MARKETING · PRODUCT · SALES
As a marketer I appreciate great storytelling. It’s no wonder I love surrounding myself with entrepreneurs. Their stories are filled with passion, desire, hope and ambition. It doesn’t get better than that.
Judy Hackett is a founding partner of Bryant Stibel. Hackett has served as General Manager and Senior Vice President of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility. Previously, she served as Chief Marketing Officer for Dun & Bradstreet Emerging Businesses and Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation.
Hackett has more than 25 years of experience in consumer and B2B strategic planning, marketing, advertising, brand development, sales and product management. Hackett was previously Chief Marketing Officer at Web.com, (NASDAQ:WWWW) and held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for CareerBuilder, where she led consumer marketing, corporate communications, and product development.
Prior to CareerBuilder, Hackett was Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at HeadHunter.NET and helped take the company public in 1999. Hackett also spent time in television as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for TBS Superstation.
Hackett has received numerous industry awards in her career including an EMMY, ADDY, PRSA Phoenix Award and Promax / BPME Gold Medallion. She graduated from Kent State University with a degree in Journalism.
A Storyteller First
Considering where I ended up, it might surprise you how I started. I began my career as a television producer in Cleveland, Ohio at stations WCLQ, WEWS, WOIO and WUAB, making promos and trailers for TV shows, movies, and ratings-driven newscasts. Eventually, I earned my stripes as head of marketing and was able to play a leading role in shaping Cleveland TV history. That is, while working at WOIO, I helped launch Cleveland’s first new newscast in 40 years (to record ratings) and served as CBS network’s lead marketer in launching the first FOX-to-CBS network affiliate switch in the country, after the U.S. broadcast TV realignment led by Rupert Murdoch in ‘94.
Serendipity, Naïveté and a Power Play
Overnight, the FOX station I’d so proudly helped build was heading to another network. Gut punch! But I didn’t let the sting linger long. With my future uncertain, I decided to attend the national Promax BPMA event and sought out George Schweitzer, head of CBS network marketing, to propose we become a CBS network. My hunch paid off. Soon we had meetings at Blackrock. Me, in my power red suit, sitting next to then CBS President, Howard Stringer, and the only woman at the table, helping to reshape our station and lead the way for other affiliates to do the same. I had no idea what was to come, but I also knew I would’ve never had the opportunity without losing our affiliation. What came from it was serendipitous: Being asked to lead the first national CBS station switch, which ultimately became a pivotal moment early in my career that would eventually lead to my arrival at a Superstation.
I Landed on the Flagship
After the successful switch, I was asked to join other networks, but it was cable TV that interested me most. Ted Turner was changing the way we watched television at the time and so in 1995, I headed to Atlanta to head up marketing for flagship Turner network, TBS. In those years, I led a team of 40+ to launch one of the network’s most successful franchises, Dinner & a Movie as well as Steven Spielberg’s, Survivor of the Holocaust, NASCAR On TBS and Turner’s first simulcast online, which proved hugely successful and even brought the CNN.com servers down.
At Turner, I was asked to join the North American Channel Hyperlinking Organization, (yes, we called ourselves NACHO) a WorldGate Communications advisory board of cable operators, network big wigs and Internet providers tasked with solving the future delivery of TV online. This was a turning point for me. Things were changing in a big way and lightbulbs started going off. So, after 16 years in television, I officially signed off to focus on digital.
Forging Ahead at HeadHunter
Soon, I found the perfect fit and culture as head of marketing for online recruitment company, HeadHunter.net. As one of the earlier consumer internet technology companies in the space, we could build the teams and culture we wanted from scratch, and like many internet companies of its time, we took HeadHunter public in 1999 on NASDAQ and in August of 2001, merged with CareerBuilder in a private offering backed by media companies Tribune and Knight Ridder. There I stayed on as CMO of the newly formed CareerBuilder until the company’s permanent move to Chicago – when I opted to stay put and help launch the brands of The Gospel Music Channel and Moe’s Southwest Grill, while heading up business and brand development at Blue Sky Agency.
That’s When I Got the Call
From Jeff Stibel, with an offer to rebrand web hosting provider Interland to Web.com. Gigabytes and megabytes were becoming websites and web services with new go-to-market, packaging and pricing businesses – and the consumer now understood what it was all about. Within two years, our management team increased the value of the company by 200%, and in anticipation of industry consolidation, we sought out a deal with Website Pros. The right call – as the company eventually sold again in 2018 for $2B, a win that would ultimately prove validating for our team.
With two public company sales under my belt, I had the opportunity to turn my attention to startups in Atlanta that provided me with more operational and entrepreneurial business experience. One being a now defunct, automated ad-based technology service and the other, a direct response driven, stock market education company. There I essentially earned my M.B.A. through crash courses in operational management and while both businesses ultimately met their demise, I was fortunate to learn more in those two years than any book could ever teach.
Bringing the Band Back Together
That’s when I got another call from Jeff. “It’s time,” Jeff Stibel said. “The gang is getting back together and this is a startup with assets and a brand you know.” Great Hill Partners and the Credibility Corp management team, bought the assets of Dun & Bradstreet’s Credit-on-Self Solutions and formed Credibility Corp. I served as the company’s CMO and over the next five years, the now Bryant Stibel team grew the business and sold it back to Dun & Bradstreet in 2015 for $320M. Post merger, I held roles as the newly formed division’s CMO and GM/President.
Today I’m a Founding Partner and CMO for Bryant Stibel, where, along with my partners/friends of many years, we leverage our individual and combined working experience to help entrepreneurs and management teams take flight. And, since I like things that go fast, this has been a great place for me to take my career to new heights.
After hours, I’m fortunate to serve on the board for First Star, an organization dedicated to helping foster youth change their lives to achieve academic success and self-sufficiency. I also serve as Co-President of the Los Angeles chapter of The CMO Club, a global organization of Chief Marketing Officers whose purpose is solving marketers biggest challenges.