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Rock Your Trade Show: Inspiring interviews with Industry Insiders, Executive Leaders, Marketers and Influencers who share their insights, challenges and lessons learned so you can rock Your next trade show.

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Feb 20, 2017

005 Kim Feil Shares How to Accelerate Your Career Now

Kim Feil gives incredible insights into what it was like to be a 6 time Chief Marketing Officer and her journey to achieve executive leadership.  Her background includes being a retailer, general manager, consultant and ecommerce leader in marketing, sales and strategy at OfficeMax, Walgreens, Sara Lee, Kimberly-Clark, Information Resources Inc., Dr Pepper/7UP and Frito-Lay, giving her a unique 360-degree multichannel perspective.  If you are ready to rock your career then you are going to love this episode!

Show Notes:

0:01 Natalie shares how she followed up on listener’s request to have career insights by inviting Kim Feil on the show.

2:14 Natalie and Kim first met at an HBA (Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association) Chicago program. They talk about how important creating your own Advisory Circle and why it is so helpful

2:38 Kim talks about women who expressed not liking networking and she asks: “What do you think Networking means?  It isn’t about creating a big fat rolodex it is about learning from people within, across and outside your industry so you can learn from them.”

3:40 Kim and Natalie discuss how Kim met three executive women who were on the HBA panel, 14 years ago-how they have helped each other with support and advice.

4:14: What was it like to have Brenda Barnes, former CEO of Sara Lee and Pepsi Co. as a mentor early on in Kim’s career in 1984.  She describes how Brenda cultivated her teams to hit high goals.  Brenda was a role model for Kim over her career. 

5:06 Brenda Barnes achieved great results-not because she was a woman.  It was her leadership that really made her a great CEO.

6:15 Kim describes what happened when Brenda Barnes decided to take 7 years off to raise her children and how she was asked - aren’t you taking a step back.  Even Katie Couric questioned Brenda about leaving to go take care of her children.  When Brenda came back to work she was all in and unfortunately at age 55 had a debilitating stroke and had her second stroke that eventually ended her life.

6:59 Brenda’s story is an example of how we are “executive athletes” and we don’t think enough of what that means to our overall well-being.

8:10 Kim describes what it is like to work as an executive and that you are there to make change happen. She shares her personal experience of what it is like to be at the top and how so much of your time is taken up with administrative activities like HR decisions and while they are all important they aren’t necessarily directly related to improving the business or team performance.

10:00 How to manage a time in times of change-The basics are what works.  Every job is demanding, it is really important to be a leader who gets results and not an administrator.

  1. You have to have a highly talented team who work really well together. You have to be a caring leader and know how to determine whether you have the right talent on your team.  If you surround yourself with great people your team will flex.
  2. You have to really trust your people and not be a micro manager. You have to play general on the battle field. You have trust if you have good talent they will follow you.
  3. Set expectations regularly so that your high performing team knows what is coming up.
  4. You have to be responsive and communicate clearly so there are no surprises

13:10 How Women can be seen as a leader.

13:43 Top Five Tips about Leadership

  1. Don’t be seen as a leader-be a leader. Face time, long hours at the office isn’t a sign of a great leader.
  2. Great leaders need to be able to express a solid, simple vision.
  3. Be able to Engage your talent so they understand the vision.
  4. You have to get results-you can be loved but if you don’t hit the numbers, you won’t ever be viewed as a leader.
  5. In the end you are judged not by what you do but how you do it.

14:44 The How is really what people are looking to:  It is good to ask yourself: “If someone had to describe me as a leader right now, how would they describe me?”   

“What would they say I do really do well, and what would they say I don’t do really well?” Work on the things you don’t do really well.

15:30 People think hours equate to the results-instead of focusing on results.  Kim adds that she “watches young leaders all the time try to get to perfection the real truth, is that in today’s fast moving environment, having an answer that is 85-90% accurate in half the time and execute well against it is better than having an answer that 101% perfect answer and be late.

16:39 Many people slave away over the last 2-5% instead of getting the job done. Don’t be late to get to 100%.

17:27 There are numerous studies that women will stand back and wait until they are fully qualified. The real “acid test” is not whether you have all the boxes checked but whether “you believe you can be successful in the role.” 

18:15 If you can see how you can get results go for it.  The worst thing you can do is stretch into a role that you aren’t able to do.  Kim describes a situation where a woman might take on a new role with a great title and fail at it and lose her job instead of working her way toward the promotion.

18:57 In her career Kim had been approached by IRI CEO’s to consider a different role and at face value they may not have seemed like a fit.  She knew what the clients wanted and got along well with the tech people and launched Ecomm program and made $10 million in 6 months.

18:18 It is also o.k. to accept a position and say that you would like to fill a position to round out the team.  One of the top positions Kim has always had is a financial guru to be able to get a full picture and advice.

 21:42 How to Get Promoted in your organization-  Kim describes her background and how she got to see the world from a 360 degree view.  She worked at Frito Lay, Dr Pepper/7UP  Sara Lee, consulting firm IRI and then two retailers Walgreens and Office Max.  Kim got to see the world from all 3 sides. 

Five Career Planning Tips:

  1. Make sure you are always thinking ahead of the business, if you see there is an opportunity in another function. Step back and connect your capabilities to that function. 
  2. Ignore the literal job description, look to find a way to do what your vision is for the position.
  3. “Your career is yours”, if you want to go from here to there don’t wait for people to let you do it.
  4. Don’t have any barriers-think of which way you want to expand your capabilities.
  5. Build a broad base of capability, technical and leadership. You don’t have to grow vertically you can grow laterally and gain the skills you need to move forward.
  6. Your career is a marathon not a sprint

26:46 Kim describes what it was like making a pivot four years ago and how much she is enjoying being an entrepreneur.

27:27 What does it look like to launch a new career for the next 20 year chapter?

When she set out on this journey, Kim set 4 goals to achieve:

  1. Be CEO of emerging company
  2. Get on a public board
  3. Go deeper in volunteerism and fundraising, devote more meaningful time to that
  4. Learn all she could to learn about entrepreneur and the venture capital system

Within 8 months, she was CEO, she served on 3 boards and chaired American Heart campaign and broke records and met private equity firms who could teach her how venture capital works.


28:41 if you are a person with a lot of curiosity and can parlay your experience, then go for it! 

29:50 Kim discusses how to draw boundaries in corporate life and also as an Entrepreneur.  How to get a lot more done in a lot less time and be flexible but it is still hard work you are taking risks.

31:41 The obvious way to stay energized is to stay healthy.  In addition, doing more fulfilling things like having time to mentor and do charity work makes a difference.

32:14 How mentoring people helps you learn from others and give back

32:39 How to have the purpose driven life- finding joy.

33:26 How to stay on track with time management-plan the month and have a rigorous to do list by business type or volunteerism.

33:20 As an entrepreneur there are still only 24 hours in a day.  Block time, review a calendar and not over schedule.

34:10 Favorite Book- The Pursuit of Wow by Tom Peters; there are two to three page case studies and is easy to read in short increments.

35:20  Learn more about Kim Feil: She is CEO of bizHiv

She is the lead investor for Aspire Healthy Energy Drinks healthy drink no carb with lots of B vitamins.  You can find also find Kim on LinkedIn

36:40 Last Word of Advice: Just enjoy your career-the days when it feels really hard remember life is more than that and really LeanIn in to it.

If you liked what you heard find out how to subscribe by going to  You can also get the free download of today’s episode with the key tips Kim shared at

Credits: Sound Editing by Emerald City Productions.