Written by Cleo Tarca
B2B marketing may have once been considered more serious than its consumer-facing sibling, but Michelle Lisowski is on a mission to change that. After all, business decisions are human ones, and they’re just as driven by emotion as they are by data. As the Global Director of Uber’s B2B Marketing team, Lisowski drives the narratives and strategy of Uber for Business, Uber Freight, and Uber Health.
Lisowski has worked in B2B for the majority of her 15+ year career, realizing early-on that she enjoyed being close to revenue. She started in media at Google, building her analytical chops and learning brand-building fundamentals from some of the company’s original creative directors. This experience set her up for leadership positions in Google Cloud, where her focus spanned everything from SMB to enterprise. On being part of Google Marketing and helping organizations move to the cloud, she says: “I feel proud to have been a part of something bigger and on the cutting edge of something new, a history-in-the-making.” After more than a decade at Google, Lisowski eventually caught the start-up bug. She remembers feeling ready to shed her safety net and take on a new challenge, so she became the Head of Brand and Growth for financial services company Kabbage.
When the chance to lead B2B Marketing at Uber arose, Lisowski realized she wanted to get back to a global team. “There’s a complexity that comes with looking at a business globally,” she says. “It never ceases to amaze me just how different the regions are.” She was also excited to build out the B2B function of a household name. “For B2B, the opportunity lies in showing the business side of a brand everybody knows about,” she says. “With the scale of Uber behind you, there’s an opportunity for big impact.”
Over two years later, the potential that originally drew Lisowski to Uber is what keeps her here and excited for more. She particularly values the scrappiness that has remained from earlier years, even though the company has grown considerably. “That’s what makes you successful at Uber,” she asserts. “There’s an expectation that you make stuff happen.” This bias toward action is one of Lisowski’s core tenets as a leader.
Lisowski also prioritizes building up her team and showing their value: “A big part of my job is to make sure the right people understand our impact and really understand our team.” She adds, “I keep the bar high, but I care significantly about the ‘how’ and I’m hopefully going to do it in a way that helps someone and makes our work better.” She also expects to learn just as much from her colleagues as they do from her. “You can’t be intimidated by what you don’t know,” she says. “You have to figure out what your strengths are and then lean on your people and learn from them along the way.”