The Next CMO Podcast: Rebranding a Technology Giant with Jill Kouri, CMO of HCLTech


In this episode, we speak to Jill Kouri, the CMO of HCLTech, a global technology company, home to 219,000+ people across 54 countries, delivering industry-leading capabilities centered around digital, engineering and cloud, powered by a broad portfolio of technology services and products.


In this episode, we speak to Jill Kouri, the CMO of HCLTech, a global technology company, home to 219,000+ people across 54 countries, delivering industry-leading capabilities centered around digital, engineering and cloud, powered by a broad portfolio of technology services and products.  HCLTech works with clients across all major verticals, providing industry solutions for Financial Services, Manufacturing, Life Sciences and Healthcare, Technology and Services, Telecom and Media, Retail and CPG, and Public Services. Consolidated revenues as of 12 months ending September 2022 totaled $12.1 billion

We speak to Jill about her journey to the CMO role, starting from a career in PR and communications. Jill shares the process and strategy behind the recent rebranding of HCLTech (formerly known as HCL Technologies) and their brand campaign, “supercharging progress.”

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Full Transcript




[00:00:08] Peter: The next CMO podcast explores topics that are on the minds of forward thinking marketing executives from leadership and strategy to emerging technologies. And we bring these topics to life by interviewing leading experts in their fields. The next CMO is sponsored by Plannuh, makers are the world’s first AI based marketing leadership platform.

And hosted by me, Peter Mahoney, the former CEO of Plannuh, along with my co-host Kelsey Krapf.

In this episode of the next CMO podcast, I speak to Jill Kouri, the CMO of HCLTech, a global leader in tech services. That has reached over $12 billion in revenue, over 200,000 global employees. Jill walks us through the significant brand transformation that HCLTech has gone through, formerly known as HCL Technologies and part of HCL, which is one of the largest companies in India.

Jill has an amazing story about how she reached the seat of the CMO, how she thinks about marketing at that scale in a complex environment, managing a team of 500, and her advice for current or future CMOs. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this show, .

Hey, Jill. Thank you so much for being on the next CMO podcast with me today. I’m really excited to talk to you about lots of things, probably most notably the big transition you’ve gone through at HCLTech. Now, if I’m saying that correctly, But thank you. But it’s important thing to get right. You gotta get the company name right, especially for one of this size and scale.

But, let’s start, maybe if you can give the listeners just a quick background on, on you and HCLTech.

[00:02:03] Jill Kouri: sure. might have a little bit of a nontraditional background. I know you’ve had many guests nearing a hundred guests so far on the show. I actually grew up as a journalism purist. I was a journalism major, very proud to say I was the editor of my college newspaper and thought I would have a career in print or magazine journalism.

And, many of my former classmates say I sold out when I went the public relations route. But had the first 10 years of my career at PR marketing agency, loved that work. It was primarily b2b, and I had the opportunity to end up working for one of my key clients during the dotcom boom. Very exciting time.

Unfortunately, my dotcom went bust. but during that time,

[00:02:52] Peter: did Jill. It’s okay.

[00:02:53] Jill Kouri: Yeah, it was one of the most exciting times in my career, and actually some of the work that I’ve done around this HCLTech brand transformation felt like that same time and when we’ll get to that, but while the dotcom era was starting to go bust, Accenture seized the moment, it was Anderson Consulting at the time.

And they recruited me among thousands of others who were being displaced, and I thought it would be a landing spot for me for a year or two. I had grown up, working for a couple of small companies, really enjoying the entrepreneurial environment. And I ended up staying there for 14 years. it was a great time in my career.

I left to go to JLL Jones Lang LaSalle, a large global commercial corporate real estate company. a bigger fish in a smaller pond, opportunity for me to be the CMO of the Americas. And, seven years later I got a call from a recruiter. actually it was during. Throws of COVID and I took the call and it was a fairly long process for me to vet and really do some soul searching on whether or not I wanted to leave an amazing company and jump into HCL Technologies, but, I really do feel like, I put the right amount of thought into it, understood the opportunity.

It was truly an opportunity that most CMOs don’t get in their careers to lead a wholesale transformation and I like a challenge. I’m very intellectually curious. I, like fixing things if they’re broken and I jumped in head first and haven’t looked back since. And it’s been about 15, 16 months since I joined.

So that is a very short view of my, 30 plus years of experience across my career.

[00:04:45] Peter: Great. and clearly, Jill started when she was about five. that’s fantastic. I’ve also had that tenure. I think I just passed the 35 years, in my professional career. And interestingly, I started, it was the path not taken, I started my career working for ibm, but the other path was to go work for Anderson Consulting in Chicago at the day.

which I decided not to take for complicated reasons. but interestingly, another connection we have is, is I one of your former colleagues is a good friend, Linda Swain. I think you probably,

[00:05:15] Peter: Oh yeah. I love Linda gone to,

Linda, I hope you’re listening. Yeah,

[00:05:21] Jill Kouri: We’ll make sure I’ll tag her in the social media post.

[00:05:25] Peter: Please do. No, she’s a true star in like in an amazing property marketer.

yeah, and interesting a technology marketer earlier on. So she and my co-founder and I worked together at a company called, atg, which is now Oracle Commerce

[00:05:39] Jill Kouri: Oh yeah, I know them.

[00:05:41] Peter: so good stuff. And for, both the people who don’t know HCLTech, it would be great to just set the table,obviously Global 12 billion public Company.

Just give people a sense of the scale and how to think about what HCLTech is all about.

[00:05:55] Jill Kouri: Sure. Peter, I say to many of my friends, it’s the 12 billion company that you’ve probably never heard of. I’m here to change that. we have been around since the mid seventies actually. the entity of hcl, which is our parent company. founded by an amazing man named Shiv Nadar, who actually was just honored with a lifetime achievement award by the, trade association that focuses on India America relations.

And he was just named, I think the, I’m gonna say in the top 10 most philanthropic individuals in the country of India. amazing man. It was a true garage startup back in the mid seventies. used to be a product company and then he parlayed the company. he spun out HCL Technologies in the late nineties.

the, we started trading on the Indian Stock Exchange, I believe in December of 1999. And here we are, 20 plus years later as a, as I said, a $12 billion global technology services and products company. Now, where we focus is around three key areas. at the highest level, I’ll tell you it’s digital.

[00:07:08] Jill Kouri: Cloud and engineering, but we certainly have our roots in a couple of areas. One is around a heavy focus on engineering, and that is in both asset intensive industries and asset light. So think about digital engineering, data engineering that is common in the high tech industry, but also think about asset intensive industries.

automotive and manufacturing. We’ve done some of the most amazing product development work,since we were born back in the late nineties. we also have a history in infrastructure outsourcing, and that is an area that. A lot of the IT services companies that were born out of India, that is where their roots lie.

[00:07:51] Jill Kouri: And that is where I knew of HCLTech, when the recruiter called me because I, they started to compete against Accenture,in the entire category of IT, outsourcing and business process outsourcing. But I knew them in a very niche way and I had an amazing recruiter who helped me understand.

How much the, these, this category has grown in depth and breadth since the, early two thousands, or like around 2010-2012 when I left Accenture. So I am amazed at how much, HCLTech has grown in the area of digital business, applications and development. huge partners in cloud with all of the big hyperscalers and ecosystem players that you would imagine from Amazon to Microsoft to Google.

And then we continue to have a very robust business in that engineering space where our roots lie. And of course we continue to do business process outsourcing and digital process outsourcing. So we run the gamut. We also acquired a product portfolio from ibm. You may or may not know about that. several years ago.

And that is really the foundational, portfolio in our HCL software business. So that in a nutshell is what we do. And we play in 52 countries, with the biggest face of revenue in the us, which is about 60% of our revenue.

it’s an amazing scale that you’ve reached, and you’re right, it is one of those brands that I knew because I’m a nerd and followed this part of the industry, and, and have a deep understanding for hcl and HCL Technologies now, HCLTech, just watching this particular space in the industry over the years and certainly admiring the company.

but tell me. The challenge that you had. So you recently went through this brand transformation, and went from HCL Technologies to HCLTech. That obviously is the teeny, teeny tip of the iceberg around what goes underneath that. But tell me what motivated the change and give us a high level view of what you went through in this brand transformation for HCLTech.

[00:09:58] Jill Kouri: Yeah, without going into too much detail on the front end, but there was a lot of work on the front end. the one thing that, added a high degree of complexity to this transformation is the fact that, as I mentioned, hcl, Has is a household name in India, the company of hcl and HCLTech or HCL Technologies is the largest entity under the HCL portfolio.

So in all of the other markets outside India, HCL Technologies just started to become known as hcl because it was easy, right? It’s just an easy shorthand, and even though we trade as HCLTech as our ticker symbol, our website has always been HCLTech. The US market in particular just started calling us hcl.

Now that creates a little bit of a challenge given that there is a website for hcl, the parent entity there. An amazing founder that I mentioned earlier, Shiv Nadar, who founded hcl, which continues to be extremely active in India. And some may have thought, why? Why did you need. To change the name?

it was because we needed to pay homage to this parent, but also come into our own as we’re continuing to grow and develop and as HCL may also continue to create other entities under its portfolio so that as a marketer at just as far as an intellectual challenge, whether you’re a marketer or not.

it’s complex to, to know that, you need to lean into your past, but you also need to create some distance for yourself, to lean into the future. and when you’ve got, a wonderful CEO as I have who was very close to the marketing team through this whole process, plus a chairperson of the board, who also is actively involved.

there are a lot of people. maybe there was a little bit of caution at the earliest stages of not wanting. Rock the boat too much and get too far away from your heritage. But here I am wanting to have a very modern,modern forward facing approach to attract talent. We have a huge number of people who are in the 21 to 30 year old age bracket.

this Gen Z is very important and wanting to go. a little bit fast and a little bit forward, but needing to lean into the history, it was, it definitely foundationally created a lot of a need for some patience. Some, intuitiveness, some, data driven,a lot of data driven conversations with, as the result of qualitative quantitative focus group research to help the leaders understand.

[00:12:41] Jill Kouri: There’s a way to do this. There’s also a way to maintain a connectivity to hcl. and this is very tactical, but it became very important. We also took the heritage color of blue, which is a color that is associated with, strength and security and we created a gradated color, which is representative, representative of our brand.

Now that is a gradation from blue to purple and purple means power and ambition, and that has become the actual primary brand color. We reverse our logo out of a purple blue gradient, and I have a lot of examples of that. One foot in the past, which has gotten us to where we are and one foot into the future, and we ended up not having a mark with our logo.

We just have a word mark HCLTech. We created our own typeface, which I love. It’s hard to find anything nowadays that hasn’t been done before, but we’ve got this really cool tech forward typeface and it didn’t matter that we ended up not going with an actual logo mark because we created such an amazing visual identity around that.

So the name change actually. It’s just one small part of the transformation, but it may have been the most challenging part. We landed on our brand positioning of supercharging progress pretty early in the process of the transformation. It was really just lining everything up and getting everything perfect around the hcl, HCLTech interplay that ended up, maybe protracting this process a bit.

it’s really interesting to hear and I love hearing the context behind the decisions that you made and that idea of passing the baton and accelerating from there is between the two brands and the idea of transferring brand value. So you’re obviously leveraging significant brand value from hcl.

[00:14:45] Peter: Your goal is to use that as amplifying springboard into the future, is exciting.

and continue to use the HCL logo,on our website. You’ll see it in the top right hand corner. It’s also on many of our external facing collateral materials. It’s just still a part of who we are and it’s how we got here. And yes, that’s exactly.

and it’s great because a lot of people don’t understand, and hopefully a lot of our listeners do that the best design comes from a deep understanding of the strategy and what you’re trying to accomplish. And it’s great that you can give us this inside view into. That, how that strategy informed some of those design choices along the way.

[00:15:27] Peter: So tell me, just end to end, how long did the process take from someone saying, Hey, we should think about this to actually doing a brand launch?

they, I was brought in because there was a need for. a brand transformation of sorts. I think everybody knew that there was a lot of work to be done. And again, the global CEO was very respond. he took the lead in, in finding the right person to come into the organization. So we got started right away in assessing the situation and trying to determine, How far we were gonna go.

[00:16:02] Jill Kouri: And I will tell you again, a little inside baseball, when I met with the, a couple of the senior leaders of the brand team, and I started to talk about this point of confusion between hcl and HCL Technologies. I was told, you can’t go there. That’s one of the sacred cows you cannot touch that.

We’re just gonna have to, live with it. And I, I. I, I don’t think I can do my best work unless we can reconcile this particular point and that effort. I would say we started in October of last year, so probably we started having those conversations about what a transformation might look like and how big are we willing to go, and is it possible to actually have our own logo mark or are we gonna need to just retain.

The HCL type face and ad tech to the end of it. there were those kinds of conversations happening and at the end of the day with the chairperson and the CEO being so supportive and understanding the art of the possible and what might be holding us back if we didn’t go all the way, we went full speed ahead starting late October of last year and we launched in late September.

And honestly, I’m, I think we ended up needing every last bit of that time to, to have to do a complete website overhaul in the process and, and really change everything. and we’re still, of course, we’re just at the beginning of the marathon. We didn’t cha everything, we didn’t flip a switch and everything changed overnight.

But, in earnest we were working on this for a good nine or 10.

it’s amazing that you get it done in under a year,

[00:17:38] Jill Kouri: I thought too. I think we , it felt like there were a few months there were, it was like, okay, we, we were in some holding patterns, a few, at a few steps along the journey, but it, at the end, and you probably know that we also secured a deal with MetLife, the Jets and the Giants. It ended up working out perfectly that we could.

The new brand as well as that new relationship on the same day. It just said it seemed like the stars were aligning and it really wasn’t meant to work out that way, but at the end of the day, it just did and it, I think it was a beautiful thing.

it’s understanding the complexity of what you have to do. It’s amazing. I’ll tell you a short story that I went through a, a challenge at a smaller company At the time, my last company was about 2 billion. but we went through a, pretty significant name change, in,and it.

[00:18:30] Peter: Precipitated by the merger. So we acquired a company who had the name Nuance. and the challenge we had is that we were all ready to start planning and engaging on this thing. And then back in the days, this is in the late two thousands, the Department of Justice was very aggressive when it came to pursuing, anti competitive things.

And they thought in our little industry, that this might be a problem. So they actually went through and we went, had to go through the whole HSR second request process, which is basically a deep investigation of whether you are creating any monopolistic kind of behavior.

[00:19:02] Jill Kouri: my gosh.

[00:19:03] Peter: As a result, you can’t deal with the other company.

So we had to rebrand a company. In the end, we had six weeks to rename and reimplement the whole thing. and as a result, and we did it again later, we didn’t change the name again, but we did a major rebrand, took more like a year, the second time. and it was much more thoughtful in the process, and in really focused on getting deep alignment behind the strategy and that the best.

The best brand changes emanate from either a fundamental need or a change in strategy where you’re trying to break out and address a new market. You probably had a combination of those things and I wanted to ask the, cuz I could talk all day about brand transformation things, but I wanted to also ask a little bit about, more broadly around the HCLTech marketing. One of the things at your scale at $12 billion that I assume you, wake up in the middle of the night worrying about is growth. So how do you find growth and how do you as a CMO look for opportunities and drive growth on such a large revenue base? so growing 10% is adding another $1.2 billion to a $12 billion base.

So how do you think about that from your seat?

[00:20:18] Jill Kouri: yeah, sure. you’re exactly right. at one point we were named the fastest growing tech company back in probably 2010, 2012. we have, we were growing at a double digit pace year on year for a number of years, and it is a lot harder now to grow at a double digit pace. So I’ll tell you what is exciting to me.

We have gotten to where we are largely off the back of share of Wallet growth with our largest customers. Our largest customers tend to be customers for. for life or for many years, decades so far, and we have a lot of referrals as CIOs move around. there are a lot of word of mouth referrals, and again, a lot of growth within existing accounts.

We’ve had an issue with growth with net new accounts. Why is that? This is completely tied back to our brand. It’s completely tied back to, what does someone see when they go to a, when they accidentally go to the HCL website, then they find their way to the HCLTech website. there was a little bit of a lack of crispness of, clarity and communications on that former version of the website.

not to mention the. Ui, ux, et cetera. we’re in a much better place today, but we believe that off the back of this brand transformation, we are going to have much more opportunity to have a seat at the table because our brand has finally caught up with the magic that exists inside this organization.

[00:21:55] Jill Kouri: We’ve had. An amazing successes across all of the analyst reports from all of the reputable analysts that you know, and I’m sure you used to, do business with when you were in the tech space. And, our rankings are oftentimes upper right quadrant in many cases, especially in the areas of digital and cloud.

I am very excited to, to do our benchmarking a year post launch, and compare that to where we were, when I did my last set of quantitative research around unaided, aided consideration, et cetera. about four months ago, but I think we are off to the races now. Peter. I think that, we have a challenger brand mentality.

In some cases, I think people have given us a shot off the back of these great references and great analyst rankings, but now our brand is going to help us get a seat at the table. so wait and see, maybe you’ll have me back, in a year and I can prove out some of these theories.

[00:22:56] Peter: We’d love to do the long term test drive on the brand strategy. I think that would be a lot of fun. so tell me, Jill, if you think about the primary purpose of the brand transformation, is there’s a people split between, is it awareness or is it authority? is it about people need to know who HCLTech is or is it about people.

need to Perceive HCLTech who they may know as someone I should be doing business with, or a little bit of both.

[00:23:24] Jill Kouri: I think it’s a little bit of both. I’m a traditionalist a around how I think about the marketing life cycle. I think about awareness, knowledge, consideration, preference, purchase, loyalty. I don’t know if anyone thinks it talks in those terms any longer. I think there are slightly different wheels that people use.

but awareness, knowledge, and consideration are at the top of the list and.

[00:23:48] Peter: that’s in my book. I’m showing Jill a diagram of my book. I have a very similar,

[00:23:52] Jill Kouri: And

[00:23:53] Peter: cycle

and you said authority, so what? What are, what do you use?

I think from what I mean in that case is the idea of, of driving a, purchase brand preference, at that stage. So that’s really the key thing that, that, especially if you’re dealing in a competitive market like you are, so you’re dealing with, I’m sure if you’re dealing with very large.

[00:24:16] Peter: Contracts as an example. Everything has to be competitively bid. and it’s not only, can we get a seat at the table, but can we win the deal? and in having that, that right positive association and it’s a win behind your sails when it comes to getting into the, uh, decision process at the end of the day.

[00:24:35] Jill Kouri: Yeah, so let me just unpack it a little bit more. the macro level brand awareness play is, of course, it’s front and center. it’s where we’ve focused for launch, but everything we’re doing is permeating through the entire organization. So not only have we done our brand positioning and purpose, we also launched an employee value proposition, and were working heavily on our employer brand and.

We just launched a strategic deal marketing team that is going to be working closely on must win deals and taking the best of the positioning. And there’s a lot of work that we’ve done to bring supercharging progress to life to ensure that clearly gets embedded in. Presentations and RFP responses and we’ve also developed a new, a whole, we’ve put a lot of work on this.

A whole tone of voice and style guidelines document that helps. Write more consistently and clearly, like there’s so much work that we have done to ensure that this is not just a marketing exercise. This is a true, this is a real organizational transformation and it’s impacting all parts of the organization, all of the corporate functions, from IT to hr, and then very commercially driven with a lot of partnership with the sales organization.

[00:26:00] Peter: Yeah, I’d imagine. And, HTL Tech has tens of thousands of employees. I think so,


sorry. Hundreds of thousands. I was a digit off. and, so tell me just how many new employees do you expect to recruit in the next year, approximately.

[00:26:17] Jill Kouri: I think we are tracking at five to 10,000 per quarter.


it’s a lot. And not only Indi, India is our biggest base, but we are growing at a fast clip in Eastern Europe where we’ve got a number of key bases as well as central and South America. And then, as I mentioned, the US is our largest market.

[00:26:40] Jill Kouri: But the growth is happening everywhere.

[00:26:44] Peter: So understandably, the idea of having a strong employer brand is really important. I, and I’m looking at the time and because we don’t have enough, because I have so many questions, Jill, so let me ask you a couple of rapid fire questions and see how we do so I can get as much content squeezed into my short window that I have with you as possible.

so first, how would you articulate the marketing strategy of hcl?

[00:27:11] Jill Kouri: Wow. I would say. That’s a very challenging question

I know, and this is mean. This is mean because you have the world’s most

it is cause such an intersection of vertical, horizontal geographic. And so the, at the most holistic level, I think that I am trying to. Have a less siloed approach to the way that we are marketing and communicating internally and externally. And I consider myself, even though my title is not, Marketing and communications.

[00:27:49] Peter: I consider my role going back to my roots, very much focused on global marketing and communications. So I think setting the North Star, which is heavily related to our new brand positioning around supercharging progress and our brand promise, and then making it easier for all of the 500 or so individuals across the marketing organization to understand where they fit into that is front and.

On the back end of that, I’m trying to build capabilities and communities of practice and centers of excellence to help be the tide that lifts all boats from a MarTech perspective. So I’m trying to build that sandwich where everybody knows the North Star and then there’s great supporting teams that help lift, all of the programs running across verticals and horizontals.

Yeah, and I think you have an advantage, Jill in. you just went through this brand transformation and I suspect that whole idea of, supercharging progress is probably a good organizing theme. and the challenge, and especially one of the things I was gonna ask you about is the scale of your team.

And you got about 500 people in marketing, and,and the challenge. Organizing a diverse set of marketers who have to do a very diverse set of things is about driving coherence in your strategy. So what is the thing you all wake up and do? and the idea is that I assume they’re all trying to figure out what they’re doing to help supercharge progress when it comes to HCLTech and their marketing and the brand overall, which makes a lot of

[00:29:21] Jill Kouri: Yeah. And it comes to life in so many different ways and it’s gonna look different depending on what role they’re playing. But I think having a galvanizing principle is extremely important, and I’m so fortunate to be able to set that and now mobilize accordingly against it.

[00:29:38] Peter: So what would our listeners find surprising about marketing at HCLTech?

I would imagine that many of your listeners have not worked at an organization that has the majority of its workforce based in India and. Again, we’re in India. We’re traded on the Indian Stock Exchange. I have a lot of experience over the last 20 years working with India, both at Accenture and jll, and I helped start our whole practice in India.

when I was at jll. I’ve traveled to India, probably 15, 20 times. The passion of the people, the brilliance of this company. Amazing discipline that my team has, and again, I have people based all over the world, but a lot of my team is based in India. It is so inspiring to me. it’s magical to learn more about the culture and I was looking for this next leg of my journey as my daughter’s already in college.

[00:30:50] Jill Kouri: My son’s about to go to college. I knew I would be traveling more, and for me, it’s a reawakening of just learning more. About this amazing country and the amazing customs and, we’re just coming off of Diwali. I would give, I would make a recommendation for anyone if they’re, if they have a passion for adventure and that spirit of the unknown of going after the unknown, work with a company that doesn’t have the majority of its employees based in the us and you will personally grow quite a bit.

And I have enjoyed it. Tremendously, and I have so much more yet to come. I love my team so much and it’s just a wonderful organization.

[00:31:30] Peter: But it sounds amazing and it makes me kick myself even harder for missing the opportunity. I’ve actually never traveled to India in my, my, I know my niece just, married a, a great guy who’s from India and they had a, a wedding in India and and I couldn’t go cuz I was in the middle of selling my company, which gets

I might, I was just told I was going to be invited to a wedding that’s taking place next, like February or March. I am so looking forward to it. I hope it That’s been on my bucket list.

[00:32:04] Peter: Yeah. In

[00:32:04] Jill Kouri: Three day affair, usually.

[00:32:06] Peter: I know it was originally scheduled, during Covid,pre Covid, and so they had to delay it and I’d moved mountains to be able to make it, and then I couldn’t move them a second time. but my pen ultimate question that I’ll ask you is the, what’s it like being a, a US North American female executive in a Indian dominated, male dominated,executive, team?

how has that been and how do you navigate that?

[00:32:34] Jill Kouri: Yeah, it’s a good question. it is, a role that takes someone with, let’s see, how do I wanna put this? You need to have conviction and. Sometimes be a little bit more aggressive than, you might be if you’re not, in some cases the only woman in the room. I have worked in my, over the past 30 years and sometimes been, one or two female in a room of 12 to 15 men, and I think I.

Grown, accustomed to being in that situation. This is not the first time I’ve been one of, one or two of 15. I. I honestly, I’ve been asked quite a bit more on the, you’re a American woman working with a lot of people of Indian heritage. I love that. I think it’s been,I think it’s been super interesting for me, but the male versus female?

Yes. this is some, this is, we didn’t get a chance to talk about it, but DNI is a huge passion area for me. Something I’m personally aligning with at this organization. We’ve. A, we’ve got work to do. We’ve done a lot of work, but there’s a lot more to go and yeah, maybe I’ve had to be a little bit bolder, a little bit stronger, a little bit tougher.

but these are all traits that I’ve groomed over the last 30 years. it’s working for me and I’m okay with it. and I’m, I feel very rewarded for. Being able to navigate some tricky situations at times. Again, it’s not unique to this organization. I have similar stories about going through my whole career, but yeah, I had a lot of work to do in the last 15 months that required me to navigate in a brand new company with no I, I knew no one ahead of coming here, and I think I’ve

[00:34:26] Peter: And it was hard to get on a plane to travel

[00:34:28] Jill Kouri: Yeah. Yeah. was, I had, I was tied down for the first few months, but actually that wasn’t that bad either. I thought it was gonna be terrible to onboard during covid and wasn’t as bad as I would’ve thought.

unfortunately we’re getting close to the end of our time. I got to about a third of my questions. so you’ll have to come back. maybe we can talk about a year from now the long term impact of the HCL brand transition, which would be amazing, and I can get to at least some of them. and, but my last question I wanted to make sure I asked.

[00:34:57] Peter: Is, is our favorite one is what advice would you give to current or aspiring CMOs?

[00:35:04] Jill Kouri: I, I think. I am probably the least likely person that someone would’ve expected would become the global CMO of an Indian based, organization. So I’ve got a couple of things. First of all, if you believe you can do it, you will do it. It takes a lot of hard work to get there. I would say. Build your network.

Even if you’re at a large global organization today and you feel like you ha you don’t even have enough time to network externally, build your network inside that organization. I have so many stories of how I reached out at Accenture and met so many people who ended up becoming instrumental in my career journey there.

and if you’re on the younger side of your career, take risks. Take chances. I’ve taken a lot of risks throughout my career journey and, make sure there are calculated risks, but just be fearless. and then the final advice is be authentic and don’t forget to be nice. I think the world is becoming a little bit too cutthroat.

I’m tough when I need to be, but at the end of the day, like kindness is what drives me. Being transparent and being, I’m the same person like that we’re, that you’re talking to today. In my personal life, in my work life and, having a work hard, play hard mentality is also super important to me and just don’t lose that.

[00:36:37] Jill Kouri: But I think anybody can get to where they wanna go to if they’re thoughtful and disciplined about carving a path to make it happen.

amazing advice and I love the network. Take risks, be authentic and be nice. So I guess you can’t be authentic if you’re not really

[00:36:53] Jill Kouri: Yeah, exactly.

thing. Exactly. Then don’t be too authentic is

then you’re not gonna make it if you’re not nice. I don’t think there’s room for not nice people to make it to the top any longer.

[00:37:04] Peter: I hope that’s true and and certainly I can see how you’ve gotten to this point, Jill. I really appreciate your time.

Thank you so much for being on the podcast today. and I hope you all out there enjoyed the discussion with Jill. make sure that you subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t subscribed so far.

Make sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter and all those things. Check out my company at now a Planful company. Very exciting and thanks. Hope you enjoyed the show and have a great day.

[00:37:32] Jill Kouri: Thank you, Peter.