Thanksgiving dinner items.
PHOTO: Adobe Stock

2020 has been quite the year. The world has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic with 1.4 million deaths and nearly 60 million cases worldwide, and it hasn’t even been a year since the virus fully began to take its course.

Families shattered. Worlds upended. Businesses shut down. Thousands of jobs lost. Suddenly the mostant import things in the world are finding a viable COVID-19 vaccine and providing medical attention to those suffering from this virus, something that’s elevated the already heroic status of all healthcare and frontline workers.

Thanksgiving was last week, a time when Americans are asked to demonstrate what they’re thankful for — and health is likely number one on many people’s list. We also reached out to marketers to ask what they’re thankful for in their roles during these trying times.

Christina Mautz, CMO, Moz

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Christina Mautz

In this painful moment in history, I am grateful to be part of a marketing community that is striving to do the right things, the hard things. Our community has come together in support of critical issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and the #stophateforprofit initiative.

Marketing is powerful — we know we have the ability to influence. I appreciate how so many marketers are striving to use this power to help bring long overdue visibility to these human rights issues. I am also so grateful to work for a CEO who is evolving our company to be loudly and actively anti-racist.

Rebecca Biestman, CMO, Reputation.com

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Rebecca Biestman

Starting any new job creates a lot of change to manage. Starting a new job in the first week of March 2020 meant a lot more change than I bargained for. Among the many unplanned changes that have come our way this year, starting my role as CMO at the beginning of a global pandemic meant that I never had an opportunity to meet my team face to face.

For some teams, building trust and alignment takes months or even years and often requires a lot of face-to-face interaction.

I am so thankful that my incredible team embraced me with open arms from the moment I joined Reputation.com. They have shown resilience through a year where there were sometimes daily changes to plans, strategy was fluid, and roles and responsibilities seemed more like a suggestion than a certainty.

For a company that services thousands of brick and mortar retailers across the globe that were hit hard by the pandemic, on top of a team that was being led by someone they had never met, it would have been understandable for people to jump ship. But, if anything, this year has brought us all closer together, and given us more momentum than ever heading into 2021.

Derin Oyekan, co-founder, Reel Paper

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Derin Oyekan

I'm thankful for the job that I have and the amazing team that I get to work with every day. This year has definitely been a challenge for everyone, and I could not have done it with the help of my amazing coworkers.

Amid the pandemic, we had to be resourceful and find new opportunities to pivot off, but thanks to the amazing people I work with, we got through it. Super grateful for my team; I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Jay Atcheson, SVP Marketing, R2i

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Jay Atcheson

While I’m fortunate to have a running start, given that I celebrate both Canadian Thanksgiving in October and American Thanksgiving this month — this year we’ve all had a lot of time to reflect on what thankful means and how to carry that message to others.

As a marketer we have been presented with many new opportunities to nurture our relationships, provide new value to our audiences and to marry gratitude with experience. Our roles have been organically and purposefully elevated this year with a platform to act as agents of change that benefits business and our culture.

Specifically, this year I am most thankful for creativity. While overwhelming at times, we were fortunate to try something new, open new channels, and given the freedom to unlock new ideas without fear of failure. We paused, we looked at data, and we focused our creativity on what matters most, a lesson we will carry into the new year.

Creativity has now reached far beyond the traditional sense — into rapid technology adoption to meet our clients where they are, ad copy that is more in touch with an empathetic world and we have all managed to crowdsource creativity from beyond our four walls.

Personally, creativity in our home means chalk welcome messages to delivery drivers, a new woodlands trail carved in our backyard to encourage outdoor exercise and a pumpkin for two Thanksgivings that reflects all that is going great in the world. At work, it means intentionally finding social time for our teams, forging a virtual path using technology, and sending messages of gratitude to a remarkable group of clients.

Pam Boiros, CMO, meQuilibrium

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Pam Boiros

Although routines and traditions are completely upended this holiday season, that’s no reason to not express gratitude. In fact, it’s probably more important than ever to recognize what we have and what we’re grateful for in a world where so many have lost so much this year.

Like most marketing leaders, my team and I pivoted to remote work — literally overnight — in March. I am grateful for the agility and camaraderie my entire team of marketing pros showed during extreme times. This experience has brought us closer and has taught us to appreciate each person’s unique skills and abilities, and made us more empathetic.

As a company that markets and sells a digital resilience platform to enterprise HR buyers, our customers and prospects have found themselves on the frontlines in the COVID crisis — from ensuring employee health and safety to planning return-to-site strategies. If CFOs saved companies during the Global Financial Crisis, this time around visionary HR leaders will be the heroes by reimagining their workforce strategies for a more sustainable and human future. I am grateful for the unsung heroes in HR, as we help them to support the wellbeing of employees in work — and life.

Conferences and events are one of the most impactful marketing tactics for growth companies in terms of brand awareness and lead generation. When live conferences moved to virtual formats, we adjusted our marketing plans accordingly. We had always wanted to host our own event, but budget and logistics prevented us from being able to do so as a live, in person, traditional event. But we did pull off our own virtual event in October — on a shoestring budget and on a short lead time — which engaged our targeted audience of customers and prospects. I am grateful to be reminded that there is always opportunity in even the most difficult situations — if you’re open to seeing it.

Frank Pedersen, Partner, Marketing, General Manager, Apply Digital

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Frank Pedersen

First of all, I'm grateful for the health of my family and friends during this difficult time. I'm also thankful to be part of a community of international colleagues and clients that have navigated the rapid switch to remote working gracefully, prioritizing empathy, compassion and creativity.

As a digital marketer, I work with companies that are using innovation in technology as a catalyst for creating authentic customer experiences during this strange time. This need to stay apart intersects fantastically with technologies designed to keep us together despite physical distance.

We've been lucky to work with everyone from Fortune 100 companies to start-ups, and to be a real force in helping them not just reach their audiences, but to deliver positive, engaging digital experiences. There's a lot to be thankful for.