Michael Mendenhall loves disruptive innovation—that unimaginable thing that moves the culture forward, whether it’s a brand or a business model. But then he has always considered himself a Visionary and Creative archetype more drawn to leading than following.
“I find new ideas, information, people, places, and things stimulating,” he says. “As Walt Disney once put it, ‘It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.’”
Mendenhall was senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Hewlett Packard, where he got to apply his creative and intellectual enthusiasm to markets around the world, including brand strategy, internal and external corporate communications, digital strategy, global citizenship, integrated design, customer intelligence, services and operations, and hp.com.
Before HP, Mendenhall spent 17 years at the Walt Disney Company, culminating in his positions as president of marketing and synergy for Walt Disney Studios and EVP of Global Marketing for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a $10 billion business spanning North America, Europe, and Asia. His areas of responsibility included global brand image, publicity, advertising, new media, interactive TV, special events and promotions, and operations. For a man focused on entertainment, and understanding how it worked from a young age, it was heaven. As the icing on the cake, his work for Disney even won a number of accolades, including an Emmy and several Cannes Silver Lion advertising awards.
He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Marketing and Branding, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and was senior advisory board of the Executive Marketing Council. Currently he serves on the board of Spartan Race as well as the Emerson College board of overseers. Previously he served on the boards of the Churchill Club and Brandweek. In 2008 and 2010 he was named one of BtoB magazine’s top marketers of the year and was No. 22 on Advertising Age’s “Power Players” list. Also in 2008, Mendenhall was selected as marketer of the year by The Delaney Report, while HP was named the technology marketer of the year by Marketing Daily. And for his efforts in redefining cross-border marketing campaigns, Mendenhall was recognized as an “internationalist of the year” by The Internationalist magazine. He has a bachelor‘s degree from Emerson College, which named him a distinguished alumnus.
Mendenhall credits his success to his restless, questing spirit and the opportunities he has had to work with top-tier thinkers in his field, including Michael Eisner, Bob Iger, Steve Jobs, and John Lasseter of Pixar. “All great, creative visionaries,” he says. Indeed.