“All In” Attitude: Laura Forman, Chief Strategy Officer, David&Goliath

For 25 years, Laura has tackled challenging brand, creative, and CRM assignments for companies in need of deep thinking including Target, Sony PlayStation, Nestle, American Airlines, Got Milk?, and Chevy.

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Laura Forman
Chief Strategy Officer David&Goliath

Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do?  Chief Strategy Officer at David & Goliath

What did you do before your current role and what led you to where you are now?  Consulting on Nissan at TBWA\Chiat\Day in NYC.  I believe it’s more important than ever to work with companies actively seeking to move the world forward. David and the D&G team have cultivated a unique “Brave” culture than inspires employees and clients alike to challenge themselves. I’m deeply honored to be a part of that.

How would you define the role of a strategist/planner? Are they any different? It’s the role of the strategist/planner to map out the strategy for the brand. No, to me it’s semantics. That said, the role varies by agency and strategy/planning isn’t the same at every shop so do your research to determine what type of strategy/planning the agency does before joining.

Has the role of a strategist been evolving since you first began?  Yes…and no. We certainly have more specialists in the field drilling deeper and into more channels than ever before, but the best work still follows key tenants: solving business problems, finding key insights, inspiring great creative.   

In your opinion, what are the greatest barriers an aspiring planner/strategist encounters when trying to start their career?  We’re often our own worst enemy. When we’re just starting out, we often stop ourselves before we start. This is especially true for younger women when the confidence gap is even greater. Across the ages, men still doubt themselves but not often as women do.  One HP study found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women only apply if they meet 100% of them. So yes, you’ll often strike out, but you won’t hit a home run either if you never step up to the plate.  

In your time, what have you noticed are the key skills and traits that separate great strategists from the mediocre?  Empathy & an “all in” attitude. I can teach craft but I can’t teach someone to care about the job, or each other. Showing up and caring is more than half the battle.   

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of culture and avoid getting stuck in a bubble?  Expose yourself to diverse opinions, ideas and cultures. This can be done as easily as changing the channel, hoping on a subway and getting off a new stop, or having a conversation with a someone in your office that has a different background than you.  I particularly find travel most effective or even better, if you’re able, live somewhere else for a while even if it’s for a month or two. I’m grateful I’ve lived all over this country, in small cities and big. I know what it’s like to live in a blinking light town in a red state and drive a big truck, but I’ve also lived in Manhattan and ridden the subway to work.