Fearless Leaders Series: Lisa Bull
Lisa Bull is Vice President, Integrated Marketing at ViacomCBS, leading the strategy, development and activation of custom marketing programs for national advertising clients across consumer packaged goods, QSR and casual dining categories. Lisa develops strategic marketing programs to solve clients business challenges, leveraging Viacom IP, in-house creative expertise and key distribution channels-- linear, influence, digital video, experiential, branded programming and shopper marketing, to reach consumers at multiple touch points and drive sales for clients. Lisa has held brand management, consumer products, retail marketing and sales, and consumer marketing roles across various entertainment companies, including Classic Media, (RED), and the Tyra Banks Company. Lisa is our newest Fearless Leader to share her lessons learned on the road to success.
Self-advocacy is one of the toughest areas for women based on Wet Cement survey findings. But if we don’t advocate for ourselves, we won’t be able to fulfill our missions. What is the biggest professional challenge you had to overcome and how did you do it?
My biggest professional challenge was to find a leadership style that was authentic to me in order to advance in my career. I had to self-advocate for my style, noting it was different and authentic to me, while still delivering the leadership attributes that were required for my role. I am proud that I was able to establish a different leadership style that expands upon the “traditional” definition of leadership, allowing future female leaders to do the same.
We love Webster's definition of courage: "Strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty." What advice would you give to your 13-year old self when it comes to acting courageously?
Do not be afraid to take risks and stand up for what you believe. It takes courage to be your true self. Life will be more interesting and fulfilling when you are being authentic to yourself and sharing that with others.
We believe confidence is beautiful. All of us stumble sometimes when it comes to feeling confident in our careers. What do you do to overcome self-doubt or Impostor Syndrome when it starts to creep in?
I have a few different ways that I tackle this feeling when it starts to creep in. Sometimes, I put on an outfit that makes me feel confident or pump up some music that makes me feel energized and empowered. I also take a moment to remember the journey and hard work that helped me get to where I am today. It didn’t happen overnight and is a continual path that is filled with highs and lows.
Research shows girls lose 30% of their confidence between the ages of 9-13. What advice would you give your 13-year old self?
I would tell her that you can do anything and follow your interests instead of following the crowd. Things are more interesting and fulfilling when you follow your passions vs. following the crowd.
Assertive and effective communication is a key skill for success. What is one of the most important attributes of your communication style that has helped you achieve your goals?
Clear and collaborative communication has helped me achieve my goals. Especially now where so much communication is done over email, it’s really important to be concise and clear on the desired outcome from the communication.
What advice would you give to your 13-year old self when it comes to being a confident communicator?
Speak from your heart, make eye contact with your audience and smile!
Networking is critical for career growth and success, especially for women. What is your secret to building win-win relationships?
Networking has been such a big part of my journey. I find the act of networking is a bit like speed dating. You need to have an initial connection in order to maintain an authentic two-way relationship. In addition, just like any relationship, there is a lot of effort to maintain my network that requires work outside of regular business hours. I spend a lot of time reaching out via email and setting up Zooms (these days) to connect. I always make sure that I am bringing ideas and insights to the meetings to ensure the mentorship is mutually beneficial. I really love my network, as I learn and grow from every relationship.
Wet Cement research shows that women are not as comfortable as men when it comes to taking control of difficult conversations and feeling empowered at work. How do you overcome any barriers—internal or external—to take control in challenging situations?
I have learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, which has helped me lead difficult conversations at work. My approach is to address challenges head on and be prepared with solutions. I find that taking a collaborative approach, even in these types of situations, leads to the best outcome.
We want to celebrate the accomplishments of Fearless Leaders. When you look back on your career, what are you most proud of?
I am very proud of the “Breakthrough Women” series that I started with HERE, Viacom’s Employee Resource Group for women at Viacom. The goal of the series was to showcase a diverse group of female executives across traditional male dominated industries such a music and sports, to inspire and expose female employees to women in various leadership positions.
We are profiling Fearless Women but it’s important to recognize that men can be critical advocates and mentors for women throughout their professional journey. What have you learned about gender roles and inclusivity over the course of your career?
I have been fortunate to work with some incredible male leaders over the years who helped me develop my self-confidence, executive presence and public speaking skills. I also discovered that male allies and mentors are critical advocates for you in rooms you might not be in. I credit several opportunities and promotions to my male advocates throughout my career.
What is your ‘mission’ or the work you are most excited about that you are currently focused on?
I am very excited about some of the diversity and inclusion initiatives that I am working on. As an Asian-American woman, the opportunity to shape the conversation around representation in entertainment and media is really important to me. Our voices are dynamic and diverse which lead to engaging stories in front of and behind the camera. As an adoptee from Korea, I was always looking for representation and storytelling from Korea as a young girl. I hope to be part of the change, so that Asian-Americans can see an accurate portrayal of themselves and their culture in entertainment and media.
Please let us know if there is anything else important you would like to share?
I am so happy that Wet Cement exists for female professionals today. It is so important for women to support each other so that we can elevate our roles and opportunities within companies. If I had a resource like Wet Cement when I was starting out, I would have found my leadership style sooner and would have been exposed to the types of roles women held within large companies, to see all the possibilities. Please remember to be kind, compassionate and supportive of fellow women in the workplace.