December 11, 2023

Google’s Kellie Fitzgerald on Finding New Models of Success – WWD


During a recent “colorful marital discussion” Kellie Fitzgerald, managing director of retail at Google, said she and her husband discovered the last vacation they had taken together was in 2016.

It brought up the question: when did they take time to have fun anymore?, Fitzgerald said. The discussion, she said, ultimately led to a booked trip to Italy that they were able to enjoy this past June.

Fitzgerald took the audience at the WWD x FN x Beauty Inc Women in Power event on an exploration of the endless pursuit of balance, and ways that artificial intelligence might be able to help.

It was on this eye-opening trip to Italy, Fitzgerald said, that she saw a small sketch that “perfectly articulated a longing that I have to tilt my life a little bit more toward my heart.” The sketch, which showed a scale, symbolized the work-life balance that people often discuss.

“So, what is instead this new model of success is aiming for intentional, it was balance and imbalance which allows us to listen to our hearts and quite honestly to think less and imbalance that tilts toward the things that mean the most to us,” Fitzgerald said. “Whether that’s pouring our hearts into a project at work, traveling somewhere new or spending time at home with family, I believe that women are uniquely positioned to do this. And in doing so we can create a new model of success and the possibility of it all really makes my heart race.”

To break old habits and stop pursuing perfect paths, Fitzgerald reflected on the ways that Google has made things radically helpful — most recently through artificial intelligence.

“On the surface, AI can sound like the opposite of tilting more toward the heart,” Fitzgerald said. “But I’m coming to realize that just like smartphones, AI has the potential to be very helpful in my pursuit of intentional imbalance. The promise of AI is that it will automate the mundane and the repetitive.”

In practice, AI tools that are available today are built to allow marketers to “intentionally spend more time on the things that matter most to their consumers.” Things like building a differentiated brand or doing research to deeply understand the consumer and the shopper and the competition. According to research from McKinsey, which looked at the effects that AI was having on marketing organizations, adopting AI allowed 70 percent of companies to increase revenue and nearly a third saw cost reduction.

Fitzgerald listed four ways to let AI take on some of the heavy lifting: the creative helper, the email helper, the shopping helper and the research helper. Each tool saves time in different ways from cutting down on edits to repackaging existing creative to allow more time for ideation and story building.

“The opportunity to shift time into these intentional tasks, makes my heart swell,” Fitzgerald said. “There are countless ways that AI is becoming our little helper and my goal today is not to overwhelm you. I want to instead inspire you to think about a few tools that will help you get intentional about how you’re using your very limited time and energy. And this new model can allow us to have the time and the energy to sustain the high performance over a long and successful career.”

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