Judy Gounden is a creative, driven, and visionary business executive with more than 25 years of outstanding marketing experience and accomplishments, skilled at consumer lead generation, cultivation, and conversion through a highly successful combination of traditional and online marketing, utilizing emerging technology to generate unsurpassed growth and revenue. With an MBA and experience in organizational psychology, Gounden has strong leadership experience in multinational corporate environments, strategic planning, marketing, and business analysis, supported by tenacity, flexibility, and business change management expertise. She has directed the development and implementation of key initiatives to drive organizational success and achievement, consistently surpassing goals and boosting revenues while cutting costs; and conceptualized and implemented integrated marketing communication plans to ensure brand consistency, meet measurable objectives, and maximize effectiveness. With an MBA, an Engineering Diploma, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Organizational Psychology, Gounden began her career in the pulp and paper industry, moving to petrochemicals, followed by the mining and energy industries, and retail. While working for multinational corporations with headquarters in Houston (Emerson Process Management) and Helsinki (Metso Automation), she made significant advancements in the construction industry while working at Grinaker LTA (a division of Aveng), where she served as board member for the Middle East and Africa region on a global board responsible for mining projects. She is presently working on her Doctorate in Philosophy. She recently joined the CMO Council Advisory Board in Africa.
CMO COUNCIL: How have you pivoted marketing strategy post-pandemic to ensure your brand success?
GOUNDEN: By focusing on shopper convenience and accelerating customer experience initiatives. Having customer feedback loops in place on key initiatives and delving deep into customer feedback. Using data and analytics to understand customer segments and buying behaviour and most importantly, widely communicating findings and observations about new data to all stakeholders within the organization.
CMO COUNCIL: What is your personal leadership style and how have you evolved as a marketing leader in your market?
GOUNDEN: A coaching leadership style – mentoring is one of my passions and I have been mentoring individuals for many years and still do so with ex team members from a decade ago. I have assisted and supported them through key decisions in their career and in their personal journeys over the years. I have grown, adapted, refocused, and regrouped on many occasions throughout my career. Learning and developing my skills, specifically in the technology arena has always been my focus. It has given me the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and in most cases lead teams and businesses to dominate and be first to market.
CMO COUNCIL: What would you say was your defining career moment, and what did you learn from the experience?
GOUNDEN: I have had a few defining moments in my career and those that stand out from the rest are undoubtedly those where Mergers and Acquisitions took place. Businesses that I lead rebranding or consolidation of brands that opened up a world of accelerated change dynamics unique to each brand. My key learning in these experiences was the fact that every business has a unique set of values and behaviors that one needs to take time to understand intimately. No two businesses are the same and having a fresh set of eyes is vital. I believe in the concept of “honor their journey” which simply means honor the work done by those that came before you - before one makes changes to leave a new footprint.
CMO COUNCIL: Please share advice for senior marketers navigating accelerated change and a decade dominated by disruption.
GOUNDEN: Spend time daily reading through news and marketing related newsletters to remain well informed about your industry and allow yourself the opportunity to work in a manner that keeps you ahead of imminent disruption. Navigate your world in such a way that sufficient probability for change is accommodated as part of your decision making. This enables you and your team to be in a constant mindset of “change thinking”.
CMO COUNCIL: What is the secret to a better collaboration with the C-suite?
GOUNDEN: Make the time to engage and have one-on-one meetings regularly. This certainly builds a foundation for solid relationships which facilitate for conversations around tough business decisions and discussions.
CMO COUNCIL: What factors have most contributed to your success as a CMO?
GOUNDEN: Networking is vital to keep abreast of what other CMO’s are dealing with and find solutions to challenges, as well as sharing my thoughts and ideas around the experiences which helped me and my team to overcome obstacles; and extensive research on markets, customers, competitors, trends, and technology. Always stay ahead of the game with new technology, systems and improving processes to find efficiencies. Then, also find good talent and grow these individuals to build the A team.