Kristen O'Hara on Making Magic Happen by Unlearning, Rethinking and Rebuilding (Video)

By Legends & Leadership Archives
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Editor Note: Kristen has joined Google in the role of Vice President, U.S. Agency & Brand Solutions. Since joining Hearst Publishing as Chief Business Officer in early 2020, Kristen O'Hara has led a transformation of Hearst's advertising business. "The levers today are about content, commerce and data" she points out in our wide-ranging Legends & Leaders Conversation. "What we've learned, particularly over these past couple of years, is when compelling content is connected to commerce, magic happens. This combination is a very, very powerful recipe for success in modern marketing," she says, adding that "publishing companies sit in a very unique position. Hearst has significant scale where we can be a pretty formidable force to partner with marketers … and drive all the way through from awareness to transaction." In our conversation, she explains how her success today has depended on a building new cognitive skills unlearning and rethinking.

Throughout her career Kristen has sought to make a difference. "We can put our heads down and just do the job or we can lift our heads up and do more," she says. "We can use these platforms [we have] to do well by doing good." In our conversation, she shares lessons that she applies today learned from legendary leaders like Y&R's Ed Ney, Time Warner's Richard Parsons and Jeff Bewkes, and actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith.

In speaking about her life beyond work, Kristen says, "When we cultivate a bouquet, our life is always in bloom. So, my approach [to life] is very much about cultivating a bouquet and that's helped me to keep learning, because I'm a lifelong learner, to give back and to expand myself."

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