Julie Roehm is known for her robust career in marketing and customer success, pivoting to welcome new opportunities when they present themselves. In a recent podcast with David Payne, Roehm interviewed an individual with perhaps just as much creativity on their resume as her own. Payne, a former assistant U.S. attorney, remade his career as a CEO for a digital technology company. The two connected on Roehm’s podcast to share backgrounds, stories, and perspectives on marketing and career development as only two creatives can.
Thriving in the face of adversity and loving a challenge, Julie Roehm has always sought ways to stretch herself personally and professionally. This started with her education and chosen career path, where she turned from environmental engineering to strategic planning and marketing. The transition was natural to Roehm, who found the problem solving that went into engineering projects success a lot more riveting than implementing the projects themselves. After earning an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth, she began a career in the marketing and customer experience sectors. This began with tenures at Ford and Chrysler (Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge), where she oversaw the launch of landmark vehicles and led brand management and revitalization efforts. She has since added to her experience as a chief storyteller for SAP, chief marketing officer for ABRA Auto Body, and chief experience officer for Party City. Roehm has demonstrated an aptitude for transforming businesses and evolving company cultures while engaging customers to achieve bottom line results in all these roles.
While having a notably different background, David Payne can certainly relate with Roehm’s journey. Having worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, he became general counsel and vice president of business affairs for three Atlanta sports teams: Braves, Hawks, and Thrashers. He also took on the responsibility as legal officer for Turner Sports. Payne led his career in a new direction when he became general manager of CNN.com and later president and CEO of ShortTail Media. Leadership positions in the digital communication and technology spaces fit his interests in guiding others toward success. After a few more stints with media companies including Gannett, he is now the president and executive producer for RainStream Media.
In their podcast discussion, Julie Roehm and David Payne covered several topics around their shared interest in marketing and connecting with people through digital media. They also connected over their love of storytelling. Roehm had her chief storyteller role at SAP custom created to reflect her unique way of leveraging communication to connect with customers. Payne, she noted in the interview, “What’s interesting to me … is you kind of continue to tie these knots of journalism … It’s littered throughout your background. All the way through even to having worked at Gannett. You’re still tied in sort of with the storytelling, [a] combination of investigative journalism.”
They also discussed the challenges of marketing in an ever-changing advertising landscape. Both Roehm and Payne experienced the digital evolution that overtook marketing plans (and budgets) in the 1990s to early 2000s and saw firsthand how this affected making connections with the right people at the right time. Payne went from overseeing contract negotiation for printed urinal advertising to overseeing ad supported revenue for brands like Sports Illustrated and CNN.
Understanding that everything was headed in a digital direction with phones at the forefront, he also saw that existing models at the time were not going to work. The result was his time at ShortTail, where he tried “to coalesce the publishing industry, at least around a way to clear ad inventory that wasn’t so detrimental to the health of those businesses.” In recognition for the progress Payne made with ShortTail and their clients, he was recruited by USA Today, owned by Gannett, to be their chief digital officer. Julie Roehm found this relatable, having helped bring companies to the forefront of digital marketing in her own agency business around the same time.
Payne’s penchant for storytelling did not stop with marketing campaigns. He eventually found he enjoyed bringing together his background in law with his passion for great stories. The result was RainStream Media and launch of his own podcast, “Somebody Somewhere.” The show, which tells the stories of cold cases in a true-crime format, sources legal documents, FBI records, interviews, and tapes to piece together the puzzles of unsolved crime. David Payne, who hosts and writes the podcast himself, noted that a great deal of work goes into the production but he remains committed to telling as much of the story as possible. The theme of storytelling remains a strong common thread for Payne and Roehm, who leverages her own podcast to share the stories of others in the industry on a platform that she can be proud of.
In the end, Julie Roehm and David Payne also share common goals of wanting to continue giving to others and providing their skills in productive ways to companies and communities. More recently, Payne has explored a return to law as an attorney in California: “like everybody else in this environment, trying to figure out how to be productive and contribute, and be a part of something while I can.” Both podcasters prove that anyone can apply their talents across many fields and find ways to be productive and impactful. Listen to the Julie Roehm Conversational podcast episode with David Payne by visiting https://www.julieroehm.com/conversational/david-payne.