’ve had and still have some amazing mentors in my career that have helped me, and I want to ensure I am doing the same for others. The impact on me was and is so great, I care deeply about paying it forward. 

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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