With Sherilyn Shackell, CEO of The Marketing Academy…

Let’s start by you sharing why & how The Marketing Academy even exists.

The Marketing Academy exists because we believe that marketing, media and advertising at its best is the means to create a powerful & meaningful impact on the citizens of our planet. The only function and industry that truly influences the way people think, the choices they take and the decisions they make.

For this collective power to be wielded in a positive way, our talent needs to be nurtured & developed. And that’s where we come in.

We deliver world class leadership programs annually across the globe. Each program serves a unique purpose, tailored to the specific needs of our diverse community. At our core, we are dedicated to shaping the future of leadership through these transformative programs;

  • The Scholarship – for emerging leaders in Marketing, Media and Advertising with between 8 and 18 years work experience, based in UK, USA or Australia.
  • The Fellowship Program – exclusively for Client side CMOs with a minimum of 15 years leadership experience based in EMEA, USA or APAC.
  • The Virtual Campus Program – an online program delivering world class learning for our Alumni, Mentors, Sponsors and their teams, globally.

Our programs are unique in that they are highly selective, aimed at the top 1% of talent, yet completely free of charge.

How do your programs equip marketers with the skills they need to fully embody the principle of the modern-day, adaptable marketer?

Our programs ensure that both the commercial & social impact of marketing, media and advertising is felt in every board room, now and in the future. And we do this by ensuring our curriculums are delivered by the best brains in the industry, globally;

We unite a powerful, committed and engaged community of client-side CEOs & CMOs, media and creative agency CEOs and subject matter experts from every marketing discipline in the industry who share their wisdom and knowledge within our programs on a pro bono basis.

How do you specifically develop Board leadership capabilities in your CMO Fellowship Program?

We are privileged in that our Fellowship Program is delivered in partnership with McKinsey & Partners. Together with McKinsey we have developed a curriculum which provides CMOs with access the to board-level thinking and development in all elements of Board stewardship not usually provided to marketers.

The curriculum includes Corporate Finance, Operational Effectiveness, Leading Transformational Change, Corporate Strategy, Organisational Heath, Delivering Shareholder Value and so much more. Our ‘Fellows’ also gain access to Mentors; high profile board chairs, non-executives, CEOs and board members and each Fellow is assigned a Board level Executive Coach who works with them throughout the program.

Added to this is the powerful peer-to-peer learning they share within the cohort and the holistic nature of the program ensures they accelerate their knowledge and experience to take on a future CEO or main board roles.

What can CMOs bring to the boardroom table that other organisational roles don’t?  

The best CMOs have an extremely broad set of capabilities. They are superb communicators, storytellers and innovators with the ability to influence, engage and take risks. They also have a deep understanding of the commercial drivers of their business, intellectual breadth, a well-honed ability to spot the opportunities and an unfailing ability to understand what their customers want in every context.

The same can’t be said of most other organisational roles so in my opinion every company should harness these abilities by ensuring their CMO is bang smack in the centre of their Board room.

Looking to the future, we can see emerging trends coming through with the rise of AI, automation, and similar. Paint us a picture of the CMO of the future.

Well, I can assure you that the CMO of the future will not have to be an expert in AI!

What they will need to be is a superb leader…albeit with a few AI experts in their team. My point being that if CMOs become exceptional at inspiring, developing and empowering their teams, the results will follow.

But the remit is growing. The most effective CMOs now and in the future will take direct accountability for growth and, in addition to brand & comms, will be responsible for pricing, product, innovation, customer experience, technology, data & insight…with increasing remit for P&L.

What’s the single biggest thing a CMO should be concerned about getting right in regards to their marketing talent?

Leave them better than you found them. By this I mean invest time, energy, money and resources into ensuring your teams are operating at the highest level possible. Focus on leadership and personal development (assuming you’ve already hired for attitude as well as skill) because its only when they are performing at their best will they produce the best outcomes.

You run the Fellowship Program in 3 regions, what are you seeing to be the differences in roles & leadership culture across the regions?

 Yes there are differences – in style and culture mostly which would be odd if this wasn’t the case. But also stature of the function can differ between countries, specifically between global & domestic brands. There are differences in hierarchy, status, attitude, and also levels & scope of the actual role.

Communication styles vary hugely between Europe, USA and Asia and then are different between countrys. E.g in the APAC Fellowship we have CMOs from 8 different countries across the region and some of the differences are profound.

Fortunately we’re all humans, and once we give permission to drop the ‘learned’ behaviour, provide an environment of phycological safety and enable a human to human connection, we find that differences reduce and magical things happen.

You recently announced the CMOs selected to join the inaugural APAC Fellowship Program What sort of selection process takes place for selecting marketers for this cohort and what are some of the qualities you look for?

 Being selected for a place on the Fellowship in any region has always been a extremely competitive. We’re specifically looking for current CMOs at the height of their CMO career, who are seeking to become CEOs or broader main board level business leaders.

So we’re looking for ambition, seasoned commercial experience, broad scope of role running complex teams & budgets, superb leadership capability, and they are in the most senior marketing/customer role their company has.

CMOs who meet the core selection criteria submit a 3 part application which includes essays about their aspirations and achievements plus a written endorsement from their CEO. If they are shortlisted following that, they’ll be interviewed by a member of the selection panel ahead of final decisions being made.

Curating the final cohort is a vital exercise for us as the more diverse the cohort (in every context) the richer the experience is for the entire cohort. The decisions are not taken lightly.

And finally, what’s next for The Marketing Academy?

We’re in the first year of the APAC Fellowship and its already attracting interest from across the region for our other programs; The Scholarship Program for emerging leaders and the Virtual Campus Program an online program of world class learning for our community of Alumni, Mentors, Coaches and sponsors. So in the future we’re keen to enable companys across Asia to access our other programs.


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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


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