Elaine Leavenworth, SVP, chief marketing and external affairs officer, Abbott

Elaine Leavenworth, SVP and chief marketing and external affairs officer at Abbott, previously served as the company’s VP of government affairs. Leavenworth joined Abbott in 1991 and held various management positions in its nutrition, international, and health systems divisions. She was also elected a corporate officer in 1999.

Prior to Abbott, Leavenworth was a principal with the consulting firm Louden & Co.

Marketing strategy: Do what’s right for the customer.

Defining moment: I’ve had several plot twists in my career, including taking on roles outside of marketing. I’ve worked in licensing and acquisitions, and I’ve run a corporate division. The team-building lessons I learned in those roles serve me every day in my current job. I believe in high-functioning teams as growth engines, and I’m grateful for the unexpected parts of my path that helped me figure out how to enable them.

Advice to young marketers:
Take on new opportunities if they interest you, and don’t worry if it’s not a linear progression. New opportunities are never quite what you expect, but they often surprise and stretch you in ways that serve you well later. Your marketing skills will serve you well, and you’ll gain new perspective and insights that make you a better marketer.

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