YWCA 30th Anniversary Leader: MARTHA BARTLETT PILAND
Martha Bartlett Piland, president + CEO, established MB Piland Advertising + Marketing in 1998. The agency has a reputation for razor-sharp strategy, killer creative and a focus on internal audiences that make external marketing exponentially stronger. The firm is celebrating 20 years in business with its “thank it forward” 20 Years, 20 Thousand Thanks initiative.
Martha has made numerous presentations to local, state and national organizations and as far away as Canada and China. She’s the inventor of TRANSFORMOTION™ in a Box, a subscription-based innovation tool for movers and shakers. Her award-winning book "Culturing Creative," a guidebook for creative problem solvers, was published in 2015 and is available on Amazon.
She is widely regarded as not only a marketing industry expert but as an innovative entrepreneur and business leader as well. In March 2017, she was inducted into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame.
Who is a person that you considered as a role model early in your life? How and why does this person impact your life? My earliest role model was (and still is) my mother. She was Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart was famous. My mother is a numbers wiz, baker, seamstress, artist, friend and mentor. She taught me that bringing food makes friends and that returning meanness with kindness is the right thing to do. Most importantly, she taught and modeled faith in God.
How do you foster creative and innovative thinking within your organization? It’s our business! We do creative and fun things outside the office and inside the office. We listen. We use our TRANSFORMOTION™ in a Box exercises and other brainstorming approaches at every opportunity. We participate in and celebrate the arts. Our parties are legendary.
What advice would you give a someone going into a leadership position for the first time? 1) Find a mentoring relationship with someone senior to you and make use of it. Don’t just expect to receive - also give to the relationship so it’s a two-way street.
2) Gather a small circle of others in positions similar to yours and meet regularly. Build a small group culture of trust where you can share concerns and advice - and challenge each other to be the best versions of themselves. Keep it kind. Keep it absolutely confidential.
What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess? Integrity.
What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continues as a leader? 1) I’m a voracious reader: blogs like Girlboss and Seth Godin are daily GO-TOs. I also listen to a lot of business books and podcasts while I’m driving and getting ready in the morning. This is a way to be exposed to tons of new ideas and perspectives. That energizes me!
2) I start each morning with prayer and reflection, then outline my Big Goals for the day. I write them down. And when making decisions, I come back to that. I ask myself: does this help me reach my goals? If not, it gets tabled.