Advice & Insights from Marie Le – CMO of Greenwood Bank
What’s your name and occupation?
Marie Le – Chief Marketing Officer
Where do you currently work, and where have you worked in the past?
I am currently the Chief Marketing Officer for Bank Greenwood (www.bankgreenwood.com). We are a digital mobile banking experience for the African American and LatinX communities.
Before joining Bank Greenwood, I was the VP of Marketing at MoneyLion (another mobile banking and lending experience). Before that, I was the Head of Marketing at N26 (yet another Mobile Banking Experience), where I reported to the US CEO.
Before that, I was the Global Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Twitter and OpenTable. I also spent about 14 years at Brother Inc in various leadership roles in their Australian and US offices.
Where were you born & what’s your nationality?
I was born in Vietnam. My family and I left Vietnam during the war as refugees and moved to Australia. I lived in Australia until 2007 when I moved to the USA to chase my dream of working and living in the US. I am now a proud US and Australian citizen.
Has your nationality and place of birth influenced your work and affect your career?
Absolutely! As a refugee from the Vietnam War, I have seen the fearless courage, determination, and resilience my parents showed when they escaped on a refugee boat to give me and my brother and sister a better future. The experience we had growing up, seeing their struggles, seeing how they continuously drew on those traits, is something that has become an integral part of who I am – both as a person and a career professional.
What work have you been the most proud of in the past five years?
I have had several career achievements I have been very proud to have achieved:
- Twitter: We launched Twitter Lite in six emerging markets in 2017, leading to rocket ship usage growth in those markets during a time when usage across other parts of the platform was somewhat stagnant.
- N26: Launching N26 into a very competitive US market and gaining over 250K customers in a short five months at one of the lowest CAC in our global offices
- MoneyLion IPO: Being an instrumental member of the team that helped MoneyLion go public in 2021 and was a crucial driver in the company’s profitability, growing quarter on quarter to meet set user growth goals
- Forbes Brands That Matter: Most recently, having Bank Greenwood nominated as one of Forbes Brands that Matter (Oct 2022).
Have you ever experienced racism or micro aggressions during your career? If so, how did you navigate those situations?
100%. I am a member of several marginalized groups. I have faced this consistently throughout my career from agencies (surprisingly, it’s been with several PR agencies!), vendors, peers, and even some leaders.
I often hear a lot – you are very young to be in such a high leadership role when people first meet me and assume I would be a pushover being a woman of Asian descent. That being said, I have found that as I have moved up in my career, most people, through spending some time with me, working with me, naturally course correct. Some, you can’t change their perception no matter what you do. In those instances, I accept it is what it is and not my issue.
What career advice would you give to someone who looks like you?
- Be Authentic – Continue to be your authentic self and be yourself. As a leader, authenticity is essential.
- Never be ashamed of who you are, where you come from, or your background. Every experience shapes you. It helps you learn the tools or strategies to handle the next level of your career. I firmly believe you are never put in a situation you can never handle.
- You can’t control others. You can control how you react to things. You will encounter people who judge you along the way. People will always have their agenda. Stay true to yourself and your vision of what you want, and do your best.
What do you wish you had done with your money sooner?
Buy a place and diversify my investment strategy!
I have lived in some of the most expensive cities in the world – NYC, San Francisco, and Sydney (Australia). Rent money is dead money, so buying your place and using that rent money towards your mortgage is a good investment strategy for your future. With interest rates being what they are now, it can be tricky in today’s market.
My investment strategy now comprises various investment assets, which helps diversify risk and reward.
What other unique ways have you made money outside of your main career?
Investing in various things such as property, stocks, and recently some crypto.
What advice would you give someone looking to break into your field?
- Come prepared for interviews.
- Do your research before the interviews.
- Bring your best self when given the opportunity. You’d be surprised how many candidates I have interviewed that don’t prepare. Preparation sets you apart.
- Have patience and resilience. Just because a role takes time to come through, or may not come through at all, don’t take it onboard as a reflection on your abilities. It’s the market. The employment market is a little volatile right now.
- Be open to change and operate in ambiguity by using your problem-solving skills to find the best solution in these environments – a must in the tech environment.
If someone reading this wanted to work with you or become your mentee, how would they be able to do so?
I am open to being a mentor – just reach out to me on Linkedin and let me know why you would love to connect. I love hearing people’s stories and how I can help. I have had several mentors from different industries throughout my career, so I want to give back to the next generation and help shape our next generation of leaders.
However, candidly I only have a little time. So, if i do take on a mentee, I want them to be clear about how I can help them, be committed to making the most of our time together, and come prepared for any of our sessions. Any time i spend with a mentee to be fully utilized by them to be the best value possible.
How did you accomplish all that you have?
I keep preserving and approaching things with a strong commitment, relentless fearlessness, and passion. This energy and dedication have been the foundation of my success. I am a firm believer in a Growth Mindset.
Any last bit of advice you would give your younger self to help you earn more and thrive in your career?
If I could speak to my younger self, career paths are not always straight paths. They can take detours and side roads and enjoy the ride because it all works out in the end. You don’t know how often something will happen that may look or feel like a significant unsettling disruption or setback – and when I reflect, I realize it all happened for a reason, and I came out of the experience in a better place than if it didn’t happen. One of the strongest traits I have is my ability to adjust to change and ambiguity. A must if you want to get into the tech field!