Code and Theory recently announced the appointment of Marisa Elena Todd as Managing Director of Code and Theory London. With over 15 years of experience leading strategy and product teams around the world, Marisa shares her insights and candid thoughts on the advertising industry today.
What for you is the most exciting challenge you’re tackling in your new role?
MT: The most exciting challenge is maintaining our intimate culture and our client relationships, as well as growing the Code and Theory’s London studio. We work closely with our clients, we feel like extended teams. At Code and Theory, we’re a big family, and maintaining our culture is key to success.
Having worked in over 9 countries, you’re no stranger to problem-solving across cultures. What’s something that you’ve found universal when working with companies and colleagues from various backgrounds?
MT: You have to learn how to adapt your style of work and communication. The most important thing is to listen and observe how others work first. It’s also important to recognize cultural differences and their work ethic. For example, I’ve learned to tone down my NYC style of working while working in Europe.
How does your new role at Code and Theory differ for you in terms of your past projects and roles?
MT: First and foremost, it lacks the politics and repetitive nature of being client side. Now that I’m at Code and Theory, I get to work with such a breadth of clients across media, publishing, fashion, and finance. Every day there are new challenges and problems to solve.
What do you consider the biggest personal achievement in your career that still fills you with the most pride?
MT: I turned down a position at Apple and took a bet on a little-known startup at the time called Farfetch. I built the product and design teams from the ground up. It was one of the most rewarding and painful experiences, but I learned a lot about myself during that time.
Was there a job you had at one point, outside of advertising, that prepared you most for success later in life?
MT: I worked at an amazing concept store in San Francisco that became a bit of a destination. The owners were amazing at clienteling and I learned how to read a room, upsell and build an amazing client base. I also art directed some of my print ads and campaigns there.
Can you reflect on a mentor that helped guide you in your career and tell us what made them special?
MT: It’s funny, I’ve had a few mentors, but the one that stands out the most is ironically a managing director, who was incredibly supportive of me coming back to agency life and moving from creative leadership to managing director.
In a few words, what advice do you have for young talent entering the advertising industry?
MT: Be fearless, listen to feedback and keep pushing your work.