Leslie Osman, Park Bank
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Leslie Osman, vice president marketing and communications, Park Bank.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
I believe the most challenging part of marketing right now is the general theme of integration and alignment and the role that data plays within a marketing strategy. It’s critical right now to be able to tie your marketing decisions to data in order to run an effective and efficient marketing strategy. While developing the infrastructure to support data-driven strategies, marketing is again playing a critical role in customer satisfaction and reducing the silos between sales and marketing. Audiences are now demanding personalization — no longer can you have unilateral messaging. Content must be personalized and provide enough value to the audience that a mutual trust is developed. Along with data, this makes it easier to evaluate campaigns and pass along real information to your sales team. I like to describe it as instead of standing on rooftops shouting about how great your products are, companies are shifting their marketing to become a resource and listening to consumer needs. The marketing campaign that follows will be one that provides the consumer with something they want.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
I’ve always admired Beth Comstock, vice chair at GE. I don’t know her personally (wish I did!) but I’ve followed her career through GE and admire her innovative spirit. She’s been a leader in the marketing world and continues to push the needle. She’s also a role model for inspiring young women to become business leaders — something I think all of us women in leadership are grateful for.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
I’m not sure I could pick out one high point. From the beginning of my professional career my goal has been to grow. I’ve always wanted a challenge. Every time I took a step closer to my dream of being in a senior leadership role was a highlight. Starting at Park Bank in a VP role has definitely been the cherry on top. I’ve put in a lot of hard work and enjoy being able to think and act more strategically to continue to grow the bank.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I wrote an article about this. When I landed my first job out of college, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a lot of strong women in the workplace. I didn’t know any better, but they turned into my mentors. They told me to set goals and start building the steps needed to get there. This ended up being the foundation to my entire career. Every step I took in my career had my end goal in mind. My advice — get a mentor you can look up to. Never think you’re too good; take advice, listen, and learn.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
Professionally, it’s an incredible place to build your career and there are endless opportunities for growth. The business community that’s established here is one that supports relationship-building and growing your own network. The Madison business community is also really innovative — from startups to larger organizations, we’re ahead of the curve. Living? These are some of my favorite reasons for living in Dane County: smaller community farmers markets, outdoor activities for every season, our restaurants cannot be beat, incredible shows at the Overture Center, and within 30 minutes of the city you can be hiking some of the most picturesque areas in our state.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
I can shingle a house. I imagine that’s pretty surprising for most people. My dad was a teacher when I was growing up, but was also a roofer on the side. I always loved to go to job sites with him and get up on the roof to help. I’ve never done one on my own, but if it HAD to get done I’d know how to do it. To this day, I enjoy a good hands-on project.
What are your guilty pleasures?
A McDonald’s Diet Coke. Why are these SO good? I often sneak them so people don’t know they are my secret pleasure, though I guess not so secret anymore. Other than that, I don’t really keep secrets — I’m an open book.
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