COO Daniela Mancinelli on Her Breakout Career & Marketing Dreams

The Marketing EDGE Rising Star Award-winner talks about her career path, advice for aspiring marketers, and what it means to receive the "Academy Award of marketing.”

This year’s Marketing EDGE awards were a little different. Originally scheduled for June, the in-person ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, to ensure the safety and health of honorees and guests, the so-called Academy Awards of marketing, which pay tribute to the people who are dynamically moving the industry forward, were a little delayed but went on just as newly planned — virtually! 

The fifth annual event for the nonprofit organization, which seeks to “shape the future of marketing leadership by connecting students, academics and professionals to the resources and relationships they need,” saw a new batch of Rising Stars Award recipients, including our very own chief operating officer — Daniela Mancinelli

The award honors “talented professionals 40 years or younger who are leading the industry by disrupting the status quo and changing the way they market their organizations.” We spoke with Mancinelli to get some insights on being an industry rising star.

What does this recognition mean to you personally in your career?

I can recall a time when I was 18 years-old, determined and full of infinite dreams. I was required to make an appointment with my career counselor in hopes she could help carve out the right path for my future. I remember her asking me a series of questions that I assumed would spotlight my career path.

I stopped her midway through the session, and told her that I loved working with people, helping, and making a difference. I was creative, a curious soul, and when problems arose I didn’t shy away from them, but sought to solve them instead. I remember the look on her face — I had thrown her off her routine student Q&A session. She snapped back: “Daniela, if you think you’re going to conquer the world, and get all the things you want, you will be in for a huge disappointment. Simplify and set realistic expectations, or life will slap you hard in the face!”

I left the meeting confused and feeling discouraged. Wasn’t she supposed to motivate me, help me on my journey? I look back, and I actually believe she did. From that day on, I was set to prove her wrong. 

Today I feel I have accomplished all the things I set out to do. I work with an amazing team, full of talent and heart. They inspire me every day and drive me to continuously be a better version of myself. I solve problems of all sorts, every single day. 

Although that may sound exhausting, I think it’s fuel for my mind. I have the opportunity to think creatively and learn about businesses across the world. I get to travel not only recreationally, but also virtually as we interact with teams and clients all over the globe. 

To sum it all up, “Mrs. Career Counselor, I didn’t take your advice. I didn’t simplify. I followed my passion, my path and ended up exactly where I belong —  and although life at times has slapped me in the face, I’m grateful for the journey and everything I’ve learned along the way.”

What advice would you give to young people or students interested in the field of marketing? 

Be social and curious. Never stop researching, asking questions, learning about your industry. Fall in love with what you do, and enjoy every minute of the journey.

How do you foresee the marketing landscape changing — especially navigating the new normal of COVID-19?

As marketers, we’ll need to continue to be nimble and prepared to pivot quickly. It’s important we continuously monitor the market, the media, and be sensitive to the changes in the world. 

Consumers are shifting to online and contactless experiences. Security and safety will become more and more the priority. At the same time, there is an opportunity for brands to acquire new customers. Consumers are willing to try new products, services and experiences during this time given the disruption of this year’s events.

What’s the most valuable lesson and/or trait that you’ve learned that other marketers will be interested in hearing about from someone in your role?

Learn more about your clients’ business as a whole. Study their sales strategy, process and success rate. Learn about their team, culture, recruiting and internal goals. The more you are immersed in their business, the better it will assist with your marketing strategy.

Can you talk a little bit about what it’s like being a female business leader in particular, and the challenges you faced to get to these heights of your career?

 I wish I could just play a female power playlist for this answer, to really capture the energy I feel — I love being a female business leader! 

I’ve thought long and hard about management, and if gender played a role in my challenges or successes. The answer for me has been, no. I am who I am, and my accomplishments can be attributed to hard work, dedication, foresight and belief in others. 

Yes, I take things personal and carry things home with me. I worry all the time, and can’t help but run all scenarios, even the bad ones. My empathy meter is probably through the roof, but this is just Daniela; this is just who I am and who I will always be.

How has the company culture of N6A helped you in the path to your position as COO?

N6A has allowed me to fulfill my dream. It has given me the opportunity to make a difference and work alongside talented and wonderful people. The culture has allowed us all to be adventurous, whether it’s through Pace Points or Foul Shots. “Play in traffic” is what [CEO] Matt [Rizzetta] says  — a thought that never even crossed my mind. I’m usually the girl with the helmet, knee pads and elbow protectors.

N6A continues to push me to be the best version of myself. It has allowed me to be comfortable in the uncomfortable and to understand that defeat lives in the moment, but legacy and heart live on forever.


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Posted by N6A Team