SPRINGBOX / Insights

It Takes Courage to Be a Marketing Change Agent

by John Ellett, March 9, 2018

Which is why Springbox is presenting the Valiente Awards at SXSW on Sunday, March 11. We love to partner with digital disrupters and bold marketers who want to create transformational shareholder value. The program, now in its fifth year but renamed from the original Cojones Awards, recognizes bold and courageous marketers who are challenging the status quo. Finalists are selected by an independent panel of industry all-stars and will be recognized at a special event hosted at The Experience by Dell Technologies.



While writing my book, The CMO Manifesto: A 100-Day Action Plan for Marketing Change Agents, it became obvious to me that the marketing leaders who were driving the most value for their companies were the ones who had the courage to be bold and to break through old barriers. One of this year’s finalists put it this way, “It takes boldness and conviction in your ideas to push against the the grain.” Another added, “Courage means the ability to look in the mirror, be honest with myself about what I see there, and be actively transformative to achieve the best results possible.”

Here is the list of the 2018 honorees.


Inspire - to build authentic brands with a sense of purpose:

  • Amanda Brinkman, CMO, Deluxe
  • Gail Tifford, Chair, #SeeHer
  • Teri Lucie Thompson, CMO, University of Texas System

Be Bold - to disrupt the status quo and break out of the sea of sameness:

  • Antonio Lucio, CMO, HP
  • Les Lifter, CMO, Stanford Children’s Hospital
  • Steven Wolfe Pereira, CMO, Quantcast

Connect - to deliver meaningful customer experiences seamlessly across channels:

  • Kieran Hannon, Global CMO, Belkin
  • Mary Ellen Dugan, CMO, WP Engine
  • Margaret Molloy, CMO, Siegel + Gale

Innovate - to implement new ways of engaging customer living a digital lifestyle:

  • Abhi Jadon, Marketing Director, North American Nutrition, PepsiCo
  • Charissa Messer, SVP, In-House Agency Executive (ECS), Bank of America
  • Kate Schmitz, CMO, Pinnacol Assurance

Transform - to build organizational capabilities to become modern marketers:

  • Mike Linton, CMO, Farmers Group
  • Jeremy Burton, CMO, Dell Technologies
  • Laston Charriez, Head of Marketing, Pilgrim’s Pride

Want to discuss how to become a marketing change agent, drop me a note and let’s talk. 

Email: John.Ellett@springbox.com.


Topics: digital marketing, Austin Groups, Austin Events, CMO