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Disrupt Yourself Podcast with Whitney Johnson

Apr 10, 2018

My guest today is Marisa Thalberg, Chief Marketing Officer of Taco Bell, founder of, and listed as one of the top 25 Most Influential CMOs in the World by Forbes.

The idea of “playing where no one is playing” appears to be second nature to Marisa. While a student at Brown University, Marisa actively sought out development opportunities, even going so far as to call up New York City communication companies to tell them that she wanted an internship. By graduation, Marisa had cultivated a resume interesting enough that she was noticed by the marketing agency Saatchi & Saatchi.


Takeaways from this Episode:

  • Do you lack a support group? Create it. See a void in TV programming? Produce it. Marisa Thalberg was unafraid to play where no one was playing and created many of her “next” opportunities.
  • We often discuss executives that come in and “save” failing companies or brands, but sometimes your greatest challenge is figuring out how to keep an already successful endeavor successful. Think about the potential and the possibilities, and how you can do what has historically been done well while adding other things that “delight people.”
  • Invisible stuff matters. While Marisa has been named as a top CMO, she acknowledges that her success is very dependent on the team she has curated around her. She maintains the vision and the narrative, but her team propels the work forward. Sometimes a leader’s biggest contribution is “knowing when to say ‘yes.’”

Learn more in the show notes: