Brew and a biscuit with…Jane Reiss

Charlotte McIntosh, Marketing Manager at MerchantCantos sat down for a virtual cup of tea with Jane Reiss, Managing Partner in the US to discuss joining MC and the importance of nurturing a creative culture.

You can read a couple of excerpts from the interview below or listen to the full podcast here.

CM: It’s early for you in New York. Are you sat with a cup of tea or coffee?

JR: I was an obsessive coffee drinker for a good 30 years before I switched to tea. It must have been knowing I was going to join MerchantCantos.

CM: You are joining at a very unusual time. How was your first day at MC?

JR: I think the anticipation of the first day was far more anxiety producing then the actual first day. It felt very familiar (aside from not seeing anyone stand up), and everyone was very warm and welcoming. It is an incredible team and as far as the dynamic goes, we fell into our groove really quickly.

CM: What do you think makes MC unique?

JR: Definitely I would say the people. First and foremost, Brunswick and MC, the people I have met, they are extraordinary. There is a level of excellence and a realness. From the founders down, it perpetuates through the culture. From everyone I have met I feel a real consistency with the culture.

CM: How do you inject creativity into your everyday, even more now that we are working from home?

Its such a big part of who I am. My mother was an artist and my father a lawyer and the two brains came together in me. I’ve been lucky in my career that I can really apply creativity into everything I do. I’m enthralled by the dynamics of business, when it can come together, creativity and solving business challenges with creativity. I feel like I’ve won the lottery.

CM: You’ve worked with many people, particularly young women to mentor them. How did this come about?

JR: Interestingly, I was Mayor Bloomberg’s Chief Marketing Officer. He created an agency for the city of New York to create a brand for the city of New York. As we started to build success with the brand I would lecture at universities, where I would proudly stand and talk about the brand and opening 18 offices around the world. Incidentally, I used to share my journey, conquering being shy, which was a small section of this very dynamic presentation. After these lectures, I would see a queue of mainly young women queuing up and what they wanted to talk about was being shy. When you present yourself as a CMO and show vulnerability it’s a very powerful way to connect because that isn’t usually part of the narrative. So, this is when I started SpeakUp, a group that’s open to anyone who didn’t feel they were getting to be the most ‘you’ they could be.

CM: Are there any brands you would like to work with?

JR: There are so many brands I would like to work with. I really admire what Nike do. Yes, they have their celebrities but they also champion celebrating the athlete in you and really bringing that forward. The notion of ‘its in you, just bring it forward’. Then there are the brands along the way that have broken down barriers. The brands like Dove who have been at the forefront of inclusivity have really captivated and inspired me. But there is still a long way to go.


If you would like to hear more, including how Jane walked through Times Square with Big Bird, then listen to the full podcast below.

Similar thought


Brew and a biscuit with…Matt Shepherd-Smith

Read more