I had the pleasure to interview Betty Gower, Chief Marketing Officer at Bambu Global. Betty is a marketing leader with more than a decade of senior experience in general marketing, strategy, corporate branding, and communications. With a strong understanding of the customer, Betty has succeeded in enduring branding such as the Universal logo and industry leading strategy such as the Kaiser Permanente ACA rollout. With measurable success in reaching the customer, Betty has developed regional, global and multinational campaigns. For implementations, she has sourced and built efficient international teams and functions effectively in three languages. Betty has diverse experience from healthcare and technology to oil and gas, in consumer packaged goods, and in broadcast and digital media. Betty Gower achieves success by deploying data-driven approaches that build focus and collaboration among leadership, business development and sales teams. Betty’s background includes work with Fortune 100 companies, private equity, agencies and startups.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Ibegan my career as an administrative assistant at NBC/Universal and worked my way up the ladder. Along the way, I had the pleasure of working with some amazing women who taught me valuable skills. One of my first bosses was the head of creative advertising for Universal Pictures. She put me in several sink-or-swim situations and always trusted me with more responsibility than I probably had earned. Because I wanted her to succeed, I rose to the many challenges. I learned that people step up if you give them the opportunity.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was born and raised in Mexico City and English is my second language. At Universal, I worked in the Black Tower, which is where most of the C-Suite worked. One evening, I was working late and a messenger came to drop of an important package. Most of the executives were already gone for the night. A messenger came to my office and started asking me for my “John Hancock.” I told him that I knew most of the executives and there was no one by that name and that I could not sign for the package. Some of my colleagues heard me and began laughing down the hall. They finally explained to me that the messenger just needed my signature and that it was a phrase commonly used to ask for it. The lesson from that was that I need to, at times, slow down and digest the information before reacting.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The company I work for now is called Bambu Global, and it is a technology start-up firm based in Lowell, Mass. Among the unique technologies we develop is a cool paint that reflects heat to keep buildings cooler; tunable LED lighting that improves our biological health; photoluminescent coatings that provide light without electricity for improved safety; and permanent brilliant tattoo inks that are safer and can be “turned off.” All of our technologies are revolutionizing their respective industries.
I think what makes us stand out the most is the out-of-the-box approach we take to leveraging science and technology to positively impact people’s lives. One of our most exciting innovations is a tattoo ink that can be “turned off.” Three in 10 adults have a tattoo, including 36 percent of Gen Xers, and 47 percent of Millennials. This is a $50 billion industry that has not evolved. We are creating not only a healthier ink with no toxins or heavy metals, but an ink that can be turned off. This allows people to continue to express themselves through tattoos, more safely and less invasively than ever before.
In another example, our tunable LED lighting removes the dangers of traditional blue light, which is known to cause eye damage and other issues, as well as disrupt natural sleep cycles. Our technology eliminates these dangers while preserving the energy efficiency offered through LED.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
As mentioned earlier, our breakthrough tattoo technology is not only revolutionizing its industry, but it’s also changing the perception of tattoo artistry in general by bringing it upscale. We’ll be rolling out our new ink technology across more than 100 high-end stores throughout the U.S., in premium locations.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
My recommendation would be to put together a team of people with complementary skills and expertise, hold them accountable and trust them to deliver. It’s important to hire competent people that have skill sets different from yours and then you can divide and conquer. As the manager, it’s up to me to define the big picture, share my thinking and then let each team member do what he or she does best.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
I think it’s important to hire “lieutenants,” so to speak, who have different skillsets from your own and trust them to execute. With the right people, there’s no need for micromanagement. But, if projects stall, find out where the bottleneck is and what is causing it; recognize it and develop a plan to fix it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’ve been fortunate to have had quite a few bosses who have become mentors. One of my first bosses at Universal Studios was the head of creative advertising. She felt that in order for me to help her, she needed to teach me about her world, how she made decisions, and what success looked like for her. She invited me to all her meetings, not only as a note taker, but to learn. After each meeting, she asked me to put together minutes and follow up around her deliverables. She had me do all the required research and make recommendations based on the findings. At the time, it was highly unusual to invite executive assistants to senior level meetings. However, that is where I developed my skills for listening and learning. In addition to senior-level corporate meetings, she also invited me to production meetings around script modifications, press checks where I learned about ink and color correction, and scoring sessions with sound editors where I learned about sound editing and post-editing corrections. In this way, I was fortunate to have gained useful knowledge in a lot of things which made me highly sought after across the company. After a year of doing this, my boss recognized that I was ready for more responsibility. She promoted me to manager of marketing — just two years after graduating college.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
This is something that I’m focusing on. I hope that I can accomplish this by helping to mentor a new generation of female executives. I try to hire people that show a hunger to succeed regardless of their background. I believe that different life situations and experiences can bring new perspectives and create a diverse environment that can help companies succeed. One of my first assistants was the first in her family to go to college. Neither of her parents spoke English. She was smart and hardworking and had no previous experience. I hired her as an executive assistant and she is currently working at a director capacity in our digital media department.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down…”
I have been lucky and I have worked hard. However, I have been knocked down many times and felt defeated — as though maybe I was not good or smart enough. I could either let those fears take over me, or allow myself to endure and get up again.