Julie Roehm is a marketing and B2C/B2B digital and operations executive. A leader in transformational thinking and consumer-centric marketing, Roehm has been a catalyst for success at prominent U.S. and international companies for over 30 years, including Ford, DaimlerChrysler, SAP and Party City. She’s also the host of “The Conversational,” a podcast featuring discussions with transformational thinkers in the business world.
Julie Roehm’s board experience includes advisory and directorial roles with T-Mobile, Digital Marketing Institute, Ride, and FourthWall Media.
Julie Roehm earned her bachelor’s degree at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She began her career at American Airlines before moving on to become brand manager for Ford Focus at Ford Motor Company. Her efforts at Ford led to a 50% sales increase of Focus vehicles among the under-35 demographic.
Roehm soon moved to DaimlerChrysler as director of marketing communications for the Dodge brand. She was responsible for creating the iconic “Grab life by the horns” campaign as well as bringing the Hemi engine back to Dodge vehicles, effectively resurrecting the Dodge brand. In five years, she increased total revenue by 142%, earning her the title of Marketer of the Year by Brandweek and induction as an honoree into the Automotive Hall of Fame. She continued as DaimlerChrysler’s director of marketing communications for Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge, where she managed a $2 billion budget and 2,200 employees.
After her transformational work in the automotive industry, Julie Roehm went on to found the marketing strategy and consulting firm Backslash Meta, where she consulted for companies such as Toyota, Sports Illustrated/Time, and Whirlpool. She soon returned to the corporate world, taking on innovative executive-level positions such as chief storyteller and chief experience officer for SAP, ABRA Auto Body & Glass, and Party City.
Julie Roehm has accrued numerous accolades throughout her career. She was named among Brand Innovators’ Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing, Tri-State Diversity Council’s Most Powerful and Influential Woman, and landed on the list of Working Mothers magazine “Top Mothers of the Year.” She was recently honored as a Top 50 Marketer by OnCon Icon in 2022.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As an executive, I am tied to my digital devices in that I want to stay on top of the business and more importantly, be available for my team. That is a constant. That said, I bring balance and sanity to my life through exercise. I have help from a trainer and nutritionist who ensures that I am doing the right things. Health is everything and while it feels selfish, it enables me to be more selfless for those I care about. For instance, I donated my kidney to my dad in April. I credit my healthy habits for allowing me the opportunity to help him and vastly improve his quality of life as well as being able to return to my former health.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think out loud. It is how I process ideas. I love to do this with others, in a room, with a whiteboard or a screen…then thinking through the objective and how the idea can best deliver allows you to focus on how to build a plan and prioritize the work…where to partner, where to build, where to outsource…
What’s one trend that excites you?
Digital Transformation…I love how the traditional world is either completing transforming or leveraging digital technologies to enhance the experience. The experience economy has been around for a long time but what makes a great experience is a constantly moving target and one that allows for continuous innovation and growth.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Collaboration. It is the lifeblood of work. You can ALWAYS get more done together than alone. Some may think you can go faster with fewer but my experience has taught me that there is value in more diversity of thought.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Trust your instincts. Have you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink”? For me, there is a lot of truth in the notion that your gut knows what’s best. We are smart people who can justify almost anything but going with your gut rarely will lead you astray.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Breathe. Truly, though, I recommend that people pause more often and recenter. While I love the digital transformations, it can easily overwhelm and influence how we see ourselves and our relationships and affect our well being. Breath. Center. Focus. Try again.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
ONE failure? I have had a litany of failures. I do not know how one grows without them. My most prolific failure though is well documented and has to do with being fired from a company. Getting fired is not always a sign of failure though. It can easily be a sign of cultural misalignment or difference of opinion. Other failures include not being more present with my family in key times of my life where I put career ahead of them…that could have been missing a game, a play, or dinner….we learn, hopefully, we change or adapt and we get better. I learn every day…the best is yet to come.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Vacation in Greece with my family…and it was more than $100😊 Family time and vacations are so important. We all live wildly busy lives but finding time and prioritizing family adventures are critical to me. This was the first trip in 3 years. I have a philosophy that I am saying “yes” to more opportunities that come my way. I have lived to work for so many years that I am rethinking everything (maybe it’s because after you turn 50, we see more clearly what is important).
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I love my Apple everything…laptop, phone, watch, earbuds, ipad…I also like my Bose sunglasses that connect to blue tooth and allow me to walk and talk through them vs earbuds…
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Zero to One by Peter Thiel. It is like taking a Stanford entrepreneur course in a couple of hours – fast read. It is written so that you cannot put it down, which is saying something for a business book. Peter asks the question you asked…” Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.”. That is how you get from Zero to One. That is the unlock for growth versus just copying and doing something cheaper or faster. It is something that as a society, we have not done well since the 70’s.
What is your favorite quote?
Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.