Marie Todd WIT Stories

Marie Todd is the Director of Licensing at Komar, and she was was a 2017 Wonder Women Awards Nominee. Read Marie’s bio here.

What is your single best piece of business advice?
Avoid tunnel vision. Understand how your work impacts others. In larger corporations, it’s easy to fall into the role of focusing solely on your role, your goal and your strategy, which then leads to decision-making based on a single perspective rather than multiple perspectives. This approach is short-sighted since it does not take into account the impact on others and their goals within the company. Having a 360-degree view of the business and especially of the relation of those who are affected by your decisions is critical. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in all areas, but have a basic familiarity with the interests and priorities of others so you can make the very best decision for the company overall.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I have a daily ritual that I find very important in doing exactly what I described above. I spend the first hour of the day hopping around, office to office, coffee in hand, saying hello to team members, making a few minutes of small talk, and then asking about their day’s projects. This face-to-face interaction done in a casual way without the need for meetings or phone calls, allows me a special window into what is happening with my team, both in and out of the office. Just a few minutes often tells me what specific challenges or opportunities are people facing, what their priorities are and whether I can help with something or add a new perspective. There is rarely a day that I don’t learn something helpful from this practice. Occasionally, my day changes because of a conversation I have had in this first hour, and the determination that my priorities have shifted to take into account the needs of another part of the team.

What is your favorite productivity tip?
Cut out the email and instant messaging and get up and walk to your co-workers space to talk. It’s faster, more effective and there is less chance for misunderstanding.

What advice would you offer women wishing to break into the licensing industry?
Find a mentor. I was lucky to have that and it proved invaluable. If one doesn’t appear, reach out. Most experienced people love to mentor their junior colleagues. Earlier in my career I worked for a company that was slightly chaotic and lacked structure, so it was easy to get lost in the shuffle, or just get thrown into new functions haphazardly. I identified someone who seemed to be able to navigate the environment smoothly and was actually thriving, success-wise. I simply knocked on that door, asked if I could show up 30 minutes earlier in the morning with some coffee for the both of us and talk through my day, then get his feedback and expertise. He happily agreed, and from that grew not only a structured approach to my professional development but also a lifelong friendship.