Forty Under 40
As the global organizer of Visa’s marketing around the London Games, Gleeson went around the world daily starting more than a year before the Games began, trying to pull the company’s largest marketing campaign together. She was up early, fielding calls from London. She later transitioned to calls with Visa marketers in Russia and then closed her day with calls to Australia, Asia and other markets.
“The day really was 24 hours for a reason,” Gleeson said. “It’s not a challenge. It’s just how you get a job done.”
Without that dedication, it’s hard to imagine Visa Inc. getting the job done. The company wanted to create a centralized marketing platform for the London Games. It was the first time it had ever mandated that all 70 of its markets use the same tag line, “Go World,” and coordinate creative and athlete selection through headquarters.
Gleeson spearheaded the effort. Over the course of 15 months, she spoke with an average of 15 markets a day regarding athletes and creative. She helped manage Visa’s creation of 10 original creative spots with 75 adaptations, and worked with Facebook and Google on a social media application that ran in 36 countries. The effort was so successful that Visa plans to replicate it for other global events like the FIFA World Cup and future Olympic Games.
“This was partly her brainchild, and the execution has turned it into a model for a lot of our different work around the world. People view it as a huge success,” said Jennifer Bazante, Visa’s head of global brand and product marketing.
Just as amazing is the fact Gleeson, who attended both the Beijing and Vancouver Games, did the bulk of the work while she was pregnant.
“I just got to do everything and not go to the Olympics,” Gleeson said, chuckling at the fact that she missed the reward most Olympic marketers get for all their hard work. “But I got to watch at home with my older son (3), and he knows as much about Michael Phelps as anyone now.”
| Age: 37
Title: Senior business leader, global sponsorship marketing, Olympics marketing team
COMPANY: Visa Inc.
EDUCATION: B.A., sociology, University of California, San Diego; M.S., sport management, University of Massachusetts
FAMILY: Husband, Frank; sons Emmett (3) and Connor (6 months)
CAREER: More than eight years at Visa in Olympics marketing; before that, seven years at Madison Square Garden
FIRST JOB: Summer camp counselor for pre-K students
| HOW DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?: Set parameters and make myself keep to them.
BEST BUSINESS ADVICE RECEIVED: Cherish relationships. The further I go in my career, the more I appreciate the relationships I have, be it for getting the job done on a daily basis or for the network of friends and colleagues from whom I seek advice and counsel.
IPOD PLAYLIST: Mumford & Sons, Adele, Fun, Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi
TWITTER HANDLE: @tallgirl32
STRESS RELEASE: An afternoon at the spa and a few hours of quiet
PET PEEVE: Distracted drivers. Don’t text, check email, eat, dial, apply makeup, etc., while on the freeway please
GUILTY PLEASURE: People magazine
FANTASY JOB: Awarding grants for the Gates Foundation