Michelle Heath is an entrepreneurial leader and brand strategy linchpin, recognized and respected for her extraordinary ability to create brand value and build high-performing teams to drive unstoppable business growth.
As founder & CEO of Growth Street, the strategic marketing consulting firm that delivers fractional CMO & marketing advisory services, Michelle is pioneering a new model for her clients. By providing fractional CMO and Marketing coaching services, Michelle’s clients benefit from her problem-solving expertise to close the gaps and build successful brands. Michelle is a game-changer, known for her ability to align marketing, sales and product teams to deliver measurable business results.
Prior to founding Growth Street, Michelle earned her chops in a variety of C-suite roles across Marketing, Digital, UX and Product at Fidelity Investments, Manulife Financial, J.P. Morgan Chase and E*TRADE Financial. She pioneered digital marketing at Fidelity Investments as the internet was igniting new ways of marketing and went on to lead the pivot of J.P. Morgan’s active trader brand and business, resulting in a $1.6B sale to E*TRADE Financial. From there, Michelle challenged herself to leave the corporate world to get her hands dirty and was CMO for several high-tech start-ups, including Currensee, the largest Forex trading social network, that was acquired in 2013 by Oanda.
Michelle is passionate about women supporting women. She is the co-founder of MavenMinds, a non-profit, membership-driven business that gives women founders a new way to grow their businesses faster together. She is also a board member for MITX InfluenceHER, inspired programming aimed at giving women access to advice, education and networking to help them grow in their careers. Michelle shares her expertise and opinions through her well-read blog and is an in-demand speaker for a number of programs and conferences including the Harvard “Women in Business Leadership Conference”, Babson “Entrepreneurship Forum”, Boston College Carroll School of Management, Start-up Institute and others.
Michelle lives in Boston with her husband, two amazing kids, and their dog, Baxter the Boxer.
We asked Michelle about where the idea for her business sprouted, and here’s what she had to say…
How did you get your idea or concept for your business?
I founded Growth Street in 2013 after several decades running Marketing in-house for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. I turned the problems I experienced first-hand into a business opportunity.
If you run a business, you must constantly understand the problem you solve for your customers. Articulating the problem you solve is key for people to understand whether they need your product or service. It makes it easy for people to self-select versus having to do a lot of work to figure it out.
The problem Growth Street solves is two-fold:
In a big company, Marketing leaders are spread thin. They are charged with P&L responsibilities, leading and cultivating a team, managing agencies and strategic partnerships, participating on cross-business initiatives, all while trying to keep their fingers on the pulse of the exec team, people, metrics and beyond. When I was in this type of role, I wished I had a “mini-me” that could take some of the strategic projects off my plate and get them done. Not an agency, a real partner that’s immersed in the business, but nothing like that existed at the time.
And, at small companies, like start-ups, resources and budgets are scarce. They typically hire CMOs later in their growth stage. That means a junior marketer is on-deck to figure it all out on their own, or sometimes, they have no marketing staff at all. The horror! I saw the opportunity to be an advisor to the CEO to help them build a marketing team and practice that delivers results. That includes hiring, mentoring, rolling-up my sleeves and delivering results. It also means filling a gap when there is no CMO, whether they’re not ready to hire one or the CMO has left or is on a leave of absence. We fill the gap.
Our business continues to evolve. We recently launched a coaching practice where we help Marketers grow, personally and professionally. A few examples are a Director of Marketing who wants to move up to the CMO position. Or a CMO who needs an advisor and sounding board. I love being able to help people find new ways to grow.
Where do you find inspiration to stay motivated?
Staying motivated can be tough as an entrepreneur. You’re supposed to have the answers and make decisions and grow your business and all that great stuff, but there are times when you need help. Women especially need to support each other to grow, but it doesn’t always happen that way. It’s one of the reasons I co-founded MavenMinds. We’re a non-profit that helps women founders grow our businesses faster together. It’s all about “the power of the pack” and how, with the right people, new doors and ideas open up and the sky is the limit. In just a few short months, we’ve grown our membership to include powerhouse women here in Boston and, for anyone interested in learning more, please reach out to me and attend one of our meetings as my guest!
How do you achieve work-life balance as a business owner?
Work-life balance is a myth! After 16+ years of juggling work and a family, I know that the only way to make things work is by prioritizing what’s important. I am crazy about lists and every day I make a list to prioritize what must get done before I call it a day. My kids are 16 and 12, so racing to baseball practice or swim pick-up or whatever else, is just part of my day. We have to do a lot of planning to make sure that it all gets done but I’m lucky my husband is a great partner and cooks dinner most nights. My advice to the people I coach is to stop trying to achieve balance and decide what’s important and just make it happen!
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