American Express Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Rutledge is a self-acknowledged introvert, a characteristic she’s had since childhood.
But instead of running away from it, she’s learned how to make it work. One way, she says, is to spend time alone thinking things through before walking into a meeting.
“Why do that? Because it then gives me the time, the space, to think ahead of time, form a point of view, and then be able to really defend it or state it in a meeting,” she tells iHeartMedia Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman in the latest episode of “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing.”
“Because of my own introverted nature, I’m cognizant of other people in the room and try to draw them out, particularly when they haven’t said anything, they haven’t articulated what they feel,” Rutledge says. “And the way to draw them out is to have the conversation — build the relationship, build the trust.”
In her interview with Pittman, Rutledge takes listeners on a journey through her remarkable career, with the CMO discussing the need for empathy; how she empowered her teams to give small businesses across the U.S. relief while leading American Express through the pandemic; and why she still draws inspiration from her stint as a 9th grade biology teacher.
Rutledge also discusses the man who modeled what it means to be a leader: her father.
“He managed to know every person’s name in the room and knew them personally,” Rutledge says, “and [he] related to them in that way.”