RBS' Cherry Tian: what she learned from Jackie Lee-Joe

This month, I had the pleasure of joining a Spotlight session with the wonderful Jaclyn Lee-Joe, Netflix’s former CMO, discussing the importance of embracing change and driving innovation in her leadership journey.

Jaclyn led an exciting life by the ‘omne trium perfectum’ rule — changing jobs three times, whilst living in three different countries and having three children along the way, so ‘change’ certainly isn’t an unfamiliar topic to her. However, it is her amazing attitude and ability of embracing change to make the most of life that has made her the incredible leader that she is today.

Jaclyn was also incredibly humble and real when telling her story. She recognised that it was her FOMO, both locationally and vocationally, that drove her to embrace change and led the life she’s been having to date. It was her constant desire for new experiences and for being at the centre of everything that led her to always being at the heart of change, with the thrill of reshaping many great brands and industries.

This life experience has given Jacklyn incredible energy and resilience. She was in Sydney when Covid lock-down hit, and as a result, she had to lead her global team remotely in her relatively new role, and from a completely different time zone which meant regular 2/3am calls with teams and agency partners across the globe. Jacklyn was very honest about the challenges and difficulties she faced, especially as a leader who loves the creative energy of being around people. She recognised that to create energy for the team, people needed to feel they were part of the moment with meaningful actions, which meant keeping your decision-making as close as possible to the consumer pulse. This has led Netflix to pivoting quickly and introducing new content/products (such as Sport) to better cater for the audience and become even more relevant in their everyday lives.

Lastly, Jacklyn talked about the importance of imagination in leadership, especially through periods of change. It’s about being able to translate trends into content, experiences and products in a creative way and imagine the full potential of your vision but still being practical and realistic in bringing the vision to life. Having a broader experience across different roles and industries helps you become multi-lingo and bring different perspectives into your vision and imagination, as long as the end result is deeply grounded in consumer needs. It is a fine balance which certainly isn’t easy to achieve but once done, it can be incredibly rewarding.

In summary, my key outtakes and learnings are:

  1. The only constant in life is change. So embrace it, be open to new experiences and challenges and enjoy being at the heart of change.
  2. Embracing challenge isn’t easy. You need energy and resilience. But if you don’t do it, you’ll never make the most of life.
  3. To create team energy in a difficult time like today, you need to make people feel what they are doing is meaningful which means staying close to the consumer pulse.
  4. Try new things, have a broader experience and become multi-lingo. It will make you more imaginative as a leader.




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