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Get To Know: eBay CMO Richelle Parham
As Chief Marketing Officer of eBay North America, Richelle Parham leverages her background in consumer and digital marketing to develop strategies and execute marketing activities that reach eBay’s 140+ million active users.
Parham has been with eBay since 2010, and is responsible for all areas of the online marketplace’s North American marketing, including: consumer product marketing, loyalty and relationship marketing, digital marketing, global citizenship, search optimization and search marketing, seller marketing, market research and eBay’s global partner network.
Prior to joining eBay, Parham served as head of global marketing innovation and initiatives and global marketing services for Visa Inc.
Her experience includes 13 years at Digitas, Inc., a world leading marketing agency, where she held a variety of senior leadership roles, including Senior Vice President and General Manager of the agency’s Chicago office.
Parham has been well recognized within her industry, receiving awards like the 2013 Direct Marketing News Marketing Hall of Femme and the 2012 Women of Influence Award from the Silicon Valley – San Jose Business Journal. She was inducted into the World Association for Cooperative Education Co-op Hall of Fame, named one of Savoy Magazine’s Top Women for 2012, and listed as a Top 12 Innovator of Marketing and Advertising by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2013.
She has also been honored by the Council of Urban Professionals Women’s Leadership Forum.
Since 2012, Parham has served on the board of directors for Scripps Network Interactive Inc. and been a member of the board of directors for the CMO Collective and its governing body. She is a strong advocate of empowering female leaders through STEM programs such as Dare2BDigital, GirlStart, and Girls Who Code.
Parham holds a double Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Design Arts from Drexel University.
CMO @ eBay
- Age: 46
- HQ: San Jose
- Apple or Android? Apple
- Favorite TV Show: Scandal
- Hobby: Shopping
- First Car: Datsun 280Z
What mobile device can you not live without?
My iPhone 5S.
Can we take a peek at your phone’s home screen?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
I started using Wunderlist to help with task management – I am not addicted, yet.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Outside of work, I love playing Words With Friends and checking out amazing photos on Houzz on my iPad. And of course, I can’t live without my eBay app.
I’ll go on Facebook and Twitter to check on my friends and community, as well as see what our competitors are up to. Twitter is also a great place to keep up on industry news and trends.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
The weather, it helps to determine what I am going to wear.
Take me through your typical workday.
There is no such thing as a typical day, which is the way I like it. The only thing that is consistent is lots of meetings.
I am lucky to touch all of marketing and our channels, so every day is different and all about finding new opportunities.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
Back in October, we announced eBay collections, which provide an additional way for eBay users to personalize their shopping experience. The announcement came on the heels of the roll-out for our new homepage a year prior called the feed, displaying items that match the passions and preferences of individual customers to create an inspiring, visual shopping experience that’s completely customized.
By adding collections to the eBay feed experience, users can now customize their experience further by not only seeing items that match their interests in their personal feed, but items that are included in collections, or selected by users and curators they follow.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
I’m constantly on the go and often travel to and from the Bay Area to New York on business. I also spend quite a bit of time spreading the word of our company in various speaking engagements around the world.
In the past year, the furthest trip was to Cannes, France for the Cannes Lions, where I also hosted our eBay global marketing summit last year. It’s a very creative environment and helps to provide a great outside-in perspective.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
I’m very focused on evolving the eBay brand, which means waking up during the night with new and creative ways to inspire and engage our buyers and sellers around the world. The eBay business has evolved to a dynamic shopping destination that connects people to the things they need and love – whenever, wherever and however they choose.
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
I don’t believe in do-overs. I feel like every campaign or project is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Back in late 2012, we did a lot of research and had an amazing new logo design, but I was still a bit concerned about launching a new logo for our beloved eBay brand. With every campaign, you can always use a little more time, but I was extremely pleased with the results — the new logo design, what it symbolized for our brand (contemporary, innovative) and how the new logo treatment was received by our customers, community and shareholders.
Ultimately, I was very proud of the work.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
I’ve been fortunate to have incredible people in my life who have taught me what it means to be a leader, a marketer, a friend, and a daughter. Some of these people I have known all of my life and others I have only known a few years.
I feel very fortunate to have had the experiences that I have had because they have all contributed to my success.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
I think you need to have a curiosity and thirst for understanding the customer, their wants and their needs. You have to like solving problems and being comfortable paving the future.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
I am a pretty good cook.
Why did you go into marketing?
As far back as high school, I knew I wanted to work in marketing. As a college freshman, I joined the marketing program at Drexel.
My vision was – and still is – all about bringing ideas to life through lots of different channels. I never imagined it would be this cool and this much fun.
What other career would you like to try and why?
I love fashion. I don’t know what role it would be – probably on the business end – but, I love fabrics, designs and merchandising.
What does your desk look like?
Everyone has a cube at eBay, and mine is filled with books , a large monitor and a few chotskies:
We’ve won several marketing awards, which are kept near my cube:
I also have a conference room with a few pieces on the wall that represent some of our marketing campaigns, and there is one awesome and beloved Clio:
What’s the last business book you read?
When I was on vacation back in April, I brought with me a copy of Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive. I think Arianna is on to something in how she is redefining success beyond money and power, and instead focusing on enhancing well-being, giving, wisdom, and creativity.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
I have been really intrigued by all of the interpretations and social media pick up of Pharrell William’s song Happy. I love the video of school kids in Detroit and the video from Mumbai – super cool.