How Wall Street Journal CMO Suzi Watford Puts Clarity of Purpose at the Heart of Leadership, Episode 77

What does it mean to be a decision maker? What can the team at The Wall Street Journal do in order to bring more young people into its fold?

On today’s episode, Wall Street Journal executive, Suzi Watford, talks about how we can create an inclusive space for our next generation of CEOs and decision-makers. Suzi has an amazing ability to engage not just brand new members, but also her own team in pursuit of a single goal – bringing in clarity of thought as they work towards achieving their biggest ambition for this year.

With over twenty years of experience in the media industry, Suzi joined Dow Jones from News UK where she oversaw The Times and The Sunday Times. She started her career as a graduate trainee for The Times after applying for a job that was advertised in the back of the newspaper. 

Currently, Suzi is the EVP of Consumer DJ and The Wall Street Journal’s Chief Marketing & Membership Officer, overseeing global sales & marketing, all digital revenue and the overall membership strategy as well as their events and conferences business. 

Since assuming the role in November 2014, Suzi has led WSJ to the biggest membership in its history – more than doubling the digital membership and attracting WSJ’s largest ever audience of student members. 

Membership is now the largest revenue line at Dow Jones. She has also built the WSJ’s conference business introducing The Future of Everything Festival and creating Journal House, an immersive brand and news experience that has travelled the globe. In addition to this Suzi has built the Professional Membership business, including the C Suite networks and the famous WSJ CEO Council. 

Whether you’re a people leader or not, you’re going to get a lot of value out of this conversation. Being a fly on the wall in a Wall Street Journal team meeting, you’re going to have a better sense for how Suzi and her team are thinking and how they were able to meet the goals that they have set out for themselves despite what happened last year. 

Share this with your favorite college students or someone you know who you feel is a decision-maker. Share with them The Wall Street Journal as an amazing tool they can use to make informed decisions. Let’s give the next generation every single opportunity to make their voices heard! 


  • Opportunity: Regardless of age, where you are in your career, everybody’s got this opportunity to make decisions. 
  • Relevance: If you want to have an idea of what’s going on in the world or gain more knowledge within an industry, The Wall Street Journal is a great place to start.
  • Community: Readers carrying the physical print product wear it as a badge, feeling like they’re part of the decision-making community. It’s an identifier that you’re part of the tribe.
  • Curiosity: Providing positive feedback to someone on your team or as a people leader is one way to follow your innate sense of curiosity.  
  • Diversity: There are different communities within the audience based on their career, industry, or particular professions. 
  • Future CEO: The journal can change the future face of business, and the more broad the audiences are reading it, the more informed they will be and the more opportunities for them to become the future CEOs.
  • Mentorship: A lot of successful people want to share what they’ve learned to the next generation. WSJ events provide another opportunity to leverage this.
  • Growth: Sharing the journal has been made easier to bring more people into it and to grow the scale. 
  • Trust: People want to work for a brand with a clear purpose. Playing a role in a newspaper brand with a 130-year history and is now bigger than it’s ever been is something you’re proud of.
  • Sustainability: WSJ creates a sustainable model for journalism by celebrating their people and the smarts within the team. They’re also doing a great job promoting from within.
  • Engagement: Keeping your team engaged makes them feel valued and confident they’re able to build a name for themselves. It gives them an agency to make smart decisions.
  • Care: Don’t underestimate the value of showing you care for your people. Show that you’re interested, you’re listening, you’re turning up, and that you want to be a part of the mission. 
  • Cycle: When your people show their engagement and they see that you care, this becomes a virtuous circle.
  • Spotlight: Find an opportunity to showcase people in front of the rest of the team. Let them use you as a platform to share their experiences.
  • Clarity: Reinforce clarity on what you’re trying to get done and let people get on with it as much as possible. Ensuring a clear sense of a single goal is the key to anyone’s success. 
  • Goal-setting: What are the big things that matter and you need to get done? Set those out every six months. 
  • Response: It’s not always the time for action, and sometimes, you do just need to have a response. Making those judgments depending on the situation is important.
  • Motivation: Create an environment that is full-on but also fun because that’s how you get great work. It’s also important to trust and empower your people. Build friendship within your team and a life around what they do. 

Links to continue to learn from Suzi:

Follow and connect with Suzi Watford:

Continue to listen to An Interview With Melissa Llarena podcast episodes 

Continue To Explore My Other Binge-Worthy Episodes

Want to continue the conversation?

Find me on Instagram! You can read my daily mini-blogs centered on the same three topics that my podcast features: creativity, courage, and curiosity. I believe that without all three it would be impossible to solve the challenges we were each uniquely made to solve. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m easy to find on Instagram @careeroutcomesmatter

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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