An Executive’s Guidebook to a Purposeful Life
Jo Ann Herold
Founder & CEO
Herold Growth Consulting
Interview conducted by:
Bud Wayne, Editorial Executive
Published – May 1, 2023
CEOCFO: Ms. Herold, you were CMO of Honey Baked Ham Company and currently Founder and CEO of Herold Growth Consulting. Would you give us a brief look into your life and what led you to write the book “Living On A Smile: 16 Ways to Live a Big Life and Lead with Love?”
Ms. Herold: Thank you, I am excited to be interviewed for CEOCFO. I started as a star at McDonald’s and what that meant was I gave the birthday parties and wore the Hamburglar costume. What it did do was create a lifelong love for me for working for iconic brands as well as for working in the hospitality industry and serving others. I was the Chief Marketing Officer of Honey Baked Ham, twice, so I was a boomeranger. In-
What led me to write the book was it really is a celebration of mentors, family and friends who helped me along the way. It was the book that I wished I had had as I was growing through my career and busy with my family. It is a guidebook and each chapter has an area where the reader can go through and pause and reflect on what is important to them; everything from passion, to purpose, to planning.
CEOCFO: Who are you trying to reach with your book? Is there a specific type of business, person or executive? Is it strictly executives or could it be a teacher, a coach, a pastor or rabbi, a mom or dad leading a family? Who could benefit by reading your book?
Ms. Herold: It is for anyone who is looking to have a purposeful life. I would say the target when I was writing the book was for women and men executives who are in their thirties, forties, and even fifties. It is even for kids who were going off to college so that they could take the time to reflect and think about purpose.
CEOCFO: Your book seems to be part memoir and part leadership guide. That is a very unique approach. What gave you the idea for that style of writing?
Ms. Herold: I had the book in my head since I was maybe seven, so I kept these stories in my head along the way. I really wanted to write authentically and the only way for me to do that is to write in first-
CEOCFO: I have seen some pictures of you and if you do mind my saying, you do have a beautiful smile. Why is smiling important and what does it mean to, “Live On A Smile?”
Ms. Herold: When I smile it changes my mood and it is a way to communicate without saying a word. I think the world needs kindness and more smiles.
CEOCFO: I have worked with some very successful people and none seemed to lead with love. Why is leading with love important in leadership and how can it help you to be even more successful?
Ms. Herold: I think teams that start with love and concern are the ones that sustain and are the most successful. We are all going through life with our jobs, careers, stressors, so why not lead with love when life is too short not to have fun?
CEOCFO: Does leading with love have an effect on the culture of a business and if so, what is the difference that it makes?
Ms. Herold: I know companies that have a purpose are more successful and innovative. A study published in The Lancet in 2014, reported that having a sense of meaning and purpose may also increase your lifespan. There is measurable love, purpose, and happiness. Employees at companies will stay longer if they feel like their management cares about them and sees them as a whole person.
CEOCFO: Obviously, you can’t give us every detail in a short interview, but could you outline some of the important aspects of the, “16 Ways to Live a Big Life?”
Ms. Herold: The first is around passion and it is important to love what you do and do what you love. At the end of the chapter there are tips for the reader to see what drives their passion and articulating your own personal purpose. That is because of the importance of planning and pivoting and knowing when it is time to leave. Sometimes it is good to stay, but sometimes it is also good to know when it is time to go.
There is an area around people, because it is important to surround yourself with good people. There is also an area around presentation, positivity, practicing joy, feeling happiness, and prepping for the next chapter. The sixteen chapters all start with P and so as you can imagine it was a fun brainstorm as far as what those Ps were.
CEOCFO: In reading reviews on your book, professional reviews, as well as people who have read your book, they all seem to have gained a benefit. Here are some quotes of what people are saying, “Great way to view work, life and family.” “This is such an inspirational book on how to live life to its fullest.” We have talked about the benefit on the business side, but does it give you satisfaction to know people are benefiting personally, and developing better family lives and relationships with others?
Ms. Herold: Absolutely! That was the reason for the book and that fills me with a lot of gratitude.
CEOCFO: You have earned a place on the National Diversity Council’s Most Powerful and Influential Women list and a Lifetime Achievement award from the American Marketing Association. What do those awards mean to you?
Ms. Herold: To be honored by two organizations that I love so deeply fills me with gratitude and love.
CEOCFO: I see that your work with the Honey Baked Ham Company led to the EFFIE award for effectiveness, an Addie and “Best Brand Overall “from the American Marketing Association. What does it mean to be recognized by those in your industry for your accomplishments?
Ms. Herold: An Addie is an award that is based on effectiveness. We were competing with all kinds of big brands and what that said to me was that the ad and campaign did what we wanted it to, and drove strong results. With that award you really have to show the results and whether it drove topline sales and what it did from a metrics perspective. We were very proud of that and it was a huge honor.
CEOCFO: At the time Honey Baked Ham Company was in need of a marketing transformation. You guided them in the direction needed to attract a new, younger consumer. Would you tell us how you decided on that direction and about the campaign?
Ms. Herold: It took a whole village to make it happen, not only the marketing team but our franchisees and our ad agencies. It was a very group collaborative effort to make that happen. The same with the brand. We did a major overhaul of the Honey Baked brand in order to modernize it and make sure that Honey Baked was not only speaking to its core consumer, but generating and appealing to a younger demographic. Therefore, we had very specific metrics around what percentage of younger customers we wanted to drive, and the brand work did that. It was a very large effort, and many people were involved to make that happen, such as the legal community, the CEO, the family members, the brand, our franchisees, and our frontline associates.
CEOCFO: What are some of your other accomplishments in marketing?
Ms. Herold: I am proud to say I recently won an AMA Marketer for Good, which is awarded to a marketer who does good work in the community. It is important to me to volunteer and give back.
CEOCFO: Finally, with so many successes in your life already, what is next for you?
Ms. Herold: I am going to continue to coach, teach and consult. I am getting a coaching certificate from Emory, so I am very much in the beginner’s mindset as far as the coaching and I am excited about that next chapter. I do hope to write another book, as I have the author bug. I love serving my clients in the consulting area, and everybody I work with is very purpose-
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