From CMO to CEO: Intel Australia's Kate Burleigh

We talk marketing and business strategy along with setting your own career path, with Intel's former marketing lead and now managing director

If you want to make your way to the top in business, it pays to play to your strengths.

That has certainly been the plan for Intel’s MD and former marketer, Kate Burleigh, although the starting point for her journey up the executive ladder was an unusual one.

Burleigh chose communications as her primary field of tertiary study, over more usual selections such as commerce or business studies. But 20 years later it is a decision that has paid off, with Burleigh stepping into the managing director role for Intel Australia in April 2012.

“I had a plan that I wanted to work in business, and I was pretty aware that communications was one of my stronger suites,” Burleigh says. “So I figured I would probably succeed most in business if I worked my way up through a communications stream.”

That decision landed her a public relations role in the 1990s at electronics retailer, Dick Smith. She soon realised the limitations of that position.

“Once I started to work and understood more how business worked, I decided that really I wanted to work for a multinational company,” Burleigh says. “I knew to do that, I would need to attain formal qualifications.”

In 1996 she commenced an MBA, and later that year fulfilled her multinational ambitions when she landed the PR manager role for Intel Australia. That position proved the launching pad for a number of increasingly senior roles within the company, including national marketing manager in 2006 and now managing director.

Along the way Burleigh has worn various hats including Internet marketing manager, enterprise marketing manager, and a regional marketing role related to the launch of Intel’s Centrino mobile processing platform. This saw her performing a variety of tasks and working with regional telecommunications companies to develop their Wi-Fi strategies.

“I took that regional role because it expanded out my regional knowledge of how we do things on a regional level,” Burleigh says. “There is a point where once you decide you do want to have a general management role in a large company like Intel, you actually have to study the nature of the business and how decisions are made, and expand your thinking to an international footprint.”

Burleigh says each step has been a deliberate choice to increase her skill set. In 2004 she took on the role of retail channel and OEM marketing manager for Australia, working with Intel’s larger retail and manufacturing partners to ensure pull-through of the ‘Intel Inside’ branding. Hence when she was appointed national marketing manager in 2006 she worked to regain the channel role as well, which was returned to her in 2010 in the expanded capacity of channel sales manager.

“This role was created for me, partly because we needed to shake up things in the channel sales area and partly because I needed to learn that side of the business,” Burleigh says. “The shake-up worked well and we managed to grow a market that had been stagnating for us. Part of that success came through fixing a disconnect we had between sales and marketing.”

In addition to career planning, Burleigh has worked hard to ensure her skills have been highly visible to her colleagues.

“One of the things I did have to work on a lot was making sure that people within the organisation who might have had a bias to sales or engineering knew that I had the ability to work in those roles as well,” Burleigh says. “People tend to typecast you. So I often say to my staff if they don’t make it clear what it is they want to do, don’t expect other people to work it out.”

While many CEOs come up through the sales channel, Burleigh believes marketing provides an advantage through building skills in selling one-to-many.

“I liked the idea of being able to influence on a broader scale than just the one-to-one sales process,” Burleigh says. “And that’s why marketing was so appealing. It is a form of sales – it is just selling one-to-many.”

Indeed, Burleigh believes her marketing experience will prove increasingly beneficial to her company.

“The tools we are using allow us to have much broader conversations with people, and it’s not all about the B2B sales anymore - we are able to go one-to-many,” Burleigh says. “It’s a good time for marketers, but you want to keep those skill sets up.”

Other CMO to CEO success stories

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia

Signup to CMO’s new email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Great piece Katja. It will be fascinating to see how the shift in people's perception of value will affect design, products and services ...

Paul Scott

How to design for a speculative future - Customer Design - CMO Australia

Read more

Google collects as much data as it can about you. It would be foolish to believe Google cares about your privacy. I did cut off Google fr...

Phil Davis

ACCC launches fresh legal challenge against Google's consumer data practices for advertising

Read more

“This new logo has been noticed and it replaces a logo no one really knew existed so I’d say it’s abided by the ‘rule’ of brand equity - ...

Lawrence

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

IMHO a logo that needs to be explained really doesn't achieve it's purpose.I admit coming to the debate a little late, but has anyone els...

JV_at_lAttitude_in_Cairns

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well. I just came across your website and I have to say that your work is really appreciative. Your conte...

Rochie Grey

Will 3D printing be good for retail?

Read more

Blog Posts

How to design for a speculative future

For a while now, I have been following a fabulous design strategy and research colleague, Tatiana Toutikian, a speculative designer. This is someone specialising in calling out near future phenomena, what the various aspects of our future will be, and how the design we create will support it.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

The obvious reason Covidsafe failed to get majority takeup

Online identity is a hot topic as more consumers are waking up to how their data is being used. So what does the marketing industry need to do to avoid a complete loss of public trust, in instances such as the COVID-19 tracing app?

Dan Richardson

Head of data, Verizon Media

Brand or product placement?

CMOs are looking to ensure investment decisions in marketing initiatives are good value for money. Yet they are frustrated in understanding the value of product placements within this mix for a very simple reason: Product placements are broadly defined and as a result, mean very different things to different people.

Michael Neale and Dr David Corkindale

University of Adelaide Business School and University of South Australia

Sign in